Hospital Bag: Check!
For some people, packing your hospital bag can be either exciting, nerve-wracking or even a non-existent thought.
If you're like me, you started WAY too soon, had four different checklists, unpacked and repacked 10 times and then forgot to even finalize it when it was go time! Talk about a goat rodeo just for a hospital bag.
In retrospect, all I really needed was my birth partner and well... my vagina. But, its always nice to have those items that make you feel more at ease, especially if you're having a hospital birth.
If you're ready to start packing, here's my list of recommendations.
What makes you comfortable
While this may be my professional list, the most important thing is to bring what makes you feel comfortable and that can be anything from music to aromatherapy. This experience is about you and your family.
Your own pillow:
If you've ever been to the hospital, you'd know that their pillows have the fabric of sandpaper and are as thick as communion wafers. A key reason for bringing your own pillow is that your own scent can help you relax and focus on labor. My only suggestion, would be to make sure that your pillow isn't white so it doesn't get mixed up with the others.
Your partner is probably sleeping on an uncomfortable chair or couch, so encourage them to bring their own pillow as well.
I personally always recommend taking a nursing pillow of some sort. Not only is it great for those first feedings, but they are amazing to cuddle with in the middle of the night when your body is trying to figure out how to sleep again sans baby in utero.
Let's face it, hospitals are cold and the last thing you need is dirty shoes in your bed. If you really wan to have fun, you can get hospital socks that have fun sayings on them like "push" or "he or she?"
Your birthing partner may also want some fun socks to commemorate the experience.
If you plan on laboring in the tub or shower, I would suggest two nursing bras. Once one gets wet, you're likely going to want to change.
Don't use this time to get ready for a beauty pageant! Nobody is going to notice what you are wearing. Grab some yoga pants and a top with easy access to the boob! As for pajamas, you only need one pair.
As for your partner, they are also going to want to pack an extra outfit, including a sweatshirt! Birthing women LOVE their room to be cold.
I would only bring one or two pair. I'll tell you this right now...those hospital mesh undies are LIFE. Wear them! They're comfy, disposable if you get blood on them and they hold that sub sandwich of a pad concoction in place perfectly. Heck, you can even ask the nurses if you can have a few to take home with you.
Most hospitals supply you with maxi pads, but they don't typically have wings! If you're wanting something with wings, I would suggest bringing your own and to make sure they are maxi and extra-long!
Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, shampoo/body wash, deodorant):
Most hospitals will supply you with these items, but sometimes using the stuff you like makes you feel more like a human, and trust me when I say that the first shower after birth is AMAZING...I mean it! Pro tip: just take the carryon sizes that you can buy from the store.
If you're planning to breastfeed, you may want to throw some Lanolin in there just in case!
I know that I said not to pack for a beauty pageant, but go ahead and bring the basics for photos.
I cannot say this enough. Your lips are going to get DRY! Between breathing through your mouth during labor and the Saharan Desert air of a hospital, you will need that chapstick.
This could fall under toiletries, but I think it's important enough to stand on its own. You may want to start off labor all cute with your hair down, but chances are you won't even want your hair, along with your clothes, to be touching your body during transition!
Labor is hard work and you will be hungry! Not to mention, your birth partner is going to need a pick me up here and there for energy (especially if they're diabetic like my husband).
I.D and Insurance:
Yep, you're going to have to give that information out again, and again, and again.
For some reason, hospitals suck the life out of cell phone battery life, so don't forget your chargers.
I know that you've talked about your birth plan multiple times, but it's a good idea to have an extra copy on hand! Don't forget though, that your birth plan may not always go according to plan.
As for baby, hospitals are supposed to supply you with everything to meet their needs while you're there. Because of that, I am just going to list a few extra items that you may want to bring anyway. Pro tip: keep baby's things in the car until you move to your postpartum room.
I love to bring a more personalized receiving blanket and hat for those introductory pictures! Let's be honest, the hospital hats and blankets haven't been updated since the 70s!
Going home outfit:
Everyone has heard of that infamous "going home outfit" and I'm sure you've been planning it since the moment you got pregnant, so don't forget it!
You're going to need to bring baby home in something! If you're nervous about your car seat installation, you can always call your local fire station or police station to see if they have a person who is CPS Certified.
I know the list seems long, but take a deep breath. You've got this! Packing is fun, especially for your birth. It's like packing for a vacation where you get to bring home the best souvenir.
I hope this list helps and would love to know what you found "essential" for your bag!