When I was pregnant I was all over Pinterest looking up what to pack in my hospital bag. I think I must have spent close to 5 hours looking at what others said they brought and making a master list.
I brought so many unnecessary things it was crazy. We filled up a large sized piece of luggage and you know what...it stat in the hospital room corner for 2 days.
In my experience everything went so fast there is no real down time. Even if your labor is long, you aren’t gonna crack a book or wanna watch TV (so glad I brought my kindle *doh*). Your labor could be 5 minutes of 2 days but it's this totally awesome moment where you and your spouse are just in the thick of it together. I don’t know how to describe it other than the biggest bonding moment of your marriage!
So lets get to the good stuff. What the heck do you ACTUALLY need to bring to the hospital. My answer: VERY LITTLE!
All YOU need is:
- Wallet with ID and any paperwork (kind of obvious but I was grateful for the reminder)
- Toiletries (and you might not even be able to get up to use them)
- Slippers/flip flops
- Robe (this won't be put on for a while - you'll want to use what they give you for the first day or two for many reasons I don't really want to type ;)
- Comfortable and LOSE clothes to go home in. Seriously no cute workout spandex pants!
- Body Pillow - Yes bring it! I had the Snoogle and I used it for the first 2 days to breast feed. Hospital pillows also suck so having your own helps!
- Phone chargers
- Cute outfits for the baby (I brought 2 - plenty). It's pretty much diaper and swaddle the whole time until you leave.
- Couple protein bars - hospital food is gnarly and likely people will go pick up food for you.
- Homemade cookies, brownies or breads for the staff. We brought 3 loves of banana bread and about 2 hours into my labor it was gone and we had very happy nurses helping us!
You might be thinking, ok so once I have the baby maybe I could read a bit or watch TV right? Well in my experience, that wasn't an option. The nurses are in your room every 2-3 hours to check on you and the baby. And every time they show up you're learning something new, getting something changed, etc. It’s all hands on deck and you’re learning non-stop and each visit is like 20-3o minutes. Meanwhile, our packed hospital bag is still sitting in the corner.
Now that your bag is packed, let's talk about what your spouse can bring! Here is what my husband brought:
- Speaker (Charlie brought our Bose and it was amazing to have a playlist that chilled us out). We also wrote out all the songs and will give them to Hunter when he’s older and tell him this is what he was born to. Kind of rad!
- Christmas lights. Yes, we brought twinkle lights and I would do it again in a heart beat. We were able to turn off all the blinding florescent lights over head and had this totally chill vibe. You can make the room as special as you want - truly whatever makes you feel good bring! And a total side note, all the nurses wanted to help us deliver because of the christmas lights. They loved the ambiance!
- Warm clothes to sleep in (the beds suck and so do the blankets).
So now you know what items are essentials. One other big tip that was given to me and I'm so grateful for it is to bring a big empty suitcase. The hospital will give you tons of swaddles which work when your baby is super tiny but will eventually become burp cloths for you. They’ll also give you tons of diapers, the nose sucker things, hair brushes, mesh underwear (which I wore for literally 2-3 weeks), pads, numbing spray, peri bottles, everything. I just brought a bag to carry all this stuff home.
Just for fun here are all the things I brought and never once touched:
- Change of clothes (addition to my going home outfit)
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs
- Tena diapers
- Maxi pads
- Nipple cream
- Prenatal vitamins
- Diapers / Wipes
- Burp cloths
Needless to say, anything you'll need, someone can either bring to you or the hospital has right there. Don't stress about your bag! It's a time for you to embrace one of the craziest moments of your life. Get ready to feel ALL of the feels :)
Since publishing this post a friend mentioned to me that she wished she brought her own formula and bottles just in case it came to that, which for her it did. She was able to breastfeed later but had trouble at the hospital. I totally agree and would recommend this. I would also recommend having all of your research on what formula you want to use BEFORE you even start breastfeeding. Here is a blog post I did earlier about breastfeeding and formula.