The Minimalist’s Guide to the Hospital Bag
Ok, I get. You want to be prepared for every possible situation at the hospital. You don’t want to leave any situational stone unturned. But do you really need to bring your entire stereo system for relaxation and your entire bedding set for comfort?
I am a planner and so is my husband. He will pretty much bring a backpack full of “survival essentials” everywhere we go and I will admit that we totally over packed for the hospital. We brought water, computers, clothing options, books. I think I saw our cat in one of the bags at some point.
I am going to go through some of the items that we couldn’t have lived without and those that we really didn’t need.
First, let me give you a few tips in regards to the bags.
– Leave them in the car at first. You will need to be admitted and will have to go to triage first for them to verify you are going into labor. These rooms are usually very small and don’t allow for all your baggage.
– Have your SO go get the bags after you have been admitted and they are transferring you to the labor room or if there is any down time in between.
– You will be going home with a lot more stuff than you came in with so try to accommodate that in your existing bags. Guests will bring gifts and the hospital gives you anything that isn’t linen to take home. So reach deep down for those hotel item stealing skills and take anything you can get. Trust me, they don’t care.
So for the items that we really could not have lived without.
– Camera! Make sure to bring a good camera and not just your phone. We took way too many pictures and you don’t want to be sitting there for a great shot and your phone says it ran out of room. Plus, it is easier to give somebody a camera to take a picture. “How do I zoom on this phone???!!!”
– Phone Charger – You will be in the hospital a couple days so don’t forget this one.
– Cash/Credit card – You will get room service and be treated like a goddess and your husband will have to drag his ass down to the cafeteria and pay like the rest of the peasants if he wants anything to eat. Otherwise, you can be mislabeled as a fat cow and just order enough for both of you for the room service. It certainly didn’t bother me.
– A Pen and Paper – It sounds so stupid and the hospital will probably give it to you but this ended up being awesome. Instead of using it for all the “thank yous” those other packing lists tell you to use it for, my husband used it as a play-by-play. When we got admitted and put in our delivery room, he started recording times for when certain things happened. First contraction I had, first time I punched him in the face…you know stuff like that. It will end up being something pretty cool to have in their baby book later on.
– Underwear – You really only need ONE pair of underwear and that is to go home. All those lists saying that you need a new pack to wear everyday….whatever. You are so tired and worn out, you don’t care that you are wearing hospital undies. And those hospital undies are not half bad.
– Clothes – You could technically wear the clothes that you wore to the hospital since when you leave you will pretty much still look 6 months pregnant but that is your prerogative. I just brought a pair of yoga pants, a nursing cami, and a flannel button up shirt.
– An outfit for baby – You need to bring an outfit for baby to wear since the hospital doesn’t let you take anything linen from them. So if they gave you a shirt, they will yank that shirt off baby so fast your head will spin. Depending on the time of the year I would just bring a onesie and a pair of socks. Yes mom, I said socks.
– Headband or Hair binder – You might have gone to the hospital with your hair down and lovely and styled. You will want to put it up and you might not have one handy.
– Carseat – Hospital holds baby hostage without it. Can’t leave.
Items that we really didn’t need to bring
– Reading material – If the baby is not attached to your boob, you will either have guests or you will be sleeping. No time to read.
– Extra clothes – You will be too sore or pooped out to put on anything other than the hospital gown and the robe they give you. But some people need to feel or look better so they change right after. I wore the gown and robe and felt fine. And it was easy access for their constant pestering crotch checks so if you do bring extra clothes, bring a dress.
– Makeup – Really?? I brought some with the delusion that I would put some on if somebody came to visit. Did I care at that point? Ummm hell no. The only reason I could see bringing makeup and actually putting it on would be if you were having hospital pictures taken. Otherwise, it really is just silly and just making it harder on yourself to relax and recover.
– Extra Pads – This is one of those items that the hospital willingly gives you and allows you to take home. Take advantage of them. They are nice, big and comfortable. Well as comfortable as a diaper can be I suppose.
– Downtown Situation goodies – I brought items that helped with the healing downtown if I tore or for when I was sore. Didn’t need them at all. Didn’t even open them. Didn’t even use them when I got home. The hospital should give you a pack of Witch Hazel wipes for soothing and they tell you to take baths a lot to soak. Still haven’t used them, but not sure if that would make a good gift to a friend….Hey you! Here is some cream and spray for your crotch and butt….Hmmm.
– Food – I suppose you can bring some snacks for your husband or you, but to be honest, food is the last thing on your mind. You will need to remind yourself that you need to eat after you just pushed a watermelon out of a lemon hole. Gotta recoup to prepare for the next 18 years. Otherwise, the cafeteria has snacks and so does that lovely room service I mentioned before.
– Toilet Paper from Home – We didn’t bring this but I read it in a lot of different packing lists. Who in their right mind is wiping their crotch after having a baby? The hospital gives you a lovely peri bottle that is used to squirt warm water instead. Use it. Even if it seems weird. Use it and then maybe use the toilet paper to dab. But for crying out loud, don’t bring toilet paper from home. The nurses will think you are a crazy bag lady.
Please leave comments of the items you could not have lived without when you gave birth or the items you never used. I would love hear them.