Throughout my pregnancy, there are many things I said would never happen that happened. Your water doesn’t break before labor begins, that only happens in the movies I said. My water broke before I started contractions. There is no way I will deliver this baby early, first time moms are always late I said. My water broke eleven days early. I wish people wouldn’t buy us tiny newborn clothes- I will deliver a 9lb+ baby who will not fit into newborn clothes I said. My baby girl arrived eleven days early weighing 7lbs 10oz and nearly drowning in all of our 0-3 month clothes. I could keep going, but you get the idea. It was a good lesson in humility as I realized just how little I knew about this whole baby thing. I continue to be reminded of this as I attempt to conquer motherhood.
I had spent weeks reading What to Pack in your Hospital Bag lists on blogs and pinterest, and had printed off a list of everything I thought I would need. If I were to do it again, I would not have packed nearly as much. Someone had suggested that we pack a smaller labor bag and a larger postpartum bag. I brought my Petunia Pickle Bottom Downtown Tote for my labor bag and my normal roller suitcase for my postpartum bag. Below is my revised Hospital Bag Checklist of what I think would be helpful. You can download the file for free by clicking on the image below or here.
Things I thought I needed that weren’t helpful:
Book/magazine- Once contractions started there was no way I was going to concentrate on anything. We had brought a computer and were watching reruns of The Office for a bit, but eventually I turned that off as well.
Hand fan- It didn’t get that hot. And it’s one more thing to pack.
Music- I had brought a playlist and headphones, but was in too much pain to want to listen to anything. I preferred silence, but that’s just me.
Lotion/massage stick- If you have a long hard labor without an epidural I could maybe see this coming in handy. I lucked out with a short labor and lots of pain meds.
Blanket and pillow- This was on almost every packing list I found. Maybe I’m not as high maintenance as I think, but I thought the hospital blankets and pillows were just fine. It’s also the last thing on your mind when you are exhausted and takes up a lot of room when you have luggage + car seat + tiny human.
Nurse gifts- We had planned on baking something for the hospital staff, but weren’t prepared when Little C came early. The nurses were great and I think it would have been a nice gesture, but it just didn’t happen.
Snacks- We packed a lot of snacks. And then people brought us snacks. Turns out the hospital food isn’t too bad and they give you as much as you want at each meal. There was also a lounge with sandwiches, snacks and drinks that was open all night. Again, one less thing to have to pack.
Going home outfit- While you need to wear something when leaving the hospital, yoga pants and a comfy sweatshirt will do just fine. The thought that I would have showered, done my hair and makeup, and be well dressed when walking out the hospital doors became a very low priority when caring for a tiny human that I had recently birthed while on no sleep.
For baby- Swaddle blankets, sleeper, hat, burp cloth, nail clippers, book for footprint: I brought all of them and used none. The hospital will provide most everything you need. Also- their swaddle blankets are awesome so if they let you take some home, do it. Our labor and delivery class told us we weren’t allowed to take them, so we didn’t. If I were to do it again I probably would have nabbed at least one. Our hospital also doesn’t do footprints- just a blood sample- which was fine because I did Little C’s footprints a few weeks later at home.
At the end of the day, I think bringing less is the way to go. The hospital will provide everything you really need, and two days goes by pretty fast.