The Do’s and Don’ts of Packing the Hospital Bag

I was pregnant for an eternity.  Well that’s what it felt like for me anyways. I found out I was pregnant at the very beginning. Four weeks to be exact. What felt like a couple of days passing by, turned out to be nothing more then a couple of hours. The slow anticipation of being pregnant is insane. Luckily during the last few weeks, there are many things you can do to keep busy with the delivery vastly approaching. From washing all the baby clothes, finalizing the nursery, organizing the closet, and perhaps the most exciting one, packing the hospital bag. But before I go any further I must add the disclaimer that this was based on my own personal experience and the experience of a couple other moms I have talked to. Every hospital is different and before packing your hospital bag you should check with your local hospital to see what they do provide and what they don’t(just to be safe). For the most part, we are all in the same position and usually end up packing the same things. I want to share my personal list because regardless of all the list I saw in magazines and online, I still managed to over pack, which ended up biting me in the butt later on(we will get to that soon).

I decided to pack my hospital bag when I was 36 weeks pregnant. I know some moms who have had there’s packed since they were twenty weeks. I also know some moms who were throwing things into a bag as their waters were breaking. You never truly know when your baby will be coming, So its best to be prepared and not have to stress about it later(no pregnant woman needs extra stress).

Before I show you the list, I want to also share why over packing can do way more harm than good. Like I have said before, every birth experience is different and what works for some might not work for others. For instance, something I saw a lot of was packing head phones, Ipods, IPads, tablets, laptops, etc. I don’t know about you, but when I was in labor, listening to music, or being on the internet was the last thing on my mind. Getting through a contraction was hard  enough without having a bright computer screen in my face. For me, those were things that I definitely kept at home. I also stuck with multiple list I had found online and packed things I didn’t even need.  Things like diapers, wipes, lotions, pads, slippers, blankets, pillows, books, and SO MUCH MORE. You see, when I was packing for the hospital, I kept telling myself I was going to use things that in reality, I never ended up touching. When it comes to over packing it may seem like not a lot at the time. Its when you’re ready to come that you notice how much stuff you actually brought. I was so overwhelmed when we were packing to come home. We had one bag for me, one bag for my husband and one bag for Maylene. When we first arrived, all the bags were nicely organized, clothes folded, and everything nicely in their pockets. But when we left? Everything was shoved together trying to make room for all the new items I was coming home with. With all this being said, here is the (minimalist) list of what I would recommend taking to the hospital:

Must Haves

  1. One bag for you and you’re husband to share and one bag for the baby. (Trust me, even if they are bigger, two bags will be enough)
  2.  Clothes for you and hubby(A couple outfits you will feel comfortable in and wont mind getting a little messy. We only anticipated a two night stay and ended up staying five nights! it was way easier to have someone run home ans get more clothes than to pack a weeks worth.)
  3. A mesh laundry bag or trash bag for dirty clothes. (I personally ended up bleeding through some of the pants I wore. being able to separate them from everything else was nice.)
  4. All your personal essentials (ID, Phones, Chargers, Wallets, Birth plan etc. Some hospitals make you show your ID every time you enter and exit the maternity wing.)
  5. Thick Socks (A lot of people told me to bring slippers too. I bought a three pack of slipper socks and they lasted me the whole time I was there. You’re not going outside so wearing shoes isn’t completely necessary. Plus my feet swelled so getting on slippers or shoes was not going to happen.)
  6. A couple outfits for the baby (our hospital provided adorable clothes for Maylene while she was there.  We only ended up using two outfits of our own. One when she was born, and one when she was going home. This is something I would ask your birthing center about.)
  7.  Nursing bras (these are gods gift from heaven)
  8. Food for your husband (They have a cafeteria, but things can get pricey. They also have vending machines if you don’t mind using those.)
  9. Toiletries (travel size is best. Just some shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste. Keep it simple.)
  10. Car Seat (We almost forgot ours. Oops.)

Optional Extras (Things you don’t need but might want)

  1. Swaddle blankets (I only recommend this because I hated the ones they had in the hospital. I love muslin swaddles and the ones at the hospital were rough.)
  2. Diapers and Wipes (Only if your hospital doesn’t provide them, or you don’t like the brand the hospital uses)
  3. Pillow and blanket (some people don’t like using hospital pillows. Personally, there was no way I was bringing my pillow and blanket to a hospital.)
  4. Tablets, Laptops, Ipods, etc. (If it helps you relax, all power to you.)
  5. Robes (Some woman would rather wear a robe for labor and even after. They say it was more comfortable and easy to breastfeed.)
  6. Nursing Pads (usually your milk doesn’t come in for 2-5 days after birth. But you could always bring some just in case.)
  7. Underwear (The hospital provided me with amazing underwear. I didn’t even touch the ones I brought.)
  8. Pads (They hospital also provided me with amazing pads. Use them! Pads are expensive. So don’t use your own till you have to.)
  9. bathing suit (A good way to ease labor pains is getting in the shower. If you don’t want to be in the nude, you can bring a swimsuit.)

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