We managed to get our hospital bags about as packed as possible (save for a few last minute items) this weekend, which felt like a huge weight off my shoulders. I am not sure why but the idea of packing a hospital bag was so daunting and anxiety-inducing to me. I didn’t know what to bring, didn’t want to bring the wrong things, not have enough of something or bring stuff in vain. There are a million “what to pack” lists out there but ultimately it seems so subjective.
Bag of choice: LeSportsac overnight bag
For the most part, the purpose of packing a hospital bag is to have the comfort of your own things, which helps to humanize the experience a little bit. Packing a hospital bag is the same as packing any overnight bag, you need mainly need clothes, underthings, toiletries, shoes, and a few extras like a camera, pad and notebook, perhaps a book, etc. With this bag though, you just have to take into account that you’ll also be giving birth to another human being and undergoing some major physical changes while away. No big deal, right?
Maybe I was also stressed out because I’m not sure what’s going to happen after I’m discharged, if I’ll just go straight to Children’s and start living there (we can be in a dorm there while he’s in the NICU) or whether I’ll go home to sleep/recover. It’s still unclear and that’s just something we have to play by ear, but luckily my parents will be here to help manage these details. So I decided just to pack for my hospital stay, planning for a four-night c-section stay since we’re just three weeks out now and Turtle still hasn’t turned (and I just have a feeling he won’t).
So here’s our packing list:
-Copies of birth plan on colored paper
-Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, face wash, mousse, nail file, eye drops, pads, lip balm, razor, makeup remover, loofah
-Hair stuff: brush, straightener, hair ties
-Maternity or larger underwear (4)
-Flip flops (1)
-Socks (3 – 1 comfy, 2 regular)
-Book to read
-Discharge outfit – maxi dress, chambray shirt
-Comfy pants (1)
-Comfy shirts (1)
-Comfy pants (1)
-Sleep shirt (1)
-Flip flops for shower (1)
-Snap shirts (3)
-Swaddling blanket (1)
-Baby legs (1)
-Laptop/charger/internet cable (for spotty wi-fi)
Packing for a c-section is easier in one regard because you don’t have to bring birth aids like relaxation items. But on the other hand, you do have to pack things that allow for your incision to heal, hence the dresses, nightgown, robe, etc.
Hospital bag toiletries
Here are some things I did to make the process easier: first of all, I made a list based on what I thought would work for me. I also bought almost all new things for the bag, so I wouldn’t have to worry about packing things that I currently use every day. All my toiletries are travel sized, either bought for the bag or picked from my stash. I went out and bought travel eye drops because I heard your eyes can get quite dry in the hospital. I even bought a new loofah and packed my spare razor. The only two last minute personal care items are my straightener (not buying another one of those!) and my hairbrush (I only have one).
Pads and comfort items for Turtle
I read that it can be nicer to have your own pads for the post-birth bleeding vs. using the hospital ones so I bought some Always heavy duty overnight ones and packaged them together in a freezer bag. I also put all of Turtle’s things that have been washed with special baby detergent together in a bag. Almost all of his needs will be met by the hospital, so these are mostly just nice little personal things to have for him. He definitely needs to have some cute hats for the 10 million pictures that will be snapped of him.
Discharge outfit: maxi dress (new, Target), chambray shirt (old, Madewell)
In terms of technology, we decided not to bring a separate camera and just keep it easy with iPhone pictures that can be easily sent around and shared. I do want to bring a laptop so I can blog, we can watch Netflix (our hospital room actually has a VCR, if you can believe it!), etc. But for the most part, our smartphones will be our main devices for calls, pictures, blogging, listening to music, sharing picture/information, etc.
Don’t forget the obligatory hospital cat, I prefer an orange tabby with a ‘tude
Some things we didn’t pack that others recommend include pillows and blankets. We have very large, heavy, memory foam pillows that would be a pain to lug to the hospital, honestly. Things like cash and coins can be obtained at the hospital, as can snacks. All breastfeeding supplies will be supplied by the hospital. A few things aren’t on this list because they’re always in my purse, like my makeup, ID, insurance card, etc. Overall, we’d rather have the bags be on the smaller side so they’re more manageable when the time comes.
All done! My bag and DH’s bag
All we have left to pack now are: copies of the birth plan, hair brush and straightener, Turtle’s notebook and pen, and our laptop bag. It is some small measure of comfort knowing that almost everything is either available at the hospital, or at a nearby drugstore. You can survive even if you don’t bring anything to the hospital at all. But having your own stuff make the process that much easier.
Do hospital bags stress you out too? What are your hospital bag must haves? Anything I’m missing?
ps. Our weekly ultrasound looked pretty good yesterday and we’re good to go another week. Still on track for a 5/28/13 Cesarean birth as Turtle still has not turned. I’ve completely made my peace with it and now just can’t wait for him to get here, however he is meant to arrive. Thanks all for the kind words about Turtle’s 3D picture… they honestly made me blush like a proud mama!