I know that lists of what moms-to-be pack for their hospital bags are really popular and I certainly read my fair share prior to baby's arrival, as well as requested info from family and friends!
My own list probably isn't going to be particularly helpful, but for the sake of sharing with some of my soon-to-be-mama friends, here are some of my thoughts.
I'll start off by telling you that I was one of those people who used very little of what I packed. I actually didn't really touch anything of my own other than socks, my phone and chapstick until the baby was actually born. I know every person, every labor and delivery, every hospital, etc. is different. Some factors that determined our needs: our l&d snuck up on us at unexpected time (1 am at 37 weeks, we weren't really "on our toes" for baby watch yet), I was too distracted to care about entertainment, I was stuck laying on my side after my epidural and couldn't "do" much during this long stretch, I had a regular (translation: non C-section delivery) which I hear also affects what you might like to pack, and finally, fortunately I was very comfortable and mobile for the rest of our hospital stay after delivery so I had no problems showering, dressing, etc.
Here's what we did bring:
- Wallet with ID and insurance card- I was pre-registered with hospital so I don't think we used it but doesn't hurt to have it I guess
- Phone/charger - duh
- Power banks- one of the smartest things we packed!! we were both constantly trying to charge our phones and gadgets and this allowed me to use mine from the comfort of bed while it was charging
- Camera/camera cards/charger (just in case!)
- Tennis shoes- I dressed for our hospital trip pretty much in maternity work out clothes. Leggings, long sleeve Gap pure body maternity tee, Nike free runs. When I was sent to walk the hospital TWICE, for an hour each time, I was grateful to have on my comfortable tennie pumps, as well as clothes that were appropriate for the oh so attractive squatting, leaning and wall holding I was doing during contractions on these walks.
- Toiletries (shower things, hair dryer, lotions, make up, toothbrush, etc. oh yea, and face wipes were nice to have because I was way too tired to care about showering the first night)
- Other than socks, I didn't touch any of my own clothes til the morning after baby was born. I went through labor and delivery in a hospital gown, and only changed out of it when I was ready to shower around 6 am or so the next morning. Pack a robe, pjs, slippers, socks (bring extra socks- we changed mine twice during the laboring phase due to water breakage...)
- You really do need some full coverage dark underwear. They don't have to be huge, like in some hospital bag lists I've read, but again, just do full coverage. Some people love the mesh hospital ones. Eh. I left the hospital in my own full coverage dark ones, that you'll probably want to keep around for a bit.
- Comfortable clothes/pjs that will fit you post delivery (I brought options because I had no idea what to expect). Remember that you'll be getting lots of visitors who will be taking lots of photos. I'm not saying I dressed up or looked great, I'm just advising you to take this into consideration. If you're going to be wearing a nursing tank, be sure to bring a cardigan/robe/etc.
- Clothes for going home- I packed a maxi dress, flip flops and cardigan to be comfy and not have to worry about what fits.
- Pillows and cases from home (used after delivery. then and to this day you can never have too many pillows around when you're trying to comfortably prop up yourself and a baby)
- Thank you treats for nurses- I was glad to have completed this project just in time for our early delivery, as the nurses and staff really were so incredible it was nice to have a small treat to show our thanks. I also kept a small notebook in my bag so that I could make note of special staff member's names to include them in my thank you notes to the l&d and post-partum staff later.
- phone, laptop, etc.
- sleeping things (blanket, pillow, etc.), towels
- water bottle
- snacks (we actually did have snacks but they were in the car (along with so many of our things), so post-delivery at 11 pm when I hadn't eaten since dinner the night before and had just pushed out a baby, Ant and I were stuck with a Chobani yogurt and a granola bar as our only source of food. Word to the wise: demand someone fetch Chick-fila or late night Taco Bell for you after you go through all that.)
- "going home outfit" - we didn't go nuts over this like some people do. I know a lot of people spend lots of time choosing this, or have a sentimental family heirloom they bring or something but not us. We just packed a few comfy options and all of them, even the newborn options, were too big. hah So we brought her home in a newborn sized little Cindy Lou Who sleeper gown (that's what Ant and I call them). Nothing crazy. We never liked hats on her because she had that awesome hair, we may have thrown socks on her- can't remember, and didn't use the scratch mittens we packed.
- car seat (I'd say duh, but we really almost didn't bring this, since we didn't really think we were in labor haha)
- blanket (make sure you have a cute one because most hospitals, including ours, send around a newborn photographer and you can wrap baby or use as a pretty background. keep this photographer in mind when choosing your own hospital clothes too if you think you want to be in the pics. I looked awful and only chose to participate in one side shot hah)
- baby book page for footprints - we gave this to the staff and they did her footprints while doing the "official" footprints, saving us the hassle and mess of trying to do it ourselves
- you'll be provided with everything else you need for baby.
My favorite that NO ONE told us, after reading alllll of these hospital lists: bring a checkbook. You have to buy your baby. Just kidding, but you do have to pay for a birth certificate that costs $12 and is check or money order only. My parents own Lawter's birth certificate, thanks to us not having a check book handy. (I think this means they pay for college... right?)
Also, we had several lovely flower arrangements sent to us during our hospital stay and while the volunteers did an awesome job securely tucking them into the back of the Jeep, I'd recommend having a family member bring a cardboard box or two to help safely transport these home.
A few things we brought but didn't need:
- Water bottle for me. Our hospital gave us a nice big handled mug with a straw to tend to my water needs (You get to keep it too!)
- Extra clothes. I guess some people may go through more clothes than I did, but we had Lawter at 8:11 pm on a Tuesday night so I spent all day and night Tues in hospital gown, showered at 6 am on Wednesday morning and put on leggings, tank top and cardigan, and showered and changed again on Thursday morning into my going home dress before being discharged.
- "personal products"- you know what I'm talking about. The hospital gives you those things so don't worry about bringing your own. same goes for breastfeeding personal items (creams, pads, etc.)- they'll hook you up.
- Diaper bag- I guess it doesn't hurt to have it for your trek home from the hospital, but again, they're going to give you everything you need for baby during the stay and then they send you home with a few diapers, wipes, formula, nipples, etc. so just leave it at home.
- Boppy pillow- there were plenty of extra pillows around for propping.
- Additional entertainment. I had packed cards. bahahhaha. Like I thought I'd be sitting around with nothing to do.
I'm sure there were more but since we didn't use them, they don't stand out in my mind : )
I will say that I'm grateful for my plan ahead ways, that these bags were about 85% packed and ready to go when we made the decision to head to the hospital in the middle of the night. I definitely recommend being prepared (or at least having your lists ready so your husband can help you grab things) for surprises!