Packing your maternity bag for the hospital; things you never thought of and items you will never need.
As the day to your due date approaches, you deal with a ocean of conflicting emotions. You are anxious, you are excited, you are prepared…or are you? Take it from me, self doubt can be your own worst enemy. I recall searching and scouring the internet for maternity bag checklists. I packed, rethought and repacked time and time again. It almost become an obsession in a way, the ultimate goal of course being to forget NOTHING! What no other mom bothered to tell me was something that they most likely presumed I already knew. However, under the stress of knowing what the upcoming weeks would bring the realistic knowledge was totally lost to me. The pure and simple fact is, if you forget something someone can go to your home and pick it up, or worst case scenario go buy it for you. After my own son arrived, I had a revelation as I glanced over at my hefty, over-packed maternity bag. Only at this point did I realize, I over-packed, much like any vacation or overnight stay I have ever been on since I was 8 years old. I must insist, in my own defense, it is simply impossible to prepare for something you have never done before. Movies over amplify reality, and if you rely on your imagination-good luck. It is my hope that you stumble upon this list and you find it useful-dispensing with all those other overly excessive checklists that can leave you exhausted reading them, let alone buying and packing for them.
The general rule of thumb is to have a bag packing in your car by 35 weeks. If you do not have a car and use other means of transportation, simply have it ready and on-hand. Upon visiting the hospital inquire with the hospital what they provide for both babies and mothers alike. This will save you some cash and space in your bag. Keep in mind that it is best to keep it simple.
THE MUST HAVES: (for you)
Complete Insurance, any forms the hospital or doctor may have given you to fill out and bring; including a birth plan if you have one.
A Pair of non-skid slippers, this is for walking the halls before or after labor for safety.
A gown if you do not want to use the one the hospital provides for delivery.
2 changes of comfy night clothes that you will most likely live in for about 2 days, best to be safe and go with dark colors.
1 package of full coverage panties, go for the value pack.
2 maternity bras, whether you nurse or not your breasts will be sore within a few days and you will appreciate the support.
Lip balm because hospitals are notoriously dry and your lips will thank you later.
Eyeglasses, if you are a contact wearer, leave them at home and just bring your spectacles for simplicity’s sake.
Headband or ponytail holder, the purpose here being to keep your hair out of your face. Avoid clips, as they will annoy and poke you.
Hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair products (like shampoo/conditioner) and lotion if you like. (travel size is the best way to go)
Change for vending machine or preferably some non-perishable snacks.
Mobile phone and charger, as well as camera/video camera and charger. (check if your hospital allows mobile phones, if not buy a pre-paid phone card)
Lozenges or candy to help keep your mouth moist during labor. (go sugar free, as sugar increases thirst)
THE MUST HAVES: (for baby)
A car seat, properly installed.
The weather appropriate coming home outfit
Blankets, hat or snowsuit if weather is cold
*have diapers, wipes and feeding materials ready at home-the hospital provides everything your new baby will need during their stay. Most hospitals send you home with formula (if non-breast feeding), diapers, hat or even blanket
A change of clothes for your partner, though keep in mind they can leave and change at will.
Extra Pillow if you have a special one you wish to use, otherwise the nursing staff will be accommodating with additional pillows/blankets as needed.
A set of clothes to go home in, although you may be more comfortable in what you walked in wearing.
Bath towel if you have strong feelings about the thin smaller varieties offered in hospitals.
Sanity napkins (not tampons). The hospital supplies you with these and honestly what they supply is better. Less comfortable but more absorbent and practical.
Light reading material or MP3 player; although most woman take advantage of the ability to catch up on sleep and learn to take care of baby.
Massage oils, tennis balls, rolling pins and other massage equipment, I have yet to meet a woman to use any of these-even when they have the best of intentions.
Stopwatch, they are an outdated idea. Your nurse and doctor will take care of timing contractions. This is nice to have pre hospital, so it isn’t useless just not necessary in the hospital setting.
Motivational pictures, mirrors, flowers, home decor to make the room “your own”. The thought sounds logical, but frankly in the moment none of these things bring you any more motivation than you can muster from within yourself anyway.