When planning for your hospital stay during and after labour, it can be difficult as a first timer to know what to pack and what to leave at home. I know for myself, I was terrified of being unprepared for almost any circumstance. I thought I could justify everything simply by saying “But what if _________” everything from what if I was hungry, but not for the 6 other snacks I packed…what if I was craving beef jerky? Check! What if my feet were cold, but not cold enough for regular socks… just cold enough for a pair of light socks? Check!… but then again, what if I was really cold.. Sure I’ll pack both!
Did I ever mention how much I hate wearing socks?
In the end I managed to keep everything we needed for myself, Baby Bumpkin, and Hubby Bumpkin into 3 regular sized bags. I would still say that I drastically over packed, but in the end I was comfortable with what I had brought! I followed online lists, I watched countless “Hospital Bag” videos on Youtube, and honestly, in the end, I learned that each person is completely unique to their needs based on personal preference and the environment they deliver in.
Out of the 3 bags I packed, realistically I could have packed all of the items I used into 1 bag!
I had many items packed to help me through several types of labour scenarios, but when we arrived at the hospital, I still wasn’t convinced they would be keeping us, so we left our bags in the car. It wasn’t until the next morning, only about an hour or two before Baby Bumpkin was born, that Hubby Bumpkin slipped away to bring them in. I didn’t even open a bag until after Arthur was here!
The #1 most valued and most used item that I packed was our camera!!!
I would have been devastated not to have photos from Arthur’s first hours and days! We have a Canon T3i, I packed the camera along with battery charger, which we didn’t end up needing, but I would have missed dearly if we did.
The next item I am glad we packed was our cell phone. We have a cheap, basic, no frills cell that only works once we are close to the city we delivered in anyways. Hubby Bumpkin was in charge of letting everyone and their dog know that we had a newborn son! I also packed a list with the names and numbers of everyone it was important for us to contact! In the excitement it would have been very easy to accidentally leave someone out! And if there had of been any problems with our cell, it was nice to have a back up list of numbers. Both I would recommend you take with!
The other things that I found to be of use included, nursing bras, breast pads (I’ve been using Bamboobies for a while now and LOVE them!), lanolin nipple cream, Pyjamas that I didn’t mind being seen in, Tank tops x3, Toiletries including shampoo and conditioner, and Make up. Yes, I was one of those women, but putting on a little make up after Arthur was born made me much more comfortable with all the picture taking going on that day! I also really benefited from the added colour to my skin, blood loss has a way of making you look a tad reflective! Other than that I only used a gown, and a sleeper for Baby Bumpkin and Hubby Bumpkin was left to packing his own bag, I don’t think he did much with that either!
Our Hospital provided all of Arthur’s disposable diapers and wipes while there, and the use of all kinds of receiving blankets. We never dressed him the whole first day keeping him wrapped in only the blankets, this made for super simple diaper changes, and lots of bonding skin to skin time! The next day I put him in one of the gowns I brought. I have continued to love these for night time since bringing him home. He wore an adorable little crab sleeper for our trip home (I LOVE crabs so much, and I’m so glad to see them becoming ‘popular’ on infant clothing, just like ducks and monkeys in the past!)
These are some of the items that I packed and didn’t use:
-House coat – It was far to warm in our room, I was more than comfy in just my tank top
-Slippers/socks – I really do hate things touching my feet
-Snacks – I was kept well fed, in hospital, with the exception of a little beef jerky just so I could justify packing so much food, I didn’t eat or drink anything I brought with. (Almost a whole bags worth)
-Bathing Suit – I thought that I may have been more comfortable wearing a bathing suit top in the labouring tub. Modesty was already out the window, and truthfully the bag was down in the car, so by that time I didn’t bother. (I did however keep on the extra comfy sports bra I was wearing)
-Kindlev- Umm, who has time to read after the baby is born?!?! I did bring this with labour in mind, and had I had a slower, daytime labour perhaps I’d have been really glad to have it, but labouring quickly and overnight, I took any breaks between contractions to rest.
In the end I took this as a learning experience. I feel like I have a better idea of what I would do differently next time, and what would stay the same.
Of course, like I said at the top of this post, everyone, and every experience is different. Next time I’m sure I’ll face the same temptations to over pack as well. “Just in case”, but incase you were thinking of bringing your own.. Most birthing facilities provide sinks!