Packing Tips for the Hospital – Do's, Don'ts, and Must-Haves
If you are anything like me (which means that you are extremely type A, a perfectionist AND an over-worrier), I started thinking about what to put in my hospital bag about 10 hours into having a positive pregnancy test. Having done this two times now, I think I know a thing or two about the do's, don'ts and must-haves for your hospital bag!
Do think about what is most important to you, aside from bringing a little one into your world. Comfort? Be sure to bring a pillow, robe and favorite blanket. The ambiance? Maybe a wireless speaker and make sure your playlist is updated. Staying connected? Laptop, phones, iPad, camera and chargers — don't forget chargers! Document every. last. thing.
Do prepack, but don't do it too early. Once the morning sickness has subsided and you've made your pregnancy official with the obligatory social media announcement, it's easy to get caught up with getting everything checked off your to-do list while you feel up to it. If you pack too early, you run the risk of packing away your favorite maternity pants or top or cute, fuzzy slippers — things you'll definitely want to wear during your pregnancy. You'll end up packing things that you really won't need or care for by the time the time comes.
Do research and check out what other mamas take to the hospital. Some things I brought I wouldn't have thought of had it not been for plugging into my social media peeps and veteran moms. I would really look at what you think you need and make a list. You really don't need to bring everything you own, although it is easy to try to plan for a spa getaway. Fact is, you are having a baby. And while you'll want your stay at the hospital to feel like home, you just need the essentials. The hospital will take care of the rest.
Do bring something for baby to go home in, a "going home" outfit, hat and maybe a blanket. Keep him or her safe and warm for the car ride in something that covers those little fingers and toes. While tutus are cute, save it for the newborn pics.
Don't over-pack. Less is more. Seriously. Especially when you have limited counter space, are living out of your bags AND managing a baby and all your postpartum accoutrement. If you have the essentials in one bag, not only will you have more space to move around, but you'll get less flustered if you're looking for something because you're having to go through less stuff. I promise when you are there, you will want to rearrange the room, organize your stuff, set up your bed so you have the essentials by you. If you have multiple bags of stuff, it will just end up cluttering up your room.
Don't forget that you should only be there a couple of days — possibly longer with a C-section. Chances are you will have several friends or family who are able and more than willing to bring you something if you need additional shirts or undies. So, again, don't bring a month's worth of stuff with you! What you bring in, you'll have to take home, and the ride home will be a little more cramped with a baby in tow.
Don't say yes to granny panties. I know that this goes against almost every other blog post that you will ever read. But, for my first pregnancy, I invested in FULL BRIEF GRAN-PANS that covered my entire hiney and went past my belly button. Sure, it "contained" my postpartum belly, ice packs, pads and all of that lovely stuff, but I felt like I'd added 10 pounds of baby weight down there. I ended up switching into my regular-sized panties pretty quickly. Or you can opt for the all-in-one adult diaper for comfort and functionality. Don't worry, this is just while you heal. Before long you'll get your sexy back.
- A robe. Yes. Because a), you might want to get out of that hospital gown right away, b) it's comfortable and forgiving and c) it's easy for nursing if that is your method of feeding your baby.
- Makeup essentials. I say essentials because you might not really need or want to have a full face of makeup, but in the event that you are taking pictures with your new bundle of joy and having visitors, you might feel more comfortable if you slap on a little mascara, under-eye concealer and lip gloss.
- Comfy slip-on shoes. Walking barefoot in the hospital room or hallway is not desirable. I would recommend actual flip-flops for walking around and fuzzy socks while you are in bed to keep your feet warm.
- Did I mention chargers? Don't forget your chargers and power cords for documenting and keeping everyone updated. Stay connected and powered up.
See what expectant mothers around the world pack in their hospital bags in a photo series from The Atlantic.
Tara Boyd, North Texas mother of three, to Beulah ("Boo"),Lucy ("Lu") and little brother Jacob, dishes practical advice on marriage, motherhood and munchies with humor and southern charm in her blog, Boyd Meets Girl.