I’m by no means a minimalist – in fact, I’m sure my husband would argue I’m quite the opposite. (We currently own four different strollers, which makes him a little mad – but that’s another story for another time.) However, I try to pack as little as possible into my hospital bag, both for me and for the baby.
For starters, our hospital provides basically everything we’d need. I’ve also been strongly encouraged by nurse friends to not bring anything I own to the hospital – and if I do, to burn it afterwards. (I’m talking about things like pillows, blankets, boppy pillows, etc.)
For at least the first day, if not two, I am firmly in camp hospital gown. Especially after a c-section, I found it so easy for my nurses to access my incision to clean and inspect it and I didn’t need to worry about the waist band of pants or shorts rubbing against it. Once I finally got myself into the shower, it was refreshing to put on comfortable clothes – but up until then, I see nothing wrong with ruining the hospital gowns instead of my own clothes.
So what exactly IS in my hospital bag?
Very little. Here’s what I brought for my first labor / delivery that I’ll be packing again:
- I have my own toiletries, lanolin (it is provided from the pharmacy, but the packet was so small I decided it was easier just to use my own), camera (and chargers), chapstick, hair ties, and an empty reusable shopping bag (to bring home the diapers and suction bulbs and other various things we get from the nursery). I also bring a small bag of makeup – just the basics!! – but I feel much more like myself with a little eyeliner and mascara on.
- Clothing wise I only packed two pairs of sweatpants, two nursing bras, loose tanks, and a comfortable cardigan. I debated packing my comfortable slippers, but I opted for some throw away flip flops instead. I try to be really strict about wearing shoes in the house (here’s some reasons why if you aren’t grossed out by it yet), so I didn’t want to walk around the hospital and then bring them home to walk around my house. The flip flops were also good for wearing the shower. I’ll wear the hospital-provided socks AND the mesh underwear. I’ll bring along a few pairs of throwaways too, but seriously, the mesh underwear is great. (Make sure to grab a few pairs to bring home, too!)
- As for the baby, I will be packing literally nothing in my hospital bag. Once we finally know the sex, I’ll have my mom wash the boy or girl going home outfit and bring it before we head home. My son picked out these swaddle blankets to give to the baby, so we can use them to cover the baby on the car ride home. The hospital provides everything else we would need during our stay.
I’m sure that sounds like I’m not bringing enough, but the way I see it is this: it’s only 2-3 days. I can survive on the hospital food; I can sleep with their pillows. I’ve read many lists that seem so excessive and over the top – hopefully it is refreshing to think about how little actually needs to be brought with!
What’s a must – have item for you to bring in your hospital bag? Tell us in the comments!