our hospital bag

Let me start this post by saying I was NOT going to post anything about our hospital bag. I read a handful of such posts on other blogs and was really disheartened by how many downright mean comments there were - people saying the mama was "ridiculous" and "crazy" for thinking she'd need/want/use everything she was taking. Here's the thing: if you read this post (or any post like it) and think I or the writer is crazy, or that we're packing too much, try doing what we all learned to do in kindergarten and "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I understand that maybe you're trying to be helpful, but a pregnant mama who is weeks away from the scariest/most unknown experience of her life really doesn't want to be told that she's crazy or ridiculous. I'll admit it - I am bringing a lot to the hospital. I am terrified of hospitals. I've never been in one, except for our tour last month and for five minutes once to visit my grandpa. I'm scared of all things medical, and nine months of doctor's appointments and needle sticks hasn't really changed that. My husband works in the medical field and assures me all the time that everything will be fine, but the fear and anxiety runs deep and so I want to bring as much with me that I know will comfort me as possible. Possibly ridiculous? Sure. But I'm a firm believer that you should just take whatever you think you might want or need, and not apologize. Also, I saw a lot of comments about things people brought themselves, like diapers, wipes, medicines, etc. A lot of the comments said things like "don't bother to bring those, the hospital supplies them." While this is often true, you most likely aren't getting them for free. In our case, everything is itemized, so every diaper we use at the hospital, we pay for. And when you use the ones the hospital supplies, you pay whatever they want to charge you. So while it may seem silly, we're bringing our own diapers, wipes and other items that I purchased way cheaper on Amazon than what the hospital will charge us. Every little bit counts for us, so it's worth it. But, some hospitals do a package plan, so you pay the same price regardless of whether you use their diapers or not. It's worth checking with your hospital to find out, and maybe not have to bring so much. So, there. I'll hop off my soapbox now. But please don't leave any mean comments :) When making my packing lists, I divided the packing up into five main bags:

  • My bag
  • Matt's bag
  • Baby's bag
  • Labor bin (we plan to labor at home as long as possible, so I threw everything I think I'll want in a bin that is staying in our living room until it's time to go to the hospital, then we can just bring the bin with us, rather than having to dig stuff out of a packed bag because I want to use it while still at home.)
  • Snack bag

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And then of course we'll also have our car seat (which is installed and has been checked) and I'm also bringing my nursing pillow. Here it all is (minus the carseat and Boppy) ready and waiting in the nursery!

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First up, my bag! Here's everything I packed for myself:

  • flip flops for the shower
  • grippy socks for walking around (such a great tip from a friend!)
  • nursing tanks (2)
  • underthings (2 nursing bras, sports bra, underwear, socks)
  • robe (I'm just using a kimono I already had)
  • labor gown (I just got a soft nightgown from Target, because I'm not a fan of the hospital gowns. #diva)
  • cozy clothes for after delivery/going home (2 pair soft pants, 2 flowy/loose tanks - I plan to just wear the nursing tanks while in the hospital)
  • zip up hoodie
  • postpartum essentials: nursing pads, nursing cream, maxi pads, tucks pads (I made a DIY version) stool softener, healing spray (a more natural alternative to Dermoplast, or there's this version from YoungLiving which I also have) and ice packs to decrease swelling
  • towel
  • bag for dirty laundry
  • toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, dry shampoo, soap, face wipes, eyedrops, contact solution, contact case, glasses, extra contacts, deodorant, makeup, hair ties, headband
  • hand sanitizer (a more natural alternative to Purel)
  • mints
  • water bottle (I have a particular favorite and I swear it helps me drink more water, haha!)
  • wallet (ID, insurance card)
  • journal + pen
  • phone + charger
  • straightener (just in case!)
  • camera + charger + memory cards
  • iPad + charger
  • powerstrip for maximizing the room's outlet for chargers, etc. (a tip I saw online and thought was so smart!)
  • moccasin slippers
  • kleenex
  • pillows + favorite tshirt blanket
  • file folder: baby book page for hand/footprints, signs for door, copies of the birth plan
  • Harry Potter DVDs for after delivery because, duh

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And Matt's bag. Here's what he's very economically packed into a small backpack (love that guy):

  • phone + charger
  • iPad + charger
  • wallet (cash, ID, debit card)
  • coins for vending machines
  • water bottle
  • two changes of clothes (shorts, tshirt - comfy clothes)
  • sweatpants in case it's cold
  • hoodie
  • swim trunks for helping me in the labor tub/shower
  • flip flops
  • socks/underwear
  • toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, soap
  • pillow & blanket
  • gum

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And baby's bag. I know I'm bringing more clothes than what we'll actually need, but having no idea what size he'll be or what the weather will be like (or if we'll be in the hospital for one day or three!) made it a bit hard. We also aren't doing any fancy studio newborn photos at the hospital or anything, so we just brought all casual clothes. Our hospital does provide sleeping gowns and sleep sacks so we decided not to pack those ourselves.

  • Two outfits in newborn size (onesie + pants)
  • Two outfits in 0-3 month size (onesie + pants)
  • going home outfit in newborn size
  • going home outfit in 0-3 month size
  • mittens
  • socks
  • hat
  • swaddle blankets (2)
  • knit blanket (for putting over the carseat if it's cold)
  • nail clippers + emery board
  • aspirator
  • thermometer
  • diapers (enough for 10-12 changes for 2 days)
  • wipes
  • diaper rash cream
  • coconut oil (meconium is really tarry, so I read that putting vaseline on baby's bum can help with the first few changes. I love coconut oil over Vaseline, so I threw some in a teeny jar for this!)
  • burp cloths (2)
  • pacifiers (2)
  • nurses treat basket

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Here's what's in the labor bin. Assuming all goes well, we'll labor at home as long as possible and then go to the hospital. We'll just take this whole bin with us when we go. It's a mixture of things I know I'll want, things that were suggested in our Bradley classes, by our doula and also some things I saw online. Who knows if I'll use any of it, but I'm glad to have it just in case.

  • heating pad
  • rice sock
  • essential oils (I'll have a post on what oils I'm using for labor and afterwards next week!)
  • diffuser
  • cooling eye mask
  • lavender lotion for massage
  • washcloths (for compresses)
  • Gentle Babies book + list of essential oils and blends
  • Rosary
  • wireless speaker for playing my labor playlist
  • verses for labor (in my pregnancy journal which I'll be taking with me)
  • candle (I sent a candle and a note to several friends, asking them to light the candle + pray for me when I'm in labor. I think having the same candle nearby to be reminded of all those who are praying for me will be so helpful!)
  • coach cards for Matt - ideas for things to try to help me, written out on index cards (a Bradley class suggestion that is so smart!)

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I know you're not supposed to eat in labor, blah blah blah, but I'm not much of a rule follower and I hate cafeteria food. I packed a small bag of snacks + treats for Matt and I, for labor and afterwards. Thankfully there's lots of food options around our hospital as well, so after baby is here I'm sure someone can run out and get me something delicious (ummm, like a Reese's blizzard from the Dairy Queen across the street!) Here's what I packed for snacks:

  • applesauce squeeze packets
  • rice cakes + almond butter packets
  • chocolate covered pomegranate seeds (a treat for Matt!)
  • dark chocolate sea salt caramels (a treat for me after delivery!)
  • gluten-free pretzels
  • peanut butter crackers
  • larabars
  • fruit leather
  • apple crisps
  • la croix

So that's it! A duffel for me, a tote for baby, a backpack for Matt, and then one small reusable grocery bag of snacks and the Boppy! All in all, not too terrible. And who knows, maybe we'll only use half of it! But knowing I'll have the things I like, and the things I think I'll want, has been really comforting and helpful as I envision our time in the hospital.

*duffel bag is from Everlane, tote bag is from West Elm, backpack is from OAK Lifestyle