Packing my hospital was the last thing I waited to do while preparing for Judah. I kept procrastinating because it was a big job, and I was really tired after work toward the end of my pregnancy. It was the thing we kept saying "Uh, we should probably pack the hospital bag soon..." as we thought about how close we were to having our son.
When we went on our hospital tour, they told us we didn't need a lot--that everything was provided for you. I didn't believe that after posts I read online about packing bags. Part of it was true--our hospital gave you a lot of things that were included in the price; you couldn't get a discount by bringing your own. (Bummer) Things like ibuprofin, mesh underwear, pads, pillows, etc. were all included. Not all hospitals are like that though! Talk to the finance department and find out what's a separate cost or if it's all one lump sum.
Here's why it ended up being such a big job: I had four bags for specific purposes. Call me an overachiever, but it was really helpful, and I'm glad I did it the way I did. After packing them up, I went through everything in the bags with my husband so he would know where to find stuff since he would be the one getting things in and out of them, not me. Take a look at what I packed!
Bag #1: Labor Bag
These items were specifically for labor. I would not need these items after baby was here and I was just recovering.
- Nurse Thank You Bags
- Peanut Ball (think exercise ball shaped like a peanut--learned about those at Hypnobirthing class)
- Hubby swim trunks (in case he came in the shower with me)
- Soft robe (best decision--easy to throw on and off as my temp went down and up)
- Slippers (to walk the halls with, didn't use them)
- No slip socks (used them until we flooded the bathroom from the birthing ball being over the shower drain and they got soaked; the hospital gave me some after that)
- Essential Oils (from Stephanie Fritz's book)
- Washcloth to put oils on to smell since our hospital didn't allow diffusers
- 40 Blinks eye mask
- Birth Affirmation Cards (used them at the first check in to the hospital, but didn't have much time to set them up at the second check in since my contractions were closer and stronger)
- Bluetooth speakers (for my Spotify playlists, super helpful)
Bag #2: Snack Bag
Hospitals don't recommend you eat during labor, but they can't stop you from doing it. Let's be practical here; your body is performing an energy-exhausting task for hours. You need to replenish that energy through food! Many friends of mine have vomited during labor because they didn't eat anything for so long. I snacked through labor and only got a little nauseous toward the end, and then I used my oils to help. The only downside for me was EVERYTHING I ate gave me a bad aftertaste. I constantly wanted to brush my teeth!
- Fruit Leather
- Kind Bars
- Dried fruit (apricots)
- Nuts (pistachios, pecans)
- Carob energy bites (got those from Fraizer Farms)
- Greek yogurt
- Coconut juice with lime
- Rice crackers
- String cheese
- Sargento Balanced Breaks
- Water bottles
- Turkey jerky
Bag # 3: Hubby's overnight bag
The easiest bag to pack!
- fresh clothes
Bag #4: My overnight bag
- fresh clothes (I brought sweatpants, maternity shirt, nursing bra, nursing pads, granny panties, and flip flops)
- Gownies hospital gown (was cuter and more modest for when visitors were here; unfortunately I bled on it in the back...maybe that's why hospital gowns are open back there??)
- make-up (yes, I did put on make-up after showering the next day. I felt waaay more normal.)
- nursing pillow
- bed pillow
- Newborn and 0-3 month outfits for Judah (you never know what size they'll be when they come out!)
- ear plugs
- soft towel (I didn't use it; the hospital ones were fine. Hubby did on the first night when he asked for a towel and they never brought him one and he really just wanted a hot shower and some time by himself after being my labor coach for 22 hours and then 2 more hours of recovery care.)
- soft toilet paper (didn't use it; couldn't be bothered. lol)
Don't forget to pack the car seat! I personally, kept mine in the car at about 38 weeks just in case.
Having separate bags was so much easier for us when we needed things during labor and recovery. I didn't have any moments that I wished I brought something and hadn't. I felt prepared and comfortable with the items I had.