Every time I scroll past yet another hospital bag article on a website or blog, I chuckle to myself. It seems so 2019 to have hundreds of articles on the internet explaining what to bring for what is most likely a 48-hour stay in a hospital that is often within 30 minutes of your house. How did our mother’s ever survive without lugging suitcases full of somewhat unnecessary stuff to the hospital to deliver a baby? The horror!
As much as I love to joke about it, I ate it all up when I was pregnant. I read all the articles and even talked to a labor and delivery nurse to pare down my list to just essentials. What I’ve found is that most of the lists are very similar if not the same. By this point, I’m sure you know to bring shower shoes, comfy pajamas, and an outfit to bring baby home in. But there were a handful of other things that made my stay much more comfortable, so I thought I’d share in case you hadn’t thought of them either.
Keep reading for eight hospital bag essentials no one told you about!
The overhead lights in hospital rooms are aggressively bright. Waking up to a crying baby 12 times a night is hard enough, no need to make it worse by having surgical lights on you. A small lamp or even a string of Christmas lights will do the trick and give you soft, subtle lighting and create a calm environment for you and your new baby.
Some people rave about the postpartum mesh underwear, but I beg to differ. Having a gigantic pad with mediocre adhesive attached to disposable underwear that doesn't breathe well is not my idea of a good time. Do yourself a favor and simplify everything by getting an all in one adult diaper. They are much more comfortable and streamline the whole changing process since it's an all-in-one.
If you're planning on breastfeeding, nipple cream is a must. Your nipples will be raw after the first few days, and you'll want some relief. It will also help prevent your nipples from bleeding. Yes, that's a thing.
Hospital pillows are awful. Since you won't be getting a ton of sleep those first few days after giving birth, you'll want to make sure the quality of sleep you're getting is as good as it can be. And don't forget to bring an extra one for your partner who will most likely be sleeping upright in a chair or at some point give up and move to the floor.
Hospital air is stale and dry. Somehow during recovery, you are filled and bloated because of all the IV fluids, yet simultaneously dry and thirsty. The last thing you want to deal with is painful cracked lips. Make sure to have some lip balm on hand for when you dry out.
I have never been as thirsty as I was the first 10 days postpartum. Seriously, it's unfathomable. I probably drank 40 gallons of ice water and it felt like I needed it the way I needed oxygen. While those big plastic hospital cups are nice, there is nothing like a huge tumbler to keep your water cold and give your partner a break from being the ice boy every 5 minutes.
You always seem to leave the hospital with more than you came with, and I'm not just talking about your new baby. Between swaddles, diapers, and gifts, you'll likely need another bag to carry all of your goodies home with you. Pack an extra tote so you don't have to worry about where to store all the extra goodies.
Feel free to take this or leave it, but we celebrated with a cold bottle of Vueve Cliquot, and it felt like a little taste of heaven after nine months of sobriety. Even if you're not interested in drinking alcohol, it's fun to bring something to celebrate and toast all the work you've just done, mama!