When I packed a hospital bag the first time around, I felt like I was headed away for a week. I packed everything that was on every ‘suggested’ list I could find online, and probably more. However, since I gave birth with midwives, my maximum hospital stay was twelve hours; had I not gotten an epidural, it would have been around 4 hours. Needless to say, the large suitcase I packed (plus a diaper bag for the baby) went largely untouched.
Knowing now what I didn’t know then about my hospital stay and what I would actually need, my hospital bag is going to look quite a bit different. However, if you’re using my list to pack, remember a few things. At my hospital (is it a Canadian thing? I don’t know), there are very few things provided. Every hospital-packing list I’ve read mentions to clear out your room; take pads, underwear, diapers, nipple cream, peri bottles, everything. Well, for some reason or another, none of those things were provided. So there may be a few things I’ve listed that you can forget about, because your hospital is well stocked and generous. Also, since I live 5 minutes (in traffic) from the hospital, and my stay will be so short (barring any complications), I’m really not packing for any extended length of time. This is more of a ‘labour’ bag than a ‘postpartum’ bag.
(collage credit goes to Hellobee – original post at http://www.hellobee.com)
1. Extra-large underwear: Mesh undies were non-existent at my hospital. So I ran out to Walmart, and bought the biggest, cheapest granny-panties I could; ones I would have no qualms about throwing out if they got ruined (or once the post-partum situation cleared up).
2. Tena pads: A tip from my midwives: instead of buying Always pads, or something similar that tend to stick to stitches, the Tena incontinence pads are bigger, more absorbent, and don’t have that ‘dry’ layer that is plasticky and painful.
3. Nursing bras: These Gilligan O’Malley bras from Target are wonderful. Plus, since my milk won’t have come in, I really just need something that gives easy access to baby.
4. iPod docking station: For music during labour.
5. Labour dress: This ‘swim coverup’ was $7 at Walmart, and it is super comfortable. All of the necessary points for access (in case of IVs, epidural, shots, and nursing) are totally available, and it covers up more than a hospital gown. Last time, I had to take it off when I got an epidural, but since that’s not in the plan this time, I should be able to keep it on.
6. EOS lip balm: Because hospitals are dry.
7. Yoga pants: Leaving the hospital less than 12 hours after giving birth, I still looked VERY pregnant. Yoga pants were comfortable, stretchy, and since I bought them for $20 at Costco, I didn’t care if they got ruined.
8. Exercise ball: I laboured for ages at home on my exercise ball, and I made Mr. O pack it in the car when we headed to the hospital. I didn’t use it for long, but having it was wonderful. I’ll definitely bring it again.
9. Water bottle: Tiny styrofoam cups that need to be refilled every three seconds? Not really great for keeping up fluid levels. So I packed my own 1L Contigo water bottle.
10. Clif bars: Rules differ about eating during labour, but with the midwives, we are encouraged to keep eating and drinking throughout the process. I stocked up on Clif bars, trail mix, and other easy snack foods to keep with me (also good for Mr O, should the cafeteria be closed).