When we were preparing to head to the hospital, I looked up several lists that featured the standard things to pack in your hospital bag (change of clothes, onesies, toiletries, etc.), which are all wonderful but I thought those lists were missing a few things. So, I put together my list of 10 Things No One Tells You to Put in Your Hospital Bag. I also included a free printable (my complete hospital bag checklist) after the list.
1. Warm socks – I am naturally cold, and I love a good pair of warm socks, so take this recommendation with a grain of salt. Chances are good I would have been wearing warm socks at home, but I spent almost our entire stay in a hospital gown and socks. (I know, I know…I’m a fashion maven) The whole hospital was freezing and I was thankful to not walk around barefoot.
2. Tennis balls in a sock – One of the most valuable tips we picked up from our Lamaze class was this simple handheld massage trick. You literally take two tennis balls, put them in a long tube sock, tie the sock, and experience paradise. When your labor coach (husband, mom, best friend, etc.) massages your back with this contraption during labor, you will forget that you are in a hospital and feel like you are relaxing somewhere on a sandy beach (I may be exaggerating – it’s been a few months since my delivery…)
3. Button down (or zip up) shirt for dad – Everyone talks about mom and baby sharing skin to skin contact during the first hour after delivery (called kangaroo care) but they fail to mention that dad can do it, too! If mom had a c-section or for some reason can’t do skin-to-skin, dad can step in and the baby will get the same benefits of regulation of body temperature, heart rate, and breathing. I am thankful that I was able to have that time with my sweet girl because it is one of my most precious memories, but I am also thankful that Daniel was prepared to step in if I was unable.
4. Maternity clothes to wear home – I wish I could tell you that you would magically fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes two days after delivering your little one, but that’s just not reality. Be proud of your body – it has fought hard to create a little person and then deliver them into the world, and now it is going through physical and emotional (and hormonal) shock. Give yourself time to recover, time to relax, and time to be free of the pressures of body image in our society. Be proud, feel good about yourself, but also…bring maternity clothes…I promise you’ll thank me.
5. Baby Book – It’s not likely that you will be spending a lot of time writing in your baby book during your time at the hospital, but some hospitals offer you the option to stamp your baby’s footprints directly in the book. Our hospital didn’t give the ornate certificates of the past, so we got the official-looking form that I later added to my baby book. It was fine, but I wish I would have brought the book for a very personal keepsake. I looked everywhere to find the perfect baby book, here’s the one I fell in love with.
6. Extra bag for gifts (and hospital stuff!) – We were allowed to take all my postpartum goodies, a few burp clothes, the extra diapers, and even a swaddle blanket home from the hospital. We also brought home things like the bulb syringe, comb, and a Halo sleep sack our hospital gives to every newborn. When sweet girl couldn’t figure out her latch, I started pumping, so we had a ton of pumping accessories to bring home as well. Add to that the few presents we got from friends who visited us, and I was glad we had brought an extra bag to lug everything home!
7. Money for parking/valet – Call the hospital ahead of time (or better yet – take a hospital tour!) to find out the parking situation for moms in labor. Our hospital had valet parking for $4 (totally worth it in my opinion!) Of course, we had our $4 ready to go and sweet girl decided to begin her entrance into the world at 1:00am, well after valet parking had stopped. Oh well! We eventually used it in the vending machine for late night munchies.
8. List of people to call – Your brain is mush after delivery. Unless you want everyone to find out on Facebook, make a list of people who ought to hear the news over the phone (or at least through a text!).
9. Pillow in a colored pillowcase – This was the only thing my hubby really appreciated having. The hospital pillows aren’t the most comfortable things in the world. I was too exhausted to care, but when you combine an uncomfortable pillow with an uncomfortable fold down couch, it’s not easy for a new dad to get a good night’s (or morning, mid-afternoon, or early evening) rest. The colored pillow case is important because otherwise it will get swapped out for one of the commercial-grade hospital pillow cases – not pleasant!
10. Gift for dad – This is obviously not essential, but I know that my husband spent a lot of time figuring out the quickest route to the hospital, helping when I was too sick to move, and just generally caring for me throughout the pregnancy. I wanted a way to show him how much he meant to me throughout the process. The gift I gave him was simple – he got some Dad’s root beer and a storybook he enjoyed when he was a kid to read to our daughter (Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go). It wasn’t extravagant, but I think it just let him see that he is still important even with my focus elsewhere.
Well, that’s my list of 10 Things No One Tells You to Put in Your Diaper Bag! Here is a freebie – you can either download this picture or print the PDF below.
I would love to hear from you! What did you love having in your hospital bag? What did you pack that you didn’t end up using?