I take pride in being a light packer. I make lists, bring the exact right amount of items needed, always return home having used everything as planned. I almost always fly without needing to check a bag. Yay me! Naturally, I was so proud of us when we finally zipped up the hospital bag (two days before my due date haha) and sure enough, it seemed pretty small! We packed clothes for me, husband, the babe-to-be, snacks, toiletries, a yoga bouncy ball (okay that wasn’t in the bag, but you get the idea!). We packed the bare minimum and high-fived a job well-done 😉
Surprisingly, we only ended up using 6 things:
1. Honey Sticks. Really?! Yes. There’s a lot of controversy around whether or not a birthing mother should eat while in labor. Ask your OB, but common sense tells us, you are going to need some fuel. If you’ve ever trained for an athletic event, would you dare think of heading out on race day without some packets of gu or energy bars?! No.
Sure enough, after 28 hours of labor I was super low on energy and yelled for my husband to squirt sticks into my mouth a couple of times. It was just what I needed! Funny thing is, neither of us can remember if this happened during or after pushing, but we both remember being so relieved we had them.
At the end of the day, listen to your body and do whatever your instincts tell you. If you can stomach it, make sure to eat while your contractions are still far apart before going to the hospital. You’ll be so glad to have some fuel in your system.
2. Coconut Water. The electrolytes and nutrients will keep you hydrated, minus the artificial ingredients of other electrolyte-drinks like Gatorade.
3. Mama go-home outfit. I packed so many things for myself! Cute socks, cute slippers, a nursing gown, a robe, etc. The reality is, there’s SO much blood that I didn’t put any of my own things on because … why ruin them?! I just used all of the gear that the hospital provided. I do wear and love my nursing gown now, though!
The only thing I used was some lounge-wear for the drive home. Leggings, a nursing cami (I preferred these to the big nursing bra, unless going out in public, because they are just so easy to slip in/out for feedings), and the jacket and shoes that I wore when I came in two days prior. Again, there’s still a fair amount of blood when you leave the hospital, so I was happy to have leggings to accommodate for the hospital undies and huge pads.
WIK TIP: It may surprise you to know that you will still be the size of 6-7 months pregnant after giving birth, so don’t bring your skinny jeans! Don’t worry though, you will shrink back down in a few weeks 🙂
4. Baby go-home outfit. I took the excellent advice to bring two outfits for the babe, a newborn size and 0-3 month size. I was glad that I did because 0-3 months was really huge on OBG (birth weight 7 lbs 11 oz), but only for about 3 weeks!
When choosing which outfits to bring, think about the weather, but remember you’re likely just going from controlled environment to car to controlled environment (hospital, car, home). OBG was born in the winter, but because we live in California it isn’t too cold. The rule of thumb is to dress babes in one layer more than what you would wear, but I always found that advice confusing because I’m wrapped in a blanket during the summer, and my husband is in shorts during the winter. She ended up being plenty warm in this Zutano footie and beanie and a cozie blanket over her. We love Zutano’s super soft, organic cotton. We loved and used the gown shown a ton, too!
Once you get to know your babe, you will be able to figure out how much or how little clothing they need. OBG is like her father and runs really warm, so I tend to dress her just a little warmer than what he would need.
WIK TIP: Look into your hospital’s options for taking your baby’s first photos. This information was on our hospital’s website in the labor & delivery section. There was a photographer available to come into our delivery room a day or two after OBG was born to setup a mini-studio and take her first official photos. We had to call her ahead of time to schedule, she didn’t just pop in to see if we wanted her services. I wish I knew that she would set up a little studio shoot, because I would have brought cuter props. I just had a plain beanie and thankfully a white fuzzy blanket. They turned out SO GOOD regardless, but something for you to consider!
5. Kind Bars (or your fave kind of granola bars). We loved having these on hand the days after OBG was born. Sometimes the hospital food isn’t great, or you find yourself hungry in between meals. We went through an entire box … also they are DE-LI-CIOUS.
6. Toiletry Bag. We packed way more than we needed. All that we used was a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, chapstick and the baby’s shampoo / body wash (I used it once, too!). We chose the non-toxic California Baby wash and asked the nurses to use on OBG for her first bath, versus the harsher Johnson & Johnson shampoo carried in the hospital.
It is probably be needless to say, but above all, don’t forget the carseat! You won’t be allowed to leave the hospital without it.
Let me know if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you!
OBG = Our Baby Girl
WIK = Wish I Knew