So you can imagine my mile-long packing list for the hospital when it was time to give birth. As usual, I overpacked and created a huge hassle that could have easily been avoided. In hindsight, a compact list would have been a huge help.
Every mom-to-be and her labor situation is different, but here are some suggestions to avoid overpacking:
- BYOP - Bring your own pillow. Don't risk your comfort on hospital pillows. You don't know how long you're going to be there! Also, bring a colorful pillow case so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
- Fight dehydration - I was advised to not drink water during labor - just ice chips - so I was parched the whole time. I found myself constantly reaching for my mineral water spray to mist my face and slathering on lip balm.
- Loose, stretchy pajamas or robe and cozy socks or house slippers - I'm not usually a robe person, but it was very handy to have at the hospital before and after birth - especially during nursing.
- Toiletries - In addition to the basics, bringing your own shampoo and body wash can be a source of comfort in an unfamiliar environment.
- Nursing accessories - Nursing was a challenge, to say the least. I'm glad I had lanolin, nursing pads and a nursing bra.
- Peri bottle, heavy duty pads and maternity underwear - The hospital provided these in my case. I would have been lost without them! Give the hospital a call to see what they have on hand so you can pack accordingly.
- Going-home outfit - This might vary according to your location and season. My baby was born in April in Southern California, so the weather was nice and fair. I packed a stretchy jersey maxi dress and a cardigan, which were easy to pack and took up minimal space.
- Car seat - Can't drive your little one home without one!
- Enough onesies - I found zipper onesies to be easier than buttons. When you're bleary eyed from hours of labor and sleep deprived from your first real night as a parent - it's zippers all the way.
- Baby blanket - The hospital gave us receiving blankets, but it was nice to have our own to tuck around her in the car seat on the way home.
- Going-home outfit - Make sure you have a onesie with legs (not the tube kind) since baby will need to be buckled securely into the car seat. Also, consider a hat and mittens to keep baby warm when facing the elements for the first time.
- Your wallet - This may sound obvious, but once labor pains kick in, it's easy to forget.
- Necessary documents - Keep a folder or envelope with your health insurance info, hospital documents, birthing plan (if you have one) handy. It makes things a lot easier when such documents are all in one place.
- Snacks - I was very fortunate that my family members brought food to me and my husband after our baby was born. If that's not the case and you don't want to rely on hospital food, you can pack a small cooler with snacks.
- Camera, smartphone or something to capture memories - I jotted down notes throughout the labor process on my smartphone (when I could) and my husband also captured moments on our camera. Also pack your charger/extra batteries. You can always opt for a trusty pen and paper, too. Details from your time at the hospital or birthing center can easily fade with time. So whatever you need to do to help remember the big day, go for it!