pregnancy

On Packing My Hospital Bag

This week, I’ve started actively packing my hospital bag (as opposed to just planning what I think I want to pack). At this point, I have most non-food items packed, although I’m quickly realizing that I probably need a separate bag to include some baby stuff. It’s been interesting because I tend to be pretty minimalist when I pack to travel, but it seems like a hospital stay for labor and maternity requires different things. For one thing, I needed to get a portable speaker to connect to my phone to play Hypnobabies tracks (I don’t usually think about “playing music” because I don’t listen to music much outside of the car), and I need stuff for after the baby comes out. But I probably don’t need much in the way of clothing.

It’s mostly difficult because it’s really easy to find lists of “things you’ll need in your hospital bag” as well as lists of “all the things I thought I needed but didn’t.” But it seems like the upshot of the latter type of list can be really personal. Like, one person insists you don’t need to bring clothes, where another insists you do because hospital gowns are uncomfortable. Now, I haven’t tried the gowns at my specific hospital, but I’ve never had a problem with hospital gowns in general, and because I generally have the modesty of, well, a community theater actor who has to change costumes in spaces without private dressing areas, I figure I’ll be fine in a gown most of the time.

So I figured I’d make a note of what I’m packing, and then maybe when I get home (and have time), I’ll make a note of what I used or what I particularly appreciated. In particular, anyone who reads my main blog or follows me on Instagram knows that I usually have a pretty involved skin care routine, so I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how to bring enough that I don’t feel like I’m neglecting myself, while being realistic about just how much energy I’ll have to do skin care while in the hospital.

So here’s what I’m bringing, so far:

Skin/hair/body care: I’ve divided my toiletries into face products, hair products, and other products and put them in separate, labeled bags (I used pink pouches from Glossier because I have so many of them because their cleanser is the only one my skin likes). For face care, I’m bringing micellar water and cotton, some pre-soaked hydrating toner pads, and a tube of Cerave Baby cream (this will also double as a hand/body cream). I’m also bringing a tube of sunscreen, for when I go home. For hair care, I’m bringing a sample of shampoo and conditioner I got from a Sephora order, along with a seamless comb, some scrunchies, a couple hair elastics, and a couple wide, soft headbands. My plan is to keep my hair braided as much as possible to avoid tangles. For body/other, I’m bringing deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, lanolin (this doubles as a lip balm), and disposable nursing pads.

Clothing: I’m planning on mostly wearing hospital gowns, but I am bringing a couple draped-front cardigans and a robe in case I want an extra layer, plus a nursing bra in case for some reason I feel like I need to wear a bra. I’m also bringing a bunch of fuzzy, non-slip socks. Not really clothes, but I’m also bringing a fleece blanket and a camping towel, just in case because they roll up small. The only “outfit” I’m bringing is something to wear to go home in case my check-in clothes get ruined by, um, fluids. Going-home outfit is a pair of fleece leggings, undies, socks, a nursing tank top, and one of my favorite tunic sweatshirts that I mentioned in my last maternity wear post. I’m also bringing a babywearing wrap.

Baby stuff: From what I’ve heard, most of the things you’ll need are provided, other than stuff for the baby to wear home. So I’m mostly just bringing a couple sizes and styles of clothing from the box of hand-me-downs I got from friends so I can pick out an appropriate going-home outfit for the baby. I think I have some onesies, some footed PJs, and some pants, plus I’ll probably bring a hat and socks. Since I plan on breastfeeding, my husband is putting my nursing pillow in his car, but I’m also bringing a sample-sized can of formula and some bottles, just in case things aren’t working out. And of course I’ll bring the pediatrician’s contact info, just in case.

Comfort stuff: I’m bringing a few little things to remind me of the space I used to train with my hypnosis tracks, like a salt candle holder and some flameless LED candles, plus I’m bringing the aforementioned speaker. I got a Tribit bluetooth speaker from Amazon for about $30 and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with it. And it has like 20 hours of battery life. I’m also bringing an extra-long iPhone charging cable, and a 32-oz. water bottle. As far as snacks go, I’m bringing lots of Larabars, some boxed miso soup, some juiceboxes, and tea. I’ve decided to bring Pique tea crystals instead of tea bags because they’re easier to deal with if my husband is making me tea. Plus, they’re slim enough that I can bring 4-5 packets of crystals in the same amount of space as one of my favorite tea bags, so I can have a better variety. I’m also bringing my own mug so that I don’t always have to drink out of paper cups.

Other: In addition to stuff to keep me happy, I’m also bringing some potentially necessary documents, such as the information for my work’s short-term disability insurance, and copies of my birth plan. I’m also including an “inventory list” of what’s in the bag so that my husband can get stuff for me without bugging me about it. I’m sure I’ll think of some other things to throw in, so I’ll mention that if it happens when I give my post-birth update.

So far, most of this fits in the small duffel bag that I used to use as a gym bag, though I’ll probably pack a separate small bag for baby-specific stuff and snacks. Husband will have his own bag (he needs more in the way of clothing, since he doesn’t get a gown). But at this point, I feel mostly-ready for going to the hospital, which is good because theoretically it could happen in a week or it could be another month or so!

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