The mama’s hospital bag is just as important or even, dare I say, more important than the baby’s hospital bag. Confession: I stay as long as my insurance will allow me. I know that there are people who are dying to go home, sometimes right after they’ve been wheeled into recovery and the baby’s been checked. Not this girl. Give me two nights of sleep with that newborn wheeled to me to eat at night and wheeled back in to the nursery and then I’ll be good to go (don’t worry, I most definitely keep her in my room during the day!). But overnight stays require things. Things like clothes and makeup and shoes and socks. Things.
First, the bag itself.
I like rolling bags just because they are easy. When you are packing up your things to go, it’s one less thing to worry about carrying on your shoulder. That sounds weird, but you’ll have more things going home with you than you took. Ya know, like a baby.
I also like DaKine because they are cute and simple and there’s room for everything. You can probably get away with a weekender bag easily, but it’s nice to have extra room for things you weren’t expecting. Danny almost always has to grab a few things from home for me. There is paperwork and cards and gifts. Hospital freebees and who knows what else. More room = better.
Things to Wear While in Recovery
1. Robe A robe is good, even if you aren’t normally a robe person. Like me. I don’t wear a robe at home, I just get up, take a shower and get dressed. I rarely just hang out in my jammies. But when you’re at the hospital, routine takes a back seat. In the middle of the night when you roll your baby into the nursery (because I totally do), you don’t want to put clothes on, and maybe you don’t sleep in sweats, but you have to be covered because….gross. I got my robe at Target and it was $12.99.
2. Slippers Yet another item I don’t normally wear at home. But in the hospital? It’s called MRSA and Ebola and germs. I don’t want any of those. I picked up a SUPER cheap pair at Walmart for $5 and plan on tossing them when I’m done. Also along the same lines, pack socks. I prefer thin, no-show socks just because I hate when my feet get hot. But always wear socks.
3. Roomy and comfy sweatpants I know TONS of people who think it’s crazy to wear any of your own clothing while you’re recovering from birth in the hospital. They will warn you about blood and fluids and other things. I’ve never had the issue of so much blood that it ruins my clothing. Or that I bleed nonstop that using the restroom regularly and often enough doesn’t just take care of that issue. And I absolutely hate hospital gowns. They open at really weird spots for breastfeeding and if you have visitors it can get really awkward. I got my sweats on sale on the Jcrew Factory website. I think they were $20. They are so comfortable and I don’t feel like I’m completely slumming it.
4. Plain Tee shirts and Tanks I have so many camisoles and plain tee shirts that I always pack 2 or 3 sets. I sleep in them, change them in the morning to a new set and spend the day in them. They are comfortable and soft and stretchy enough that I have absolutely no issues nursing my babies while wearing them.
5. Comfortable Nursing Bra In the hospital, I don’t require myself to wear underwire for support. I’m giving those puppies a break. Just a comfortable, easy to latch and unlatch bra. I got mine at Target in a 2 pack for $18. A steal and 1/2.
“You won’t care what you look like when you’re in labor or after, so don’t even worry about packing that stuff.”
I’ve seen pictures of myself and one of my labors that I forgot to comb my hair and put on a lick of makeup. Ouch. I much prefer the photos where I look somewhat put together and nice. I mean, ya, I’m not going to look my very best, but it doesn’t hurt to put SOMETHING on my face, does it!? Foundation, blush (or bronzer) and lip gloss. I’m not talking a full face, you guys. But something to make you feel good.
Also, I will need a curling rod and my Wen shampoo which I happen to be obsessed with. And a toothbrush and deodorant. For the love of god, don’t forget to smell somewhat decent. There will be lots of people up close to you — nurses, your husband, people visiting. Don’t scare them.
We love our electronics. I don’t like not having my phone, and pictures are a must. Music? Definitely.
1. Phone Announcing to family and friends the arrival of the baby with a picture is the best. I have a group text ready to go each time to those people I want to know first about the new addition. Everyone else will get either a phone call from Danny or can see it on Instagram! Oh how I love Instagram. Don’t forget the charger, too, because that’s the worst when your baby looks especially cute in that new headband and sleeper and your phone is dead so you can’t Instagram it ASAP. It’s a tragedy, really.
2. Small point and shoot camera I’m not shy about having friends in the delivery room when I push that little thing out. Mostly for selfish reasons like having enough people to cater to me and get me ice when I need it and take pictures. Hand your little camera to someone and just tell them to point and shoot. You can delete whatever you don’t like later, but having tons of pictures is just the best. Make sure it’s 100% charged and you have a decent sized memory card. “Memory Card Full” is every new mom’s worst nightmare.
3. Nice Camera For those mamas who have an additional DSLR (which isn’t very uncommon these days), having it packed in your bag is a must. In recovery, there will be lots of quiet time and I love snapping pictures of my babies…in their bassinets, on the bed, close ups of their sweet little lips and eyelashes, that kind of thing.
4. Music I have forgotten my music every single time I’ve had a baby and have always regretted it later. I’m not going to have an epidural and will instead opt for laughing gas. Laughing gas is great for temporary relief during those horrific contractions but even between those, life is pretty uncomfortable. I think that having music in my ears will help keep me calm and comfortable. We shall see.
Going Home Outfit
Yes, even moms need a going home outfit. No, I didn’t go and shop around for the perfect going home outfit for myself. But I did put some thought into it. First and foremost, pack maternity bottoms. Whether they are leggings or jeans, it doesn’t matter. But make sure they are maternity. If you pack non-maternity, you will hate yourself and your body and it will be very disappointing. I am packing my maternity skinnies that I currently wear and that currently fit my legs (and my belly). I rarely leave the hospital with a still-swollen belly (lots of women still look a solid 5-6 months pregnant…I just look fat) but I’m never looking great and never able to squeeze into non-maternity. Jeans make me feel more put together which is something I need. A tank and a comfortable sweatshirt on top are perfect and slip on shoes couldn’t be easier.
What did I not list?
1. Underwear Mesh underwear, you guys. You get disposable, mesh underwear to wear in the hospital and if you ask, they’ll give you a pair or 2 to take home. Run with them. They are surprisingly comfortable (they would fit 2 or 3 pregnant women at once, I’m sure of it) and also fit a monstrous pad that you’ll need.
2. Pads Save your big giant pads for when you’re home. You will get very long and very wide pads to wear while you’re recovering and to wear home. They work really well and if you’re getting them anyway, why not?
There are other things people advise you to bring but I have just found I don’t need. Like your own pillow. I know that it’s really important for some people to have their own pillow, but I never really mind using the one on the bed already. Snacks — I don’t eat during labor or even close to before because, quite frankly, I don’t want to poop on the delivery table. And afterwards, I’d much rather send Dan to get Taco Time. Because that’s how I roll. I might consider bringing your own towel, a cheap one from Walmart or something that you can throw away after. The hospital ones are tiny and itchy. I might do that this time.
I’m hoping this is the last post I make until the “Meet Francesca” post. But I think we all know that’s just wishful thinking. But probably not since I’m too lazy to come up with something, so if you don’t hear from me for two weeks, just hang tight. Don’t give up on me.