Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Packing the Hospital Bag: The Good, The Bad, and The Unnecessary

A minimalist mom's guide on what to UN-pack from your bag

There are a plethora of resources out there for what new moms might need to have in your hospital bag.  But here is a list of things you may not need. Not a minimalist? The list may then serve to remind you of something else to ADD to your bag. Enjoy!

  1. Health Insurance Card.  If your chosen U.S. hospital is part of the same medical network your doctor participates in, all of your information will already be there.  I never had to pull out anything but my Government-issued ID. This also applies to:

  1. Birth Plan.  Again, if your OB will be the same person delivering your baby, simply provide them with the birth plan ahead of time so they can discuss any concerns or suggestions they may have.  The tricky part comes when your doctor is called out on an emergency or for some reason cannot deliver your baby at the last minute. A stand-in doctor may not have been apprised on your wishes.  This is also true if you have an emergency C-section.  Sometimes that birth plan goes out the window to ensure you and your baby are both alive and well.

  1. Sanitary Pads and Panties.  While you may prefer to have your own panties after birth, the hospital can and will provide you with mesh underwear (mine were comfy high-waisted briefs) and pads.  For those who've had C-sections, they will offer gauze dressings instead of pads.  Having your own nightgown and slipper socks make you feel more comfortable during your stay, so I'd recommend definitely having those. 

  1. Breast Pump.  You will have a lactation specialist, who will encourage you to have your child latch onto you; securing that bond. If at some point you need a pump, they definitely will provide you with access.

  1. Diapers. The hospital has these.  I packed 1 diaper just in case we didn't go home directly, but the hospital actually sent me home with some diapers anyway.

  1. Baby Toys.  The baby is only a few days old when they go home.  The first 3 days should be spent interacting with family

  1. Snacks.  With hospitals now improving their cafeterias, they have many more offerings than what our mom's had access to.  I had fruit-on the-bottom Jello cups and yogurt, chips, crackers, salads, cheese, fruit and ice cream.  This was in addition to the entrees and other desserts available.  It was such a large selection and great-tasting that my husband and family actually waited to come back to the hospital to eat, instead of eating out and bringing me food.

  1. Make-up.  This is definitely debatable, but if you don't really wear much make-up normally, you shouldn't need it.  You may want it for photos though 

  1. Bluetooth Speakers.  Chances are you won't use them.  You're too busy either enduring contractions or actually pushing/delivering the baby to think about playing DJ.  After the baby comes, you will be quite tired.  If you feel they are a must, ask your partner to set them up and have your playlist ready on your phone.  Keep in mind the volume as other mothers may be sleeping nearby.

Hospital provided hat & blanket
  1. Baby toiletries.  While I agree it's a good idea to have your own toiletries, A good hospital takes the burden of having toiletries for your little one from your shoulders.  They will bath your babe (unless you request hands-off in your birthing plan) and provide a beanie cap for their heads.  a lot of hospitals use the same store brands you'd bring yourself. They will also swaddle your babe in blankets, so there's no real need unless you have a preference otherwise.

*Notables:  There are a few things that I feel you definitely should not forget, even if you wind up not using them: 

  1. Towel for your car ride to hospital should your water break
  2. Phone and car charger - if you don't feel you need a camera, your cell phone can serve as your camera.  Also family can reach you if need be.
  3. 2-3 outfits for your babe's last day - A lot of hospitals have professional photographers that come by for a quick photo shoot.  You may want your babe in different outfits for the shoot.  Or, your babe may spit up on one (or two).  You will want to remember yours too!  Whether the baby is alone in the pictures, or the whole family has matching outfits in the pics, spend less time overpacking and more time enjoying your new one!

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