Birth Day Bag
Preparing for the big day is overwhelming. There are so many emotions, coupled with heightened hormones and anxieties of labour the last thing you should be stressed about is the little things to pack for your hospital stay.
It's funny how I went the entire last month of my pregnancy wearing the same outfit and letting my hair air dry but for some reason thought I would need three sweaters, four t-shirts, a blow dryer and a lifetime supply of socks, all while forgetting pants (pregnancy brain) … The following is a list of the items I found helpful and actually used while at the hospital.
Invest. Pajamas are going to be a staple in your new mom wardrobe. After having your baby you will crave comfort and loose clothing.You'll also need something that will fit the awful, but super convenient/embarrassingly comfy mesh underwear adorned with a giant sanitary diaper. Pajamas were my favorite part of my hospital bag. If I could only bring one thing it would be pj’s.
Hair elastics or headbands
Hair, everywhere. If I could have, I probably would have shaved my head in the midst of giving birth (insert overused Britney reference here). Hot and sweaty makes for horrible hair. Thankfully my partner used to wear a man bun and can tie a ponytail like a pro. Pack a few hair elastics, headbands and a couple extra, you do not want to be caught with your hair down.
Snacks on snacks on snacks
Unless you want to spend your baby’s first year tuition on the vending machine or gift shop, bringing a stash of snacks in your hospital bag is vital. After giving birth I was starving. I had went my entire labour (2 days) only eating ice cubes and drinking apple juice. When we were settled into our room I was immediately aware of my stomach. Soda crackers would not cut it. I suggest bringing a box of granola bars, some fruit, trail mix and instant oatmeal (oatmeal is not only filling, it's also a superfood for milk supply).
Pack a zip up sweater, cardigan or robe that is easy for nursing and skin to skin contact with baby. A pullover is inconvenient, especially when your baby is hungry. It can be stressful when you're learning to nurse together, pullovers add to that with their bulkiness and get in the way.
Speaking of nursing, I never knew how complex and confusing nipples are. Or, that there are accessories to help with the confusion and pain. Lanolin cream for chapped nipples, nursing pads to prevent leaks, nursing bra for easy access and a nipple shield for flat or inverted nipples, all helped ease the difficulties that come with the first few days and weeks of breastfeeding.
The pillows at the hospital are very thin, you’d be better off to fold a receiving blanket a few times than try to sleep with the supplied pillows. Additionally, bringing your own pillows can help with sitting after the birthing experience. Another option is to bring a nursing pillow to help ease the comfort of the breastfeeding experience or cushion your bottom.
Not only will your phone be using a lot of battery life due to all the congratulation messages and attempted phone calls (you probably won’t have time or energy to answer these calls); however, you will use your entire phone’s capacity in the first hour, capturing photos of your newborn.
After the biggest work out of your life you will want to shower. I had little samples of shampoo, conditioner and body wash, just enough for two showers.
Chapped. Everything from your lips to your nipples will be chapped. Make sure to bring any remedies to help with the dry air in the hospital. I had face cream, body lotion and some chapstick.
Toothbrush & toothpaste
For obvious reasons.
Socks & slippers
I have a thing for socks, I love a fresh pair of comfortable soft socks after a long day. But slippers or flip flops, are a must. You won't want to put your dirty shoes on every time you are walking around, nor will you want to be barefoot around the hospital.
Contact solution (if you or your partner wear them)
Although there is a ton of saline solution at the hospital they are reluctant to give you any for your contacts.
Onesies (diaper shirts)
Having a couple of these in your bag is great for extra warmth under a sleeper, or for baby to cool down. Hospital temperature is hard to predict.
Do not stress about cute outfits, trying to put cute teeny jeans on a newborn is not as fun as it may be cute. Pack a few sleepers, like you, baby will want comfort, warmth and pj's.
Although we expected to lose sleep after having a baby we did not know about the startle reflex that quite literally startles your baby awake. Similar to the dreams where you feel yourself falling, babies now have all this space they are not used to. A swaddler like the Swaddle Me blanket with Velcro helps regulate baby's temperature and prevents them from startling awake.
Always good to have on hand.
Tiny, sharp, nails. With flailing arms and lack of coordination baby's draw blood. If you do not have anti scratch mittens socks will do.
Going home outfit
If you are looking for a custom, cute or unique outfit check out Etsy. But in all honesty, looking back now I don't feel like the "going home outfit" is as important as everyone things. They are literally going home, it's not the prom, a personalized sleeper will do just fine.