Take It or Leave It
When I was pregnant with my first, I had my hospital bag loosely packed somewhere around 35 weeks. With my second, I had very little packed at 38 ½ weeks. (What a shame since a surprise home delivery left no one time to pack anything else!) I landed somewhere in the middle with my third, packing my bag around 37 weeks. No matter where you are in your pregnancy, there is no right or wrong time to pack your bag—but there are definitely items to include on the “must-have” list.
If you’ve had multiple children, you may feel like an expert of sorts on what to bring to the hospital. But if this is your first baby, you may feel overwhelmed at the mere thought of packing a bag for the hospital. Sometimes, soon-to-be moms (and even “seasoned” moms) can be bombarded with so much advice, it’s hard to weed through it all. Here, several local moms offer their best advice on what MUST be in the bag:
I personally have never taken gowns or robes, but the general consensus is YES! Many women find the hospital gowns to be cumbersome, not super comfy and otherwise unattractive. Your own gown or robe may provide you with a bit of comfort and some style, especially for all the picture taking going on! Kylie, an Overland Park mom, even says, “I was told to bring a robe, and I never wear one so I figured I wouldn't use it. I threw it in during last-minute packing after my water broke. I was so glad I did! I wore that silly thing all the time. It was quick and easy to take off if needed, but also allowed for more coverage as well.”
Consider the hospital stay like going for a two-night hotel stay—but not! The hospital does not provide any toiletry items, so be prepared with a bag for you and your significant other. Suzanne, a Prairie Village mom, shares, “I didn't bring shampoo or conditioner, so that will make my must-have list for next time. My husband and I washed our hair with bar soap.” Julia agrees, saying, “My must-haves: dry shampoo, deodorant and toothbrush! The first day after my c-section, I was too dizzy to shower, but those things made me feel a little more fresh!” One unexpected must-have for moms? Makeup! “I wish I would have brought it so I looked better in pictures the following day,” says Mandi, a North KC mama.
After having three babies, I’ve never taken my own towel or pillow to the hospital, but I should have! It’s a definite must-have for many KC moms! I still remember after my first baby how the towel felt like sandpaper on my aching little body. Abby comments on her unique experience: “Towels from home were a must! I dislike hospital towels. For me, the towels came in handy when the baby arrived in the CAR on the way to the hospital. My husband thought I was ridiculous when I packed them the week before my due date, but he was thankful to have them in the gas station parking lot when he delivered our baby....and I still had to use hospital towels once we got there!”
Depending on where you deliver, you may or may not be allowed to eat during labor, and there may or may not be a snack room available for your husband, so it’s best to pack a few favorite munchies. In Katie’s case, they came in handy. “I delivered at 8:00 p.m. and by the time everything was wrapped up and we were moved to the next room, the cafeteria was closed,” she says. “I was starving after almost 24 hours of nothing but ice chips.” Gabrianna, a Lenexa mom, shares the best advice she received: “To order as much food as I wanted—more than a normal meal. I gave my extras to my husband!”
No matter what you do or do not pack, what you forget, or what you wish you had, one thing is for sure: None of it truly will matter once that tiny bundle of joy is snuggled safely in your arms.
Julie Collett writes from Overland Park, and if there is a baby #4 in her future, she will be packing her bag with a few new items!