Motherhood

Birth Question: What Did You Bring to the Hospital?

joanna_hospital_bag

When we headed to the hospital to have Toby, our first child, we packed an ENORMOUS bag of stuff. A tennis ball for massages, tons of snacks, even a movie! (No movies were watched.) A few years later, when we had Anton, everything happened so quickly and I brought basically a toothbrush. So, I’m really curious what other people liked packing. My friend Allison brought her childhood teddy bear for comfort, which is so sweet. Here are a few other ideas…

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Playlists! The best, and unintended, part about that was that each of our kids has a special song that they were born to. We may have put more thought into the lists if we had known how much we would talk about those songs. — Rony

Birkenstocks are a labor lifesaver. You need to walk before, during and after giving birth. They feel so good. — Jean

This is a totally South African thing, but many of my friends and acquaintances (and local baby experts and midwives) recommend taking ​a big bottle of homemade “Jungle Juice” to the hospital. It apparently boosts your breast milk supply. ​​The main ingredient is Blackthorn Elixir, a tonic that helps restore your body’s energy reserves. — Diana Moss

The only thing I remember bringing was my own pillow since I’m a sleep diva. If I’m only going to sleep in fifteen-minute shifts, I’ll do it on 100% goose down! — Linsey

I regretted not bringing lip balm because labor breathing really chapped my lips. — Steph

Coconut water. Five sips between contractions. It was my husband’s job to provide that and he took it very seriously. — Sarah

The first time I brought a lot of stuff — nice nightgown, birthing ball, popsicles in about 50 flavors, an iPod with pre-programmed music, etc. The second time I brought almost nothing. I brought an empty bag so I could take home all that fabulous hospital swag: diapers, paper underwear, plastic bottles, nipple cream. — Lina

My friend Faith just had a baby, and she recommended this beauty water, which she said was a great refreshing pick-me-up in the hospital, so of course I ordered it immediately. — Anna

Miso soup packets! We took an amazing birth class, and the instructor recommended that we bring miso soup to refortify during a long labor. It seemed so random but we were obedient and followed her instructions. I wasn’t in the birth center for long before our daughter arrived, but I must have had ten cups of miso soup in the hours after giving birth. It was so salty and comforting and so much more palatable than hospital food. — Erin

We packed a bottle of Lambrusco, and my husband ran out to get H&H bagels and lox immediately after our daughter was born — best meal of my life. — Nicki

A big soft cardigan because hospitals can be weirdly cold but you need easy boob access. An eye mask because the room is never totally dark and people check on you all the damn time. And giant bottles of water and one-hand snacks that don’t smell or have crumbs — almonds, chocolate, berries… – Gemma

What about you? What little things made you feel comfortable and good? What would you recommend for other mothers? I’d love to hear…

P.S. What to register for your baby, and 8 confessions of a new dad.

(Photo of my bag before heading to the hospital.)

  1. Anna says...

    I had my first kid via emergency c-section after 72 hours of labor, and since I wasn’t expecting to have a c-section I didn’t know to pack certain things – I thought I’d be going home within a day or two, and I didn’t expect to be on so many pain meds. Since I just had my 2nd (also via c-section), this is fresh in my mind! Here are a few things that helped me:

    Ginger tea – pain meds can be constipating, and I found ginger tea to be an effective solution (and far more palatable/comforting than the prune juice they offer at the hospital!).

    Boppy (or your nursing pillow of choice) – otherwise you have to jury-rig an uncomfortable nursing situation with a mountain of pillows – can be painful with a c-section wound.

    Moisturizer/balm – hospitals can be super-drying, so whatever you’d use on an airplane will be helpful (I had Glossier coconut balm.com by my bedside and used it every other minute – the scent made me so happy).

    Face cleaning wipes – I’m too lazy to wash my face at the best of times, let alone when I’m in pain/had no sleep/can barely walk, so it’s wayyyy easier to have a pack of these at your bedside table for when you start to feel gross (I like the Yes to Cucumbers kind).

    Shampoo/conditioner – that first shower after a couple of days makes you feel like a new person, and it’s nice to have your own stuff instead of whatever the gift shop sells.

    A “c-section friendly” going-home outfit – something that doesn’t irritate your wound, like maternity leggings that go “over the bump” or a loose fitting dress.

    Also I’d echo the person who said they’d bring an empty bag to stock up on stuff. If you’re there for a few days, you can stash diapers, wipes, pads, disposable underwear, etc in your bag each day and your next nurse will refill them (kind of like hotel toiletries). At least, that’s what they did at our hospital!

    • This is very helpful, thanks!
      I also had an emergency caesarian section, 10 years ago. Now I’m going for a scheduled one and needed a list like yours. Thanks!

  2. Micky says...

    Funny, my earlier comment was removed. You probably thought it was advertising. It really wasn’t. I can’t for the life of me remember what else I really was delighted with and stayed with me as a tip to others after three babies. Only my pain reducing machine. And it’s not like it was that long ago. My eldest is 4, my youngest 18 months.

  3. Jen says...

    A bar of Dove soap and travel size shampoo and conditioner. My first shower after my c-section made me feel almost whole again. It was comforting to smell like home.

  4. Diana says...

    Good-smelling soap and lots of snacks! I labored in the shower as much as I could, and it felt so nice to lather up with aromatic soap and massage my belly in between contractions. I didn’t eat much during labor and thought I over-packed on snacks, but they were a lifesaver during the night when the cafeteria was closed!

  5. My first child I was 4 weeks early, and had already gone to the hospital twice only to be sent home (the second time they actually told me it was “go time” and kept me over night, then told me never mind in the morning). I guess the third time I wasn’t even expecting them to have me stay, plus I was so tired from having contractions for almost a week–I don’t know if I ended up packing anything beyond a pair of pajamas! Learning from experience, now I’d say the most important thing is cream for the nursing boobies!

  6. A little bottle of nail polish. We didn’t know the gender of our baby and I love painting my nails so I wanted to be prepared if we had a girl. Eleanor had her first pedicure when she was a few hours old and it was a lovely bonding experience (that took all of 5 seconds on those tiny nails!).

  7. Justine says...

    I went into labour 5 1/2 weeks early, so pretty much brought nothing to the hospital. But I did “pack” my wonderful doula, who was the very best birth decision my husband and I made. She of course, was very prepared and made my 36 hour labour a very positive experience,

    • Nevey's Mama says...

      A doula makes all the difference! Highly recommended to all my pregnant friends.

  8. Melissa says...

    A friend of mine gave me samples of really nice shampoo, body wash and lotion. That first shower after your c-section is made so much more luxurious by having some nice products. Now that my kids are a little older, I also appreciate that I had one nice baby blanket for them at the hospital. I love looking back at the hospital photos and seeing them all wrapped up in a special blanket.

  9. Liz says...

    I had a C-section scheduled because of a stubbornly breeched little boy, then went into labor a week early. While staying the night at my parents’ house as we dealt with a few last-minute home emergencies. So I didn’t have any part of the hospital bag I had been meticulously planning! (Seriously. I had a spreadsheet). It didn’t really matter though, I didn’t need the silky kimono I thought I would. I agree that a soft, easy-to-nurse-in nightgown is a must, then a toothbrush and of course a camera! Really anything that makes you feel like a human again, hospital livin’ is a little rough :)

  10. Teresa says...

    Brought my own pillow and quilt. Bring your own nightgown. Do not wear the dehumanizing hospital gowns. Second baby I had at home and it was the most beautiful experience. I highly recommend having your baby at home with a qualified midwife.

  11. A friend made (!) me a lovely, lightweight patchwork quilt during my senior year of high school. This, and a comfy pillow, came with me to my 2nd and 3rd deliveries (15 years later). It felt a little bit more like home to have something old and comfortable to cuddle up with in that uncomfortable hospital bed.

  12. Tristen Chang says...

    We brought little LED tea lights. So dorky, but sitting in the tub with all the lights off except for those little flickering “flames” is one of my strongest birth memories. And the doctors/nurses/midwives were amazing for letting me stay in there with all the lights off! UCSF, we love you.

    • Hita says...

      UCSF is wonderful!! I remember laboring with a view of the bay with sailboats. The most important thing I took was music too, particularly for night 2 when baby cried and cried but milk hadn’t come in yet. I played music all night to calm her and myself!!

  13. thick pair of socks to walk around in..
    and for my second one I brought my own nightgowns.. front button variety to make it easy to nurse.. it made me feel more human and less crazy lady with her butt hanging out..
    and a book.. i had long labors.. so while i waited for labor to be more active I read through the contractions..

  14. Kelly says...

    A friend recommended taking in a big box of chocolates for the nurses to grab one when they visited our room. Nothing like sweetening the deal when you need help :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so sweet!

  15. Nena Fisher says...

    Lip balm!!!! That was the number one thing I used. Other then that, NB onsies and a change of clothes to leave in. My hospital provides everything else. And many NB items to bring home. Unfortunately many that I had already purchased.

  16. Amanda says...

    My nursing gown and matching robe helped me feel both comfy and pulled together. Also, if you’re breastfeeding you must, must MUST bring medela gel pads for your nipples. They are a lifesaver. Also I loved having my blue tooth speaker to play relaxing music for the baby during our stay.

  17. Theresa says...

    I way over packed…looking back, I think the most important things I packed and used were my comfy going home outfit, baby outfit, iPhone for my music!! (music saved me during labor) and snacks for my husband!

  18. Lari says...

    Straws!! I’m not a good water drinker but knew I needed to drink a lot – straws made it so much easier to hydrate!

  19. Ashley says...

    Sounds strange, but adult diapers. They were so much better than the option the hospital provided for post-pregnancy, plus they have them in PINK. I have recommended this to several friends and they all thanked me. For both pregnancies I also bought new larger comfortable but pretty pajamas that I was also able to use throughout maternity leave.

  20. Lauren says...

    I’m currently a week overdue so this is very well timed. Especially seeing as, over this past week at home, I depleted my packed gummy bears supply, dug into the nice, new face cream I treated myself to, and have needed to wear my planned “going home” outfit along with any lounge clothes I intended to bring. Good to know that I’ll survive with or without those things!

  21. I just had my third homebirth, so I actually have never packed a hospital bag! I probably would have overpacked though. I certainly prepare a lot nonetheless, like having fast protein for early labor (made a major difference in how I felt afterward, even having a super fast birth), coconut water for the days after, meals and smoothie ingredients in the freezer, heating pad for both labor and afterpains, arnica, Rescue Remedy (calming homeopathic spray), and several herbal tinctures + ibuprofen for the KILLER afterpains. I also like having a comfy black jersey nightgown to labor and birth in so I can feel nice, even though it gets ripped off as soon as baby is out so we can get skin to skin! My first two were actually born in the same nightgown, and I was so sad when it got somehow thrown out in the clean up that followed.
    The chapstick recommendation is so true (as is the one-handed crumb-less snacks!!! Yes!), but it makes me laugh because during labor my husband thought my lips looked chapped and tried to put lip balm on for me, which is super sweet but I think I batted his hand away in contraction-induced anger!

    • Susannah says...

      I’m having my second homebirth this June! Everything you said is spot-on, and I would add this after birth bath herb mixture. A friend got it for me at my baby shower and I took a bath religiously every day for the first two weeks. I don’t know how quickly I would have healed without it, but with it I healed so quickly that when the midwife came to visit for my one-week appointment she was so surprised she said to me that I looked like I had never had a baby at all!

    • Teresa says...

      Home birth is the BEST! I had one in hospital and one at home. Night and day.

  22. I brought lots of honey sticks, and they were a great source of fast (and delicious) energy!

  23. Emma says...

    I am 14 weeks with my first, had a horrible first 13 weeks but I think I am turning a corner. (please gawd). It’s great to hear everyone’s different experiences. Watching my sister-in-law go through two painful highly-drugged, long lasting C-section deliveries has made me pretty anxious about my delivery. I couldn’t believe her robe opened in the back so she had to expose her entire upper body every time she had to feed, can’t they make better gowns for new moms? At least I will have a well stocked hospital bag with front opening jammies!

  24. Anna says...

    During pregnancy, I read all about these elaborate bags full of noise machines, scents from home, new pjs sets etc. The only thing I brought was the bowl I was using for vomit in the car and the clothes I went in. No matter how nice a hospital is, it is a public/shared/dirty space. I was happy to strip down when I got home and throw the clothes I was wearing in the wash and not have other things to worry about.

    • Amanda says...

      I didn’t pack a bag either. Had my daughter 2 weeks early and didn’t think the hospital would keep me, but then was in full-on labor by the time I got there. So, my husband went home later and just grabbed stuff he knew I needed like my toiletries and my pillow, going home clothes, and a NB outfit. And it was totally fine. As for stuff you might want/need during the labor itself…. All you need is your support team (partner, doula, etc) and people who are medically trained to get you and your baby through it safely (nurses, midwives, doctors). I’m 33 weeks pregnant now, so have enjoyed reading about other experiences and suggestions which I’ll definitely keep in mind. And, I’m packing early this time :)

  25. i’m not even close to having children (not married yet either!) but i love reading this kind of stuff. so interesting to read!

    hammyta.wordpress.com

  26. Eliz says...

    I packed a ridiculous amount of stuff for my son’s birth and we didn’t even get the bag out of the car before it was time to push. Ha. I couldn’t even find my glasses or iPhone, it was such a rush. The iPod dock went unused and all those popsicles and frozen strawberries just melted away. (I actually offered them to the midwives, nurses, and hospital staff after the baby was out.)The one thing we DID need and forgot: an extra shirt for my husband. They handed the baby to him right away without much cleaning and yeah, he can never wear that T-shirt again. Tell partners to pack a second shirt unless they want to look like a crime scene leaving the hospital! We were home again within 3 hours but for couples who stay over, dads usually want deodorant and extra pants, too (so you don’t end up in the same pair of jeans for 48 hours — gross).

  27. hannah says...

    i brought my body pillow (a snoogle!) and labored with it pretty much my entire time in the hospital. we must have looked ridiculous schlepping that thing upstairs but you don’t care about that when you’re in labor. also i liked laboring/delivering in my own clothes so i got a cheapo nightgown from target (it ended up coming off during the actual delivery—i was SO hot) and then another flannel button up nightie that was nursing friendly. also, gatorade packets that i mixed up in my own water bottle to replenish during labor (my labor was basically like being at the gym for 20 hours, it seems…). everything else we brought (which wasn’t much) was a perk but not as useful as the other things.

  28. kelly says...

    we did the home birth thing but my in case bag had: absorbent pads for the car if needed, nappies, clothes for baby, baby hat, postpartum pads, postpartum hospital undies, muslin swaddle blanket.

    This bag was essential after baby came because it had all our need right then items.

  29. Jennifer says...

    The first time I brought a bunch of stuff I never used and a bathrobe even though I am not a bathrobe person. I felt profoundly uncomfortable sitting around the hospital in my bathrobe when people visited. The second time I bought a brand new pair of lovely, not ugly, sweatpants and a few nice tank tops and nursing bras. I felt so much better wearing that. The only other essentials for me were an iPad full of episodes of funny-but-mindless sitcoms (which I watched during labour) and lots of giant underpants.

  30. Steph B says...

    We totally brought the ambiance. I was induced at 7 am and we watched Point Break and Dazed and Confused while the contractions were still being friendly. The nurses all thought it was funny and I think it lightened the mood for everyone. Then of course it wasn’t fun anymore until the epidural. And then fun again and we listened to my 90s grunge birthing mix which I thought would help me have perspective (birth couldn’t possibly be as bad as the angst of the 90s Portland scene). The nurses and dr loved the mix so much that when we returned a week later for the babies hearing test we brought copies of the mix to everyone. I would totally have another baby if it came down to just the labor part. My labor was a joy.

  31. Alexandra says...

    Something very random that I was really happy to have was a pretty, comfy maternity dress. I had packed it for leaving the hospital, with visions of myself looking Kate Middleton-esque as I walked out those doors – that’s not when I found it handy, as I exited the hospital pretty much exactly as I entered it: in ratty capri sweatpants, a years-old t-shirt, and my husband’s too-small cashmere cardigan. No, my lovely floral jersey-knit maternity wrap dress came in handy because my hospital had an on-staff photographer who came around and offered a free photo session – you could order the pictures later online and only pay for the ones you wanted.

    When she came into my room I was in a gaping, stained hospital gown and mesh underwear that was highly visible through the gap, which I did not care about at all. I asked her to give me three minutes, and I threw the gown on the floor right in front of her and slipped the wrap dress on. She wrapped the baby in the plain white hospital sheet and we took a few photos in the soft afternoon light streaming through the window. The pictures came out absolutely lovely – both the baby and I look ethereal and far more beautiful than either of us actually felt – and I ended up buying all of them, and we have several displayed in our home. I would have loved those pictures no matter what, but I really am glad that I had something pretty to wear for them. It is nice to look really good in my baby’s first pictures!

    I also made a big pot of Korean seaweed soup (which has lots of good nutrients, is very brothy and easy to eat, and is traditionally considered good for breastfeeding) before going to the hospital, some of which I brought in a huge scalding hot Thermos (the rest I had waiting for me back home in the fridge). It kept hot for 30 hours of labor and it was the first thing I ate once the baby was born. My milk came in like gangbusters and I don’t know if it was the soup or what, but the warm salty broth and and the nutrition power-punch of the seaweed was very comforting so I would totally bring it next time.

    I did not pack many other things – some lip balm, the aforementioned ratty out-of-use cashmere cardigan, a phone charger, and some almost criminally comfortable German sandals. So when I say that I consider a comfy but lovely dress and a Thermos of hot brothy soup to be must-haves, it’s not that I am just some insane over-packer – I just found both of those things absolutely improved my experience in the hospital even though they are somewhat non-standard recommendations for a packing list!

  32. Mollie says...

    Due in June, and just took some diligent notes from this entire list — I had never even thought of chapstick!

  33. Irene says...

    SUCH a helpful post! Thanks Joanna and everyone who commented. My first is due in early July (eeeeeekkk!) and I’ll be using this post before I pack :)

  34. mimi says...

    Oh! Just remembered that we brought a little travel fan with us and it was really helpful for background noise while trying to sleep in the hospital (stayed for a few days after my c-section), as well as any time the room got too hot.

    Also, I was in labor for a long time after being induced, before the c-section, and got a lot of IV fluid. I ended up very swollen and my legs and hips were a lot bigger after birth than they were before. So, bring something stretchy or roomy that can accommodate that on your way home.

  35. mimi says...

    My labor was induced and I brought a big bag with all kinds of stuff that I didn’t end up using. After a long, unproductive labor, I had a c section. Whenever next time might be, I’m planning to bring: good lip balm (Fresh Sugar is my go-to), Mustela Nipple Balm, my pillow, a robe, a nursing bra, flip flops or slippers (depending what time of year – my daughter was born last September and the hospital wasn’t cold at all), snacks (I ate a ton of Trader Joe’s chocolate chip brownie oat bars last time), phone charger, shampoo for 1 shower, face cleansing wipes, and something comfy to wear when heading home. Last time, I did take a bunch of the disposable undies and pads home, and those undies were better than my own for the first week or so since they didn’t press on my incision.

    One tip though – pack a separate bag for labor and for post-birth (including stuff for you and stuff for baby). You can leave the post-birth bag in the car so you don’t have to cart it around the hospital (at least in our hospital, the birth unit is on a different floor from the mother/baby unit).

    • Yes to two bags! I did this for my second labor and it was sooooo helpful to not cart around during labor! My first bag was an almost empty backpack with water, Chapstick, and a few snacks (that I don’t eat during my record short labors but right after), so we had somewhere to put our coats!

  36. Jane says...

    I wore Birkenstocks through my entire labour (until it was time to get off my feet, that is). They were indeed a comfort.

  37. Anitra says...

    My husband and I were in the middle of moving and I headed to my 39th week appointment and my water broke in the parking garage! Needless to say, I didn’t have much packed and a lot of it was in boxes! :)

  38. The comment about the hospital swag made me laugh out loud. I also took as much stuff home from the hospital as we could. The disposable underwear and tucks pads were awesome! I had two hospital births and both times I was thankful I brought extra warm socks, a light robe, a change of pajamas, and a notebook for writing down my thoughts, our bith experience, and baby stats.

  39. Ivy says...

    I brought good smelling shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. In a tiny recovery room shower, it’s nice to have a personal “spa” moment.

  40. Nevey's Mama says...

    I was fortunate enough not to pack at all – I birthed my daughter in the comfort of my own home with the help of two midwives, our doula, my partner and my Mom. I laboured in our bath tub and gave birth in our bedroom.
    Have you ever thought of writing about home births? I’d happily share my experience as I began my pregnancy assuming I would have a hospital birth, but at six months switched to a midwife, found a doula and knew I could do this at home, with their support.

    • Jenna says...

      I would be very interested to hear that story. At barely 9 weeks pregnant, I’m currently on the path to a hospital birth but geez do I consider a birth center or doula. I feel like I don’t have the guts to take that leap at the moment. Please share how you got the courage!

    • Nevey's Mama says...

      Hi Jenna – Here are some of the things that made me change my mind:
      my OB-GYN’s office gave me all of 5 minutes when I’d come in for appointments and having had previous miscarriage, I didn’t feel at all supported. I was lucky enough to not have to wait too long for a midwife clinic to take me. I found birthing classes in my local neighbourhood that introduced the idea of home birth. We only told out parents who did not agree at all with our plan. But my midwife and doula were phenomenal. I also watched “The Business of being Born” and read a lot of research and books to prepare. In Canada, midwives bring the equivalent of what is available in a small-town emergency room and I had a low-risk pregnancy. Happy to chat more if you want to email me: tanyad.hyland@gmail.com

    • Jael says...

      I’d love to hear other women’s experiences with home birth as well. Due to a move when I was 34 weeks and hating my new ob/gyn (I had been with a practice of midwives before the move, planning on a hospital birth), I switched to a midwife practice at 38 weeks, had my first appointment when I was 39weeks3days, and baby was born at 39weeks6days! I’m so glad I had the little guy at home, and I know having expectations for what your birth experience is like can really set you up for disappointment, but I feel like deciding to have him at home gave me the best chance at having the experience I wanted, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I love hearing birth stories in general (I read dozens while I was pregnant), and would love to see more talk about home birth. Everyone’s situation is different, but it was the best choice for me.

    • Susannah says...

      Jenna, I had our first at home as well and am planning a second homebirth this summer. Feel free to email me as well if you want more encouragement on the homebirth front! susannahfaith@gmail.com

  41. Leah says...

    My doctor is in Brooklyn Heights, and I was in full labor walking around the neighborhood before I checked into he hospital. I suddenly NEEDED some socks with tread for the hospital so I ducked into the Duane Reade on Hicks Street. Sometimes I pass that store now and smile with the memory of how I must’ve looked. Those socks did come in handy though :)

  42. Ryan says...

    What a great post! i gave birth in September and was really happy I brought a comfy but pretty pair of pajamas and robe for day 2. Everyone was taking pictures so I’m glad I wasn’t in a hospital gown. I wish so badly I would have known about this amazing shirt, though: http://www.milkandbaby.com/collections/kangaroo-care

  43. Dianna says...

    Great article on the bbc about hospital bags from around the world!
    http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-35399453

    I was thinking about how lucky I am my whole labor, as is some places what you pack is necessity where as here in a city in the US it is a choice.

  44. My sister had a baby a few months before me and insisted I borrow a pair of her UGGs to wear around the hospital. They were exactly what my feet needed for walking around during the early stages of labour and with my new little one once he arrived. I also randomly brought gummy bears. They are my favourite treat and they gave me a little sugar shock after birth. I can honestly say I’ve never enjoyed a pack of gummy bears like I did that day.

    http://www.typeatypeb.com

  45. anne says...

    By the time I had my fourth….my purse. ha! That’s about all I needed.

  46. Tara says...

    This is so timely for me as I’m due with my second in two months. I definitely overpacked last time. The things I’m glad I packed were face wipes, sleep nursing bras and a bag for any hospital goodies like diapers, etc. I’ll have to look back at this post when I’m ready to pack a (small) bag!

  47. Anne says...

    Blow pops! My mouth got really dry from breathing during contractions and then once I got my epidural I couldn’t eat/drink. Blow pops tasted so good to me – highly recommend!

  48. K fish says...

    New sweatpants and a new robe to make me feel cozy, yet presentable when visitors came by. I remembered my pillow with my first, forgot it with my second. I didn’t sleep either time so I’m not sure it mattered.

  49. Liz says...

    My daughter (who is two and a half) came rather quickly for a first birth experience. Thinking back, I can hardly remember what I packed! I know I had the usual toiletries (toothbrush, face wash, moisturizer) and clean clothes, but I wore my hospital gown and socks the entire time, and wished that I packed more snacks! I was starving after labor! Luckily, my mom packed a banana, peanut butter & jelly and a small can of ginger ale that held me over until breakfast the next morning. I also mentioned wishing for fresh strawberries, and one of my nurses came in with chopped, washed strawberries and insisted that she share her snack with me. I’ll never forget that!

    I would recommend packing a few things for your partner-in-crime! My husband stayed with me the entire time and he didn’t have anything!

  50. M_A says...

    Ugh, the question of what to bring to the hospital is weighing on my mind too much right now. I’ve decided it’s some weird manifestation of nesting. I’m due in 5 weeks. I’m an American living in Germany, and I’ve received so much contrary information as to what the hospital provides/ doesn’t provide. Some women are telling me to bring the basics right down to a towel, others tell me everything was provided. It seems to vary so much from hospital to hospital. Overall I’ve been super happy with my care here, but things do occasionally get lost in translation. I tried asking the midwives what I should bring and only ended up more confused. I’ve been a pretty relaxed pregnant woman; especially considering my husband has been deployed my entire last trimester and will be enroute back home either just before or as I go into labor. I’ll probably end up brining too much, and laughing about how silly an issue it was to even stress over.

  51. Ruth says...

    I had to push basically right when I got to the hospital so a lot of the stuff we bought for laboring was pretty much useless: yoga ball, tennis balls, multiple birth gowns (ugh, who wants to wear the itchy, worn hospital ones!). I did however bring 2 water bottles, lots of lotion, Chapstick, hair ties, underwear, and socks, soft nursing bras, all of which came in handy in the day or so after I stayed with my baby. I also had some comfy pants and men’s Hanes undershirts which were soft and also easy for early breastfeeding. I had some snacks and some magazines but we were so smitten with our little one that we pretty much just looked at her the whole time and nothing else. :-)

  52. The person above who wrote a “thin bathrobe” is totally on the same page as me! I actually still wear the one I bought all the time (our son is 6). A really heavy one can be super snugly in the winter, but in the hospital and during warmer seasons I wanted something lighter and less unwieldy to wear. I found mine at the Gap for like $10 – it was a lifesaver. Just that one extra layer I needed, but not bulky.

    http://danielleandco.com/blog/2016/hiding-cords-sofa-table

  53. Rachael says...

    two things stand out for me. My doula suggested that I bring some kind of memento that would give me strength through the labor. I chose a small red tin caboose that I hung on my necklace. My son is absolutely crazy about trains. Coincidence? :)

    secondly, flip flops for the shower. i did NOT want to be in that shower with bare feet. it was like a shower at the gym, you know?

  54. Emily says...

    a phone charger!

  55. Jess says...

    Both times I packed nursing tanks, big comfy sweatpants, a nursing pillow, some mothers milk tea and one of those swaddleme velcro swaddles – takes the guesswork out of wrapping up the baby when you’re in a post-delivery daze! As soon as I felt ok to walk, I couldn’t wait to get into comfy clothes. Wearing my regular lounge around the house clothes made me feel more comfortable having visitors and having some of the comforts of home that make nursing and newborn care easier really helped!

    • Inge says...

      I am due in 9 weeks, my first baby, and in Belgium everything you need for birth is present in the hospital (gym ball etc). For me, I’m packing one comfy nursing pajama and comfy pregnancy pants and nursing tshirts (from h&m) and a nursing bra. For labour, just some food, warm socks and a hot water bottle! And some different sized clothes for mini-us of course. I want to feel comfy for as long as I’m there, and if I miss anything, I’ll just text someone to bring it to me ;-)

  56. So funny! I brought EVERYTHING for my first daughter’s birth too – and didn’t use anything :-) So, like you, I only took a toothbrush and my husband (and my favourite moisturizer cream) for my second daughter and we went home a couple of hours after the birth (without using toothbrush or cream).

  57. Sarah says...

    I thought this was maybe unnecessary, but was suggested by our birth class instructor and I’m so glad we followed her orders: a couple of strands battery operated Christmas lights and peppermint essential oil. When our OB came in when it was go time she said “it feels like a spa in here!” And it did. Totally helped the vibes! And the peppermint oil helped masked some of the less pleasant smells that are inevitable while birthing a baby ;)

  58. Marg says...

    This is so silly but my favorite thing I brought with me was my pure barre socks- they are warm and stretchy and have grips on the bottom so I was ok walking around in the hospital just with those on. My friends also brought old navy flip flops for walking around in. In all cases, we threw them out before leaving the hospital- those floors are grody!

  59. Annie says...

    My mom bought me four patio dresses that zip up the front before I delivered and I thought “Yuck! That looks like a grandma mumu”.

    Since she has had 4 children and I had had none, I obviously knew better. So, I instead brought a (pre-pregnancy sized) delicate robe and a big cozy one to the hospital… but I have to say, I was so wrong! I did use either! The cozy one was WAYY too hot, since I was sweating out some major hormones. The delicate one, didn’t cover anything up and I was already insecure about moving all my bits around breastfeeding etc. Luckily my mom put the patio dresses in the back of her car. They were lightweight, zipped up the front for easy access and modesty, but also looked good for guests when they stopped by. I have to say she knew what she is talking about, I lived in those things for the first few weeks. My grandmother told me “The moment you start dressing normal is the moment people start treating you normal”, and boy was she right! Stay in your robe, you need to get taken care of too!

    Like this: http://www.dillards.com/p/go-softly-patio-printed-crinkled-patio-dress/506084244?di=04611581_zi_teal&categoryId=645543&facetCache=pageSize%3D100%26beginIndex%3D0%26orderBy%3D1%26facet%3D-1002711113283111102116108121328097116105111

    • mimi says...

      Those look like a great idea! I totally agree about them looking like grandma dresses, but I think I would have loved one after my daughter was born. I had a c-section and spent 3 days in the hospital postpartum wearing the hospital gown over a nursing bra, because clothes just were too uncomfortable. These are at least cuter than a hospital gown!

  60. Rosey says...

    For both of my kids: Pillow (hospital pillows are basically plastic – yuck!), slippers, chapstick, a giant water bottle, lots of small snacks like granola bars and trail mix, hand lotion! That’s pretty much it. We had planned on a playlist but we started playing it when I was in labor and it annoyed the living crap out of me. I wanted it to be quiet and peaceful when I was in labor! (everybody is so different- isn’t it funny?)

  61. Dana says...

    I’m seeing tons of snacks but maybe i’m the minority because after birth, I indulged in all the hospital food. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and some snacks in between. It was all tasty but of course, some friends and family brought the best treats like chocolate covered pretzels and strawberries and donuts!! I brought a ton of magazines but not one was read because everything happened so fast. (We arrived to be induced around 8pm. All was fine and boring until 11pm. She was here at 1:49am).

    Such a blur, really. But I was so glad I brought not 1 but 2 chap sticks as I left 1 behind in the delivery room. I also packed new silk pjs that felt amazing, body lotion, phone charger!! and my own maxi pads and large cotton undies. Oh joy! :)

  62. Ana says...

    The baby bag was pristine. Mine just had flip-flops (essential for showering); light button-up nightgowns and a cotton robe (essential for breastfeeding); and tons of disposable panties. The hospital gives you some, but they are not enough. My pick-me-up was a clinique serum, that kept my skin hydrated – and mostly because I still felt like myself using it. Every other thing just felt so weird, as if I was in someone else’s body.

  63. – a small portable light so as to be able to see your way during the night (and watch your precious baby sleep – and find the tissues to dry your eyes with while you are looking at him and wrying with joy) without having to put on the very strong lights in the room.
    – your own tea if you are a tea lover.

  64. Tamsin says...

    Maternity departments of British hospitals are hot hot hot so strappy tops were a must for me! Cereal bars for snacks and phone charger was pretty much all I needed. Also put the baby stuff (nappies, sleepsuits etc) in one easily accessible place, and have a few sizes (my baby was 9lb4oz and didn’t fit newborn size!). Good luck to all the mummies to be – exciting*!!!
    *most exhausting time of your life but you forget that with time

  65. Perfect timing for me – I got up early to work on my hospital bag! Due in 5 weeks! Now I’m planning a trip to Target!

  66. Julia says...

    My second son and is due in seven weeks. I totally just stopped reading half way through the comments and packed my hospital bag (my first one was three weeks early – you never know). I second the Birkenstocks, comfy cardigan and warm socks. Most importantly though: snacks for after birth! Depending on the time you deliver and the hospital they do not feed you (after a day/night of labor and delivering a baby – thankyouverymuch…)

  67. Katherine says...

    My first two were emergency c-sections, my third a planned surgery. So the first time round I sent my mum and husband shopping for the most important post surgery item- granny undies. You know those unattractive, high waisted, wide band comfy underpants? Any other style sits right over your incision and I don’t recommend that!
    Also: new pjs, (several for when you get pooed on-I’m looking at you, first born), cute baby clothes (several, for when they poo on everything! First born!), an outfit you haven’t been wearing endlessly through pregnancy that’s comfy and feeding friendly, and food. Midnight munchies are a serious business post birth. So, food. And chocolate. And just a little extra chocolate.

    • Jenine says...

      I’m due in about five days and have tried to pack lightly for myself. On the other hand, I’ve packed a ton of baby outfits mainly because I have no idea how big the baby will be! I’m glad to know there’s some practicality to this as well (e.g. likelihood of poo incidents). I definitely need to pack some more snacks though. Good tips!

  68. zoe says...

    This sounds so trivial but after my first, I looked horrible in all the pictures with my boobs falling out of the hospital gown and my swollen puffy exhausted face. So for # 2, I made my sister bring a small make-up bag and right after delivery, she fixed me up and I wore a black nursing bra during delivery (that was kismet since I just had it on that morning) and at least I can look at those pictures without cringing and can show friends. I didn’t use anything I brought before delivery but I did like having a robe and a decent outfit for the baby afterwards!

  69. MrsFF says...

    Make up- because you have to look good :) and phone and charger for those pictures that you have to look good for and for sharing the news with family and friends. And going home outfit for baby.

  70. Laura C says...

    Disposable underwear. Don’t forget that!
    xoxo

  71. steph o says...

    I didn’t get to hold my babies after they were born, but we were anticipating it. Lavender lotion was so nice when I could only have sponge baths after my first. Lavender sea salt scrub in the shower was very soothing and indulgent the second time around. With my second, I disconnected my IV and jumped in the shower before anyone could protest!

  72. Holly says...

    For mood lighting during labor, I brought a salt rock lamp (with dimmer) to the hospital and surprisingly — IT WORKED!! I had a natural birth with very little pain.

    Chapstick and a robe are musts after labor.

  73. Cat says...

    A giant bag of macadamias, a box of Earl Grey tea bags, a soft cardigan, eye mask…

  74. Mallory says...

    Nothing! We had a home birth and I was convinced packing a bag would be a bad omen. Though baby #2 is due July 4 and I have a much better idea of what I’ll want for the days after labor: soft leggings, cute nursing tanks, slippers, ALL the dry shampoo, Tucks, ice packs, nursing pads, maxi pads and ibuprofen.

  75. catalina says...

    I brought my favorite lilac cashmere sweater and sneakers (and those were great, I walked a ton) for my first born. I had an emergency C section for my second child and brought… nothing; I guess my husband must have brought me essentials the next day, no memories!!

    But check out what SHE brought:
    http://blisscocotte.fr/2015/04/une-bulle-de-bonheur/
    She’s just amazing!!!