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…

*****

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. 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.

  2. 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 :)

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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..

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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!

  17. 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 :)

  18. 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

  19. 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).

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

    • Carrie says...

      I loved reading your story! This is the kind of experience I am wishing upon myself for when my day comes!

  24. 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!

  25. Mollie says...

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

  26. 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 :)

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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! :)

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. 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 :)

  35. 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

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. anne says...

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

  39. 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!

  40. 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!

  41. 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.

  42. 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!

  43. 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.

  44. 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. :-)

  45. 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

  46. 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?

  47. Emily says...

    a phone charger!

  48. 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 ;-)

  49. 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).

  50. 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 ;)

  51. 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!

  52. 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!

  53. 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?)

  54. 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! :)

  55. 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.

  56. – 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.

  57. 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

  58. 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!

  59. 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…)

  60. 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!

  61. 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!

  62. 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.

  63. Laura C says...

    Disposable underwear. Don’t forget that!
    xoxo

  64. 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!

  65. 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.

  66. Cat says...

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

  67. 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.

  68. 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!!!

  69. Shannan says...

    My husband and I watched Season 1 of The Office on a hand held DVD player. I had packed. I had a five day stay in hospital and was lucky to get a double bed too so my husband and I would watch an episode during visits if our daughter was sleeping. Reminded us that we were still us even after this huge change.

  70. tanni says...

    I still can’t believe I took pencils and paper with me because I thought I might want to draw between contractions. My labor was fours hours… the pencils were not used.

  71. Melissa says...

    Instead of packing what you need for a three night stay, pack what you need for one night and have a family member take away dirty clothes and bring you (and your new baby!) clean ones. I used everything I brought with me to hospital (after obsessively studying these types of posts online!) but storing everything was a problem, especially with gifts pouring in!

    I loved washing my hair with fancy shampoo and conditioner after my labour – it’s not the time to scrimp! I also found an extension board useful so we could easily plug in multiple chargers, etc.

  72. Definitely chapstick because the air seems to be so dry in hospitals. Also, comfortable pajamas. All three times, I’ve brought a pair that had a button up top (breastfeeding) and put them on as soon as I showered after the birth. It feels so nice to be in something comfortable, that covers me (so is good for visitors) and is easy to feed baby in.

  73. Liv says...

    Nothing! Homebirth totally rules!

  74. Christina says...

    These are awesome! The first time I brought my own pillow–and then left it there in all the excitement of that new babe. I sent my husband back for it, with strict instructions to grab some extra disposable underwear.

    The second time, my baby came so fast I didn’t have time to pack anything. And we all survived just the same.

  75. Rashidah says...

    I brought an old bolster pillow for comfort. Even the doctor said ”ah! so comfy, how nice….” :)

  76. Amy says...

    Ear plugs and a white noise machine- hospitals are noisy. We got the Marpac one and put it between the bed and the door, and I slept like a… well, like an adult woman worn out from a c section. When we unplugged it the day we left, I couldn’t believe all the talking and beeping and footsteps in the hallway. Used it for 4 years straight, to keep the baby sleeping in a noisy house and for another hospital stay.

  77. oh my gosh, I don’t have any great suggestions. We’ve had two babies (one just a year ago!), and while I appreciated everything in my bag, right now all this post did was make me want to have another baby! There’s so much anticipation and excitement that goes into packing the bag…

  78. Prudence says...

    It’s interesting to read about what people brought to the hospital…will take note of the miso soup packets, they sound like a great idea!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

  79. Kimberly says...

    The first time, I brought everything and barely used anything. The second baby, I brought slippers, big comfy pajamas, lots of lip balm, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner, hairbrush and ties, lotion, lavender oil, a blanket from home…and ear plugs! All the beeps, the nurses checking on you and the baby…it’s really hard to sleep. We also brought a little gift for my firstborn so he’d feel less left out. It didn’t help much…but nevertheless!

    The eye mask is such a great idea, I wish I’d thought of that!

  80. Kristin says...

    Cheap moccasin slippers from Target that I wore through labor and every moment until I left the hospital, Sleepphones that I used during labor to listen to the Beautiful Birth hypnosis tracks that helped me stay calm, eyemask and earplugs, Weleda lip balm, old cozy robe.

  81. laura says...

    At 37 weeks, I had a routine lunchtime OB visit and was sent to the hospital to be induced…I had only my purse, my laptop, and my phone. My husband was out of town for work and had to hop on a plane. He made it back in plenty of time, racing to the hospital with his suitcase from his work trip. When they transferred us to the postpartum floor after our son was born, we joked with the nurses that we really weren’t the type of people to show up for their labor with a suitcase full of stuff, and the nurses were like, haha, we hear that all the time. And we were like, no, we REALLY did not anticipate having suitcase full of my husband’s stuff…and nothing for me!

  82. Lisa says...

    Nicki’s thought about “best meal of my life” rang so true to me. I will never forget my post delivery meals: a hospital turkey and mayo sandwich on white bread (first baby born at night in a hurricane, thus husband (and I) were enamored and he did not want to leave for food.) It tasted like the absolute best thing I had ever eaten. After our second son was born, my husband picked up falafel – also so good! Ah, memories!

  83. All the basics (toothbrush, hairbrush, socks etc), but also new pjs -which felt so good after hours of labor and a box of chocolates as a thank you to the nurses and drs.

    After my first baby I swore I’d send the staff a ‘thank you’ card, but never did. So with my second I came prepared.

  84. Char says...

    I brought literally everything on the list in one of those baby books… So much stuff.
    Things I did really appreciate having were my own big water bottle, lip balm, eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste.
    Next time the hospital bag will be significantly downsized.

  85. Some of the BEST things we brought to the hospital were “fun” snacks for us and a robe for me. The robe I bought for my daughter’s birth is still my favorite and oh so helpful for the constant breastfeeding.

    http://www.thewefiles.com

    • I couldn’t agree more – a robe is so soft and comforting, and makes breastfeeding access much, much easier!
      http://homegardenlove.com/

  86. Linh says...

    This is not a beauty post but I have to say: Son and Park beauty water is so good. I fell in love with it but soon after using it, I saw that it had a bunch of parabens (these are the last ingredients but there none the less).

  87. I second the suggestion of an empty bag for all the hospital swag. I forgot the grab the inflated donut and oh my goodness, did I regret that!

  88. Roxanne W says...

    A thin bathrobe. I did totally overpack, but I had an emergency c-section and I was so glad to have the robe for when I needed to start trying to walk, and for visitors. I also packed a small thing of facewipes and dry shampoo which I also ended up being grateful for.

    • Bethany says...

      No c-section for me, but had other serious complications keeping me bedridden. I second the packing of a cozy bathrobe for guests and those first few walks as well as face wipes and slipper socks. AND YOUR OWN PILLOW!!! Maybe not for actual delivery (so much mess…), but for post partum and that first bit of sleep – oh my goodness! My pillow felt like heaven!!

  89. MissEm says...

    Bendy straws for easy sipping during labor.

    • MissEm says...

      Oh, and brand new leggings and/or pajamas – feels so nice to have new lounge clothes after all that hard work and the body changes. And I brought my favorite tea and mug for after the birth. I had miscarriage surgery once and the nurses brought me tea in a real mug along with digestive biscuits, a blanket, and a heating pad when I was in the recovery room and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so nurtured as in that moment, so I did the same for myself after giving birth.

  90. Heather says...

    With the birth of my twins (now two) and the birth of my three month old I took a small (very small bag) with toothbrush/paste, hairbrush and ties, moisturizer, lulu pants and a t-shirt moccasins and a phone charger. I carried a sweatshirt. I’m a light packer in general and I knew I wouldn’t need or want a bunch of extra stuff!

  91. Katie Larissa says...

    Dry shampoo, lip balm, and a soft cotton robe were the best things I packed for the hospital stay. I didn’t take any bottled water, but I didn’t like the taste of hospital water, so my big brother brought a pack of 24 bottles to me. It’s so important to stay hydrated!

  92. Katherine says...

    One of my favorite memories is that my Dad brought a bottle of champagne! It was a fun way to celebrate! Although I don’t condone drinking immediately after birth – I may have had a celebratory sip!

  93. Erika says...

    I had zero idea what I was doing, but after an emergency c-section, I was SO thankful to have packed a robe. The laps I had to walk around the floor would definitely have been, ahem, revealing without it! Socks and slippers were great too, and I wish I would’ve brought my own pillow (we were there 4 nights). My favorite thing though, came from my mom. She packed a book and read to me to pass the time! I barely remember what the book was about, but such a loving gesture from my own mom made becoming one myself that much sweeter.

  94. Denise says...

    I gave birth 11 days ago and I packed so many things I didn’t use. What I did use was a comfy outfit for both baby and I to go home in and my toothbrush. I didn’t use any of my own clothes while at the hospital in fear of getting bodily fluids all over it. Ditto on taking home the hospital swag!

  95. I’m being induced with my second baby three weeks from today (hooray!), and packing my hospital bag has been on my to-do list for a week! I lit up when I saw the title of this post. Such an interesting idea about picking a song! I really think I love that idea. I can see how that song would be MEGA special after birthing a child to it. Ah. Gets me so excited!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I’m excited for you!!! Three weeks… Xoxoxoxo

    • Kelsey says...

      I have only three weeks to go, too! I started my packing list today and then saw the blog. A big thank you to Jo for starting this conversation and to the readers for many great ideas. Does anyone have specific shirts/tunics they liked wearing in the hospital post-delivery?

    • Amy P says...

      Kelsey – I’ve had three babies now and for the early days, I love either soft camis or low-cut tees that I can pull down rather than having to lift it up above my boob. It makes it easier to see what I’m doing while latching on a tiny unpracticed babe. Some maternity stores make them with elasticized necks; usually not very pretty but very practical and after the first couple weeks I use them as pajama shirts for bleary night feedings. Otherwise non-maternity deep scoop-style necklines are great and work better than v-necks.

      My hands-down favourite cami for the early days is the Bamboobies Nursing Tank – SUPER soft, long, stretchy…it only has a shelf bra though and no padding so it’s great for when you’re sore and engorged and want no pressure on your boobs but maybe not the best to go out in public with. Best nursing bra I’ve found is the Bravado Body Silk – very stretchy (follows me through three cup sizes and back down!), and comfy enough to sleep in with a smooth shape under shirts. I wear them non-stop for the first year.

      After the first couple weeks when things have settled down a little I tend to do a normal tee over a non-maternity stretchy cami; tee goes up, cami gets pulled down. I live in Canada so that way there’s no drafts making me chilly while nursing ;)

  96. Kamisha Sullivan says...

    I packed mouthwash because I had no idea if I would be able to brush my teeth. And I had lost my grandmother a year earlier, so I packed a framed photo of her and had it on my nightstand. Her face was so calming and soothing in those dark hours of laboring.

  97. We had a planned home birth assisted by our two amazing midwives, but after 3 days of labor, we had to do a hospital transfer. Everything ended up great, my midwife was very knowledgeable and I only needed an epidural and a couple drops of pitocin to rest and help my overtired uterus start working again. But we barely had time to grab anything! I’d packed a “just in case” hospital bag, but kept taking things I needed out of it in the days leading up to my son’s birth. Next time, I’ll pack a hairbrush, snacks and some comfy clothes!

  98. Lyndsay says...

    I packed an re-packed my hospital bag so many times after asking all of my mom friends. The things I used in amidst all the overpacking; thick wool socks, my own pillow, a thick maternity cardigan and Depends silhouette incontinence briefs!! Its all about the depends, they aren’t bulky like postpartum pads and made me feel human again.

  99. Angela says...

    I won’t regale you with ALL THE THINGS I brought when my son was born, but suffice it to say, most of it got left in the car. (I’m bringing much less for my daughter’s birth here in a few weeks.)

    I do want to mention that my hospital provides all laboring and post partum moms with the BEST water cup. I’m only marginally joking when I say I want to be buried with that cup. I wont bring my own bottle to this upcoming delivery because I am so excited about my new cup. Lol

    • K says...

      Loved my hospital cup too! Doubled walled, big gulp capacity with a handle and flexy straw. It ain’t fancy, but it felt so good.

    • Bethany says...

      OMG!! The water cup is the BEST!!!!

  100. Alex says...

    We definitely over packed for the birth of our daughter…when we arrived for my induction the nurses all joked that we looked like we were moving in for good. But the things that came in most handy – our own pillows from home (hospital pillows suuuuuuck), snacks for dad, and a portable bluetooth speaker for the hospital stay. I brought my own clothes and robe and socks, but ended up wearing the hospital-issued stuff the whole time we were there. Also pro-tip for dads and friends – send a new mom chocolate covered strawberries. My cousin had some delivered to me the day after our daughter was born and they were literally THE GREATEST thing i have ever eaten in my entire life. Since then i’ve sent them to anyone i know that’s given birth.

    • MissEm says...

      That’s a lovely idea! I had my second baby in Quebec at a birthing center and minutes after my baby was born they brought a platter of fruit, chocolate, and cheese and left us alone for an hour to bond. Incredible!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh that is so wonderful!!!

  101. Taylor says...

    With our first, we left the bag in the car. My water had broke, but we were convinced we’d be sent home. In the end, I had an urgent c-section (breech baby) and never needed my playlist or snacks. The oversized cardigan and nursing tank tops are the number one things I tell others to pack. It kept me semi-coveted and my stomach and back covered in the fridgid hospital rooms. Oh and a big pair of pj pants. I ended up having my mom run out and get me a larger pair than I’d brought because I was so swollen and the band across a c-section scar, just no!
    Second time around, my water broke at 24wks and I was on hospital bed rest for 3wks before my son was delivered. I second the miso soup. A friend brought me sushi and miso. I subsequently ordered miso soup delivered nearly every day. The salty goodness was so comforting and delicious (especially when compared with the low salt hospital food!).

  102. A button front sleep shirt! I bought one just for postpartum use and I loved it! Made nursing so much easier and was so comfortable! Also chap stick soft slippers!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  103. Laurel says...

    With my first son, we brought heaps of stuff, including a big bag of clothes for him. He was a tad early and everything we brought was too big. The second time around I found one sweet outfit for our boy. Lo and behold, he was nearly 10 lbs at birth! He barely fit into the outfit and of course, we didn’t bring any alternatives. Maybe we’ll get it right if we have a third child? Haha.

    I also brought warm socks both times, a robe, my own pillow, and lots of snacks.

    • Bethany says...

      We had tons of tiny clothes packed for our 9 lb, 22″ daughter! Next time I will pack a range of sizes :)

  104. Totally had a different type of “Jungle Juice” during college!

  105. Tawny says...

    Even though I’m no where near having a baby, these are all great. And many I wouldn’t think of on my own. I consider myself a minimalist but when I travel, I sadly bring EVERYTHING. I’m sure I’ll do the same unnecessarily when going to the hospital to have my baby if not careful!

  106. Erin G. says...

    I spontaneously ruptured five weeks early and took literally only my keys! My husband was out of town, as were my two best girlfriends (the entire support squad). I was in shock and left the house in pajamas with only my keys and a garbage bag (to sit on in the car). In the end, I didn’t miss the 80 things I’d planned to stuff in my hospital kit, so I’m pretty sure I’d go without next time, too.

  107. Kay says...

    Korres Wild Rose lip balm! The most conditioning lip balm ever with the prettiest tint. My labor was a whopping 26 hrs so I had dried lips like non other but this balm gave me a wee bit of dignity despite feeling absolutely haggard.

  108. I brought snacks (for me and for my husband, since they don’t feed the guys at all!), a warm blanket and some nursing bras that were sports bra like. And then a super comfy pair of oversized sweatpants and a zip up hoodie.

  109. Samantha says...

    I second the coconut water! So refreshing and helps give a little boost of sugars and electrolytes.

  110. Jan says...

    When I had my second child I was working in the labor delivery unit where I delivered. I am a RN. I was scheduled to work the night shift, Wed before Thanksgiving and was scheduled for an induction on Friday. I had a feeling I was in labor but really wanted to work, (extra money cuz of the holiday), so I brought nothing to the hospital but my hubby. I figured they would check me to see if I was in labor, and if not -I was working. I was indeed in labor and had my son 4 hours later…just after midnite. No bag packed, no extra money, no induction, but a wonderful son and I am so thankful.
    What to bring, speaking as a nurse with L&D experience: the only thing I see you needing that the unit cannot provide, is a decent robe to hide the fanny…I have seen many a mom’s bums (without their knowledge), always helping them cover up!

  111. Rachel says...

    Dry shampoo!

  112. I also went twice and made mistakes both times, so this is my ultimate list!
    (This is birth-center friendly–not sure about hospitals allowing food)
    1. popsicles for during labor
    2. trail mix–WITH CHOCOLATE–for after labor when you’re starving
    3. big big bottle of water
    4. music that you like (for labor because anything you don’t like will be super irritating)
    5. super awesome socks or slipper socks (2 pairs)
    6. Leggings and tank with shelf bra (4 of them)
    7. Phone charger!!!!!

  113. Jane says...

    Same for my bebe’s births! First one, brought 2 seasons of Seinfeld and The Big Lebowski, some books, music, snacks, robe, etc… Sooo much. Didn’t use a single thing, since that birth experience was kinda the worst.

    With my daughter, I brought cute pajamas from Target that opened in the front and some toiletries. That’s it. My labor got so intense after my water broke (immediately after I laid down to get some rest after a little morphine shot), and I got an epidural IMMEDIATELY. Slept a little, told I was going to start pushing soon, so refreshed my make up (for those after birth pics!), and then slipped into those cute jammies immediately after. Super low key and wonderful.

    Two funny (ish) anecdotes… For my first, I had to be induced after a week past my due date, so we went home to get some things and then headed back. The bag had been in the car for weeks, so I asked my husband to bring it in so I could double check everything, and to add Seinfeld to the mix… He came back from the car empty handed. He had LOST the bag trying to fit his bike in the back of our wagon; took it out for some room and left it in some lonely parking lot in Seattle.

    For our second, my labor had been much more steady, starting almost right after midnight on July 5th as we were still watching the fireworks, and I labored easily all day long. by 9:30 pm it was getting crazy so we drove to the hospital. I’m kinda moaning and trying to put myself into that silly hypnobirthing mindset, and my husband DRIVES PAST THE HOSPITAL AND STOPS TO GET DESSERT. I’m literally inside Hot Cakes in Ballard, swaying in the corner making everyone very nervous, and he tells me to make sure they gave us spoons for the ice cream while he runs to the bathroom. I honestly wanted to punch him right in the throat… But those cookies we got were prettttty choice after delivering my lil girl.

    • Pamela says...

      Omg Jane. This made me spit water out of my nose. Too funny.

    • I’m guessing you have a Ballard Swedish baby! Love the hot cakes reference. Our second was born at Swedish and I wound up in active labor at the Italian restaurant right by the hospital, nothing like laboring in public ;)

  114. Amy P says...

    Snacks! The provided meals are always too small and I’m starving at awkward times. Trail mix, oranges, muffins, apples, grapes, homemade beef jerky, etc.
    And warm and cool socks.

  115. i’m so glad that i brought chapstick, my make up bag. After an entire day of labor and giving birth, it felt so good to take a shower and put on mascara to mask a little of my tired eyes.

    http://www.katelynryan.com

  116. Jessica says...

    I just had a baby 12 days ago, and the best thing I brought with me were my own pajamas.

  117. Megs says...

    My kid was born three weeks early and I totally didn’t have a bag packed. Our midwife said to meet her at the hospital, so I made my husband shave while I blindly packed a bag – some baby stuff, a dress, and a rolling pin (for massage. Never used it -shocker). On the way out I also grabbed a blanket.
    Next time I will have the bag packed plenty early!!

  118. Lisa says...

    Unbeknownst to me, my husband packed a huge chunk of brie and strips of prosciutto (forbidden foods in pregnancy) in my bag as a post-birth surprise. It was so stinky and not the least bit appetising at the time but his thoughtfulness still makes me smile.

  119. Lisa says...

    Haha! I’ve just gone through this. I carefully researched, asked friends and created a fabulous Pinterest board so I would have an awesome hospital bag. I packed all sorts of things that were recommended – special tops, flip flops for showers, warm socks, eye mask, make up and so on. I created a playlist on my iPod and brought water spray and neroli water, imagining spritzing myself in labour and using the music to keep my calm and focused. Well … Labour came on very fast and the contractions were so close together I barely had time to remember my name let alone remember I had a fancy playlist and face sprays (I only remembered I’d brought them along a couple of days after I got home). But – some stuff was very useful (mostly for the two night hospital stay after birth):
    – eye mask. I was in a room with 3 others and the hospital staff had the lights on until 11pm and back on at 6am (and the room was never properly dark). The eye mask blocked out so much light and helped me get much needed sleep. I also packed ear plugs but at the time I was worried I’d block out the sound of my own baby that I never used them (didn’t consider that when packing …)
    – juice! I got really dehydrated in labour and kept on throwing up. Fortunately i packed mango juice which I sipped and which kept me going, and orangina which I had after
    – soft, comfortable underpants. I did research beforehand, and decided that modal boy shorts by gap were the best choice, and I was right. I ended up with an emergency c section (I was planning on a natural birth), and the shorts were long enough to hoik up so they didn’t touch my scar (I’ve basically been tucking my stomach into them … Classy) and so soft that even if they do touch it doesn’t hurt.

    What I didn’t think was how meaningful the things I packed for the baby would be for me – every time I see the blanket he was wrapped in, or the onesie that was the clothes he wore for the first time, my heart melts.

    One final thing I learned was that I was so glad I packed in advance. I didn’t realise how quickly things can progress and how you really aren’t in the mind space to start thinking of stuff to pack when in labour

  120. Not that I’m planning to have a baby anytime soon but this was so curious. It seems moms in their second pregnancies are more ‘fuck it,’ which is funny. I’m also a very nosey person so this was interesting!

  121. Our first baby is due in June, so this list is very timely for us! I’ve heard socks are nice in the cold hospital. And big comfy clothes to go home in, plus an adorable little outfit for BABY!!! (Why yes, we are indeed excited…)

  122. Not sharing from personal experience yet, but recently my friends were talking about hospital bags and mouthwash. They said you don’t always have time/ability to get up and brush your teeth, and swishing mouthwash helped them feel a bit more refreshed :)

  123. Katie says...

    My sweet son Quinn just turned one and I can’t believe it was a year ago that I packed my hospital bag…. I think what I appreciated having the most was coconut water and candy (Swedish fish and sour patch kids :-) for after labor. I also packed cozy nursing tanks that I lived in while staying at the hospital.
    Good luck to any of you expecting ladies!!

  124. Melanie says...

    For the 2nd pregnancy- My own robe. And my cheap ‘back up’ supply of makeup. (Did not want to look like death warmed over when leaving the hospital) The robe was great so that I felt more at home when walking around in the very glamorous hospital gown. Oh! And my own prescription meds (that was a huge issue for my first pregnancy). And comfy slippers.

  125. Polly says...

    I thought I brought too much stuff. These are some great ideas. I second the Birkenstocks. My feet were so swollen and painful afterwards, those were the only things that I could have fit in. Also I bright a rather hideous furry fleecy robe from Wal Mart that I wore non stop. (I never got it that dirty so I’m saving it for this next baby!)

  126. Leigh says...

    My fourth was born two weeks ago. I did not bring much to the birth center. Straw cup, bikini top (water birth) and hair tie for labour. Comfortable clothes, chocolate covered almonds, and Guinness for postpartum. We left just after midnight so I went home in my pjs.

  127. Katrina says...

    I brought a pillow, coconut water, Lara bars (2 cases), and a sports bra because I knew I was having a water birth and thought I would be modest. As soon as I got in the room I took off ALL my clothes and didn’t give a hoot about modesty. It was really funny because a bunch of residents asked to come in and I was basically putting on a naked comedy show for them. I really connected so much with my body in this moment that I haven’t been afraid to be naked since. Haha.

  128. Liz says...

    Bring some Tylenol or other pain reliever FOR YOUR HUSBAND because when you feel like you’re pooping out a tree stump and he says “Owwww, my knee hurts” you’re going to want to murder him.

    • Heather says...

      Ahahaha! Laughed so hard at this..very valid advice! :)

    • Heather says...

      Lol! With the birth of my first, my husband had to get two shots (flu shot and whooping cough) and he was complaining about how sore his arm was! Meanwhile I had just given birth, plus gotten the exact same two shots. What a wimp :)

    • Literally laughing out loud…my dad always complains (nearly 26 years later) how much his back ached after I was born because the chair he sat on was so uncomfortable! I think my mom shares your sentiments although she is too sweet to say it.

    • Libba E says...

      This just made me HONK with laughter! So so true!

  129. t says...

    Ha! I love Lina’s comment. The Hospital swag really is is the best. I wish I could live in those weird underwear.

    I went into preterm labor when my water broke at 34 weeks. I was so surprised and freaked out that I jumped in the car in just a t-shirt (no underwear!!). Later, after I gave birth I asked the nurse and she said that it isn’t really like the movies and I didn’t have to rush to the hospital quite that quickly. whoops. good thing it was 1am and there weren’t too many people to witness me waddle from the parking lot through the bright hospital lobby with everything hanging out (and gushing out at seemingly random intervals…). Apparently it is also common to grab a towel when your water breaks to help absorb. who knew?

    • Thank you!!! I am in the throes of some awful 1st trimester sickness and this is the only thing that has made me laugh all day!! So funny. So sweet.

    • Lauren E. says...

      This is hilarious. A friend of mine went into labor with her third, and took her sweet time getting dressed, calling her sister to watch the others, calming her husband, etc. No one ever told her your third typically comes MUCH faster than the previous two. She ended up giving birth in the car on the way to the hospital!

  130. Nina says...

    I went in thinking I’d hurt my back, I left three days later with my twin girls. I knew I was pregnant, obviously, but NO IDEA that I had been in labor all day. I had my wallet and phone and chapstick. I was so happy I didn’t bring too much else. My family brought my computer and hairbrush but the hospital had everything else I needed. The hospital socks, by the way, were better than anything I could have brought and they had non-slip soles.

  131. Wendy says...

    The bag for my first baby had not one but two going home outfits (for each of us), a swaddling blanket, makeup, travel toiletries, a camera…and probably the kitchen sink.
    Second baby came a month early so that bag was a little more haphazard. I had a camera and the special baby blanket, but I totally washed my hair with hospital hand soap.

  132. Bobby says...

    Can we hear Anton’s birth story now? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to hear!!

    • joanna says...

      Yes, Joanna! I too have been hoping you will share at some point. I LOVE hearing birth stories and had been wondering if/how I missed that one

  133. A.Zarraga says...

    When I was unexpectedly induced with my daughter, my hospital bag was at home. I planned to listen to a playlist of favorite music and play games on my phone. I ended up so in the zone that I couldn’t focus on anything else. I ended up listening to the sweet playlist just after she was born. I now hold such fond memories of some of the songs.

    Other than that, I only asked for my toothbrush.

  134. We had a giant bag of trail mix with berries, yogurt chips, and nuts. I was so mad every time my husband put one of those stupid almonds in my mouth between pushes, but I’m now sure it was instrumental in getting me through my 45hr natural labor! We wish we’d brought decent coffee with us since the birth center sent us home just a few hours after our little guy was born. Our eyes were so so heavy!

  135. Taylor says...

    Sort of related to the movie thing you mentioned, and something I find so hilarious:

    My husband is currently in medical training, and on his OBGYN rotation, he helped deliver a baby who entered this world with Paul Blart: Mall Cop on in the background. He was horrified that the mom might remember Kevin James as part of her birthing experience. Ha! Now, when we talk about our own future birth plan, he is so obsessed with making sure I understand the importance of a good playlist.

  136. HAHA! I love all the suggestions ;P

  137. Nice tips to tuck away for the future. I would still love to hear Anton’s birth story! :)

  138. Black everything! Black nursing tank, black underwear, black leggings, black sweater. There are a lot of bodily fluids post partum and I found both times that black hid so much and made me feel a touch more sophisticated at a time when every bit counted. Also, before labor picks up I did a braid crown across the top of my hair so I didn’t have to worry about a headband or bobby pins (I hate having hair in my face when I’m focusing!) bonus is it looks nice even when it’s a bit messy for those first pics afterwards :)

  139. Katie says...

    My essentials have already been covered – SNACKS, especially. I was so hungry and I must have eaten a whole box of granola bars the first night after giving birth.

    I packed a small makeup bag with essentials like concealer, BB cream, lip gloss and mascara, and a hairbrush, and my mom helped me freshen up before I started pushing. I was in labor for 36 hours and it might seem trivial, but I wanted to look and feel human when my son finally arrived.

    I also liked having nice soap for that first shower, and a soft nightgown and robe. (I saved my own clothes for AFTER he was born!)

    I also packed a ton of stuff that I wouldn’t bother with next time. Skinny jeans, I’m looking at you. Even though they were maternity skinny jeans, there was no way I was squeezing my swollen legs into those things. Plus I could barely walk, let alone bend to put those pants on. I’d also leave behind any of my own underwear because we all know those hospital mesh panties are where it’s at.

    It would also be interesting to compile a list of things to have ready at HOME for after giving birth! I’d put Colace (fun) at the top of that list, Tuck’s pads, lots of regular sanitary pads, and Tylenol and Motrin. I felt like I got hit by a truck down there and I needed all these things x a thousand.

    • Josie says...

      That’s what I give all friends now for showers, a “home from the hospital kit” including tucks, nipple cream, pads, stool softener, night lights, and energy drinks for the partner! Not as adorable as most shower gifts but I’m always told it was appreciated :)

    • Lindsay Weaver says...

      I’m currently pregnant with my second and I already know this time around all I’ll be packing is a robe, sports bra and leggings to wear during labor, comfy clothes for after, and some toiletries. For baby, a couple of outfits, an Aden and Anais swaddle blanket, and some diapers. That’s it! With my first music irritated me, I couldn’t eat at all, I barely wanted clothes on, and I was so tired yet on a high after that I didn’t blow dry my hair or put makeup on like I thought I would. My mom showed up right after baby was born with a ton of food and it was the best!!

  140. First baby: music, books, weird collection of t shirts and underwear as though I had packed blindfold. Second baby: book, better clothes. My walkman (long ago…) was best thing both times.

  141. Sarah Beth says...

    I was OBSESSED with packing the perfect bag, and had it ready a month early. My daughter was 2 weeks late, and all my great comfy stuff ended up in the suitcase for weeks! Out of everything I brought, I was the most glad to have my own pretty, soft pillow; my brest friend nursing pillow, which made those first feedings SO easy; and some dvds! I had a very long induction, so we were very glad to watch Friday Night Lights (we thought clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose was a good birthing motto).

  142. Kellie P. says...

    Just had my second baby 3 weeks ago and I second the suggestion of bringing an eye mask for both you and your partner. They were especially helpful for us this time because our daughter had to be under the lights for jaundice, aka the baby tanning bed, in our room at night. Also, I brought lavender essential oil and a mini diffuser, which helped relax me during labor and helped the recovery room feel calm and less hospital-like. The nurses loved it too!

    • Thanks for sharing that link. It was a fun read. I had my first baby in Scotland and over there, you have to bring mostly everything…diapers and clothes (and any other supplies necessary) for baby, pads and aftercare for yourself. But, I was given a detailed list in advance, so I knew what to bring.

  143. Elisabeth says...

    So fun! Like a lot of people here I brought too much the first time around. Despite the trips to the car at the end, next time I will bring a spare cardigan. I brought one and the morning after delivery finally showered and changed, only to have my beautiful baby girl throw up all over it! My husband kindly hand washed it with baby shampoo and dried it with an in room hair dryer. Ha!

  144. I don’t much remember what I brought, but I remember wishing I had more pairs of underwear. I actually sent someone home to get me a few more pairs, because we stayed an extra day longer than we thought we would.