It’s been over 4 months since I gave birth to my son and brought my labor bag to the hospital. I packed what I thought I would need and left out some essentials that I didn’t think I would need. I did the best I could based on the things I had learned about labor, but going through labor I have a much better perspective.
When I had packed my bag to go to the hospital, it was important to me to bring a bare minimum of what we needed. I packed 1 large overnight bag, a cooler, and my yoga ball. I assumed my poor husband would be carrying everything in, so I wanted to to lighten the load for him. We had had a relatively easy labor (read the full story here) with my water breaking before contractions began. No doubt this influenced what I used and didn’t use during my hospital stay. However, by the time we left the hospital, we had 5 bags, multiple pillows and vases of flowers, which was way too much stuff.
I thought it would be fun to reflect on what I did bring, what I didn’t, what other people brought for me, and what I wished I had.
Glasses, extra contacts, contact lens solution and case
Toothbrush, floss and toothpaste
Makeup Remover Wipes
Dollar bills for vending machines
$200 for placenta encapsulation
Makeup – I wish I would have brought some makeup. By day 3 in the hospital I just wanted to feel normal for a few minutes.
Yoga Ball – I didn’t use this as much as I thought I would. I used this a lot during my pregnancy so I thought I would use it during labor. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t feel much of my early labor, or if I would have used it more had I gone into labor during the day.
Puppy Pads – We didn’t use these at all. I put them in our bag in case my water broke on the way to the hospital. Since my water was leaking I was already wearing pads. Next time I’ll just keep a few in the car.
Always underwear – I loved these. I found them to be so much more comfortable than the hospital undies and super pads they give you at the hospital. Move wrong and the pad becomes dislodged. Not a problem with the disposable Always underwear. I wish I had brought more of these.
Postpartum Pads – I left these at home thinking I would be out of the hospital quickly. I used them at home, but I would have enjoyed them more at the hospital.
Straws – Didn’t use these. The thought process was if I needed Michael to help me drink anything other than my water we would need these. During early labor I could do it myself, and during hard labor I just drank water. I wouldn’t pack these again.
Water Bottle With a Straw – Used this a lot as it had a handle and was easier to tote around than what the hospital supplied – but the hospital did provide me water with a straw.
Tennis Ball Massager – This was ah-maz-ing and really helped during hard contractions. Would bring this again!
Bradley Method Book & Cheatsheets – This got buried in the bottom of our bag so we didn’t have a chance to pull it out. Having it as a resource probably would have helped identify when I was in transition though.
Owl Rice Hot Bag – My room didn’t have a microwave so we didn’t get a chance to use this.
Misting Fan – It got buried and we forgot we had it. I wish we had used this since I got really hot.
Earth Mama Bottom Spray
Hand Sanitizer – The hospital has soap? Not sure why I brought this.
Labor Oil – Used this to jumpstart labor. Wish we had used more of it.
Earth Mama Bottom Balm – Didn’t use. The idea of putting a hand down there to apply this was daunting. I stuck with the peri bottle and spray version.
Birth Plan – We had a ton of these printed out, but no one bothered to read them. Most of our desires for birth were standard practice at our hospital anyways.
Mommy Coming Home Outfit – I decided the outfit was too cute for me to potentially bleed on. Went home in the black pants I came in.
2 different sized baby coming home outfits
Hand Mittens – Didn’t use. It was August, his nails were short and I liked letting him have his hands. I still don’t use these.
Breast Pads – Haha, my milk didn’t come in until 4 days after birth. Not sure what I was worried about.
Cut up yoga mat (for kneeling on the floor) – Didn’t use. I labored mostly on my side in bed trying to rest during the night. Plus my bag of water leaking made most positions to uncomfortable. Maybe we might use next time.
Nursing bra – I don’t know why I didn’t think to pack this. My nipples were in so much pain during my hospital stay. I assumed it was thing touching them as anything that touched them (nurse, baby, hospital gown, blanket) hurt. Once I put on my bra to leave they didn’t hurt as much.
Room Spray – I diffuse a lot of essential oils at home. I think having a familiar scent would have helped to relax me.
Phone charger – On our hospital tour, we were told the TVs had USB ports so I only brought part of a phone charged to save room. Next time I’ll bring the whole thing.
Vitamins – Would have been nice to have.
More snacks – The hospital did a good job providing us vegan meals, but more snacks would have been nice.
Cooler (items will be packed when we leave to ensure coldness):
Coconut/pineapple water blend
Soda for Husband
Robe – Forgot this at home. The idea was I would be in hard labor when we hit the hospital and it would be hard to change in between contractions. Since my water broke before contractions I just went in normal clothes and changed into a standard hospital gown.
Things my Friends Brought
My best friend was staying at our house since her AC broke in the middle of August (we live in central California. It gets fairly hot). She came to the hospital after I was admitted and brought some things she thought I should have.
Pregnancy Pillow (Snoogle) – I am so glad she brought this. This is the item I probably used the most. I used it when I was laboring on my side during the night and I used it to support both my back and baby when we were trying to learn to nurse. I originally thought I would just use hospital pillows for all this and it was unnecessary, but I definitely loved having it there.
Blanket – She brought one of my warm blankets too. Although not a necessity since the hospital has blankets, it was nice having some things that reminded me of home.
Overall, I feel like I learned a lot. My desire to only bring one bag may have been a bad decision as I left out some items I really wished I had had. Next time I will be able be more prepared since I know what to expect.
Did I leave out anything essential that you would bring?