All of the lists. The apps! The constant reminders to SLEEP WHILE YOU CAN BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER SLEEP AGAIN.
I've heard it all.
And then there's the frantic stocking of your freezer with frozen soups because YOU'LL NEVER EAT HOMEMADE FOOD AGAIN.
There's a lot of tension wrapped up in all of the pre-baby to-dos, and so much of your pregnancy and birth is out of your control. But one thing that is? The comforts of home, to the degree that you possibly can—because you may be hospitalized for longer than you anticipated (hi, Emergency C-Section) and having a bag of things that will elevate the hospital experience is something you'll be grateful for.
Here, the ten hospital bag essentials that are really nice to have:
1. A really lovely robe. Whether you're all about that terrycloth or you prefer a slippery satin, trust me when I say that you will want to set those hospital gowns you're forced into wearing on fire. My husband bought me this one, which is made of recycled saris. The colors perked me up and the fabric was cozy and soft, with pockets and a gentle tie-waist.
2. Proper protection. Did you know you bleed after you give birth? Not for a few hours, friends. It's actually typical to bleed for up to six weeks. And everyone tells you that the mesh undies that the hospital distributes are life (which they are), but a girl can only coast for so long on lightweight, disposable fabric. Make sure you pack appropriately for this. Our new Dream Short (above!) has an extra-large gusset (think of an extra long pad) with our signature four-way stretch. The fabric is super breathable and lightweight, so you won't feel any extra pressure around your super sensitive area.
3. A lip balm that loves you. Hospitals area freakishly dry, lip balm is endlessly comforting, and these tinted ones from Caudalie can be used for a little flush of colour on your cheeks too. Because you know everyone has to come and visit and take a million photos of you in your freshly-minted state as a mama.
4. A sanitizer with style. Sure, you can find the basic-level hand sanitizer mounted on every wall of the hospital, but its jelly texture and alcohol-dense smell are so generic and unpleasant. This Germs Away Mist from Graydon Organics smells fresh, is beautiful to look at, and available in a teeny travel size (60mL). Use it to mist down the entire hospital bed and surrounding spaces (i.e. the chairs that visitors hang out in).
5. A sleeping mask in a high-quality fabric. Since you know you won't be sleeping, you should also be aware that if you happen to stay in the hospital a little longer than expected (if you have a C-section, it's standard practice to stay in the hospital for 48 hours after the surgery has ended), it's really challenging to sleep with all of the lit up beeping machines. Look for cotton, satin and linen.
6. Slippers or cozy socks. Hospital floor and germs; we needn't say more. If it's summer, you might be more comfortable with your favorite Birkenstocks or flip flops.
7. A proper pillow in a patterned pillowcase. Unless you're a minimalist, bring a bright pillowcase that won't be mistaken for hospital linen. Plus, the comfort of your own pillow is everything after the exhausting process of bringing a small human earthside.
8. Headphones. See aforementioned lights that beep. All.the.time. And crying! One of the biggest letdowns of my hospital experience was being awoken by SOMEONE ELSE'S BABY! I'm honestly still not over it. Meanwhile, my baby was sleeping like a little burrito angel.
9. A tank with a built-in bra. I'm sure you're long past wearing uncomfortable bras, but a tank keeps you covered, held in (your lower tummy is quite sensitive post-delivery) and your likely sensitive breasts. Even though your milk doesn't come in for three or four days post delivery, you'll want something in a lightweight, stretchy fabric, with the ease of use to nurse. All you need to do is pull the fabric down (it snaps back into place, too). Try our best-selling Evolution Tank.
10. And while you're at it, pack it all into a hard-shelled suitcase. Sure, you can use a duffel or an overnighter—but a hard-shelled mini suitcase will be easy to wheel post delivery, and keep things structured. You can use one half of the suitcase for your gear, and one half for your baby's gear. As for the baby, all you need is clothing, diapers (the hospital will toss you a few, but you're on your own for the majority) and an infant carseat. The nurse will help you adjust the seatbelt before you leave, to ensure proper placement.
What did I miss?