Photo: Mama du Jour

A couple years ago, I was a first time mom scouring the internet for hospital bag essentials. I had no idea what to pack. Every list was very generic and similar- bring comfy clothes for after delivery, chap stick, your chargers, a camera, your favorite pillow, etc. All of this seemed obvious to me. I couldn’t find a list of things people really wished they had, or things people brought and never used. 

Now that I have less than 3 months until my due date, my mind is starting to go back to that crazy pregnant lady place of making mental lists of things I need to do, things I need to buy, and things I want to bring to the hospital. But I will say, I feel 100 times more calm going into it this time around. Seriously though, when a new mom-t0-be asks about what she should bring to the hospital, be honest. Even if it’s awkward or gross to talk about, just be honest.

I always am, as you’ll see below:

Truth #1:

Let’s talk about the bag. To those people who show up to the hospital with a king-size rolling suitcase, 3 garbage bags filled with Boppies and pillows, and 5 bags of baby clothes and toys- this isn’t a Caribbean cruise. You’re going to a hospital to push a baby out of your vagina. If you’ve packed enough to fit in a gigantic suit case, you’ve packed too much. Remember, everything you pack has to be unpacked, and that can be a hugely daunting task when dealing with postpartum recovery pain, boobs that are about to explode, and all the baby blue hormones that screw with your head.

Truth #2:

A hospital bag should be packed for you, not the baby. You don’t need to bring 5 outfits, diapers, wipes, a pump, bottles, lotion, shampoo, and swaddles. The hospital provides all of that for you. Nurses will be in and out taking the baby for tests and shots, so they prefer the baby to be “under dressed” so they can easily access wherever they need to get to. Plus, you don’t want to ruin all your nice things with blood from all those heel pricks, umbilical cord stump juice, poop, pee, and breast milk. All the baby needs to have is a going home outfit, and maybe a cute little bow or hat for pictures. This is also a perfect time to splurge on a new bag for yourself, and your husband/bf/gf can’t say anything about it. And if they do, just remind them that you’re about to squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of something the size of a walnut and that should shut them up. I am currently dreaming about this Lily Jade bag.

Truth #3:

Buy yourself a maternity hospital gown. Hospital gowns are so gross if you think about it as crazily as I do. First of all, how many people wore that gown? Like 400. Let’s not forget it’s a hospital gown, not a Versace dress. People are wearing it because they are diseased, throwing up and crapping all over themselves, bleeding, and oozing other bodily fluids. At the end of someone’s hospital stay, they just throw them in the washing machine like it’s no big deal. Well let me tell you, there’s not enough bleach in the world to disinfect death out of clothing. I wore my own maternity gown from from Baby Be Mine (see the sexiness below), and every nurse and doctor that came in the room complimented me up and down on how cute my gown was, which makes a girl feel good when she feels like a thousand knives are stabbing her in the stomach. 

Truth #4:

I’m sure you’ve either heard of or (if this isn’t your first rodeo) experienced those sexy mesh underwear and foot-long pad for postpartum bleeding. Well, they are garbage. It’s like the hospital purchasing department sent someone out to a cotton field to pick a few sprigs and then glue them together in the shape of a 12-inch long pad. And the ‘underwear’. Let’s get something straight- a single-ply napkin cut into the shape of underwear does not make it underwear. The whole set up is pathetic and a shame to women. We deserve better than single-ply, non-absorbent crap. When you’re in pain after delivering and trying to figure out the new baby, the last thing you can even stand to deal with is springing bloody leaks all over the place. Do yourself a huge favor. Buy a box of Depends. They are meant to absorb lots of liquid and they stay in place. The best part is you throw the whole thing away when you’re done. No ruined underwear, bed sheets, pants, and no tears of frustration.

Truth #5:

You’ll be super hungry after the whole thing is done. Pack yourself a nice fruit salad or whatever sounds good/refreshing to you at the time. Hospital food is no Michelin star affair and you will want something good- not just good tasting but something that’s good for you. When you start nursing, you will feel like you want to eat healthy, whole, good food. Also, bring yourself a nice little bottle of champagne. Why? You’ve just given birth, which means it’s someone’s birthday, which means it’s a celebration, which means champagne.

I hope this wasn’t too painfully honest. Did anyone else have a different experience? Share your story/wisdom/advice below!