As a practical minimalist I want to share the things you do NOT need in your hospital bag. I have been through two births now, one lasting over 24 hours (12 at home and 12 at the hospital) and the other lasting barely four hours.
We went into our first and second labor and delivery knowing that the hospital provides most of the items needed and that there was a Target right across the street. So I will say that there was that peace of mind knowing that my husband could run and grab something if we did actually NEED it. With that said, he never went to Target.
Another thing to keep in mind is that women show up to hospitals all the time with NOTHING because they went into labor completely unexpectedly.
Pads and Disposable Undies
The hospital will provide these for you. In general, they are setup for most aftercare of both you and your baby. I’m not a fan of stocking up on things just in-case. With the convenience of stores on every corner and Instacart you can get items as needed.
I brought these with our first babe and forgot they were even in my bag until we were packing up to leave. I wore cozy socks and putting my slippers on never even crossed my mind. You are better off bringing a pair of Birkenstocks or athletic slides.
Your milk comes in on about day three postpartum. Until then you are getting colostrum which is thicker and rarely leaks. Breast pads are not necessary unless you plan to be at the hospital for a long time. And even so, leaking through your shirt is okay. You are a mom who has breasts that provide milk and a little wet mark on your shirt is nothing to be ashamed of.
Books or Things to Cure Boredom
Once your baby is here, you’ll be engulfed in staring at them nonstop. You will not be bored. Now, if you are likely to have a long labor and choose an epidural you might have some wait time while you progress. If you do not get an epidural, you’ll be busy laboring through contractions and focused on that.
Pack at your discretion. This is one item that could be picked up at Target or Amazon Prime but not necessary to bring with. Once you need it, you can order it. I did use nipple cream with my first but not until a few weeks postpartum. He had a tongue and lip tie so latching was difficult which led to some soreness and dryness.
Diapers & Wipes for baby
The hospital will provide these. You can double check if that makes you feel more comfortable or if you have a specific type you want. Again, not a necessary item because its provided for you.
Diaper rash cream
Unlikely that you will need that in the first couple of days. If so, partner can go grab it from the store.
There will be pillows there and you can ask for more, or roll up blanks. Although, I DO recommend bringing your own pillow and blanket. Just for comfort.
Some people want a cute one. I was naked for my first birth and didn’t have time to get naked for my second. Hahaha! If you want to avoid packing anything extra just skip it and wear the hospital gown or just your bra/tank top!
Personally, I’m not a huge music person. If its not your vibe, then don’t feel like you need to just because it was on someone else’s checklist.
I brought mine both times and never used it. I truly thought this would be the item I actually packed and used. But never did!
I had my roller bottles that I did use quite a bit but never even took my diffuser out of my bag.
Final Thoughts For Expecting Moms
Your priority during labor will be getting through it and your priority after is feeding, changing, snuggling and staring at your new baby. You will have help from the nurses and the hospital will provide everything you need. Remember, woman go into labor with nothing packed and it all works out.
Rather than spending time packing your hospital bag with these non-essentials, spend the time setting up your HOME. Get the undies and pads ready and in a convenient spot by the toilet. Have your peri-bottle by the toilet. Prior to baby number two I put a small basket on the back of the toilet with pads, Tucks pads, and a peri-bottle in it. It lived there for a few weeks and was there ready for me when we got home.
Also, everything that you PACK has to be UNPACKED when you get home. Truly, this is the last thing you are going to want to do when you get home from the hospital. Follow your Mama intuition and remember that your baby just needs you, diapers, food and warmth. The rest will all fall into place. You got this Mama!