To all of my pregnant ladies out there (especially first time mamas), this is for you.
It seems like as soon as you hit 30 weeks, or look like “you’re ready to pop” and “any day now?”, people start asking you all of the questions that are hella overwhelming… “is your hospital bag packed and ready?”, “is your nursery all set up with everything you’ll need for baby?”, “is your carseat properly installed in case your water breaks at 3am?”… etc. If you’re wondering about my answer to the above questions I will not keep you hanging. Question 1) heck no. Question 2) I am not doing a nursery this time around because Luca slept in a bassinet in our room until he was 4 months old and I need at least 2 guest rooms during football season (aka, I don’t have the space to just have a beautiful room set up for a baby that isn’t going to maybe even use it until midway through 2018). 3) Actually laughing out loud thinking about how I was filling out the discharge papers for us to leave the hospital and Rico was gone for like 2 hours because he was watching a Youtube video on repeat in the hospital parking lot to be sure that the carseat was super secure and ready for babes first car ride home– this time around, I have the carseat base installed and the carseat is by the door, ready to go.
The truth is this– so much of parenthood is learning to fly by the seat of your pants, and learning as you go. Sure, I read a lot of the books that people recommended– I learned a lot, some things I kept, and others I threw out the window because I knew that it wasn’t going to match our parenting style and/or our life. Luca has been on the go since the day he was born, it’s the nature of having a Dad who plays professional sports and a mother who has a gypsy soul. It’s just what happens. The idea of having a baby who sleeps through the night by 12 weeks sounds like heaven, but, the reality of us staying home from the day baby is born until twelve weeks so that I can “establish a schedule” sounds like the fastest way for all of us to lose our minds. Again, it’s preference, it’s different for every person– and that is more than okay. Find what works for you and your family, find what makes you happy– if the thought of a schedule and a 7:30pm bedtime makes your heart flutter– make it happen. If the thought of potentially not having a child who sleeps through the night for the first year, but dinners on the town and drinking wine with girlfriends while your baby peacefully rests on your chest is more your style– come over to my house, we will make it happen.
To state an obvious truth, I will go ahead and tell you that there are 100% parts of parenthood that are overwhelming and to be quite honest, deserving of “worry and stress”… but, friends, what you choose to pack in your hospital bag should NOT be one of those “things.” You could literally show up to the hospital in labor with nothing besides your ID and insurance card and you would have everything that you need for yourself and for baby. That truly doesn’t sound appealing to me, yet, I realize that it is possible at any given moment, especially in those last few weeks of pregnancy. Having said that, packing your hospital bag shouldn’t be some dreaded rocket science type of event– although, for me, the first time around, it was just that. I showed up with SO MUCH STUFF that I didn’t need and didn’t use. But, I didn’t know better. I wanted to be prepared. I thought that certain things would matter (example, a certain brand of baby diapers because I swore that my child wouldn’t have anything besides “natural” touch his skin… oh, and I should mention, I packed 10, yes..10 diapers in total– little did I know that a newborn literally goes through 10 diapers within the first 6 minutes of life. so, as you guessed, my little Luca wore hospital diapers..and guess what– he was JUST fine). My point of telling you this is that there are certain things that I packed the first time around that I will be sure to bring this time, and others that I thought were so important that I will be sure to leave behind. From one mama to another– here is a look at what is making the cut for my hospital bag, second time around. The post is broken up in 3 sections– first you will find what I am packing for myself, second for R (because maybe if I have his items together the ‘labor and delivery Gods’ will make my water break on one of the 13 days this month that he will be able to be there for the birth), and finally, for baby. I hope that this post gives you some ideas, some inspiration and to make life even easier for you, if you wish, you can click on any of the photos to be directed to the website to shop the exact item! xo. Grace
WHAT TO PACK: FOR MAMA
A comfortable, light weight robe: I say lightweight for a few reasons: 1, the stiff robe that you’ll be made to change into during laboring and delivery is usually pretty stiff, but the truth is, a stiff robe is the last thing you’ll be focused on while in labor in delivery..if you know what i’m saying. This comfortable, lightweight robe is more so to change into after. Although newborns are tiny, they produce a lot of body heat– and if you’re anything like me, my newborn doesn’t leave my chest during the hospital stay because not only did I wait 40 weeks to kiss that face, I also know how important it is to establish breastfeeding from the jump and keeping baby on my chest makes this a whole lot easier. Another reason that you may want to invest in a robe of your own is for photos– I found that I lived in a robe that was gifted to me when I delivered Luca, it was perfect to throw on over a nursing bra/tank when you have visitors, or when you want some coverage.
Nursing friendly tops: You may eventually get tired of wearing your robe, especially as people start to visit. I know that after about 12 hours of laying in bed that I am ready to get up and get myself together. It makes me feel better all around. I have been breastfeeding since delivering Luca, so I have quite the collection of BF friendly tops. Truly, anything that is flowy and not “high necked” will get the job done. Don’t overthink this.
Nursing Bras: I will be honest here, your milk may not come in until you return home from the hospital (which is 100% normal), but that doesn’t mean that you won’t need to easily access your milk makers while in the hospital. Establishing the proper latch while in the hospital is super important because you have people around to help you. I had the lactation consultant visit our room every day that I was in with Luca, just because I knew once I got home it wouldn’t be as easy for my questions to be answered. Let me go ahead and say this– once you birth a child, all modesty is out the window. Don’t worry about your vagina, your boobs, any of it- – they’ve seen it all TAKE ADVANTAGE of the people you have around to help you those first few days.
Leggings/ Comfy Pants: Leggings are great for keeping everything in place– although you may not want to think about it, there is A LOT going on down there after birthing a baby and there is a lot that needs to stay in place. Leggings do a great job of holding the pads, cooling packs, etc right where they need to be. Leggings are also fabulous to throw on when leaving the hospital with a cute top, you know, to feel a little bit more put together! Comfy pants are obviously life, but even more so after having a baby. I am very mindful of the waist bands– where they hit, how tight they are, etc. These details will matter, especially if you end up having to have a C section (always something to have in the back of your mind)!
Comfy Socks/Slippers/Flip Flops: One thing I remember about my time in the hospital with Luca is that my toes were always cold. This time around, I have packed and ready my own pair of fuzzy (super tacky, yet comfy and amazing) socks. Also, I remember my sister thinking about grabbing me slippers the night before I had Luca and they were a life saver. Anything that you can slide on will be greatly appreciated, and necessary. As soon as I was able to, I got up and Rico and Luca and I walked the hallways– slippers were perfect for this. I also packed flip flops for that first shower, but if I am being honest, I totally forgot about them until returning home and seeing them in the bottom of my bag. As I mentioned above, once you birth a child, you’re not really concerned about a whole lot– aka, shower germs were the last thing on my mind once they placed that 7lb4oz baby on my chest. Am I planning to pack them this time? Yes. Will I use them? Who knows.
Toiletry and Makeup Bag: Bring whatever you would typically use at nighttime and morning at home. It will make you feel a whole lot better if you have your normal routine with you in the hospital, especially if you end up spending more time than expected. Also, I have found that hospital air is really dry– make sure you bring facial moisturizer,a good hand/body lotion, lip balm. Hair ties. Also– throw in some nipple cream (you’ll be so glad that you did) and nursing pads (just in case your milk comes in while at the hospital).
Going Home Outfit: I have those Yummy leggings packed, an oversized t shirt, a sweater and slide on mules! You may feel ambitious to wear jeans home, and you go girl if thats you– but make sure that you have backup options!
Practical Stuff: License, Insurance Card, Phone Charger, iPad, Journal, Camera, Snacks
WHAT TO PACK: FOR DAD
- Change of Clothes
WHAT TO PACK: FOR BABY
Car Seat: As I mentioned above, R and I were totally rookies the first time around. This time we have the base installed prior to being discharged. We also had never strapped a baby into a carseat before attempting to leave the hospital (praise the Lord for kind, non judgmental nurses)– maybe read the manual before having the baby so that you know what to do– or don’t, either way, you will be just fine and there will be plenty of people to make sure that you did it correctly before allowing you to leave with baby.
Going Home Outfit: I stressed SO much about what Luca would go home in, and truth is, he didn’t even end up wearing it home. First time Mom lesson. I will still pack an outfit for this babe to go home in, and maybe, just maybe it’ll actually happen!
Hats & Socks: The hospital will provide both of these if you don’t feel like packing your own.. but, there are just TOO many cute options out there so I always bring my own.
Swaddles: Again, the hospital will provide you with blankets for the baby– but they’re kind of small and stiff. As I mentioned above, swaddles have always been the one thing during pregnancy that makes it feel “real”– and that hasn’t changed this second time around. There are SO many adorable swaddle brands out there. My personal favorite are Little Unicorn and Aden and Anais– I have found that they both soften with every wash and they’re extra big, which is so necessary because you end up using them for far more than just swaddling your baby.
The truth is that you can show up with nothing more than yourself and your insurance card and have everything that you need. Don’t overthink the hospital bag, but do give it some thought because you deserve to be comfortable and feel as beautiful as possible after experiencing the greatest joy of life. xo, Grace