When you're expecting your first baby, it's normal to worry about what you need to pack for the hospital or birthing center. After all, you never know when it'll be "go time," and making sure that hospital bag is ready way before you actually need it can be stressful. However, once the "big day" is over and you're snuggling your newborn, you might find most of the things you packed to be totally unnecessary. I asked 12 moms about the one thing they needed most in their hospital bag, because packing that damn bag shouldn't be as anxiety-inducing as it is. Honestly though, I was a little surprised by some of their answers.
I also found that new moms reported a wide variety of so called "essential" items that they needed during labor and birth, so the contents of each mom's hospital bag seemed to vary about as much as their birthing experience. That, of course, shouldn't be too surprising, but even though labor and delivery is unique for every woman who experiences it, there are still more than a few universal truths that we can all, as mothers, collectively agree on. The hospital bag, however, is not one of them.
I, like most first-time moms, packed so many things in my "go-bag" that I didn't really need. However, it wasn't a total loss. The three things in my overstuffed hospital bag that I used the most and that really were absolutely essential were: hair ties, Gatorade and lip balm. But, yeah, that's about it. The rest could have been left behind (and should have been, considering I was taking a baby home with me). So, if you're worried about what to pack in your hospital bag, take a page from these moms' book:
"It was a sweltering hot summer day when I gave birth, my partner had a water spray with a little motor fan on it and he just held it in front of me for like nine hours, it was such sweet relief from the heat."
"I had a pain relief machine and I swear it helped me get through the birth — without that I don't know how I would have managed."
"A breastfeeding pillow. Aside from yoga pants and a shirt, that's basically all I needed. About 80 percent of what I packed went unused."
"A journal. I had so many feels, both good and bad, and I wish like hell I had jotted them down right then when I could remember everything."
"Cell phone charger!"
"I actually forgot my hospital bag at home, everything happened so fast and it got left behind, the hospital is a 40 minute drive away so no one went back for it and I survived. I had my sister and that's all I needed!"
"I took a bunch of books and appreciated them as I was there for three days before things got moving."
"My laptop! I worked while I was at the hospital, I don't know how not to!"
"I took speakers and my favorite music and I think it really helped to chill me out and relax me though contractions."
"Snacks, lots of snacks, labor made me really hungry."
"I took a pack of cigarettes. I know its bad but it had been a long 9 months and I couldn't wait any longer."
"I took my makeup bag, I knew there would be lots of pictures taken and I wanted to look my best, my best friend even brought me a tiara, but I didn't end up wearing it!"