You've seen the lists. In fact, you've probably saved them to one of your Pinterest boards. Something to effect of "Hospital Bag Essentials" or "Foolproof Guide to Packing for Baby's Arrival," perhaps? There's plenty of information out there about what you absolutely must have, but once you've had baby you realize there's a ton of crap you really don't need. That's why I asked moms about the one thing they didn't need in their hospital bag.
I'm an OG mama myself, so my bag was an exercise in minimalism. I didn't even pack an extra outfit for myself, so I ended up wearing the clothes I arrived in, home. Still, and even though I kept to packing the basics, I ended up with several items that were completely unnecessary. My baby books told me to pack my own nightgown and robe (more comfortable and better pictures, duh), but my nurse almost immediately made me take them off in favor of a hospital gown. And the little massager I thought I might want? It didn't make it out of the bag (although it was invaluable when my milk came in and my rock hard boobs needed soothing).
Yes, there are items you definitely want to bring, and a lot of it will depend on you as an individual (as well as your hospital or birthing center). Some things, like warm socks with tread, may very well save you. However, in the interest of space and sanity, take it from these moms: there's plenty you can leave at home.
"I just packed my hospital bag as I normally do to go stay in a hotel room. That included my outfits for the days after delivery, and I packed my thong panties that I always wear. Nobody told me I'd be going home in an adult diaper and granny panties!"
"The one thing I didn't need was the baby book. It was my good intention to write in it as we went through our experience, but that just wasn't happening. There was just too much other stuff to focus on. Unfortunately, I still haven't written in it about the 'birthing experience.' Some day, though!"
"Unfortunately, I didn't use anything in my bag. I ended up using whatever the hospital provided (soap/shampoo, the lovely and oh-so-comfortable disposable undies, and those amazing cold packs for the nether regions!). I had a lot going on — chemical rash from that brown stuff they rub all over your back just before an epidural, and another rash from the medical adhesive used when they stitched my belly back together. I also went home in the same clothes I came in. I was a hot mess, but so ready to spend all my time with my little girl to fuss with anything else in that bag!"
"Breast pump and all the accessories. The hospital I delivered at provided one and even stored my milk until we were released!"
"Snacks. I was not hungry during 42 hours of labor. And then when the hunger did kick in during recovery, I wanted a good big hot tasty meal, not some stupid granola bar."
"I didn't need any personal photos or items to help me focus. I suppose it was nice to see them, but unnecessary overall."
"I brought seasons 1-4 of The Office and watched half of one episode. Then I got sidetracked by the fact that I was having a baby, and turned it off."
"Snacks, sudoku, my Kindle, all the little things people tell you to bring, like witch hazel pads, pads, cleansing wipes. I pretty much felt like my whole bag was useless since they send you home with so many little goodies, and the last thing on my mind was playing games or reading."
"I had my mom fly from Houston with a Bluetooth speaker so I could listen to calming music in the birthing suite. When she brought it into the room and turned on the Enya Pandora station, I became immediately annoyed with it and made her turn it off."
"Boppy pillow. It just laid on the floor taking up space both times. Pajamas. Makeup (who was I kidding?). All those cute little baby outfits, too. My babies were either in diapers or sleep sacks with hats on."
"I'm the kind of person who likes to prepare for every eventuality. I had so much crap in my bags that I didn't need. Off the top of my head; my iPod, a robe, underwear (seriously those mesh hospital panties are amazing), clothes for baby, a Boppy pillow, product for my hair (who the hell is doing their hair in the delivery or recovery room?), and I'm sure I'm forgetting something else that was completely unnecessary but that had shown up on one of those, 'What to Pack That No One Tells You About' Pinterest lists!"
"I brought snacks but wasn't allowed to eat, so I had to watch my husband eat them while I was starving."
"Makeup. Wish I had not taken it because I then felt compelled to put it on."
"I brought a book but between trying to sleep when I could and bonding with baby, there wasn't much time for reading."
"Pajamas for the hospital. I thought I needed special pajamas from home for the hospital so that I would feel comfortable, but the truth was, I was bleeding way too heavily post cesarean section to want to wear anything I couldn't burn immediately thereafter. I recommend just wearing the hospital gown while you're there and bringing a sweatshirt if you're cold. Save cozy pajamas for the comfort of your own home."
"I brought my laptop, because I was totally going to write in all the downtime I had."
"If your babies come early (like mine) and you are disorganized (like me) then you pack nothing. And it was fine, both times."