As a soon-to-be first-time mom I wanted to be prepared as I could possibly be for childbirth. As a result, I totally over-packed my hospital bag. I didn’t end up using most of the items I thought would be super-important — a birthing ball, breast pump, and a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans — and forgot important items I could have definitely used, like a nursing pillow and maternity pants. I'm not the only new mom who had no idea what to pack in a hospital bag, either. Romper spoke to numerous moms who shared the one off-the-wall, easy-to-overlook item they wish they would have brought to the hospital when it was "go time."
These items include the unexpected, like formula because the hospital you birthed at doesn't provide any to new moms who either don't want to breastfeed or have trouble breastfeeding and need/want to supplement. Some moms wish they'd planned better for their practical needs, too, by bringing extra sanitary supplies, toiletries, or comfort items. And the items other moms needed seemed even further "off-the-wall" to me, although that absolutely doesn't mean they weren't necessary. After all, every postpartum woman is different.
So if you were getting ready to pack your own hospital bag, and want to know what other experienced moms felt they were missing, read on:
"I wish I had packed all of the food possible in my hospital bag — chips, candy, power bars, apples — all of it. I simply cannot describe how hungry I was after not eating all day and then giving birth. My fiancé did go out and get me food, but it was 1:00 a.m. by the time he got back and the three Burger King sandwiches and a bag of snacks from the gas station he brought me were not close to enough."
"I wish I had brought a ton of ready-to-feed formula. My son was ravenous, and furious, and my milk wasn't in, yet. I met considerable resistance from nursing staff when I brought up that maybe he wasn't getting anything from me and needed a bottle."
"I wish I would have brought nursing pads. I didn't realize when my milk came in that I would leak like a broken faucet. My shirt was completely soaked the whole time, and we had a lot of visitors."
"I honestly wish I would have packed makeup. It's not that I wanted to make myself up like a royal or something, but I had a hard delivery and when I look at pictures of myself with my baby all I see is chapped lips, broken blood vessels, greasy hair, and dark circles. That makes me so sad."
"I wish I had brought extra dermaplast numbing spray. I went through the can they gave me at the hospital so fast. I still keep it on hand at home."
"A 'do not disturb' sign for the door. Especially if nurses and lactation consultant would heed it. Every time the baby slept they would walk in just as I dozed off."
"I really wished I’d thrown some crackers, peanut butter and Sprite into my hospital bag. I was so hungry, and I didn’t have any food packed because I had it in my head that I’d want like fresh healthy fruit and smoothies and stuff."
"I wish I would have packed a journal. I had a lot of feelings and emotions that I wish I would have put down on paper so I could remember them all clearly."
"Toilet paper and Kleenex. I mostly just used the peri bottle when I peed, but the hospital toilet paper and tissues were like sandpaper. My husband basically refused to use the bathroom by the last day and my nose got super dry from the dry hospital air. The rough tissues did not help.
I also wish I would have brought my own throw blanket. I had a hard time sleeping because it got so damn cold at night and the hospital blankets were a joke."
"I didn't know about the risks of underfeeding or that the hospital would wait until my baby was starving before giving me formula. I'd been told there was absolutely no need to bring formula, as I was intending to breastfeed.
Had I known, I'd have had formula in my bag and would have used it without hesitation. I always say if I have another [baby] I will bring an entire crate and share with anyone around me who wants some. It's a weird world we live in when you have to bring your own food to the hospital — newborn babies are the only patients the hospital does not provide food for."
"This might sound weird, but I wish I had packed my work laptop. I got a call from work while I was being induced, because I couldn't access an alarm in our server room from my phone and no one else could log in to shut it off. As annoying as it was to be called, I wish I could have just handled it."
"If I could have brought anything with me, it would have been a supportive friend. I called my mom asking her to come to the hospital to stay with me after I gave birth and she complained about how tired she was. I was young and needed reassurance so badly, but felt like I was completely alone."
"Seriously, I wish I had packed a personal fan. My temperature kept going up and down after my C-section, and it was too hard for me to adjust the room thermostat. A fan would have let me keep the room at one temp and use a fan for those hotter moments."