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It was probably around 27 or 28 weeks when I started thinking that I really should get a hospital bag packed. As it was my first pregnancy, you can be sure I was checking the apps weekly seeing how big my bambino was, how she was developing and when she would be able to survive outside the womb should she decide to come early. These were the first weeks where it was mentioned that she could survive albeit with significant medical interventions. So with that in mind and the end in sight, I started contemplating the dreaded hospital bag.
Having obviously never had a baby before, packing a hospital bag adequately seemed like a pretty challenging task. I mean, there's only so much you can plan for when you really have no idea what to expect. You don't want to show up looking like you packed for a month long vaca, but you also don't want to arrive totally unprepared and looking like a total newb (a newb who didn't take any birthing classes). I read countless blogs and asked advice from several of my mommy friends and literally got different advice every time. The thing that surprised me the most though was how excessive most suggestions seemed. I need how many pairs of underwear?! Multiple robes? Bath salts? AN ESSENTIAL OILS DIFFUSER?!? How in the world do you and your SO carry all of that crap AND a baby on the way out?! No. Just no.
The best thing I did to start paring down the ridiculous list I had created from everyone else's suggestions was ask my doctor, Sarah Freitas from Western ObGyn. She was super low-key, awesome AND turned out to be exactly the right doctor for a scary end of labor, but that's a story for another time. I told her about the issue I was having with the copious amounts of stuff people were suggesting I pack for the hospital. I asked her what I really needed. She laughed and said, "a car seat". Then she elaborated a little more and told me that all I really needed would be a carseat, and clothes to go home in. The hospital could provide everything else but often times people like to have their own toothbrush/cosmetics/etc. I began to feel a little bit better and packed a preemptive hospital bag.
Around week 37 I finally made it to a hospital tour where I gained a little more insight as to what I really would need for my standard stay there. I highly recommend that all soon-to-be parents do the hospital tour even if you have been there several times before. It was a great opportunity to ask questions and get more advice on what to bring. This is how I found out that I should bring DVDs and CDs, especially since labors with your first child tend to be longer. I also learned that the hospital would be providing all the essentials that so many lists said I should pack like diapers, pads, towels, etc. I went home and made a few changes to my bag and hoped for the best.
While truly the only must-haves are a car-seat and an outfit for you to go home in, I decided to organize the list with what I'd consider the must-have items for a comfortable stay, and the nice to have items if you have room. Remember, a standard hospital stay is only 2 days and you are probably going to be in your hospital gown for a lot of that time so try not to overpack.
I brought an extra outfit and robe, multiple pairs of underwear, and make-up. Don't do what I did. If you're having professional pictures done at the hospital, then sure bring your full bag of make-up. But if you're just focusing on snuggling your little one and husband, you won't regret going all natural (or maybe just a hint of mascara). I pretty much never touched my cosmetics bag. As far as underwear goes, bring some to go home in, but while you're at the hospital, plan on wearing their super stylish mesh ones and utilizing their icepacks and super-sized pads. One robe and one nightgown will likely suffice as well.
The most important thing I suggest you remember, is that whatever you bring in you have to bring out. But on the way out you will also have a much more important addition, your baby!!
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The Skip Hop Chelsea 2-in-1 Downotown Chic Diaper Tote and Moskka Diaper Backpack are both great for doubling as a hospital bag before your baby arrives.
I was super skeptical of The iLoveSIA 3pack Womens Seamless Nursing Bras as they were so inexpensive but I absolutely love them! They are so comfortable, easy to wash and fit perfectly.
We're loving our Graco Click Connect travel system. The stroller is easily collapsable so you can bring it anywhere. Pull it out of your trunk, pop it open and snap the carseat right in!