Oh my gosh I am the worst person to ask about this, seriously.
I over-packed like no one has ever over-packed before. (Don’t do this. It was super annoying having to dig through all the crap to get to the 15% of the stuff I actually needed)
Adam still hasn’t stopped making fun of me because I brought about four full outfits for me (which, I mean, really? What did I think I was going to be doing? All I wore was my hospital kaftan, which definitely makes it onto the list of things I DO recommend taking. It felt so nice to wear something pretty, that wasn’t a hospital gown.) and I brought about 15 outfits for Olive.
Some of this was because I didn’t know how big she would be, or whether she would be a she or a he, but 15 outfits was probably overkill. 4-5 onesies and a coming home outfit would have sufficed.
I brought a few soft swaddling blankets, which I loved having as an alternative to the scratchy hospital receiving blankets and worked better too.
Other things I loved having:
– Makeup. It may seem silly but it made me feel a little more human (and a bit less like Trudy Wiegel… gigantic underclothes notwithstanding)
– Makeup remover wipes. Usually this would fall under wasteful crap in my books, but it was a nice convenience when I wasn’t walking around too much and was too tired to wash my face.
-Camera (obvs), laptop/smartphone and chargers for all.
-Baby wipes. Our hospital provided diapers and these weird sort of wipes that were like paper towels that you wet before using – if I had known this I would have brought our cloth wipes and wipe solution from home. It would have made cleaning up those first few muconium poops waaaay easier.
-Nursing bras & nipple cream. These made learning to breastfeed way easier (if you plan to breastfeed).
-Vision board and bunting banners. Seems silly but the vision board was essential to me during my c-section surgery. The more I reflect on it, the more I think I need to write about my experience because it was so different from what I was envisioning and I would love to be able to go back in time and tell my past-self this. But the vision board was so helpful in creating a positive focal point during the surgery itself. The bunting was just nice to have for pictures in the hospital and to brighten up Olive’s bassinet.
– A cozy sweater/hoodie and socks for you. Our hospital room was a sauna, but I’m usually cold so this was good to have in case.
– I cant speak for vaginal births, but my maternity leggings were (and still are) a godsend after my c-section. They’re what I wore home and I’ve pretty much lived in them ever since.
I’m sort of struggling to think what else to add. There are so many of these lists out there, and so much advice, but I think most of it is fairly explanatory. Pack what you would pack if you were planning to be sick at a hotel for a few days, and knew you’d be having your picture taken 😉
A few non-hospital bag related things I found useful – if you’re going to do birth announcements, design and save them beforehand so you can just slot in the relevant info & photos as needed. I also pre-printed address labels for everyone we’d be sending them to, this simplified the process hugely.
The first week is awesome – baby will sleep most of the time and you will have tons of energy, this is probably the best time to have non-helping visitors (by non-helping, I mean people you’re not close enough to feel comfortable asking for help with household stuff, not serving/entertaining them etc.)
Most of all don’t stress. Anything you forget can easily be replaced/brought by a family member. Enjoy those first few days- the four days we spent becoming a family in that hazy hospital cocoon are some of the best I’ve had.
I hope this helped a little! Good luck 🙂