Packing a hospital bag can seem like a daunting challenge. Like most expectant moms, you've likely read up on what other moms put in that essential holdall, and are now faced with an impossible task– fitting in a tens machine, an iPad, a change of clothes, energy bars, and everything else including the kitchen sink. With so much myth and madness floating around, it's difficult to know exactly what to bring. Even some of the most commonly packed items will end up staying hidden in the depths of that weekend bag. While it's not a one size fits all situation, there are a few things that you should just leave at home.
Say goodbye to that sweet little dress. I, like many other women out there, spent a small fortune on a plethora of 'baby's first outfits'. Also like many other women, I ended up using next to nil. The last thing you want to do when your baby is born is spend time trying to navigate their delicate little limbs into a cute button-down dress, or little chinos with a matching shirt. Bring a few onesies and save yourself precious time and hassle.
Cosmetics. In theory, looking like a radiant new mom when our well-wishers come to visit seems like a no-brainer, but in practice, doing a full face of makeup when you're more strung out than last week's laundry is very different. Glam? No. Battleworn and exhausted? Absolutely. That being said, ditch the makeup bag but do bring some face wash, moisturizer, and lip balm. Maternity wards are notoriously warm and dry, so these items are essential.
Shoes. Of course, you'll need shoes, but leave anything tight fitting at home. When my daughter was born, I wore a pair of boots to the hospital. Stupidly, I expected them to fit post-birth but I was naive to the copious amount of ankle-swelling that new moms are prone to getting. Barely able to fit a big toe in, I ended up walking barefoot to the car, like I was doing a 3 am walk of shame. Learn from my mistake– no shoes, just flip-flops.
Entertainment. Do you really think that you'll be interested in a Netflix-and-chill when you're experiencing pain tantamount to losing a limb? It's a rookie mistake. Pre-birth you'll be too focused on impending motherhood to pick up that iPad. Post-birth you'll be too wrapped up in taking care of your newborn. Save the entertainment for a later date, you'll probably have time in 18 years.
Snacks. Hospital bag snacks can be your best friend and your worst enemy. While most forums or literature on the subject advise you to bring energy bars and lollipops, most women aren't permitted to eat in case they need an emergency C-section. It's better to spend a few extra dollars post-birth on something from the Starbucks downstairs than chew on a crumbling bottom-of-the-bag granola bar.
For a realistic list of what to pack, check out this post from Mommy on Purpose.