Laura, a blogger friend recently posted her list of what she has packed in her hospital bag and it was interesting for me to recount what I had planned vs what I actually had with me, and then compare to what I wish I'd had after the fact. I added to what would have been the longest comment in the world and posted it here instead.
I ended up in the hospital without anything because I was on a business trip, and to be perfectly honest, I was fine without it (even though I'm pretty particular about things). My husband brought my half packed hospital bag, carseat and breast pump when he flew out and my co-worker brought my suitcase from traveling to the hospital later that day. All I had during delivery was what was in my purse.
This is what I used and loved having:
1. A robe
I ordered one from a pea in the pod (they no longer sell it, but I linked to the closest thing)
It was thin and covered my hospital gown while I was there after delivery. I still use it at night and in the morning over a tank top. Otherwise regarding clothes, I left in the same clothes I arrived in which were a maternity t shirt, maternity tanktop and maternity yoga pants. They were truly the most comfortable thing I could ever have planned to wear and I ended up in them 10 days later (after washing of course) for the 16+ hour drive home from the hospital. I also wore the sticky bottomed non-slip socks from the hospital to walk around in while there (and my flipflops). You feel a little like you've been hit by a truck, so something comfy (and still stretchy :)) is a must. I had my suitcase from traveling, so I had tons of cloths and underwear
(all maternity and all business professional). I wore almost none of it while I was in the hospital. However, I
continued to wear maternity clothing for the next 2 weeks or so.
2. My maternity tank tops from Gap
They were and continue to be my favorite "nursing cami" even though they weren't designed for that. While pregnant I had a black one and a white one. Since then, I've switched to a smaller size and have 2 black and 2 white. They are long, strechy and supportive and fit just right in all the right places and continue to be great at 4 months old. I often wear them instead of a regular bra and use them under regular shirts and nursing tops and wear them at night instead of nursing jammies. They just pull down and haven't lost their stretch, also they are lots cheaper than any nursing bra. The built in shelf probably won't work well during the initial engorgement though. I have about 6-7 nursing bras that all suck and no longer fit. I dropped the weight so fast that they all are now huge, I won't be replacing them with duplicates in smaller sizes. I have since bought one more bra and it is the best so far (Bella Materna Women's Maternity Anytime Padded Nursing Bralet though I've pulled out the padding in favor of disposable nursing pads). It's highly adjustably with 4-5 clasps and could have a lot of ust before and after delivery and long into breastfeeding. I am a huge fan of the pull down, pull up, pull aside bras, camis and shirts and not a fan of the clip down ones.
3. Nursing pads, lanolin and a nipple shield
I probably didn't need these until my milk came in, however, it was nice to have them at the hospital. Also, if I'm ever lucky enough to find myself in this position again, I would definitely have a nipple shield with me. However, if you can do without the nipple shield, DO NOT USE IT. We are 4 months in and can't seem to wean off of it. It's nice if you absolutely need it, but if you can push through without it, it is totally worth it.
3. A baby outfit
Pick one you like and don't worry too much about size. However, the one we brought was way WAY to big on our preemie and my mom washed and brought a preemie onesie and pair of pants, the hospital had a hat and socks. This mattered a lot less to me at the time than I thought it would. I thought he had to be brought home in the perfect outfit, but even now it doesn't matter to me. The onsie and pants are cute and tiny and packed away now. Also, don't forget the baby mittens if it is cold out!
4. A carseat and blanket
Did you know they aren't supposed to wear anything fluffy under the carseat straps?
I also had all the stuff that was regularly in my purse during travel including my phone charger.
I needed and wanted nothing during labor except my phone to text my husband. I had no massage tools for my co-worker to use except her fists to give counter pressure on my lower back. I had no music or headphones. I had nothing to read or do. I kept notes on my phone. I was not hungry until hours after delivery. Good thing because I had no food or snacks. After delivery, I used the soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste from the hospital, as well as the mesh undies and giant pads they had...and I lived. I had been at a fancy hotel and used their nice stuff while traveling but had not gotten those things into my hospital bag. I did have my makeup bag and put some on for pictures and comfort over the next few days in the NICU. And because I didn't have many of these things they now sound excessive to me.
It would have been nice to have a boppy to both sit on and breastfeed with. A headband to push my hair out of my face would have been nice too (I had one in my hospital bag, but since my bag arrived after delivery...). My feet were never really swollen during pregnancy but ballooned up after delivery and compression socks would have been great for the first week or so. I still have no use for a nursing cover. I prefer looser tops to wear over my camis rather than most of the nursing tops I have. After the first few weeks, I'm lucky that I fit back into my pre-pregnancy pants including jeans.
The good thing is that once the baby arrives, you kind of forget about your own comfort :) and don't really miss anything that you don't have with you. And my minimalist experience shows that even if you forget something at home, its not the end of the world, the baby will come anyway! Then, hopefully, friends, family and amazon prime can deliver the few things you discover that you need while you are in your early-on-sleepless-night-don't-want-to-leave-the-house fog.
What do you consider a must have, didn't need, or wish you'd thought of?