Afternoon folks. I've been rocking and rolling on my list and the "have to" list is basically either done or planned. It seemed a bit much to pack a bag for the hospital, 7 weeks before the kid is due, so that particular task has been scheduled for the middle of February. With that in mind however here comes a little more unsolicited advice.
When packing your bag for the hospital stay, be aware of the following things.
You will not need reading materials. Most of the lists out there say to bring a magazine or book for when you are bored. I have done this twice and I gotta say, bored doesn't really happen during childbirth. Both times I had a book tucked into the bag that was a total waste of space. Before the baby comes, there's a good chance that you will be occupied by extreme pain and books will not be something you are thinking about.
You should really have two bags. One bag will go in to the hospital with you when you arrive and the other will be unnecessary until after the baby comes out. The first bag can be a large purse and things I'd recommend packing into it include:
*ID, Insurance card, and hospital registration if you have not already done it.
*baby book (for foot prints and documenting labor stuff)
*music (if it relaxes you and you plan on listening during labor.)
*focus object (I use a stuffed animal that I can focus on squeezing, but that's just me.)
*pillow, probably not going to fit in the bag, but having something that smells like home is usually comforting.
Seriously that's about it. You are going to be focusing on pushing the kid out and probably not going to care about keeping track of the boppy, coming home outfits and unnecessary diaper bags on the mad dash through the bottom floors of the hospital. Send your dude or helper out for them after you have the kid.
In the second bag:
-jammies - people are going to be coming to see you, you want to look better than hospital gown chic
-camisole top and loose sports bra (if you are going breastfeed) Now this is my third and I have a lot of practice so I'm pretty sure I'd be able to feed my kid in a regular top and bra, however my advice is to have these on hand. You pull the cami down and the pajama top up and the sports bra allows for boob access without the discomfort of a real bra. It's a good combo because it covers your belly while you nurse. It is also pretty comfy to sleep in and the first few days of nursing are a bit uncomfortable to be sleeping with no support for the milk production factory.
-hair care stuff -especially if you are going to breastfeed, you want your hair out of your way, bring a brush, some barrettes, a few elastics, whatever you need to tame the beast while you figure out how to feed the kid.
-un-fancy, very comfortable undies - when you go home they'll send you with some mesh things that creep me out, I prefer to bring some regular briefs, with full coverage that I don't mind throwing away later
-coming home outfit for the kid - I usually bring one outfit and they have their pictures done in it too.
-comfy go home clothes for yourself, remember shoes and socks.- remember you are going to be tired and flabby, no low rise jeans or tube tops. I find that workout clothes work well for this.
-phone charger - cause you'll be one the phone a lot and now with smart phones you'll be posting pictures on face book and draining your battery no fewer then 12 times.
-baby wipes - for some reason hospitals can figure out which diapers to give you, but you are stuck trying to pry the meconium off your babe's tush with moistened paper towels. it's irritating. bring some wipes.
-baby blanket - I like to have something for the baby that smells and feels like home and also I ask that the nurses spread it under the baby for the photos, because it makes the pictures distinct and in both of my girls cases, they still have those blankets, it's a good memory thing.
DO NOT BRING A DIAPER BAG: unless you plan on traveling to figi or something between being released from the hospital and arriving home, you will not need a diaper bag. The hospital will probably send you home with one or two at least and enough papers to build a giant origami stork for your front yard. Diaper bags are not necessary.