The 5 Most Useless Items in Your Hospital Bag

tennis ballsIf you are expecting your first baby, I would like to do you a favor. You know, give you a little bit of "Here's something I learned the hard way" advice. A piece of "I did this stupid thing so you don't have to" wisdom.

You know that hospital bag you're supposed to pack? With about a billion different things everybody from your prenatal yoga instructor to some lady who was standing behind you in line at CVS has told you will make your labor "so much easier"? Oh my god, you just have to get such-and-such. I don't know what I would've done without it!

Forget about it. I mean, don't forget about the bag entirely -- you won't be sorry you brought your bathrobe and slippers -- but forget about all the supposedly essential "labor aids" that are magically going to give you the best childbirth ever ...

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Believe me, you probably won't even unzip that bag until after the baby is born! Having a baby is sort of an all-consuming experience. So while it's very sweet that your friend's cousin gave you a lucky Mayan incense cone to burn during delivery, you'll probably forget it even exists once those contractions hit.

That's how it was for me, at least. Of course everybody's different. Still, if I were you, I'd travel light. Definitely without these, The 5 Most Useless Items to Pack in Your Hospital Bag:

  1. Tennis balls. Our birthing instructor told my then-husband and me that I would love it if he massaged my back with tennis balls while I was in labor. Uh, if he'd even so much as looked at those things, I would've thrown them at him and/or any other human being within range.
  2. Scented candles. Um ... why? Truth: The scent of vanilla or lavender or whatever else might be soothing under any other circumstances, but ain't no Yankee Candle on earth can take away that kind of pain.
  3. Music. To drown out the screams? I don't think hospitals allow music to be played that loudly.
  4. A reassuring "focal point." Such as a picture of a beloved pet or a treasured stuffed animal, etc. Honestly? You'd rip that dang teddy bear's head clean off. Leave it at home.
  5. Video camera. Okay, I know not everybody agrees with me on this one. But God help any fool who had the neat-o idea to film me giving birth. 

What are you planning to pack in your hospital bag?


Image via Horia Varlan/Flickr

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