I told you I would write a follow up to my hospital bag post after Henry got here. Well, before too long passes, I want to try and get that to you.
The short version is that I didn't use most of what I brought. The hospital provides a lot of what you need, and quite frankly, I was way too tired to do much other than just be with my baby. So much goes on those first days with all the tests they have to run and you are just seeing your baby for the first time so brushing your teeth feels less important that spending every moment bonding with your child.
What I Didn't Use
Which brings me to the first thing I didn't use--I never brushed my teeth while I was there. I know it sounds gross, and yes, I felt like they needed to be brushed, but I could barely walk, my pain was excruciating, I was sharing a bathroom and pretty much saw a horror show every time I went into that bathroom, and I didn't want to spend any more time than necessary away from Henry.
I also only wore the one pair of socks that they gave me. I never felt the need to change these socks and never got out of them. Also, they had grips on the bottom which prevented me from slipping (you need these in my opinion both at the hospital and at home). Because they were all I wore, I didn't use any shoes nor did I use the socks I brought. I actually only had slippers to wear on the car ride home because sometime during my visit my husband took the flip flops that I wore to the hospital home. Now that I'm out of the hospital all I wear out is flip flops because they are easy to put on when I have such limited mobility.
I didn't use any of the underwear that I brought and still haven't worn underwear since delivery. At the hospital and the first few days home I wore the mesh underwear that they gave me with the huge (I mean, HUGE!) pads. Now I am in Depends. I am still bleeding a ton so they are the only thing that really makes sense for me. You should have heard me when I first got them. They were like lingerie compared to my mesh hospital underwear, though they do give me a nice diaper butt and in the front it looks like I might have some new genitalia.
I only wore one outfit the whole time (to go home). At the hospital I stayed in my gown the whole time. Henry also only wore his outfit home. So all the extra outfits I brought were overkill.
The baby book we didn't use except to store some of the memory items we got. They weren't able to stamp his foot so it was not necessary to bring, but I would probably still take it.
We didn't even bring Henry's bear into the hospital. It stayed in the car and might as well stay at home.
What I Did Use
The first thing we needed out of my hospital bag was the paperwork. I was so glad we had that done in advance so I could just hand it to them when I came in leaking out of every which direction. I would have hated to have had to think about all of that while trying to get situated. Definitely do your paperwork before you go to the hospital!
Other than the paperwork, the first thing we used from my hospital bag was my robe. Not for me, but for my husband because it was probably in the 60 degree range in our labor and delivery room. Everyone who walked in the room commented on how freezing it was, and my poor husband had to stay there the whole time. The robe at least provided him a little bit of extra warmth (he used it as a blanket, though it is a funny image picturing him walking around in my robe).
I used one of my granola bars on one of the mornings when I was starving.
Another essential was my nursing bra. These have been so essential! Get them! Most of the day I am just in my bra and some sort of bottom or robe to cover my Depends.
We used a pacifier to get through the second night. We've only used a pacifier twice. Once this night because our neighbor had a silent baby and she was snoring so we didn't want to disturb them and once in the ER because one of the nurses asked us for one. Other than that we've been avoiding using a pacifier because both the nurses in the hospital and our pediatrician told us that is preferred.
I used my chapstick, hairbrush, hair tie, and face wipes. Of these the only essential to me was the hair tie.
What I Wish We Had
Not essential, but we could have used a writing utensil. They gave us some paperwork to keep track of his feedings and poops and kept checking it with us, but we were having trouble recording it largely because we didn't have anything to write with.
All of this said, it was nice to have my bag unpacked at home for the first couple days because everything I needed was in one place. My suggestion would be to create an "at home hospital bag." Not actually a bag, but a station with some clothes, nipple cream, toiletries, day to day essentials that is easily accessible. Then once you are home and recovering you don't have to move around searching for stuff while managing a newborn. Also, keep your actual hospital bag light. You probably won't use most of it.