Last week I posted a Baby Registry Guide / Checklist and my expecting friend then requested a post about what to pack in your hospital bag. I had no idea before having Simon what I needed, so I asked some trusted friends and my sister-in-law and came up with this list prior to heading to the hospital myself. Though I think that list is pretty accurate, now that I’ve gone through it I’ve decided to refine it a bit.
I packed a couple of different bags. We left our hospital stay bags in the car until we needed them, we only had critical items and things we might need for Labor & Delivery in the labor room – I personally didn’t want to pack and re-pack.
I was induced, so I knew that I might have a stretch of long hours in Labor & Delivery. Take that into account when you’re packing your own bag(s).
FOR THE BIRTH (Small Bag)
Now that I’ve been through this I wouldn’t recommend any of your own clothing. The nurses need easy access to you for all sorts of wires so I would recommend using the provided hospital gown. I thought that I’d at least want a sports bra but my nurses asked me to not have anything on and honestly, after many many hours lying in bed, I was glad that I listened.
Robe – I recommend this for labor before your epidural, while you can still walk around. Your hospital gown is open in back, so when you’re walking around your tush is hanging out. You may also want it after labor, once you’re in your room with the baby.
Slippers – For walking around in Labor & Delivery.
Socks – I went from freezing to hot several times during labor. I had fuzzy socks that I took on and off the whole time.
Chapstick – It was very dry in the Labor & Delivery room and since you can’t really drink much, your lips get a bit dry.
Toothbrush / Toothpaste – I laid in bed for about 24 hours after I had the epidural. I really should have brushed my teeth at some point because I know that my breath was pretty raunchy.
Extra Hair Ties – I can’t tell you how many times I put my hair up, took out the ponytail, and then lost the hair tie.
Music – I played music off and on throughout labor. Both through headphones and to the world. I wanted music more than any other “entertainment” because it was mindless and soothing. I had a few different playlists – everything from classical to workout. I switched between them a couple of times.
Wireless speaker – I didn’t use one, but I could see how it could have been better than my iPhone speaker.
iPad / Books / Magazines – I downloaded all sorts of TV / movies prior to going to the hospital but I actually had little interest in anything once I was there. Even though I was in labor for 30 hours, there was too much to distract me and I wasn’t into watching shows on my iPad. I did want to mindlessly check social media at a few points… I also flipped through a magazine. Basically anything that needed more than a couple minutes of concentration wasn’t happening.
Phone / Charger – For obvious reasons.
Camera / Charger – I wanted to capture the hospital stay, but mostly I wanted to ensure that we were ready for pictures of baby right after the birth. Make sure your camera is charged and you have an SD card loaded!
Hard Candy – I didn’t actually want them, but I had jolly ranchers in case I needed something. At some point I asked my nurse if I was allowed to chew gum and she said, “if I don’t know about it…”. I was too scared to break the rules :).
FOR THE HOSPITAL STAY (Larger Bag)
Comfortable Pants – I basically lived in comfortable pants for 9+ months of pregnancy and about 2 months postpartum. I would bring a pair for each day and then at least 1 extra.
Pajamas – One could argue that comfortable pants and pajamas are the same thing, but I personally liked feeling like I was “getting dressed” each day.
Flip Flops (for shower) – I know the hospital is sterile, but it made me feel better.
Underwear – You will be given underwear. It will be embarrassingly unattractive. I still recommend wearing it for the first day or so post labor because there is a lot of yuck that comes with labor (if you didn’t think so, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you). Until things “calm down” down there, I highly recommend underwear that is cotton, loose, and cheap. You’re likely to throw it away.
Extra Absorbent Pads – The hospital will provide some, but they won’t be comfortable and they won’t be what you’re used to. Make sure to buy the super, extra, diaper-like absorbency pads. You might need 12 of them piled on top of each other (kidding), you might need much less.
Nursing Bra – I recommend bringing at least 1 nursing bra to the hospital if you’re intending to breast feed. They are typically very comfortable and again, I personally liked feeling at least a little bit put together. My favorite are the Bravado nursing bras – huge love. For sleeping, I also really liked the Majama nursing bras.
Nursing Tanks – I slept in these. I liked that they have a built in bra and I wore them with a cardigan or zippered hoodie for easy access.
Nursing Pads – I don’t know that I needed nursing pads right away, but I brought them and used them anyway. There are a lot of changes going on in your body and I liked having them for potential leaks. So glamorous.
Cardigans / Zipper Hoodies -You’ll want something for coverage (but still easy access) when you have visitors in the room or you’re walking around.
Outfit for hospital pictures – By outfit I do not mean polished and ironed. I mean a nice-ish top (I brought a nicer black t-shirt) to wear for hospital baby pictures. You may want to encourage your partner to pack a nice-ish shirt too.
Breastpump – The hospital has them, but I liked that I brought my own AND was shown how to use it properly. Pumping helps your milk come in, so you end up pumping and nursing the entire stay (at least I did).
Nursing Pillow – This isn’t a necessity and if you’re trying to save space I would leave it out, but if you want to have whatever you’ll use at home, I would recommend bringing it.
Headband / Hair Ties / Bobby Pins – Whatever makes you feel good. Bring that.
Toiletries – The usual plus anything that might make you feel good. Special lotion, whatever.
Make-up – I am not one for a full face, but I brought some blush and mascara for hospital photos. Again, whatever makes you feel good, bring that.
Reusable shopping bag -You will get a ton of paperwork and baby supplies and you’ll need something to carry it all home in.
Snacks – I mean, they do feed you in the hospital, but unless there’s a 24h system, it may not be on your schedule. ESPECIALLY right after labor.
Outfit for hospital pictures – We brought a couple of different onesies and a few different hats and a blanket. Honestly, we were in the NICU so when we finally got the pictures Simon was a week old and I was just feeling blessed to get out of the NICU.
Go home outfit (or 2 just in case of poopsplosions)
Swaddle – Use the blanket from the hospital or bring your own swaddle.
Diapers – If you’re feeling particular about your diapers, bring some of your own. The hospital will likely give you either Huggies or Pampers.
Car Seat – At our hospital they actually had to see the car seat before we were discharged. This is one of those things (maybe with the nursing pillow) that you can leave in the car until you need it.
Insurance Card / Phone Number – I had to call insurance within a certain amount of time after Simon was born to ensure that he was added to insurance.
I hope this helps! Let me know if you think that I’ve missed anything that you feel is critical to include.
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