My hospital bag looked very different the more I knew what I actually needed after giving birth. The first baby I had everything, 3 complete outfits, my favorite body scrub and a loofa, fingernail polish, makeup, several outfits for the baby… I was your typical first time mama.
By the time baby #4 was coming my mom had to talk me into packing a bag because I knew the hospital was going to provide everything I needed except maybe a toothbrush. I also knew how I would be feeling after I pushed a human out of me so makeup and cute hairstyles were not something I was going to mess with.
If you have read my other articles, you know that I am an Imperfect, practical mama. I don’t do frilly or over the top of anything. I create great memories and for that I simplify everything I do. The last thing you want to remember in your upcoming miracle of birth is a fight over where you keep your hairbrush or which outfit to put baby in. K.I.S.S. and know that whatever happens is supposed to happen. Enjoy those little moments and forget the things that really are not important.
This is my practical list of stuff you need in your bag. Pack your hospital bag at about 35-36 weeks in case baby decides to be early. Put a list of last minute items with it so if you leave in a rush or you don’t get to go home before you go to the hospital, your support knows exactly what else to bring. (Toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant, reading glasses and phone charger would be on this list).
- Car Seat!!!!!! If you have Nothing else have this already installed in the car you will be taking home from the hospital. It’s a pain to wait til the last minute and the hospital will NOT let you leave until they see the car seat is installed with baby securely strapped in.
- Comfy pajamas. If you go into labor and don’t have time to go home first, it’s nice to have them in your bag so your support partner doesn’t have to search for them. Keep them loose fitting, light weight and easy to get on and off. Hospitals are kept cool, but you never know what your hormones will be doing so it’s better to keep it light. Your tummy will be almost as big as it is now so don’t think about being cute, think comfortable. These are more than likely only going to be worn toward the end of your stay and going home from the hospital.
- Sports Bra. A lot of sites say nursing bras but I liked cheap spaghetti strap sports bras. You don’t want to have to fiddle with those snaps and the clasps and everything else with a nursing bra, plus they don’t always hug you in the most comfortable way. I pulled a cheap sportsbra under my breast so I could see how the baby latched and since it is a bit tighter, your nipples don’t rub against the cloth (when clothing is loose they feel like they are going to fall off!)
- Breast Pads. You probably wont leak the first couple days but just throw a couple in the bag (they’re small).
I liked the disposable ones while my nipples were sensitive and my baby and I needed to figure out how to nurse together. They are easy to change out and less likely to leak. I switched to the reusable ones later.
- Hair Ties, Cloth Headband and a Hairbrush if you wish. I tried clips before but when you are laying down in a bed most of the time, you want ties. I don’t ususally brush my hair every day and wearing it up meant I really don’t have to so I didn’t pack a brush.
- Extra Long Phone Cord. You never know what room you will get or where the outlet will be so it’s better to be prepared.
- Birth Plan. You should have already discussed your plan with your Dr, but your Dr isn’t always the one that will be delivering. Having your plan with you will help the nurse assisting you recognize what is and will be important. Talk to your partner about what is the most important thing to you so they can stand up to whomever they need to fulfill your desires. You can not foresee every senario but if they know what is important, they will try and give you what you want. Your pediatrician’s information should be on this also.
- Simple Shoes. You will probably be wearing the hospital’s socks that are non-slip. I wore slippers that were a bit big for me with a bit of sole” target=”_blank”>and had a bit of a sole to them. They were PERFECT. When I got home I threw them in the laundry to be washed.
- Bluetooth Speaker” target=”_blank”>Bluetooth Speaker. Honestly I love the idea of this but I was so tired and had nurses and Drs coming in every 30 minutes that I never used it, I had my phone speaker and that was enough for the after-birth. Before the birth I didn’t want any music, and I am a huge music person
- Playlist Ready. This is a great idea to get your mind off of the work your body is doing. If you like music, fill it with your favorite songs. The instumental hums and chants wont necessarily help. I picked songs that I could sing to and I could follow their story so I could get into the music and forget the pain.
- Download Movies or Shows on your phone or tablet. Wi-Fi and Signal in general aren’t always the greatest in a hospital
- Your Favorite Candy and Snacks for your support partner. You get 3 meals and as many crackers and juice you want after the birth, but your support only gets one (at least that has been my experience). Your body just did a lot of work, you will be hungry! Don’t go overboard though, hospital food has come a long way in recent years, it fills you up pretty well.
- Cash. Not a lot, just enough for the vending machine for your support. You may want to budget a meal that you crave after giving birth. Usually you want some high fat, high calorie, high protein food. I budgeted $30 for a meal that my support went to get outside the hospital and we pigged out together.
- Toothpaste and Toothbrush. The hospital can provide these things, but they are always hard brissles and gross toothpaste.
- Deoderant. Enough said
- Lotion if it is important to you. I brough it and I think I used a little bit. I really didn’t feel like bending down and putting it all over my legs, I was consentrating on my balance after my first shower.
- Reading glasses if you have or need them.
- Small Container of coconut oil. I used coconut oil for my nipples with my last 2 and it worked Miracles!!! It heals and protects but it also is natural so you do not have to wipe it off before baby nurses. I started using this on my nipples regularly about a month before baby was born. When baby was here I used it after each feeding (sometimes in between if I needed it). I only used the nipple cream in the beginning.
- 2 changes of clothes for your support partner if they will be staying at the hospital (I think most partners are fine running home for an hour to shower in a familiar environment and changing clothes at home). At least pack a pair of underwear if something happens and they do not get to leave for some reason.
It seems like a lot of stuff to pack but it really isn’t. My bag was really small for the 4th baby and I honestly didn’t even use everything in there.
Forgo the socks (you can’t wear them while in the hospital anyway). Don’t pack a robe (when you bleed on it you will be figuring out how to get a dirty robe home). You can pack an outfit for the baby to be photographed in, but anything you bring will look awkward on the baby. The cap and onesie they provide are fine, but it’s a small outfit so I wont say Don’t Pack it. hehe. For my first 2 I had a monogramed beanie hat made and I don’t regret it. Years later, I know which of my babies is which. Put your ID and your insurance card in your purse, you should always have those on you. Don’t Pack Those!
- nipple cream (ask for another one to go home with). This may be enough for you if you are using the coconut oil as well.
- pads (big ones! they are not the most comfortable things but they work well!) ASK for 5-10 of these to go home with you so you don’t have to spend money on ones this size.
- mesh underwear (not the most comfortable things ever but SO easy to get on, off and toss when you bleed on them)
ASK for 2-3 pairs of these to go home with you.
- pillows (unless you really need YOUR pillow, the hospital will give you however many you ask for typically). Your support will get blankets and a pillow too. Unless they are picky, don’t pack these.
- diapers and wipes (take the remaining amount of the opened bags home with you).
- bottles if you are using them. Unless you want baby to use a specific brand, the hospital ones can go home with you as well.
- water in a reusable cup. I am really picky with the taste of my water, I never had any issues with drinking their filtered water from the tap.
- Shampoo, Conditioner washcloths, towels and soap… The first shower after baby feels so good, but you don’t want to actually do the work to wash your whole body… just the after-birth stuff. Don’t waste time, money and energy in bringing your whole bathroom.
Some of the other lists out there tell you to pack a suitcase full of stuff. The truth is, it doesn’t make memories and it wont change your life. You will not feel like using a hair dryer, or a curling iron. You will not want a special matching outfit for yourself and baby (there will be plenty of time for that later anyway). When you are finished pushing a human from your body you want rest and comfort…and that’s EXACTLY what you should plan for.
Peace and Balance,