One of the things you wouldn’t think would cause a lot of stress during pregnancy is packing your hospital bag, but you know what – IT DOES…especially as a first time parent-to-be. You want to make sure you have any and everything you might need…but, you’ve never been in this predicament before, so you don’t even know what you’ll need! So you scour the interwebs for inspiration, but even that can be daunting.
As a first time parent-to-be, everything is so new and exciting. You feel as though you want to be fully prepared and to be honest, that was my approach. I went into packing my hospital bag thinking, I’d rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it. Sheesh, I even bought a new carry-on sized luggage on wheels for the occasion!
So, what exactly would I consider your must-haves when packing your hospital bag?
Obviously – bring your wallet with your ID, health card, and debit/credit cards. In addition – there will be paperwork you need to sign and records you’ll need to keep so bring a pen. If you’re staying 24 hours (or longer if you have a c-section) – you’ll have to track how much the baby eats and how many diapers you change; nurses need to see this before you leave.
Don’t forget to pack your phone and charger, of course. If you have an extra long charger, even better because as you lay in bed, you can’t guarantee the outlet will be close
Labour can be a long feat, often without much for you to do so maybe pack an iPad or Kindle to occupy your time. Don’t forget the charge cables for those, as well! And, of course – make sure you have books, shows, and/or movies downloaded.
Slippers/Socks – pack ones you don’t plan to bring home, in case they get grimey. These will come in handy if you take some walks around the corridor and whatnot.
Hair elastics – if you have long hair, or hair long enough to be tied back – bring something to do just that. Trust me – labour isn’t pretty and the last thing you’ll want to worry about afterwards is knots in your hair.
Water bottle with a straw – when the fun truly starts, you won’t really be able to move that much and your support person should be able to feed you some water easily.
Flip flops – if you choose to shower, you’re gonna want these because it’s gross otherwise.
If you want to go a step further, you can bring your own delivery gown. I found one on Amazon, but forgot to change into it before everything started so now it’s a good one to wear around the house with easy access to the liquid gold for RJ.
Toiletries – The basics: toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, shower cap and towel (again, if you choose to shower there), chapstick (hospitals are ridiculously dry and you’ll likely be screaming and panting, so trust me – you’ll need it), makeup (you’re going to want to take pictures, so if you wear makeup – pack the basics) and a hair brush.
Nursing bras – If you plan on breastfeeding, you’ll want to ensure you have a nursing bra or two on hand. Just in case your milk comes in while you’re at the hospital, pack a couple breast pads.
At home, I lounge in my gifted Knix nursing bra or leakproof nursing tank daily, because – they are not only comfortable, but they provide easy access to the girls when RJ is hungry…and he’s always hungry.
Comfy lounge wear – you’ll be spending lots of time recovering in bed, so pack comfy clothes. I packed loose fitting PJ sets with pants and button-up tops. This made it easy for skin-to-skin access. I also rocked a robe and diaper look in the hospital and for the first few weeks postpartum.
Adult diapers – Labour is messy and so is the recovery. I found it so much easier and a lot more comfortable to just wear adult diapers instead of pads. If you’re not into the diaper thing – pack lots of granny panties/maternity underwear and super long, overnight pads.
Snacks – Pack ALL of the snacks. Granola bars, candy, fruit, chips – whatever you want. Hospital food is ridiculously overpriced and you will be h-u-n-g-r-y! My mother and sister came to visit a few hours after RJ was born and all I remember saying to them on the phone before they arrived was, “Bring me chicken nuggets!” So, at 5am, I ate chicken nuggets sitting in the delivery bed and all my mess with a newly born RJ in one hand. One piece of advice – if you can pack some high fiber snacks, that’d be helpful for the dreadful first postpartum poop.
Going Home Outfit – I packed loose leggings, a nursing tank, and a cardigan to go over top. Your body just went through a lot – be kind to it by wearing something super comfortable.
Diapers – 15-20 newborn size. You’ll want to make sure you have enough because the newborn poops are nasty AF!
Wipes – I’m telling you, babies are messy and gross – especially their first poops…heads up, they’re black and look like tar.
Diaper cream – Penaten or even petroleum jelly or coconut oil to soothe their tiny lil bottoms.
Swaddling blankets – the hospital will provide some to use, but you can bring your own. These are also helpful if visitors come stinking of perfume or cologne or whatever. It’s good to have that barrier between baby and them.
Onesies (going home outfit) – I brought two, a NB size and 0-3 month size because I had no idea how big he was going to be. Plus, with the poop that comes out of a newborn, it’s good to have a backup, just in case. I didn’t put clothes on RJ until the morning we left though – up til then, it was skin-to-skin all day and night.
Cotton hats – you have to keep the warmth in, and their heads are gross and gunky and sometimes misshaped (RJ had the biggest conehead thanks to 3 hours of pushing!) so hats help cover that mess up.
Take into consideration the time of year you’re giving birth. RJ came on 02.02.2020, dead of winter – so I packed warm hats, gloves, and booties for him to wear home, and a warm blanket for the car.
In addition to everything listed, we also packed Mike a pillow and sheet for him to catch some zzz’s on the uncomfortable hospital furniture and of course, his phone charger.
I mentioned I packed my hospital bag in a new carry-on luggage on wheels, and there was a reason for that. When you’re 9 months pregnant – you don’t want to carry a heavy bag into the hospital and when you’ve just had a baby, you don’t want to carry a heavy bag to the car. Even if you have a partner there with you – one of you will have to carry the car seat to the car. So, luggage on wheels is the way to go!
That’s pretty much it. It seems like a lot, but I honestly used each and every thing on the list.
Can you think of anything missing from my hospital bag list?