15 Things You Need in Your Hospital Bag
a few things you can definitely do without
As a happy mother to a healthy 5 month old son, I have lived through labor at a hospital.
My husband and I attended parenting classes, and I scrolled through Pinterest avidly, and we packed our hospital bags weeks ahead of time.
However, the best teacher (as always) is EXPERIENCE.
After my experience, here is my list of what 15 things (in my opinion) you will need:
- BLANKETS! The hospital has great pillows (at least mine did) but their blankets were not comfortable, at least not for me. They weren’t very thick or soft. Plus, after hours of labor, I would’ve given anything to curl up under my soft comforter.
Also, if you ask my husband, he could NOT sleep at the hospital. They didn’t provide him a cot- just a recliner. And he said it would’ve been so much more tolerable if he would’ve had his own comfy blanket.
- PHONE CHARGER! You will be taking so many photos and getting so many phone calls, that sucker is going to die. Be prepared. Maybe even buy an extra charger to put in your bag,
- PHONE/CAMERA! Given. You’ll want pictures and videos of your big day! And you’ll want to spread the news!
- SHAMPOO/CONDITIONER! Hospital shampoo and conditioner is not nearly as comforting as your own. I was so proud of myself for packing to go containers of my favorite stuff. After hours and hours of labor, that first shower is HEAVENLY, and it felt better after I came out smelling and feeling fresh. I even got a compliment from my nurse about how refreshed I looked.
- LOTION! As previously stated, hospital stuff is okay, but it’s not as nice as your own. Labor, even with an epidural or drugs, is so taxing on your body. It feels so good when you get a minute to do something simple for yourself – like shower or brush your teeth or put on lotion. Take advantage!
- SNACKS! I underestimated how much I can eat in just a few days, and we ordered a ton of room service. It was good food, but it would’ve been nice to just be able to whip out a bag of chips or something and snack on them while my family was visiting or when I was up at 3am nursing a baby. Especially since ordering room service always takes a bit of time, and (in my opinion) it’s kind of awkward to eat a full meal in front of guests. Plus, there is no such thing as eating a hot meal once you have a baby – even a newborn. You’ll be constantly either nursing a baby or entertaining guests. So bring snacks/foods that don’t need to be cooked to taste good. Apples, bananas, chips, etc. Bonus points for snacks that can be eaten with one hand (poptarts, granola bars, etc). WARNING. Don’t bring anything with nuts. Some hospitals won’t allow them.
- COMFY CLOTHES and DARK PANTS/SHORTS! Gross but true fact- you will lose a lot of blood. You will be leaking fluids out of every surface. You will be wearing nursing pads in your bra, and you will be wearing giant hospital underwear and giant pads and ointment etc. inside of them. You will not be able to wear fitted clothing, and you won’t want to. I was most comfortable in a tank top, my own comfy bathrobe from home, and black sweat pants. I wore a variation of that outfit everyday.
Plus, when tops are stretchy/comfy they are easier to nurse in!
- PERSONAL HYGIENE NECESSITIES! Deodorant. Toothpaste. Hairbrush. Toothbrush. I feel like these are obvious but my list would be incomplete without them.
- WHITE NOISE MACHINE/MUSIC/FAN! Hospital rooms are either crazy quiet or crazy busy. Either way, if you want any hope of sleep, you want noise! Otherwise all you will do is concentrate on your baby’s breathing or the constant footsteps or machine beeps. You will barely be sleeping as it is- do what you can to change that!
- BABY CLOTHES! You will want a couple cute outfits to show your baby off in when you have visitors. One of my favorite things was getting my baby dressed for the first time! You won’t need too many outfits, maybe two or three. They aren’t big/messy enough to wreck outfits yet. We just brought one for each day.
SIDE NOTE. I learned that pretty much every baby will be born as a size “newborn”. Newborn is up to 10 lbs in baby clothes. I had packed a bunch of different sizes because I was worried that he wouldn’t fit into newborn clothes/diapers, but the nurses informed me that pretty much every baby will be size newborn at least for a week or two.
- PAPER/BABY BOOK/FOLDER! You’ll get a lot of really great mementos from the hospital. You’ll get the umbilical cord clip, you can get footprints of your baby, you can get a print out of your contractions/heart beat monitor, pictures of ultrasounds, etc. Bring something to safely store these in so you aren’t just shoving them in a duffle bag! They also gave us an extra copy of my baby’s footprints, and I brought a blank white sheet of paper for my baby book for him to get his hand prints and foot prints put on.
- AN EXTRA BAG! If you are like us, you are going to get presents and a lot of baby gear (both from guests and from the hospital) as well as stuff to take care of you (ointment, bandages, etc). We needed an extra bag just for all of that stuff!
This was my husband’s FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE baby shower gift, and he still uses it DAILY . It’s a diaper backpack!!!!!
- CASH! Vending machines. Parking lots/meters. These things (usually) take cash only. Keep some in your bag.
- FLIP FLOPS/GRIPPY SOCKS! I lived in my fuzzy, grippy socks. But flip flops would’ve worked too. One of those situations in life where you don’t quite feel comfortable/sanitary walking around barefoot but you don’t want to wear tennis shoes when you are in total lounge mode.
- BATHROBE! Probably the best thing I packed.
Things I packed but I didn’t touch:
- MAKEUP! I thought I would want to get all dolled up for visitors, but in reality I was too exhausted to even brush my hair. Plus, your baby doesn’t care what you look like!
- CUTE, FITTED OUTFITS! As previously stated, these were impractical and also unwearable.
Fun Fact. You’ll still look pregnant for several days/weeks after you give birth and will still need to wear maternity clothes.
- BOARD GAMES/CARDS! Yeah, you aren’t going to play those while you’re in labor. And after the baby has arrived he/she will suck all your attention (in a good way). Save the space.
- DIAPERS/WIPES/BABY SUPPLIES! All you will need are a couple outfits. The hospital will supply you with more than enough diapers, wipes, ointment, and anything else you’ll want. I even got to take home a bunch of blankets, wipes, diapers, etc. Again, save the space! Just pack a couple cute outfits!
- PACIFIERS! Turns out, you aren’t even supposed to give a baby a pacifier until they are at least a month or two old. It’ll interfere with breastfeed.
I didn’t include this in my list because it wouldn’t technically go in a bag, but:
You will need a safe, non-recalled, non-expired car seat in order to leave the hospital. They will have you bring it to your room and approved by your nurse/doctor. Do not forget this!
Good luck! Please feel free to share any other tips you have!