It’s crunch time! You’re getting to that point in pregnancy where you’re thinking, “Wow, things are getting real!” They sure are! You’re about to have that little baby in your arms so soon and there are still a million things on your to-do list, I’m sure. Now I’m getting ready to pack a hospital bag, myself, for the 2nd time so I’m going through my list of all the things I will be needing for childbirth and the following days.
Packing your hospital bag shouldn’t wait until the last minute because you never know when nature is going to call. Be ready with your bag in the car by at least 36 weeks (just in case). There’s a lot of overwhelming stresses that have to do with pregnancy and childbirth so get this out of the way early so it’s not one of them.
If you have a rolling suitcase, bring that in case you end up heading there by yourself and can’t carry a heavy bag. That’s exactly what happened to me when my water broke at home and my husband was over 2 hours away. I drove myself (safely, because I wasn’t in any pain) to the hospital and checked in with just my suitcase and a prayer- I felt like such an adult!
Also, when you’re packing, don’t forget about your partner. If he will be staying there with you for 2-3 days, he will need most of the same items that you will. So, pack him a small separate bag or stuff his belongings in yours if there is room. Of course he could always go home if you live close by, but it’s just better to be prepared because I didn’t want my husband leaving my side- not even for 30 minutes!
Here is a list of my absolute necessities, as well as some optional things too:
For you AND your partner. Hospital food is not very appetizing and you will be starving, especially if you can’t eat for many hours during labor. If you’re there for 2-3 days, hopefully you’re within close distance to some food establishments so your partner can pick up meals and also don’t feel guilty asking visitors to bring food for you. Of course there are vending machines and usually a cafeteria, but pack nonperishables that you know you will enjoy.
Hair Ties or Headbands
During labor, this is a must. Labor is hard work and you will burn up to 50,000 calories during childbirth! Make sure your hair is out of your way because you will get sweaty.
Small, Portable Fan
You will probably get really hot and this may help cool you off during labor.
Use the hospital gown during labor because you don’t want to get your nice robes messy (and you WILL get messy during childbirth-there’s lots of bodily fluids that are excreted during this process). Once you’re all showered and fresh, put on a comfortable robe and feel free to live in that throughout your whole hospital stay (and the first week home too). It’s the easiest and most convenient thing to wear for nursing your baby and you won’t want anything tight around your belly because you will probably be sore. It’s nice to get a pretty floral one for photo ops, but anything you have will do. Pink Blush Maternity has a large selection of robes and they’re beautiful quality.
Flip Flops or Slippers
Which ever you are comfortable walking the halls with. Waterproof flip-flops are also great for the shower.
Socks and a Sweater
They usually keep the hospital rooms cold, so once the you’re finally in relaxation mode, bring some items to keep you warm.
Nursing Bras & Nursing Tank Tops
For easy accessibility to your breasts while you’re nursing (which you will be doing a lot of in the hospital). I love this Medela Nursing Bra, the material is so soft and comfy for sleeping and everyday wear. The Gilligan & O Malley Nursing Bras from Target are also great for when you need a nursing bra to wear with work clothes (or anything besides your lounge clothes around the house!) They also don’t have underwire and are soft and comfy. You’ll also want to get some nursing tanks to wear around the house and under other garments.
Comfortable underwear that are ok to get ruined
Again, there will be a lot of blood and bodily fluids, so pack large comfortable underwear that you can fit heavy maxi pads in. Thongs will not be cutting it after delivery! These briefs are so soft and comfy- you won’t even want to take them off.
My Breast Friend is my favorite nursing pillow (straps right under your breasts so you can maintain proper posture and not hurt your back while nursing). You’ll need this from when you start nursing in the hospital to get you and your baby in a comfortable position during breast feeding.
Anything you have to help with sore and cracked nipples- Ameda gel pads were LIFE SAVERS for me and lanolin cream, as well (although your hospital may have some lanolin for you, but not always). Check out my other post on Postpartum Survival Kit for more ideas of things to stock up on for post-delivery issues.
Can’t be stuck with a dead phone, especially with all the photos you will be taking.
Toiletries- shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush/comb, makeup bag
Pack these for you AND your partner. If your partner is planning on staying with you, remember he will need to shower and freshen up as well.
The hospital does provide you with towels, but they are rough and paper thin.
Hair dryer, curling iron, hair straightener
It might be the furthest thing from your mind after you deliver, but if you’re the type of person who wants to look nice for visitors and photos, don’t forget these valuables. Most hospitals aren’t like hotels and are not equipped with hair dryers if you plan to make yourself look presentable.
Pillow & Blanket
Hospital beds are not comfortable whatsoever so if you can bring your own pillow & blanket from home that you feel comfortable with- do that. Also, if your partner is sleeping there on the uncomfortable chair/couches, bring some for him, as well.
Comfortable/lounging clothes for going home in
Remember you will still look 6 months pregnant when you go home from the hospital, so pack things to wear that are not tight around your belly or hips.
Extra plastic bag for dirty laundry
Extra bag for supplies you will take from the hospital
Newborn & 3 month onesies and zip-up one piece sleepers
The hospital will have little shirts for the baby and they really just need to wear that and a diaper and be wrapped in a blanket. However, If you’d like to make your baby more comfortable (and look better for photos), bring your own. Both sizes should be good in case you have a very large baby, but most will fit into newborn clothes for the first few days. I love the one piece zip up footie pajamas. They’re so convenient to get baby in and out of and they’re nice and snuggly for baby. Snaps are ok, but go for zippers if possible!
Coming home outfit
Depending on the season, dress your baby appropriately. Even newborns should be dressed as you would be dressed so don’t over or under bundle them.
The hospital does not provide these so make sure you have one on hand if needed.
Again, the hospital has blankets, but for your own photo ops, bring your own. Seasonally, muslin is good for warmer months and nice cozy warm blankets for cooler months.
Mittens & Hats
Their nails will be sharp from day one so bring a pair of mittens so they don’t scratch themselves.
I love the velcro swaddles by SwaddleMe. They really keep the baby in tight so they can’t break free.
Everything else you may need, the hospital should provide. Don’t lug all this extra stuff there and take as much of it home with you as you can!
Items that the hospital will supply (so take as much as you can)
For baby: Diapers, bottles & formula (if you need), wipes, onesies/shirts, blankets, bathing stuff, burp cloths
For you: Pain relievers, stool softeners, vaginal and hemorrhoidal creams, mattress pads, mesh underwear, Tucks pads, maxi pads, sitz bath, spray bottles – Check out my other post on Postpartum Survival Kit for more ideas of things to stock up on for post-delivery issues.