One right of passage all expectant moms go through is packing their hospital bag. Since there is usually an element of surprise to labor, it’s important to be prepared with the essentials. Our first trip to the hospital involved a giant roller suitcase, so needless to say we’ve learned along the way what to bring and what to keep at home. Here are some of the items that have helped us through labor and recovery and are hospital bag essentials –
Nursing essentials – the first first days of breastfeeding can be very difficult and painful! Arrive prepared with the essentials that will help set you up for success – nipple butter, nursing pads, breastfeeding pillow, nursing bras and nursing friendly tops! Also bring a nipple shield as they can be very handy in the early days of breastfeeding, and the hospital doesn’t always provide them! And if you’re planning on having visitors you may also want to bring a nursing cover for privacy. You can check out all of our essentials and favorite brands here.
An Outfit – The hospital will provide you with all the linens you need during your stay, but you will want to pack an outfit for you and your little to leave the hospital in! And chances are your husband or mom will be snapping pics during your departure, so make sure you feel both stylish and comfortable. Also keep in mind your body will look more like your preggo version than your non-preggo version, so it’s a good idea to pack your maternity clothes. The hospital will also provide you with a blanket (which is a keepsake we all hold on to), but we also liked having our own blankets to practice swaddling with, and to have on the car ride home. Plus, if you have a dog it’s a good idea to send a blanket your baby has used home with someone prior to your arrival so your pup can get used to the new baby scent.
A Robe – We all have experienced or at least heard about the dreaded hospital nightgown! Trust us, after just having a baby that is NOT the comfy and modest clothing you will want to be in. Find a cute robe or PJ set that you’ll be most comfortable in, and buy is a size bigger than you normally would! And keep in mind something you can easily nurse in. Also bring extra underwear a size or two larger than you normally wear. These should be undies you don’t mind disposing of after your stay!
Camera – Chances are you all have a phone or camera on your list! You’ll be taking a million photos those first couple of days, so make sure you also have chargers and backup batteries on your packing list.
A baby carrier can come in handy for soothing a fussy baby. For the wee little ones, we especially love the soft, cloth carries like Solly Baby. They take a bit of practice to perfect, but nothing keeps a newborn closer and cuddlier.
A snack bag! Not only is hospital food not stellar, but depending on what time of day your baby comes the hospital cafeteria may be closed. Which as we learned, severely limits your options. After not eating during your labor or prior to your C-section, you’ll be ready to indulge and reward in some of your favorite foods.. And you’ve earned it! Also, one of the best tips we received was to pack some hard candies to suck on during labor! Your mouth can get very dry and ice chips may get old after a while, not to mention constantly having to have your cup refilled.
Toiletries – Most women stay 2 days in the hospital, so pack all your vital toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, glasses, deodorant, etc. Anything you use daily or regularly you will want to have access to.
Playlist – This last item isn’t something to pack… but we loved having a prepared playlist for our labor and recovery! Hospitals can be a pretty sterile environment, and we found having our favorite tunes playing in the background made the experience feel a little more homey. It may also be a good idea to download a white noise app for the nights – this can help block out some of the hospital noise leading to a better night’s sleep for you and your partner!
Also be sure to check out some of our favorite Instagram accounts to follow and baby apps you can download before getting to the hospital!