As we all know we are expecting a new arrival sometime in the next month, so what better time than now to share our hospital bag essentials?!
When to Pack?
Most websites will tell you to start packing your bag around 35 weeks. With Luca, I didn’t follow this which resulted in me frantically packing after hanging up with the on-call doctor who told me to pack a bag, get the carseat and come in immediately because my water had broken at 35 and a half weeks. As I ran around my son’s nursery like a… well… first time mom, I had no clue what to pack and just shoved everything I could see in a bag. Moral of the story, I strongly recommend having at least a bare essentials bag as early as 35 weeks.
Bag for Mom:
- Documentation: If you can, look into Pre Admission Paperwork at your hospital to see if you can knock some of the paperwork out before D-Day but either way, you’ll still need the normal stuff like License and Health Insurance card. If you have a Birth Plan, go ahead and have that printed in your bag as well! (although don’t be disappointed if not everything goes according to plan)
- Nursing/Pumping Essentials: Even if you don’t plan to nurse be sure to bring some pads to help with any potential leaking before you dry up. If you do plan on nursing or pumping, then I would suggest bringing nursing pads, a couple nursing bras, your nipple cream/oil of choice, and of course if your exclusively pumping, pump and storage supplies!
- Comfortable, loose pajamas/Outfit: I was so thankful to have a couple new sets of pajamas that weren’t my normal oversized t-shirts and sweatpants. People will be coming and going, lots of photos will be taken, and just the mentality of having something nicer will make you feel better. This time around, I am not buying new but I am bringing my nicer ones. I would also encourage a robe or comfy pull over since the hospitals can be on the chilly side! (In case you were wondering average hospital stay is 2-3 days)
- Grip Socks/House shoes: I’ve read this on other lists and thankfully had ordered some pre-Luca. I loved having these for walking around my room/the halls/the NICU. I have pulled them all out and they are a definite in my bag! & if you don’t want to buy grip socks, feel free to bring your house shoes and slip them on for bathroom breaks or walks.
- Toiletries: Contacts/glasses, brush, deodorant, toothbrush/paste, shampoo/conditioner, etc (also consider smaller things like chapstick, hair ties, etc)
- Chargers: Does this need explanation?!?
- Going Home Outfit: You will not be your normal size yet! So bring a loose (or even maternity) outfit to head home. I believe the rule of thumb is that if you fit in it around 6 months pregnant, then it will probably fit after birth.
- Self Care/Comfort Items: These are things that are just going to make you feel better or more comfortable. Many people like to get made up for photos so curling iron/straightener/etc, make up. For me, this also included my pillow! Hospital beds are not known for their comfort level and this made me feel a little more comfortable. I would suggest putting on a colorful pillow case (something not white/cream) so the cleaning staff doesn’t mistake it as one of theirs!
- Underwear/Pads: I know it’s not flattering to discuss, but you will be bleeding for a while after delivery, and we don’t want to ruin the comfort clothes you bought. With that being said I would HIGHLY recommend bringing underwear that will fit thick pads, the pads of your choice, or even some depends.
- After Care: Finally, I strongly suggest using something like the Belly Bandit. I did a lot of research on ‘belly binding’ after birth and all the research ended the same way, “it may not really do anything but it doesn’t cause harm”. So I decided to give it a shot. The theory is that the belly binding helps your organs move back into place quicker and helps pull everything together that the hormone, relaxin, has helped push apart for labor. My personal experience is that it made a huge difference! I started the day after delivering Luca (because someone had to go buy it for me) but I suggest it to everyone! (not an ad)
Now you aren’t alone so don’t forget Hubby/significant other needs a bag too!
- Pillow/Blanket: They may not have a real bed unfortunately so again, anything that will help with sleeping at night!
- Chargers: Again, no need to explain here.
- Change of clothes/Pajamas: Depending on the plans and who will be there, hubby maybe at the hospital the whole time you are. This means they will need clothes for the full stay. If you live close by, he may be able to run home for clothes or naps while others are with you but why not be prepared?
- Toiletries: again, with above, if they don’t plan to leave then bring all this. If they can (and want to) run home then they don’t have to bring this.
- Snacks/Change for snack: Someone sent us a snack basket after Luca was born and it was SO helpful. Just having something like crackers, nuts, or candy to snack on between waiting on meals was a huge help. So I suggest bringing your favorite protein/granola bars, non perishable snacks, or lots of quarters for the snack machine!
- Anything you told him to be in charge of: Dad’s job here is to take care of you! So delegate if you need to.
As you won’t be the only one staying, your sweet family will be coming home with an extra person (or more if you’re having multiples!) So let’s think baby bag! Thankfully they don’t need too much at this point that the hospital won’t provide.
- Swaddle and hat set
- 2-3 newborn outfits
- Going home outfit
- Props for photos: stuffed animal/word board/etc.
After all that I want to emphasize, don’t stress over this part. When it comes down to it, there are some essentials you’ll need but overall pack what will make you comfortable. You can always send people out to pick stuff up from your home or the store. In the end, you’ll be coming home with that sweet little baby so the bag really isn’t that important in the long run.