I know there’s probably thousands of blog posts and websites out there with lists of what and what not to pack in your hospital bag but I honestly don’t see the harm in writing one of my own. It’s always nice to see someone else’s perspective and hear what they found they needed or in some cases didn’t need. When I filled out my hospital pre-registration forms with both this pregnancy and Nate’s, my hospital provided a list of items to bring but to be quite frank, it was very limited. I remember reading it over the first time and thinking “There’s like seven items on here? This is all they expect I’ll need?” The list was so minimal that it actually worried me a little bit thinking that if I followed this one, I would be sending Kurt back to the house repeatedly to grab items I hadn’t thought about packing. I went online and used the Baby Center’s guide as a reference then tweaked it a bit to suit my own personal needs. I did this again for this pregnancy as well just to be on the safe side.
Now obviously all opinions are my own and things vary from hospital to hospital and even unit to unit. For example, the list my hospital gave me clearly states that they WILL NOT provide you with sanitary napkins (pads) or diapers, however; when I delivered Nate and was taken from the birthing suite over to the mother-baby unit, I had several pads and diapers in the bassinet thing they provide. My nurse also gave us several tubes of Vaseline for after the first few baby poops because I had no idea that Vaseline helped with the ‘stickiness’ and this was not on any of the lists I had reviewed. I remember telling all this to a friend who delivered a short time after me and she was shocked to hear that I had been given some diapers and pads because after she delivered, she stayed on the birthing suite side and was provided with nothing. She told me that she had one maybe two diapers at most given to her and that the nurses did not bring her any pads nor did they ask if she had any of her own. And this was the same hospital! So just keep that in mind that depending on the hospital they may or may not be willing to lend out supplies.
- Change of clothes- I went to the hospital wearing comfy pants and a sweatshirt but because my water had broken everything was completely soaked by the time I got to triage (tmi sorry). I was immediately changed into a hospital gown and had Kurt bag up my old clothes. Once I delivered Nate, within say maybe an hour or two, I wanted to be back into my normal street clothes so having an extra set with me was a definite must for last delivery as well as this upcoming one.
- Slippers- I just bought cheap dollar store ones that I knew I could throw out once labour was over. You really don’t want to be walking on hospital floors in socks or worse, bare feet! Talk about gross!
- Underwear and nursing bras- Again, I just went to the dollar store and bought cheap ‘Granny panties’ if you will. There’s no sense is ruining your nice ones. Labour and post-delivery can be quite messy to say the least so having underwear you can just throw out is key. I actually didn’t bring any nursing bras with me the first time. In fact, I didn’t even own a nursing bra when I delivered Nate but I did bring a few ‘bandeau’ type bras with me that were easy to pull down and access when needed. They actually worked out so well that I’ve packed some with me for this time too and left the nursing bras at home.
- Hair ties or a sweat band- like I said, labour is messy and you tend to sweat a lot so if you have longer hair, it’s definitely nice to be able to tie it back or push it out of your face. Don’t pay any attention to all those flawless bloggers and Instagram models out there who somehow manage to look AMAZING post delivery because I swear they’re unicorns or something. Labour is messy, sweaty, and some times stinky. Sorry but it’s true.
- Toiletries- This includes: pads, nursing pads, tooth brush, tooth paste, hair brush, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, soap (mild!!), lip balm, make up, and any other toiletries you may want with you. Travel size items are amazing for purposes like this. For whatever reason I completely forgot to bring shampoo with me when I had Nate and I remember showering and cursing to myself because I had to use the remnants of whatever the hospital had left over. Not ideal whatsoever!
- House coat or robe- If you’re up for walking the halls or you want to walk from your room to somewhere like the spa tub (if your birthing suite has one) you’ll probably want a robe on to help cover up. I neglected to bring one with me so I just opted for another hospital gown turned backwards to help cover up. I’ll probably be doing this again because I really don’t have the space left in my travel bag to accommodate a large house coat and to be honest, two gowns works just as well!
- Any information you need- This includes contact numbers, insurance info, birth plan, registration paperwork (if you haven’t submitted it already), and your health card!
- Pillow- Hospital pillows suck! They really and truly do so for your own peace of mind, I suggest bringing your own. Again, this is something I neglected to do even though I’d been told by friends, co-workers, and blog posts to do so. I definitely paid for it too because I had probably three or four pillows and I still could not get comfortable in the bed. Don’t underestimate a good quality pillow from home!
- Change of clothes- If your spouse is going to be staying the night then it’s a good idea to have a change of clothes for them. I had packed Kurt a change of clothes but because we ended up staying two nights when Nate was born, he just went home and changed for the third day we were there but having at least one set of clothes is a must.
- Electronics- I tried to make Kurt in charge of all these items the first time which included: phones, phone chargers, camera, camera charger, and our ipod. It gave him something to focus on remembering and allowed me not to worry as much.
- Comfortable shoes- This is an absolute must because your partner is going to be on their feet for long periods of time and you definitely don’t want them to be getting blisters from uncomfortable shoes and hard hospital floors. I actually remember when friends of ours had their baby girl several years ago, one of the first things the husband said to Kurt was for future reference to bring comfortable shoes because he hadn’t and was definitely paying for it after being on his feet for several hours.
- Water bottle- Instead of being forced to use the tiny cups hospitals provide for water, it’s nice to have your own refillable water bottle. Now mom most likely will not be allowed to consume large amounts of water (that’s why there’s ice chips available) but for the partner is definitely more convenient to have a large water bottle that way they’re not having to make repeated trips out of the room and down the hall to the water machine.
- Phone numbers- I know in this day and age we all keep everything on our smart phones BUT just in case you forget that ever important phone charger or you realize you don’t have Great-grandma’s number saved in your contacts, a list of phone numbers you may need is a great asset. You don’t want to forget to let someone know about the birth of the newest addition!
- Diapers- Most hospitals will not provide you with diapers so bringing a few with you is a definite must. I had a hard time deciding which diapers to bring with me; newborns or size 1? I remember actually stressing over this and convincing myself that somehow my baby was going to be like 10 lbs and wouldn’t fit into the newborn size. I ended up bringing about ten diapers in total (eight newborn and two size 1’s) but since we ended up staying in hospital for longer than 24 hours, when Kurt made a few trips home, he had to bring back more diapers with him. Who knew a newborn could poop so much?!
- Change of clothes- I actually brought like three or four sleepers and two different outfits with us because I’m kind of crazy and indecisive about things but in my defense it worked out perfectly because Nate literally pooped through all of his sleepers and I ended up needing Kurt to bring one from home because we had nothing left for him to wear. Seriously, newborns poop THAT much?! But again, I was so paranoid that we were going to have a massive baby and he wouldn’t fit into any of the newborn sleepers that I ended packing a few newborn items and a few 0-3 month items. Nate was 8.6 when he was born so in my defense (again) he was actually on the borderline of not fitting any newborn clothes! Haha
- Car seat- This should be an obvious one but I’ll still add it to the list for ‘just in case someone forgets’ purposes. Our hospital actually had told us just to leave it in the car until we were about to be discharged that way it wouldn’t take up space in the hospital room but I’m assuming this might vary from hospital to hospital because I have heard of people bringing the car seats in with them when they’re being admitted.
- Nursing pillow- I didn’t bring mine with me on admission to the hospital and I really wish I had because although newborns are small, my arms were definitely NOT used to holding that type of weight in that position. I ended up needing to use several pillows to help support myself while I was breast feeding Nate and Kurt was the one who came to my rescue by bringing it back with him on one of his runs back to our house.
- Vaseline- Like I said above, newborn poops are extremely sticky and the Vaseline helps by providing a slick surface making it easier to wipe off baby’s sensitive skin. I made sure to pack some this time around!
- Blanket- I think most hospitals provide the baby with a small gown and blanket but for going home purposes, you’ll probably want a blanket to cover baby with. Depending on what season you deliver in, that will obviously change the type of blanket you’ll want to bring with you. This time around since we’re having a summer baby and it’s already feeling super hot and humid outside, I’m opting to bring one or two Muslin blankets for baby.
Take it or Leave it (items you may or may not want with you):
- Bathing suit for mom and partner- If you’re planning a water birth or want to stay covered up in the tub, you may want to bring your bathing suit with you. This also goes for your partner in case they want to get into the tub or shower with you as well.
- Breast pump- I didn’t bring mine with me the first time and I don’t plan on bringing it with me this time either. It’s one of those personal preference things. I was having a hard enough time trying to grasp breast feeding that I didn’t feel I needed to add an extra stress (such as learning how to correctly work the pump) into the mix.
- Any reading items- For some people reading relaxes them so it makes sense to bring a book or magazine along but for me, there’s no way I could have concentrated on reading anything during labour.
- Massage oils- Kurt (bless his heart) spent several hours massaging my back during my back labour but bringing oils with us was not really on my ‘must haves’ list. I’m sure if you’re really into essential oils, this would definitely help you to relax but for me since it was my first time, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’m still on the fence if I’m going to bring some for this time around.
- Towels- Hospital towels can be pretty small so if you’re someone who likes to be completely wrapped up after a shower, you may want to bring your own, however; keep in mind that you’ll be bringing that towel back home with you to wash. If you opt to use hospital towels, you don’t need to worry about that potentially messy laundry.
- ‘Birthing Gowns’- Something like this would definitely NOT be on my list of what to pack in your hospital bag but since I’ve seen several sites like here and here that offer ‘stylish birthing gowns’ I figure this might be up some women’s alleys so I thought I’d include it on the take it or leave it list. In my personal opinion, just take the gown provided to you by your hospital. They’re easy to manage and move around in and let’s be real here, birth IS NOT a fashion show. Yes, I understand the need/want to look and feel fabulous while giving birth but labour is so messy that I can almost guarantee you’ll rather throw out your pricey gown than take it home, wash it, and use it again in the future. Save yourself the money and laundry by using the regular ol’ hospital gowns provided for you.
Well there you have it! A look at items I have or have chosen not to pack in my hospital bag. I know it seems like a lot and truth be told, I tend to go over board when packing for anything but I really feel strongly about these items. It’s hard to know for sure how long you’re going to be admitted for and having to constantly send your partner or family member running back home for things you’ve forgotten definitely sucks, especially if you live further away from your hospital like we are now. I’d rather come over prepared than under! I hope this list helps alleviate at least some stress about an upcoming delivery!
17 days left for us to go!