What I learned from my first delivery…
With my first baby, I obviously had no idea what to expect from our hospital experience. I scoured countless mommy blogs, looking for comprehensive lists of what to pack in my hospital bag. You guys, there were so many different things that people suggested you pack. I mean, photos of you and your husband? A white noise machine? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Or space for that matter. Because what happens is, your bag gets to be heavy, and crowded, and it’s hard as heck to find the things that you do need when the time arises!
I also underestimated the important of postpartum “things.” Who needs cute post-delivery attire? Toiletries? I’ll just take care of that when I get home, right? But then I found out we would be at the hospital for three entire days. I looked, and felt, disgusting, and it gave me a lot of anxiety. I couldn’t wait to get home to shower, and fix myself.
It is also important to remember to pack for your partner. Let me tell you, if you are delivering at a hospital/hospital birth center, the “amenities” for your partner are incredibly uncomfortable! So bring a few things to make your partner as comfortable as possible. Our hospital room was so, so cold, so I definitely recommend bringing some comfortable layers as well, so that your partner can change and adjust as necessary.
Finally, I feel like the hospital really provided a ton of things for baby, so I recommend not packing too much for your little one, and making sure that you have enough space for any additional stuff that they will be sending home with you (hats, swaddles, pacifiers, diapers, bulb syringes). This also applied to nursing supplies. The hospital provided me with lanolin, nursing pads, etc.
What to pack in your hospital bag for baby
- Two outfits to come home in, in two different sizes (one newborn, one 0-3 months)
- A hat for baby
- Car seat, installed and inspected.
- A snuggly blanket in case it is chilly, snowy or rainy outside
- Burp cloths
What to pack in your hospital bag for you
- Birth plan/Birth Preferences
- Lip balm (you are going to be doing a lot of mouth breathing, and the hospital air is super dry)
- Comfy clothes for post-delivery.
- Nursing pads
- Nipple cream
- Postpartum undies/incontinence undies (these are more comfortable than the mesh undies and giant pads that they give you at the hospital)
- Glasses/contacts/solution if you need them!
- Body wash/Face wash/soap
- Makeup basics
- Hair dryer
- Hair ties and headbands to keep your hair up, and out of the way
- Camera, tablet, etc.
- Chargers for phone, camera, tablet, etc.
- A pillow
- Baby book (if you plan to use one)
- Magazines or books, in case you need to pass some time
For your partner:
- An extra change of clothes
- Comfy sleep gear (sweats and a sweatshirt)
- Entertainment (books, magazines, a tablet)
- Comfy pillow and a blanket
- Cell phone
- Snacks, snacks, snacks
Other things to consider
- One thing I haven’t mentioned is what to use as your hospital bag. I recommend a rolling suitcase. Between all the stuff you’ll be lugging to and from the hospital, and having to leave via wheelchair, it is easiest to have something you can pull, and something large enough to fit everything you need!
- It is recommended that you do something to thank the hospital team. While some people are inclined to bring home-baked goodies, chances are these are going to get tossed. Instead, try stocking up on some Starbucks gift cards. You can buy a multipack in small denominations.
- Don’t forget all of your necessary paperwork! I recommend pre-registering at the hospital, and they will help you prepare for any additional documentation you will need.
At the end of the day, being prepared is great. But don’t obsess over your hospital bag. If there is anything you don’t have, you partner or family members can always make a quick run to the store. As a wise yoga teacher/doula once told me, the only things you need to bring to the hospital are your boobs, and a carseat. She has a point.