Mom-to-be’s Hospital Bag Checklist
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I wish this could be an “if I could re-pack my hospital bag” post, but let’s be real. It’s an “if I actually packed a hospital bag” post. You’ll soon see why.
If you’re already pregnant, you should pack your bag right now.
Okay, that’s a bit premature. But seriously, once you’re part way into your second trimester, you should really start packing that thing. Along with daddy-to-be’s bag, which luckily, I’ve already written about!
If you leave it too late, you’ll end up like I did, sitting on a toilet, waiting for your husband to arrive with granny panties and the biggest feminine pads you’ve seen since you started puberty.
Packing my hospital bag was such an oversight that it basically didn’t even happen. I’m not joking, the day I was going to go get the things I needed for my bag, I got out of bed, and my water broke. You can read about our birth story here!
Don’t do what I did
So, long story short.
I stopped working one month before my due date, mainly because my hubby and I were living on the other side of the country, with no family. We had framily (friends who were like family) but it’s not the same. Mainly because I’d say, we love our framily more, joking!
Any pickle, I had been off of work for exactly two weeks and had my list planned of what I was going to buy for my hospital bag. Because well, Pinterest told me what to get, as did my doula. However, the list my doula gave me was the best, seriously.
I can’t thank her enough, our doula was amazing.
Related post: Why You Need A Doula
So, the day I was getting out of bed, to get ready to go shopping, my water broke. And when I say water broke, it was more like the hoover dam erupted from my lady parts. Luckily, it waited to happen until I got into our bathroom.
Can I just say, I was not prepared for the fact that it would keep coming, whenever it felt like it, with no warning, in random gushes?
Yeah, that was fun. And I’m sure I’m painting a beautiful picture for you.
Anywho, that’s all I need to say, to tell you that, your baby, or babies if you’re having multiples, will come whenever they like. So you better be prepared with a bag at the door.
Don’t wait until you’re well into your third trimester, and sitting on the toilet, waiting for your husband to get home from work and the mall with everything you need.
Again, glamorous, as usual, I know!
After my hubby got home, not only did we throw any random things I thought I’d need in the bag, but we started doing all of the things we didn’t do ahead of time. You know, like our baby’s laundry, and things like that.
Related post: Baby Laundry Tips 101
I think the day my water broke was also the day I realized what type of mom I’d be. A hot mess. There was no stopping it, I was on the hot mess express with no stops in sight from the get-go.
With all of the items, I’m about to list off, keep in mind, when it comes to beauty and hygiene, try to go for items with little to no scent. Because well, you’re in a hospital darling.
Shampoo & conditioner
Might we suggest using travel size bottles? Save space, and weight in your bag for when you steal. I mean, graciously take, all of those mesh underwear the nurses thought they had hidden.
Go for something that is gentle on your skin, and that will be safe for your baby if you are breastfeeding.
Toothbrush & toothpaste
Deodorant or antiperspirant
Goes without saying, but, like toothpaste and a toothbrush, needs to be here.
Buy one that you are willing to throw away at the hospital, because well, there will be blood, and other stuff happening. Also, be very, very gentle on your nether regions. My suggestion, use your peri bottle, if you do need some wiping, type of cleaning to be done, don’t wipe, pat. For the love of stitches, pat, do not, ever, ever wipe new stitches, ouch. Not to mention, you don’t need those getting stuck in your loofah.
Tucks medicated wipes
These babies are technically for hemorrhoids, however, they’re also a new mama’s best friend. Again, pat, do not wipe.
Depends or overnight pads
Many second time moms opt for depends. We already know what it was like to have postpartum bleeding leaks, so we know better. You can always pad up a depend. While I know it will hurt your ego to buy them, you’ll thank yourself later.
Shower flip flops
If you haven’t had a child, you don’t know the horror of what your shower will look like after birth. Let’s think about how many other post-birth ladies have been in that shower. Get shower flip-flops, then throw them out when you’re leaving the hospital.
This is one of those optional things. Your milk may not have come in enough for you to be leaking everywhere yet, but every mom is different. Bring some just in case. You don’t need a whole box, but some are better than none if you need them.
Oh, this bottle. It’s a new mom’s bestie. No joke, it’s so refreshing. Lucky for me, my hospital gave me one. It’s basically like a normal water bottle, that you spray your tender bits with to help clean them without rubbing. You can always ask ahead if your hospital will supply you with one.
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Full coverage underwear
Also known as, granny panties. Get a size up from what you think you need because pads will be taking up a lot of real estate in those sexy skivvies. And no, boy shorts or those cheeky lace underwear won’t do. You need the full kit and caboodle. I’m talking, what your literal grandmother would wear. You’ll end up throwing these out after you’re past your postpartum bleeding stage anyway.
Slippers & socks
Bring slippers that you are okay with throwing away. In case you have an accident on them while you’re laboring, or otherwise. Socks or even slipper socks are wonderful as well. Personally, shoes were only worn by myself when I was entering and leaving the hospital. Otherwise, it was slipper socks and socks for me the whole time.
Make sure they are comfy, and that they are wide enough to accommodate possible swollen feet. My feet retained so much water that my flip flops didn’t really fit. Yeah, it was that bad. They were so uncomfortable.
Nightdress or pj’s
What I really mean by nightdress is moomoo. You know, those big, huge, granny nightgowns. This is a time to be comfortable, and accessible. For your baby, and the toilet. Again, I’m just going to be real with Y’all. This isn’t about glamor, this is about functionality. Some people choose PJ pants and a top. I preferred the ease of a moomoo for all of the private part cleanings, as well as pumping and breastfeeding.
My entire hospital stay, I lived in a hospital gown and a moomoo. Some moms prefer outfits, and if you do, I suggest, the stretchier the better. Just be realistic though, you’re probably still going to be in maternity clothes for a while. So be kind to yourself, don’t bring your pre-pregnancy yoga pants, they won’t fit, and your hormones are already at an all-time high.
Preferably ones that have easy access for breastfeeding, if you’re doing it. Don’t bring overly fitted shirts either. Think tunic, or relaxed fit, again, probably your maternity clothes still.
Going home outfit
Baby isn’t the only one who needs one of these. You do too! Pick something comfy.
You don’t want an underwire bra right about now. Again, going for comfort and ease of access. I was wearing some wonderful nursing bras from my third trimester well into my postpartum time and I can’t say enough good things about them!
Something I wish I would have brought to the hospital was a robe. I saw so many new moms wandering the halls with cute, functional, cotton robes and I was highly envious. Especially if you’re wearing a hospital gown or a nightdress, they’re a great, practical accessory. Go for a short or mid-length robe so that you don’t have to worry about either dipping it in the toilet, or tripping on it!
Body & face lotion
Hospitals are so dry. Remember to opt for brands which are gentle enough to be close to your baby’s skin.
Hair ties & bobby pins
You’ll probably have some in your hair on the way to the hospital anyway. However, just like at home, you’ll lose them at the hospital, so pack extras!
Makeup & brushes
Some moms are in full glam, some decide to be au natural. Typically, I’m always wearing makeup. However, while in the hospital, I didn’t put any on until we were leaving! These items are totally up to you. It is nice to have something on hand for those hospital pictures with your baby, or when people stop by unexpectedly.
This can be in the form of wipes, micellar water, your remover of choice, or as I prefer to use coconut oil. Why coconut oil? Well, it’s natural, it doesn’t sting, it gets the job done well, and my face isn’t left feeling dry and terrible afterward. All you have to do is melt a dollop in your hand, rub all over your face, and then wipe off with a cloth. That’s it!
It’s hard to find time to shower, and even harder to find dry shampoos with no scent. I prefer dry shampoo in a pinch rather than washing my hair because for one, I’m saving time, and two, ain’t nobody got time to blow dry their hair while in the hospital. Nobody.
Do not, I repeat, do not forget this. Also, like your other skincare items, don’t forget to make sure that it is safe for your baby, because well, there will be baby smooches.
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Cellphone & charger
What list wouldn’t be complete without these? You’ll already have your phone, that’s a given, just for the love of Buddha, don’t forget the charger!
Tablet, or laptop, and charger
I’d prefer a tablet over a laptop, much lighter, and less cumbersome. But to each their own! It would have been wonderful to have some Netflix available for those times when little man was sleeping and we were just sitting there asking each other “now what?”.
These are great in an emergency, like for instance, when you forgot that cell phone, or tablet charger that I told you to bring. Or your spouse forgot theirs.
Book or magazine
Some people like to read, I’m not one of them. At least not books. I read blogs, which is probably why I have one. I don’t have time to sit down with a whole book at this time in my life. But, if you enjoy them, maybe you would like that more than Netflix!
Then there are magazines, do people still buy those? You know you can get them on your tablet now right? Then again… Much less heartache if you forget a magazine at the hospital rather than your tablet or laptop!
This is for playing those soothing, Enya tracks while you’re in labor. Just kidding, they’re for blasting gangster rap that’ll help you through those gnarly contractions because you, like me, opted for no epidural. Jokes aside, the speakers on your phone are only so loud, and it’s nice to have some ambiance in those hospital rooms.
Notebook & pen
This isn’t just for sketching. Consider this notebook your new memory apparatus. Whenever a doctor, nurse, lactation consultant, or midwife offers a tip, write it down. There will be so many things flying at you verbally, it’ll be like the most important pre-final lecture of your life. Also, it’s a great way to chronicle your labor, how you felt when you were pre-contractions, during, and after birth.
I’ve listed some ideas of what you could bring, to get you started. Things I would really put to the top of the list are fresh fruit and veggies, bottled drinks, and instant oatmeal, along with granola bars. You’d be surprised how expensive some hospital cafeterias are, also, you need good nutrition. Not the grey crap they have you try to ingest. Also, drinks can add up. So buy a pack of G2 at Walmart and have it at the ready for when you’re en route for mission baby.
Instant oatmeal packs make a great snack, plus, the oats are great for helping with that milk supply you’re hoping will come in fast!
You don’t want those flat, crappy hospital pillows. Just bring yours with you, it’s comfy, it smells like home, and you’ll thank yourself.
List of phone numbers
This list should be printed, not on someone’s phone. Why? Because when you’re full on in labor, there is no time to be fumbling through your contact list for aunt Edna who happens to have the spare key to your house because you forgot to let the dog out. Also, it’s good to have any vital phone numbers such as insurance, your parents, etc.
Some people can maneuver those uncomfortable hospital rockers a certain way to make feeding comfortable. Some. I wasn’t one of them. Nursing pillows help you get into that new-to-you position.
Eye mask & ear plugs
Every night, I sleep with an eye mask on and earplugs in. The mask is for obvious reasons, light. And the plugs just help drown out far off noises. Trust me, I still hear when my little guy starts squirming on his baby monitor, but it’s nice to help deafen out the cries from laboring moms, and other people’s babies. Or the annoying guests in the room next to you.
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Insurance card & drivers license
People don’t realize how vital it is to have these two items. Not only does the hospital need to know who you are, but also, how will you be covering that fancy private room of yours? Bring your cards, they will help hospital staff with being able to speak to your carrier to hash out the details so you don’t end up in a sticky, and expensive situation.
This could be your birth plan. If you have one. Or your list of procedures you do/don’t want to be performed on your new baby. For instance, do you want delayed cord clamping? Maybe you want to breastfeed right away and have baby cleaned on you. Or, do you want certain affirmations said to you to calm you down? Anything that is important to you, or that you feel may get overlooked, is worth having written down so your birth team knows what you do and do not want.
Don’t try to cram everything into that cute little gym bag. You need space. Regardless of how neat you’ve packed, you’ll need room for rummaging. Why? Because chances are, someone else will need to go through it for you at some point, and the more room you have for things to be moved around without having to unpack the entire bag onto the gross hospital floor, the better. Also, you’ll probably take a bunch of stuff like mesh underwear, extra pads, the blanket they wrapped your baby in for the first time, you name it. There’s no shame, we all do it.
Pro tip, use this list as a hospital bag repack list! What does that mean? Make sure you don’t forget anything leaving the hospital, because trust me, they’ll be turning that room over quick for the next mommy-to-be and her posse!
You got this!
This is going to be a fun, crazy and bumpy ride, but darn it, that baby is going to come when they are ready, so now, you will be too! I have all the faith in the world mama. Ladies like me and you are birthing babies all over the world right now. It’s an amazing, scary, thrilling, painful and unexplainable experience, and I’m so, so excited for you!
If you have any suggestions for what should go into a hospital bag, leave it below in the comments!
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