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Heading to the hospital with your first baby is a strange experience. You walk into triage as a couple, and you leave as parents! To me, the hospital bag for mom and baby was the most important item to have ready at month seven during my first pregnancy. I kept the bag in a specific spot so my husband or I would remember to grab it on the way out the door for the hospital. With the second, I never got to pack a bag because she came early. Thankfully I knew exactly what I did and didn’t need for the hospital stay this time around and could keep items at a minimum. I would suggest checking with your hospital first before packing your bag. Our hospital offered most of the essentials for postpartum care for myself and newborn care for my babies.
HOSPITAL BAG FOR MOM AND BABY
I bought a nice sized overnight bag to fit 2-3 days worth of clothes in. Remember, we’re only packing the essentials. It’s going to the hospital, so don’t invest in anything too expensive.
Makeup - I packed just a few items in a small travel sized makeup bag. Foundation, mascara, blush, and CONCEALER! I don’t typically wear a lot of makeup and didn’t feel like I needed everything with me. Don’t forget chapstick. Your lips will become very dry during labor. I really like Vaseline Lip Therapy. Wipes to remove makeup is another thing to add in. If you forget, a baby wipe will do just as well for a one-time solution.
Hair - I packed dry shampoo both times. I made sure my hair was clean before going to the hospital so I wouldn’t have to wash it while I was there. (My hair is really long and thick and requires extra work, so being able to wash my hair at home before going to the hospital was essential to me. I know this isn’t possible for everyone.) Don’t forget hair ties or a headband for labor and nursing.
Miscellaneous - I took travel sized toiletries in the brands I preferred (shampoo/conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, perfume, etc). Our hospital provided towels and thankfully I didn’t have to pack one. Don’t forget to pack a tube of Lanolin if you’re planning to breastfeed. If you forget, be sure to ask the lactation consultant for some right away.
I had a lot of ambition with my first baby. I packed a new pair of clothes for three days! The reality was, I rarely changed out of the hospital gowns because they weren’t constricting to my postpartum body, they were easy to nurse in, and I knew I wouldn’t have to add them to the laundry pile when I got home.
Nursing Robes - With our first baby, we had several visitors at the hospital and it was nice to slip into a printed robe when people came so I looked somewhat presentable while sitting in the bed. With our second baby, we weren’t there long enough for any visitors other than my parents, so I just stayed in the hospital gown.
Nursing Cover - It’s not a necessity, but it is nice to have if you will be accepting visitors.
Loose-fitting Pants - I had a pair of loose pants for comfort just in case I decided to get out and walk the halls.
Going Home Outfit - I packed a set of clothes to wear home from the hospital that consisted of a pair of maternity pants (you’ll still look 3-6 months pregnant when you leave), a nursing bra, and a loose-fitting shirt to hide the bump I still had even though the baby was earthside. For mommas delivering in the cooler months, consider packing a cardigan to wear home.
Nursing Pads - I see a lot of women add these to the hospital bag, but I never needed them until I was home and on day 4 or 5 when my milk came in. If you think you’ll need them, only pack a couple as a precaution.
Socks - My feet would get so cold at night during our hospital stays. A pair of socks with grips on the bottom were a must. Again, I didn’t invest in anything expensive and trashed them before we left the hospital. Your hospital might provide some if you forget to pack them.
Underwear - Don’t expect to leave wearing anything cute. There, I said it! Once you deliver, you’ll understand. Our hospital provided these amazing, oversized underwear (if you can even call them that) and everything else I needed down there to recover from delivery.
Dirty Linens Bag - This doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be just a plastic sack that you stuff in a pocket. I put all my dirty clothes in there after they were worn at the hospital, including the clothes I walked into triage wearing. This made it easy to put straight in the dirty hamper when we unpacked at home.
Flip-flops - You’ll want these to protect your feet when you shower. Buy cheap ones or pack old ones so you can trash before you leave.
DEVICES AND CHARGERS
It’s always a good idea to invest in an extra charging cable for your phone. Look for one that’s extra long. Sometimes in the hospital you never know how far away an open outlet will be. This will be a charger that you keep packed in the hospital bag. You don’t want to have to be chasing something down while you’re contracting and rushing out the door.
Communication - You’ll want to set up a group message or have a list of people you’d like to contact first after the baby is born. Thankfully, my husband was there and took care of all of that for us. If you don’t have a significant other, but know there will be someone in the delivery room with you, feel free to assign them that communication task. Trust me, you won’t have the mental capacity to do so once the baby arrives.
Photos - I took a really nice camera to the hospital with my first baby and only used my phone for the second. Personal preference, but I liked having my phone instead of my DSLR there in the delivery room.
A lot of moms suggest packing a pillow to take to the hospital with you, but I couldn’t bring myself to take my own. Germs and the idea of hospital germs being on my pillows that I would then take home to my own bed and sleep on just got the best of me and grossed me out. The pillows are thin, so if you’re like me and can’t fathom bringing your own, ask for extras.
Snacks - I had sports drinks with electrolytes packed for myself after delivery and a few snacks for my husband if needed throughout the day. Nothing extreme. Thankfully, he was able to leave and come back throughout both stays. Anything we needed, he would pick up on his way back to the hospital. I also packed my favorite gum because my mouth gets really dry.
Playlist - Make a playlist on your favorite app to have available during labor and help you relax once you get settled into your own room.
Hair Ties or Headband - I usually always have a hair tie on my wrist, but didn’t when I went into labor both times. I was thankful I packed extras in my bag for the hospital.
White Noise Machine - If you sleep with a sound machine or a fan, purchase a travel size one that doesn’t take up a lot of room in your bag.
Car Seat - Install your car seat a few weeks in advance and get it inspected by a certified technician.
Many hospitals offer clothes for babies, but they aren’t always the cutest. I packed a couple organic knotted baby gowns. They are soft and comfortable, but also elegantly modern. Baby gowns also make diaper changes a breeze. You can also never go wrong with your classic baby onesie.
Coming Home Outfit
You’ll want a cute coming home outfit that is also perfect for a birth announcement photo. Our baby’s first day bundles come with a birth announcement sign, knotted gown and hat, and a swaddle blanket. Baby will be photo ready and all set to leave the hospital.
Blankets - I brought my own swaddle blankets with me. The hospital will likely provide blankets, but your own blankets will come in handy when leaving the hospital. If you’re due in the colder months, also bring a thicker blanket for the ride home.
Birth Announcement Sign
I wish we would have had these when I delivered my first two! Ours arrive packaged in a protective sheet so you can easily pack it in the hospital bag once you receive it and it’s protected until you’re ready to use it. You can browse all of our design options by CLICKING HERE.