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When is the best time to have your hospital bag packed? If you’re anything like me, it will be packed around 35 weeks. It’s hard to keep thinking about it and not packing, so I just pack it and have it done (aside from my toothbrush and stuff.)
Others may pack it around 36-37 weeks. You do want to have it ready to go a bit early just in case there are any fun surprises!
So, what to pack in your hospital bag?
I way over packed when I went in to the hospital to give birth to my daughter. I was searching Pinterest daily for ‘pregnancy hospital bag checklist’ and read through about 300. So I heeded way too much advice and packed what looked like my house into a few duffel bags.
How much of this crap did I use, you ask?
Sincerely. You don’t need to bring that much to give birth to your baby!
There are a few things you want to keep in mind for your hospital bag:
- Being comfortable
- What you genuinely NEED
- What would be nice to have
- Baby essentials
- Things for your partner
Alright, let’s get to it!
FOR MOM’S HOSPITAL BAG
Yeah, I know. How the hell is this first on the list? If this is your first baby, trust me- you want chapstick in the hospital! It’s so incredibly dry in there plus with breathing through contractions, your lips will dry out so fast. My husband always looks at me like I’m crazy when I ask for chapstick between contractions but I don’t care and you won’t either!
2. Socks or Slippers
The hospital floor is gross. Your feet may get cold. You’ll want something for your feet, whether is comfy slippers or just a pair of socks. That really depends on you. I personally don’t wear slippers at home so socks were just fine!
3. Cozy Sweater or Cardigan
You’ll really want something warm, comforting and easy to slip on and off. The temperature fluctuations in the hospital can be insane. One minute you’ll be roasting in your nursing tank and the next you’ll be wondering why you didn’t pack your parka!
4. A Change of Clothes
Pack at least 2 changes of clothing in case you happen to be there overnight. With my second baby, everything went so smoothly that I actually under packed for my 3rd baby by a little bit. I ended up missing a dose of antibiotics and they had to keep me for 48 hours and I wished I had packed more clothing.
Don’t pack your cute pre-pregnancy clothes. Just don’t. Yes, you’ll lose some weight with giving birth but oh my goodness you’ll still want your maternity leggings. Your body just went through some crazy ass shit. Pack clothing that is loose, breathable and COMFORTABLE.
This can be different everyone. I read lists that told me to pack a curling iron AND a flat iron- like, hell no, you joking?!
Pack whatever is comfortable for you. Are you going to want conditioner? Pack it! Do you straighten your hair religiously every day? Then, by all means, pack your straightener.
The things you will for sure want/need are:
- Toothbrush and travel size toothpaste
- Minimal makeup
- Hair ties- you may really need one during labor and birth if your hair is annoying you
6. Nursing Bra
Pack a nursing bra that is super comfy and forgiving. Your milk is going to come in and it is gonna be crazy town. I searched high and low for a nursing bra that I loved and this is the only one I recommend– it’s comfortable, supportive and holds up well to the never ending washing!
Bring some easy to eat snacks that your body will thank you for! Fruit with a peel that’s easy to eat is so amazing during labor and after you give birth. Seriously, it’s heaven and hospital food can be somewhat lacking.
These nut bars are low sugar, minimal ingredients and totally delicious! I loved having them.
7. Water Bottle
Bring your own water bottle! It’s way easier to drink out of opposed to a hospital cup during labor and even after birth.
8. Nursing Pads
Grab some disposable nursing pads to use in the hospital. It’s easier than keeping the reusables to wash when you get home. These will help save you from having to change your shirt or nursing bra every feed.
9. Nipple Cream
Start using this right away, even if it seems like you have won the ‘pain free nipples’ lottery. Chances are, painful nipples will happen. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just your nipples getting used to constantly being sucked on (lol).
This usually doesn’t last too long as your body gets used to breastfeeding. But I find if you just start applying it right after the first feed, it doesn’t get as bad.
I’ve used the same cream with every baby, it’s from Earth Mama Baby Angel. It smells like chocolate and is totally safe for your baby to taste.
Or, if you’re a DIY’er, try this Vegan Healing Balm – just be sure to leave out the tea tree oil!
10. Pillow From Home
I forgot my pillow with my third baby and just about cried. There is something so comforting about using the pillow that you’re used to and smells like your house. You may actually have a chance of getting some sleep if you bring it!
11. Your Phone
I know you won’t forget this one but just in case you need a reminder.
12. A Charger
Don’t get stuck with dead electronics! It suuuucckkkkss. If you do forget it, you can always grab one from the hospital gift shop so don’t worry too much.
13. Perineal Spray
Everything stretched, you may have tearing, and hey, you just pushed a baby out of there! This perineal spray has a cooling effect and helps soothe everything going on down there.
FOR BABY’S HOSPITAL BAG
The hospital does supply diapers. Sometimes you run out in the middle of the night and you really don’t feel like calling the nurse. So I like to bring a small pack of my own just in case! These are hypoallergenic and unscented which eases my mind because of how sensitive a newborns skin is.
You can look into what your hospital will supply. For ours, it was wetting down a huge cloth in the sink and using that for a wipe. I didn’t really care for that since a pack of wipes is much easier to work with and it’s relatively small and easy to pack.
These are probably one of the most used things with a baby. I use them for swaddling in a pinch, wiping up spit up or as a nursing cover. They’re really multi-purpose! Bring a few with you for all those reasons.
What is the difference between receiving blankets and swaddling blankets, you ask? The swaddling blankets are quite a bit bigger and usually use a more breathable material, like muslim, to keep your baby’s temperature regulated. aden+anais are my favorite brand, they’re huge and perfect for keeping your baby the right temperature!
Again, they will probably supply these in the hospital but they are hospital material. I liked having my lighter and easier to work with swaddling blankets.
I SO wish I’d had a nursing pillow with me after my first daughter was born. Breastfeeding is a hell of a learning curve and if there’s one thing that can genuinely help, it’s a nursing pillow.
Get one that is sturdy enough to hold your baby at the right height so you don’t hurt your back and shoulders and have to go in for a chiropractic appointment when your baby is 7 days old.
This one actually has an adjustable strap to hold it in place and works wonders!
Bring some sleeveless onesies and some full sleepers. Your baby just needs to be warm, comfortable and safe. They don’t need to look like they popped out in the middle of Baby Gap!
If it’s winter, bring a newborn toque to keep their head warm. They’re used to being warm and cozy tucked in your belly so keep them that way!
7. Bum Cream
This is important. Your poor baby isn’t used to being wiped clean and then having their sensitive skin dry out. Find a low ingredient, super sensitive one that’s good for newborns. I like to make my own Healing Balm or if I’m out of time for that, The Honest Company has a diaper rash cream that’s really nice.
FOR YOUR PARTNER’S HOSPITAL BAG
1. Change of Clothes
Your partner may be awake and with you for a long time, it’s nice for them to be able to change if they need to.
Again, snacks at the hospital leave something to be desired. Pack some healthy snacks that your excited about and can help you sustain your energy!
3. Water Bottle
A pillow for your partner is a good idea. Every time we go in to have a baby, my husband ends up sleeping in the craziest places. And though he says he’s fine, it looks like a pillow might be pretty helpful!
There may be things not included on this list that you really want to bring- bring whatever that may be! Packing can be generalized but there’s a lot that is personal preference. For myself, I didn’t like the ‘ULTIMATE HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST’ lists because they just put every single thing they could think of on there. The ‘less is more’ approach is great because you need to think of:
- Getting there- it sucks lugging all this crap that you’re not going to use, especially if you’re in a hurry or have to park far away.
- Leaving- going home is even worse because you now also have a precious newborn baby in a heavy car seat, plus all the stuff you brough! Make it easy on yourself. Only bring what you need!
GRAB THIS FREE PRINTABLE HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST!
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