I recently gave birth to our first son, Kit, and I did a lot of “research” into what I should and shouldn’t pack in my hospital bag for labor and delivery. I watched allllllll the videos on youtube, read some blog posts, and grabbed advice from friends and family here and there. When I finally had my bag(s) packed, I really felt as though I had only brought the essentials + one or two things that would make me just a bit more comfortable while we were there.
I can now tell you that I certainly over-packed. Ha!
Of course, this is just a list of things that I discovered from my labor and delivery experience, and you should definitely bring what you feel that you will need. However, I’m hoping that this somewhat helps you discover what you truly need. Your husband will thank you when he has one less trip to make to the car to grab things. 😉
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You Should Probably Bring These
- wallet, ID, insurance info
- phone and charger – I saw on a lot of other lists that you should bring a laptop or tablet in case you get bored, but I found it to be really unnecessary. My husband brought his laptop in a backpack, and we honestly never brought it out. So many staff members from the hospital are in and out all through the day and night checking vitals and running tests. You will be tired and amazed by your new baby. Your phone will be sufficient if you need any extra entertainment.
- camera – I almost didn’t bring our nicer camera, and that would have been a huge mistake. There are plenty of cute moments to take photos of! Bring a nice camera if you have one!
- pillow and blanket from home – just so nice to have + hospital pillows aren’t the greatest and sometimes there is a shortage of them
- toiletries – We bought a bunch of travel sized stuff, and that worked well. Instead of face wash, I went with facial wipes because they are quicker and easier to use if you get an epidural or have a c-section (I had both) and can’t move too well for a while after.
- snacks and drinks – Bring a few things for your spouse and yourself (after labor) to snack on. They feed you pretty well in the hospital, but it’s nice to have some things for in between meals. I brought things like individual peanut butter cups, granola bars, fig bars, jolly ranchers, trail mix, protein shakes, and gatorade.
- nursing dresses and pajama dresses – because I had a c section and wasn’t able to really wear anything around my waist, dresses were a must for me. This is not for the same purpose as a delivery gown (I will touch on that later), but there will be a point in your stay where you will want to put on something that’s your own. I found dresses from this brand to be my favorite for pregnancy AND nursing. I also wore this nightgown* in the hospital as well. Another option is a loose fitting shirt and loose pajama pants. I bought and XL pair of pants from Walmart and just wore them higher than the incision.
- maternity robe – I bought mine from Pink Blush Maternity, but honestly any robe will do as long as you like it. It makes you feel a bit more put together if you need to walk to the nursery or NICU with your pajamas on.
- nursing bra – I went without a bra for the first day or two, but if your milk comes in at the hospital (and it can – mine came in on day two after having Kit), it’s nice to have a bra. This one* is my favorite style. I sized up to make sure that it was comfy and wasn’t tight on my breasts.
- lip balm, hand lotion, hair ties – Just in case you forget these with toiletries, they are a must.
- car seat, car seat cover, and blanket – You must have a car seat in order to leave the hospital. Kit got a little upset when we put him in the car seat for the first time but we found that he calmed down when we put the cover on to make it darker for him. This is the cover* that we use, but honestly, most of the covers work the same way. We also keep a blanket that my mom made in the car to cover him while he is in the car seat, so we had that in the car waiting.
- clothes for baby and dad – We brought one newborn outfit, one 0-3 month outfit, a couple hats, and a swaddle blanket for Kit. Don’t forget to pack a few outfits for Dad in case he won’t be going home during the time you are at the hospital. He will also need toiletries since he is able to use the shower in the hospital room.
- snacks for the hospital staff – we brought a little basket of snacks that we had put together with things from the Dollar Tree. The staff seemed to really appreciate it, but we found that they also just appreciate when you are kind to them. You would think that it’s a no-brainer to be kind to the nurses and doctors, but we got told many times that not all patients were as easy to work with…and we were just being normally polite. Remember that they are there to help you, and a thank you with a smile can go a long way!
You Really Don’t Need These
- socks with grips or slippers – I would definitely recommend bringing some of your comfiest socks to wear, but you really don’t need anything fancy or non-skid. If you’re anything like me after birth, your feet will swell up a ton, so slippers won’t even fit you anyway. Just some regular old socks to wear around the hospital should be fine.
- nursing tank tops and leggings – these items are just too tight. You probably won’t want anything that tight to wear after birth because everything is swollen and sore.
- delivery gown – I brought a special delivery gown to the hospital, and I ended up wearing the gown they provided. Once we got there, I was more concerned with being comfy and getting on with the process of meeting my baby. I thought that I might want a fashionable gown to deliver in…but nope.
- water bottle – they provide you with water and cups.
- nipple balm – this one is kind of a yes and no. I brought my own and ended up liking it better, but the hospital will provide you with lanolin to use while you are there.
- nursing pillow – I just used the pillows and blankets we had in the room. The designated nursing pillow was just another thing to bring in and carry out, and I didn’t use it at all. Everything was swollen and sore, so putting a pillow around my waist didn’t sound fun.
- breast pump – if you need to pump, they will allow you to use the pumps they have at the hospital.
There you have it! Like I said before, bring what you feel that you will need, but don’t worry if you forget something or aren’t quite sure if what you have packed will be good enough. You could show up to the hospital with nothing but yourself, your wallet, and your phone. Everything that you need will be taken care of! Congrats on your new baby!
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