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Your big day is arriving soon and you’re ready to pack your hospital bag! You don’t want to overpack, but you definitely don’t want to underpack either. You see, the problem with my hospital bag was that I packed more for my newborn than I did for myself! There were so many things I wish I had brought with me to make my experience at the hospital more relaxing and stress free.
After learning from my mistakes and doing some research, I’ve created the ultimate guide to packing your hospital bag so that you will have everything you need to make your experience with your newborn baby comfortable, relaxing, and enjoyable.
Before we dive in, here are a few things to consider:
1. Underpacking & Overpacking
You will be in the hospital for a maximum of 2 nights or so, considering that you and your baby are generally healthy. Some mothers are discharged on the same day as their delivery! Just pack what you need for those 2-3 nights because you’ll be home with your newborn baby before you know it!
2. Consider the season and weather.
If you will be delivering in the winter, make sure to bring a warm car seat cover and blankets for your baby. The clothes you pack for yourself and your baby should also be chosen according to the weather. Plus, a thermo for a nice hot drink will definitely help too!
3. If you’re unsure of what your hospital provides, just give them a call.
I have read many posts ensuring that hospitals supplied those mesh absorbent briefs so I didn’t bring my own. Turns out, my hospital didn’t supply them at all and they had to search the other units to find one for me! Avoid the trouble and give them a quick call. Better yet, write down a list of questions to ask when you register at your hospital and get a tour of the maternity unit!
Your hospital should typically provide the following items:
- Mesh Briefs or Large Absorbent Pads
- While we are on this topic, I recommend using both! I applied the pads onto the mesh brief for extra security when I was in the hospital. And when I got home, I used the padsicles with the mesh briefs and it made all the difference!
- If you don’t want to use the mesh briefs, no problem. Make sure to pack stretchy, cotton underwear, possibly a size up, and apply your extra absorbent pads.
- Cotton material is more breathable, hypoallergenic, and keeps you dry. Try to avoid polyester, and other synthetic materials as they hold onto body odors and prevents air flow.
- If you don’t know, these bottles allow you to gently squirt warm water below to help with cleaning and soothing after delivery
- Sitz Bath
- Check with your hospital – some moms say they get them from their hospital, but I didn’t get one from mine…
- Water, Meals & Snacks
- Hospital Gown
- Extra Pillows & Blankets (for yourself and your other half, but sometimes, they can run out…)
- Nipple Balm
- Disposable single breast pump
- Advil (anti-inflammatory)
- Tylenol (for pain)
- Anusol-HC 2.5% Rectal Cream (Corticosteroid which has anti-inflammatory properties for hemorrhoids)
- Stool Softener (to prevent hemorrhoids)
Here is a helpful “Hospital Bag Checklist” to guide you in packing all you need for yourself, your new baby, and daddy as well.
Below I will further discuss each item on the checklist in greater detail so you don’t miss a thing!
☑ Identification & Birth Plan
When entering the hospital, make sure to have all of your identification readily available. As well, if you have a birth plan, make sure to bring those documents as well. Birth plans indicate what pain interventions you want, who is participating in the delivery of your baby, what can and can’t be done with your baby, and so forth.
☑ Lip Balm
This one is at the top of the list for almost every hospital bag checklist I’ve seen out there! Though I do agree, I did not pack any lip balm during my stay at the hospital and honestly, I didn’t miss it. If you forget to bring some lip balm, no biggie, just make sure to drink lots of water and hydrate yourself. The hospital also provides petroleum jelly as well which can also help to relieve those chapped lips.
☑ Skin Care Products & Face Wipes
During my stay, I only brought face wipes which was a huge mistake. I regret not putting more care into packing my skin care products. Even a basic moisturizer would have done me wonders. Also, it would be nice to look decent for family and friends when they come to visit and take photos… I got these sample products from my monthly ipsy glam bags.
☑ Toothbrush & Toothpaste
This is an obvious item. The hospital does provide these items if you forget them though. Along with this, any other toiletries that you often use such as deodorant should also be packed.
☑ Basic Make Up
Along with basic skin care products and face wipes, I also placed this item close to the top of the list. You may get lots of family and friends visiting you at the hospital and definitely a lot of photo taking. If you want to look nice for these photos, bringing a few things from your vanity will help. That being said, not everyone wears or needs make up, so skip this step if this doesn’t apply to you.
On other note, you did just give birth to a baby! No one is expecting you to get all glammed up for photos when you don’t want to. Do what works best for you.
☑ 3-4 Pairs of Comfy Socks with Grips
This is also an important item. If you didn’t pack your slippers (which I highly suggest), these socks will save you when your walking across the cold and slippery hospital floor to use the washroom. It is also a good idea to bring socks that you can dispose of after.
☑ Slippers or Flip Flops
I didn’t pack this item in my hospital bag and I seriously regret it! Slippers are a must, especially when you’re feet are swollen after birth. Keep them warm, dry, and comfortable. Make sure to get a size up to accommodate for your postpartum swollen feet. Also flip flops are great to bring if you plan on disposing them after.
☑ Comfy Robe
A comfy robe is another item I completely forgot to pack! Comfy robes keep you warm and cozy, and they’re easy to throw over your shoulders when visitors pop up unannounced. It takes a second to cover up when you need to. Also hospital gowns are open in the back so when your pacing the halls with your possibly fussy newborn, a comfortable robe might come in handy. This robe is from Amazon: ShiyiUP Fleece Bath Robe and is perfect for what you need.
☑ Big Water Bottle & Straw
Always remember to hydrate yourself, especially when recovering from the traumas of birth. Water helps your body heal and remove excess fluid building up in your extremities such as your feet. A straw is also a helpful tool.
☑ 2-3 Nursing Shirts (Darker Colour)
Loose and comfortable nursing shirts is a must if you plan to breastfeed. Make sure to pack at least 2-3 just in case. And it also helps if those shirts are in a darker shade to hide any leaks or spills!
☑ 2-3 Stretchy Pants (Darker Colour)
Pack at least 2-3 stretchy, comfortable and if possible, dark coloured pants. In the winter, find something more warm and cozy. In the summer, you could pack some comfy shorts.
☑ 2 Nursing Bras & Breast Pads
Don’t forget to pack at least 2-3 nursing bras if you plan to breastfeed. Make sure to find a nursing bra that fits you well, has no underwires, and is easy to unfasten and access your breasts when you need to. I found some nursing bras from LEMEF online that are great – seamless, soft, and easy to unfasten. As well, absorbent nipples pads definitely come in handy too but this is optional because your milk won’t come in until about the 3 day postpartum.
☑ Nursing Pillow
Sure, the hospital pillows will work but if you’ve already invested in a nursing pillow and plan to breastfeed, it wouldn’t hurt to bring it along with you to the hospital. My Brest Friend Original Pillow on Amazon is amazing. I love how it secures to your waist with a silent velcro strap.
☑ 2-3 Swaddles, Outfits, Mitts, & Socks
Don’t go overboard on packing for your newborn like I did! I packed way too much for my baby and only ended up using 2 sleepers and a swaddle. If you plan on taking some precious photos then sure, bring a few cute bows and swaddles. My recommendation is to bring about 2-3 sleepers with the mitt cuffs. That way, you don’t have to bring any socks or mitts because they’re all built in. I get mine from Amazon: Simple Joys by Carter’s (2 Pack) Cotton Footed Sleep and Play Sleepers.
☑ Baby Shampoo, Body Wash, & Lotion
If you forget to bring these items for your baby, fear not, the hospital should have generic products that you can use for your baby’s first bath. If you do decide to bring your own, try to bring a travel size set to save some room in your bag. I got mine from amazon: Live Clean Baby Soothing Oatmeal Diaper Bag Essentials Gift Set Trail Size.
☑ Newborn Diapers & Wipes
Again, the hospital should provide some of these but always check to make sure. Some babies require larger size diapers instead of the newborn ones depending on their birth weight. I suggest packing just a few newborn diapers and size one diapers as well. My favourite baby wipes are the Aleva Naturals Bamboo Baby Sensitive Wipes.
☑ Car Seat & Car Base
This item is obviously priority! You can’t drive baby home without a properly installed car seat! As you are being discharged, the nurse will inspect your car seat and make sure that your newborn is properly secured under the seat belts. The stroller and car seat set I got is the Graco Remix Travel System in Keagan. I love that the stroller grows with your baby and has 5 different riding positions.
☑ Change of Clothes
If daddy plans to be in the room with you during the delivery, he may get dirty! It is wise to bring a change of clothes, just in case.
Especially in the winter, it can get pretty cold in the delivery room. Hospitals tend to keep temperatures on the lower side to prevent bacterial growth.
☑ Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Daddy should also pack his toiletries if he is staying the night; just in case your little one takes a bit longer to arrive. He will also have all he needs to feel comfortable, refreshed, and ready for family photos and visitors.
☑ Baby Nail Clipper or Nail Filer
Sometimes, babies may be born with long fingernails. It may be helpful to clip or file those fingernails to prevent scratching. Mitts also work to protect your baby’s delicate face but some moms prefer to have their baby’s hands free to touch and experience their new world. Others suggest using your own teeth and gently biting off your baby’s fingernails instead. I got my clippers and filers (in the image above) from my Safety 1st Deluxe Healthcare & Grooming Kit on Amazon.
☑ Long Phone Charger Cord or Portable Charger
Labor and delivery can be a very long process and your phone batteries might die when you need it the most! Bringing a long cord or portable charger allows you to keep your phone charging close to you when you need it. That way, you can stay with your baby and not have to leave your bed.
☑ Breast Pump
The hospital should be able to provide a disposable breast pump for you to use if you need it, but you can also bring one from home if you have space in your hospital bag. It’s great to start increasing your milk supply by pumping in between feedings but honestly, in the early stages of postpartum you will be exhausted. Do what you can but don’t overwhelm yourself if you don’t have to.
☑ Nipple Balm
The hospital should provide a generic nipple balm for you if you need it but colostrum is the best remedy for chapped and sore nipples. Express a bit of colostrum on to your nipple and let it air dry. Colostrum has amazing healing properties! Lanolin ointment or Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter (Lanolin-free) is also great as well. It is safe for your baby to digest so you don’t have to wipe it off.
☑ Thermo for Warm Drinks
In the winter, a nice warm drink can make all the difference! If you want to get a head start on increasing your milk supply, try this Earth Mama Organic Milkmaid Tea during your stay in the hospital. I love the little relatable notes they leave on each tea bag like the one in the picture above: “Living life at 10,000 emotions per second.” Nothing like some quirky humor to get you through postpartum!
☑ Change for Vending Machine or Bring your own Snakes & Drinks
Labor and delivery is exhausting. By the end of it, you will feel famished! Make sure to bring some change for the vending machine, or bring your own healthy snacks from home. You can also try eating galactagogue-rich snacks to jump start lactation. I love BOOBY BOONS Lactation Cookies in Chocolate Chip. The hospital may also provide some snacks and drinks as well like jello or apple sauce.
☑ Your Own Comfy Pillow
Sometimes, it’s nice to have your own pillow with you in the hospital. Some mothers don’t like this tip because they fear that their favourite pillows will get dirty. This is completely optional and up to you. If bringing a piece of home with you to the hospital makes you feel better, then make sure to pack it.
☑ Postpartum Padsicles
I wish I had these with me at the hospital! If you don’t know, these postpartum padsicles are a simple DIY project that you store in your freezer to use after birth. It provides the most cooling and soothing effect to relieve discomfort from all the swelling and tearing down below. They can also be infused with ingredients to aid in healing such as aloe vera, witch hazel, lavender oil and more. If you plan on packing them, maybe consider a mini cooler or asking your nurse if there is a patient fridge on the maternity unit so the padsicles can stay cool and ready for use.
☑ Dry Shampoo Or Shampoo & Conditioner, Body Wash & Loofah
It depends on your needs and comfort, but most moms prefer to take a shower in the hospital after giving birth. A shower after birth is very refreshing and it gives you some time to reflect on your birth experience experience. Pack travel sized products if you can to save some room. If you don’t want to wash your hair, use dry shampoo to quickly and easily freshen up those roots. Razors, glasses, glasses, contact solution and case can also be packed if this applies to you.
☑ Your own Towel
If is completely up to you if you want to bring your own cozy towel. Hospitals do provide towels for you and although they may not be the softest towels, they will do the job just fine. If you plan on bringing your own towel, anticipate that it may get dirty.
☑ Extra Hair Ties & Hair Brush
Long hair might get in the way during labor and delivery! Make sure to have extra hair ties just in case yours snaps or falls off somewhere. A hair brush is also helpful to freshen up for photos and what not. Some mothers like to bring their hair dryer too.
☑ Stylish Mom Outfit
If you don’t want to wear your nursing shirts and stretchy pants on the way home, bring a stylish outfit. Not only will you feel better going home, but you will also be ready for photos.
That’s it for my detailed list of what to pack in your hospital bag! Some may consider this list as overpacking but based on my past experience, I’d rather overpack than be left in the hospital without my comfy robe and slippers!