Ever have that sinking feeling that you're forgetting something? Like when the moment finally comes, you'll be frantically scrambling for the things you need at the hospital before your baby is born? Well, let's avoid all of that extra stress by packing up that hospital bag well in advance! I personally slowly kept adding things as I thought of them. I also reached out to 3 or 4 of my friends who were already moms and asked them, "what do you wish you would have packed for your postpartum hospital stay?" And as I got feedback from them (as well as my own ideas), I complied this list and I LITERALLY had my bag packed like 4 weeks before my due date.. I know, I probably have OCD!
So if you're anything like me and like to feel prepared (and by that I mean, as prepared as you're going to feel while anticipating the birth of your child LOL), then get to packin' sister! I PROMISE you, it's one less thing you'll have to worry about when things feel hectic or as your due date quickly approaches. I hope this list serves you as well as it did me! It's safe to say I overpacked (I always do) but I rather something be there if I need it than not! Especially at a time when resources are limited.
Here's what you'll need for the prepared momma's hospital bag:
- SNACKS (if you’re allowed to eat)
- A long phone charger (or extension cord with charger)
- CHAPSTICK (your lips will get sooo dry once your food/water is restricted)
- Hydro flask or yeti to keep cold water w/straw (A good friend of mine sent me a Bubba, loved it. I poured every annoying Styrofoam cup they brought me into it.)
- Variety of baby clothes & sizes (There's no way to be sure what will fit your little babe. My son was 8lb and 1oz and I was convinced he would be too big for newborn clothes but he wasn't! Just in case, I took up to 3 months LOL)
- Anything you want for pictures (I brought my professional camera, I mean, I'm a photographer and this was something I could NOT miss. I will say though.. I did not feel up to it until day 4. I got some 2 typical hospital photo shots and I am glad I did because we didn't have anyone come in to take any.)
- Hygiene wipes
- Mini stroller fan
- Heating pad
- Tooth brush
- Hair ties
- Dry shampoo
- Flip flops for shower
- Comfy clothes/pjs
- Slippers for recovery/socks
- Cute outfit for baby be photographed in
- Shower toiletries.., their stuff usually sucks
- Pillow (I had about 6 hospital pillows on my bed and that still was hardly enough)
- Nursing bras/tanks
- Towels (They have some but they were TINY.. I'm only 4'11'' and they barely covered my chest and bum at the same time LOL)
- Fav blanket
- Breast pads
- Boppy (I used this A LOT for nursing in bed.)
- Nightgown that unbuttons or robe
- Women's diapers (sounds crazy but SO much better than pads when you bleed as much as you do)
- Different kinds of pacifiers
- Nipple shields
- Toilet paper (if you don't want tissue paper to wipe with)
- Go home clothes for everyone
- Empty bag/suitcase to load full of all the hospital items, dirty clothes, etc.
- Gas x, Ibuprofen, Tums
- And AGAIN SNACKSSSS
Number One Recommendation
Theeeee number one thing people recommended to me was... snacks! The hospital didn't give me them unless I asked and I don't know about you but I can only eat junk (crackers, chips, cereal bars) for so long. I was glad I brought some beef jerky and some other somewhat healthier choices. But unfortunately, none of that nor the food prevented my severe constipation as a result. SO, that being said, do NOT let yourself get to that point. Make sure to be eating all the fiber you can. I think that experience was worse than labor.. not even kidding.
If I had to pick one thing that was a total life saver, I'd have to say it was my ROBE. Hands down, if you are breastfeeding, this was a game changer. But even if you aren't, this robe buttoned all the way down so it made it so much easier to nurse/much more comfortable than the hospital gowns. It was SO soft and I literally did not change out of it until day 4 when I finally felt okay enough to shower. I have it linked below!
Things to Add
Things I would have added hindsight:
- LOOSE fitting clothing (I literally hated the thought of putting on any clothes that were even remotely tight fitting.. like the nursing tanks and bras I brought. Thankfully I had something loose enough to go home in but still was a little bit uncomfortable with the swelling and belly I still had.)
- My husband said: "Food that could be microwaved but didn't need refrigerated."
- Nipple cream if breastfeeding.. the hospital seemed SO stingy with theirs for some reason?
- I ended up ordering a different kind than they gave me at the hospital and liked it soooo much better (linked below).
Things I Didn't Need
Things I didn't use or necessarily need from the list:
- Stroller fan (may have came in handy if I had to push at all.. I delivered C-section)
- Heating pad (may have been nice but didn't have a real need for it)
- Nursing bras/tanks (I wanted to throw up thinking about putting them on. Like I said, I lived in my robe and diapers for days.)
- Breast pads (Again, my boobs were out every 2 hours to nurse and when I wasn't nursing, I was pumping!)
- iPad (We were in survival mode pretty much from start to finish. This was the last thing on my mind.)
- Pacifiers (I chose not to introduce right away in fear of nipple confusion. I did later on to help soothe when nursing didn't work. Turns out, no nipple confusion. He continued to latch fine!)
- Nipple shields (I did fine without but I know a friend of mine had a really fast flow and she had to use them for a while. Good to have if your little one is struggling.)
Feel free to add whatever you think you'll need as well. Hope this helps you feel like the prepared momma you want to be going into this huge, life-changing time!
Ps. For the diapers, buy a larger size, especially if you know you'll be having a c-section. I actually had some that my friend gave me that were a large and thankfully they fit and didn't hurt my incision (check them out in the link below).
If your significant other will be staying with you, I highly recommend to take a pillow, blanket, and extra snacks. They did not take care of or seem concerned with my husband's needs. He had to go get every meal for himself and slept on the couch next to me. He said how the blanket was "clutch" because otherwise he would have had a sheet to cover up with for 5 days.