When I hit my third trimester it seemed like all of my nervous first time mom energy was thrown into what needed to be packed into my hospital bag. I blame Pinterest. You can’t spend ten minutes searching for Chip and JoJo inspired home decor on Pinterest without seeing at least seven different “Hospital Bag Must Have’s”. Believe me when I tell you that I combed all of them over at least twice. Some of them were so ridiculous that they included “straightener and round brush” while others seemed to lack the important addition of shower flip flops. Another massive “perk” of my crippling anxiety is the desire it gives me to make a list, achieve the list, and then triple check the list. So, in short order, we had a list for baby’s hospital bag, my husband’s hospital bag, my hospital bag, and of course–the ever so important snack bag. We kept putting off making the bags actually happen, and I also attribute this to the anxiety that once the bags were packed, she was shortly following.
I was positive that I would be the first time mother that showed up to Labor and Delivery with fourteen bags, and never got out of my hospital gown. I decided that I would walk on the edge of caution and pack lightly.
Here is the rundown of what we actually used, what never saw the artificial light of day, and what I wish we would have had at our disposal.
In my husband’s bag (we ended up combining into one rolling suitcase to make it easier) we didn’t have much that was outside of the normal clothes and toiletries box. Here’s what we packed away for Matt. We actually will be using the same packing list for the next baby Leonard we welcome into the world, he used everything that we packed for him!
- Three days worth of clean clothes
- Two flannel button down shirts for skin to skin with baby after delivery
- Dollar bills and spare change for late night vending machine visits
- Shower flip flops
- Mini toiletries
- All of our chargers (iPhone, Camera, and Kindle)
- iPad mini
This bag was actually the hardest. We brought baby home on a super cold day, in the middle of flu season. Literally, a new parent’s worst nightmare. After watching countless videos of babies being projected from carseats after being bundled in too many layers I had a hard time figuring out how to keep her warm, with safely keeping her restrained for her first car ride. I bought the JuJuBe BFF diaper backpack to use and absolutely LOVE it two months into motherhood. It was what I actually packed for the hospital for her as well, and I couldn’t be more happy with how it worked out.
- Four baby gowns–these were absolutely amazing to have on hand. The kimono style onesie they gave us for her at the hospital were for a 12 month old baby. No joke. They swallowed her alive and really didn’t keep her warm because they were so big on her body. The gowns allowed the nurses to still take her temperature every three hours without stripping her down, and made it easy for us to change her diapers without making her super chilly each time. We used these ones from Carter’s and a couple from Burt’s Bee’s we were given.
- One going home outfit with hat and mittens–I opted for a sleeper that had feet built in. It made it really easy to not worry her feet were cold, and the mittens and hat matched it perfectly for pictures. We went with one from Carter’s again, this time made from a terry material to help keep her nice and toasty.
- Sensitive baby wipes–our hospital doesn’t give you baby wipes. They use wipes that are just a general body cleaning wipe and we actually used them most of the time we were there, but they weren’t as gentle on her as a sensitive wipe would have been.
- Nursing cover–I’m going to devote an entire blog post to nursing covers, but I packed one just in case I felt the need to cover myself to nurse her with family visiting. Spoiler–I never touched it, but I did like knowing it was there.
- Swaddle blankets– I packed two SwaddleMe sleep sacks and thought I wouldn’t touch them. Turns out, we actually used them and would have been screwed without them. We never really got a great lesson on hospital swaddling because our nurses were slammed in Mother and Baby recovery (the night after I delivered they had 12 births in 15 hours) and this was the only way that she would stay contained and happy that second night.
- Baby Aquaphor
- Lanolin nipple balm
- 4 pairs of baby socks
- 4 baby hats
- 4 pairs of baby mittens
- A copy of the insurance card she would be covered under following birth
- Two nursing nightgowns
- Two nursing tanks
- Organic nursing pads
- Maternity sweatpants
- Two pairs of leggings
- 3 open front cardigans (I wore these with my nursing gowns and tanks to stay warm and have easy access!)
- Three pairs of gripper socks
- Bag of toiletries and bare minimum makeup (For me this included tinted moisturizer, mascara, and some bronzer)
- Dry shampoo
- Shower flip flops
- Extra ponytail holders
- Bobby pins
- Depends (legitimately the best advice I was given and have ever taken–hospital pads SUCK)
- Witch hazel postpartum spray
- Essential oils
- Peppermint (for my husband who’s prone to headaches)
- Wild Orange
- Breathe (hospital air sucks)
- Deep Blue (amaaaazing for sore muscles during and after labor)
- Slippers (I took my old pair and tossed them at the hospital because, germs)
- We both always have a blank check in our wallets. Besides the birth of our daughter. When they came in to complete her birth certificate we just stared at each other and hadn’t thought we would need a check to pay for her recording of birth. It was fine, they gave us the paperwork and I sent in for it–but they definitely don’t take cash, no matter how hard you ask and bat your eyelashes.
- Better and more fulfilling snacks for Mom. I delivered at 7:42 pm and by the time we were moved into our Mom and Baby recovery room it was after 9:30. The only place open was Subway, so my husband ran like mad to get us food (I had only eaten sneaky applesauce pouches and graham crackers for over 24 hours) because we were both starving. It seemed like I was at my most hungry in the middle of the night or early morning when he was sleeping and nothing was open. Next time I’llbe sure that I pack wayyyyy better snacks and way more snacks to help keep my energy up!
- A hairbrush. Seriously, how did none of the lists I found and made have a damn hairbrush on them?
- Our own pillows to replace the hospital ones. They were terribly uncomfortable, they didn’t give us many, and they smelled like disinfectant. Next time, we will have our own pillows for both of us.
- MY OWN IBUPROFEN. I mentioned above that our nurses were super thinly stretched. I would ask for my ibuprofen and (if I was lucky) get it two to three hours later. I was in constant pain and it just made it impossible to relax enough to sleep. If I had brought my own, I wouldn’t have needed to bother them to dose me up with some ibuprofen every four hours.
- A small humidifier. Our hospital room was so incredibly dry and when you already feel like garbage, adding dry skin and mucus really helps nothing.
What did you pack in your hospital bags? What did you end up never touching, or wish that you’d thought to bring?