In case it’s useful to anyone, I thought I’d share what I packed in my hospital bag and took to the hospital for Kate’s birth.
Let me preface by saying that my goals for a hospital birth are 1. to get to the hospital as late into the labor process as is practical and safe and 2. to go home ASAP. We were at the hospital for 2.5 hours before Kate was born (that’s perfect in my book) and left to go home about 27 hours after. So for gals who labor at the hospital for hours or days, stay more than one night or that are recovering from a C-section, your needs will be different.
I had these items packed way ahead of time plus had a list in my journal of the last-minute additions.
Hospital bag essentials
- My journal to record the labor and birth details. I’m so glad we did this because everything quickly becomes a blur (thank God, right?).
- A list of who to call or text (and I had to remember to let the boys’ school know they’d be absent)
- My own toothbrush, hair brush, lip balm, facial wipes, deoderant and moisturizer. The hospital supplies shampoo, soap, etc. but I knew I would wait to get home to take a shower. They say the lip balm is important and it really was! My lips were so chapped.
- My own pillow. It really does help you sleep better and just having something from home is comforting.
- The Boppy. Having a way to prop up during nursing sessions is key plus my hubby used it to hold her.
- Options for Kate’s going home outfit. As Kate proved, you never know how big they’ll be until they come out! I’m glad I brought a newborn size. I’m also glad I brought several headbands because only one even came close to fitting!
- A pretty swaddle blanket and headband. Instead of the hospital garb, which was really cute (but generic in orange), I wanted her in something super girlie for her first pictures. I love all the Target Cloud Island Pink stuff (I have the hats, swaddle blankets, clothes, flannel blankets and Boppy cover–they photograph beautifully!), you can find it here.
- Slippers. I only wore them for the trek from triage to the labor and delivery room. Slipper socks would have worked just as well so I didn’t need both.
- Snacks and hand lotion for the nurses. They deserve a treat!
- Pink celebratory bubble gum cigars for the men. Hilarious for pictures.
- A small carton of almond milk for my coffee. The hospital had options for milk but I’m glad I thought of it.
- My favorite KIND bar. Since she was born at 1:23pm and dinner wasn’t until 5:00pm, it was nice to have a good snack on hand. (full disclosure: the first thing I ate after her birth was peanut M&Ms!)
- Calming room spray and essential oils diffuser. This was a great idea and I highly recommend it. My midwife actually brought oils for me in triage that I put directly onto my hospital gown (chamomile and lavender) and we never did turn the diffuser on. For longer labors, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to have a room spray or oils diffusing! I used this configuration and just adjusted it to my liking.
- Last thing, I made sure to add my glasses, naturopathic pills and phone charger and grab my pillow and the Boppy.
What I DIDN’T need
- My nursing bra and pads. With just colostrum, and an easy-access hospital gown, I didn’t really need it and in that first day, operating it was a bit too complicated anyway.
- My robe. I wore the hospital gown the whole time.
- A separate going home outfit for me. I had set out an outfit to wear to go to the hospital so I just wore that home.
- Her baby book for footprints. They sent us home with extra ink!
- My own underwear. The lovely mesh grannie panties worked just fine. I also didn’t need any pads, the hospital provided them.
- A separate bag for Kate. I just put her clothes in a little zipper bag so we could find them easily.
- Baby clothes and diapers. The hospital provided a layette for her including a blanket, hats and socks. I didn’t have to bring anything!
- Reading material or any type of entertainment. We were either dealing with the interruptions or swooning over Kate and they had a TV for the one hour of downtime we had so I’m glad I didn’t bring anything.
- Remember you’re going home at about the size you were at four or five months pregnant so plan accordingly. I know some women bring a dress to go home in to avoid the hassle of putting on pants.
- I knew I’d want to post pictures comparing Kate to her brother’s birth day pictures so I had them saved and ready to go in my phone.
- BONUS TIP I thought of the night before…clear your phone as much as possible so you don’t run out of memory at the hospital!
- If you have younger kids, prep ahead for your hospital stay to make it as easy as possible on everyone. I had our boys’ clothes, lunches, homework and karate gear all ready to go (with detailed notes) so my mom could just facilitate. I didn’t want Kate’s arrival to create undue stress or throw off the boys’ schedule, even for one day.
- Remember to have your husband pack what he needs. I also brought snacks and gum for him.