What I Wish I’d Packed in My Hospital Bag

Since my post about tips and tricks for the hospital generated some discussion about hospital packing, I figured I’d do a separate post about what to include in your hospital bag. I, personally, packed SO much for labor and not nearly enough for post-delivery; I ended up having to send my husband home for several things I wished I’d brought.

Here’s what I’ll be bringing next time around:

  • Bathrobe (I bought this beautiful maternity robe on Etsy and LOVED it for post-delivery) and then got another cheap one from Target. They are great to wear over sweatpants after delivery since they’re really accessible for nursing.
  • Sweatpants/yoga pants: Bring several pairs of your comfiest ones. They will likely get soiled in some way and you’ll want extras on hand.
  • Comfortable slippers or flip flops 
  • Tanktops: Pack a couple good nursing tanks as well as some of your maternity tanks. You will still look pregnant after delivery, so it’s not likely you’ll want to wear a pre-maternity top home during after hospital stay.
  • Big(ger) underwear: I bought fuller coverage underwear than I normally wear in the next size up to use after delivery. You might not need the elastic underwear they give you at the hospital by the time you go home (I did, but everyone is so different) and it’s nice to have some of your own with you, in case you need it. And if you don’t use them there, you’ll most likely use them in the weeks that follow.
  • Blanket/pillows from home: Both for yourself and your poor lucky husband who, most likely, will have to sleep on a really uncomfortable couch. If you’re delivering in the summer, the AC can make the hospital very cold at night, so a heavier blanket is nice to have in case you need an extra layer. 
  • Portable speaker (if you have one): We brought our Bluetooth speaker to use during labor (I had a bunch of soothing songs on my phone that I never played because my labor was very short) but I loved having it for afterward just to have some music playing in the room to make it feel more like home.
  • Phone charger
  • Good camera: You’ll be glad you have one to capture those early moments that are usually such a blur. If you don’t have one, ask a friend if you can borrow hers. I sincerely regret not taking many photographs after Chase was born or having anyone take pictures of our new family of three. 
  • Snacks: Bring comfort food that you can use to refuel after labor (or during, if it’s a long one.) I’ve never run a marathon, but I imagine the post-labor feeling to be equivalent to having run several back-t0-back. You’ll be hungry and exhausted, so things like trail mix, granola bars, mixed nuts, coconut water, etc. are awesome to have. And some chocolate. Because you just had a baby for crying out loud.
  • Personal hygiene products: I brought everything I would normally use to get ready at home and I was really glad I did. I wanted my own shampoo/face wash/cosmetics so at least one thing seemed routine.
  • Loofah: Sounds strange, but you’ll likely be tender and sore in various places, so you’ll want something softer than a hospital wash cloth for your first post-delivery shower. 
  • Candles: We didn’t end up using them (again, because my labor was very short) but we bought a bunch of battery powered candles to use during labor in the room’s jacuzzi tub. The lights in the bathroom were super bright fluorescents, so I knew I’d want something that wasn’t as harsh while I was trying to relax during labor.
  • Laptop stocked with movies: I am not a good relaxer. I took months of Hypnobirthing classes (which were awesome!) but when the time came, I just couldn’t force myself to be totally still and zen. Instead, we ended up watching a couple movies during the early part of my labor before we headed to the hospital. It was nice to have something to focus on besides the contractions. If you end up laboring at the hospital for a long time, I’d highly recommend a distraction!
  • Birth ball: This thing saved my life during early labor. Kind of cumbersome to bring to the hospital, so if you want one to use during labor, ask the hospital you’ll be delivering at if they have some there. Lots of them do and it’ll save you (read: your husband) the hassle of having to lug one there and back.

If you’re planning to nurse:

  • Nursing bra: These are nice to have, but I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on one before your milk comes in. You won’t know your new size and if it’s too small, it’ll be crazy uncomfortable. I got a nice roomy one from Target that I brought to the hospital and used all throughout my nursing/pumping days. My advice is not to get one with underwire: it’s too much pressure on breasts that are just getting used to being full of milk and it can cause mastitis
  • Nursing cover: You might not use it at all because your breasts will be pretty much on display the whole time you’re there, but it’s nice to have with you so you can try it out before you go home and have tons of guests parading through your house.
  • Nursing pillow: Whether you plan to use a Boppy or a different kind of nursing pillow, (I like the My Brest Friend pillow much better than the Boppy, personally) I’d recommend bringing it with you to the hospital to you can get the hang of it there. In the beginning, it’s all about messing around with different positions to get the best latch and the pillow is super helpful to bring the baby up to breast-height.

And one more tip:

Buy a new perfume, lotion or body wash to bring with you to the hospital. Incidentally, I packed a different body wash than I normally use, because I thought the lavender scent would be calming post-delivery. I’m so glad I did because every time I smell it, I think of the days in the hospital after our son was born.

What did you bring with you to the hospital? 

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Melissa Mowry

Melissa Mowry is a stay at home mom to 3 year old Chase and the slightly younger guy, Sam. She is the main voice behind One Mother to Another, which she started in July 2014 as a way to connect with other moms who felt just as lonely as she did some days. She is married to her high school sweetheart, Adam, and they live in their home state of Rhode Island. Melissa's work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Coffee + Crumbs and Mamapedia, among others. Her book, One Mother to Another: This Is Just Between Us is for sale on Amazon.
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