Monday, September 30, 2013

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

I am a mom of 2 and when I look back at how I packed my hospital bag for each birth, I just have to laugh.

When I packed for the birth of my first child, I think I packed everything but the kitchen sink! I packed anything I could think of as well as anything I heard anyone else even mention! Then, when I was actually at the hospital, I think I only used about a quarter of it!!

With my second, I pared it waaaay down. And STILL had things I didn't use! So, after comparing the two experiences, this list is what I think you should have you your hospital bag. I am no expert, but I think it's a pretty good list! ;)
The AWESOME bag I used from Thirty-One.

Ready to see what my list looks like? Here it is:
1.) Robe!
From Milk & Baby
This is absolutely number one for me! I brought one with me for both births and will bring one with me for every other one, too! It was nice to put it on and be able to walk around without holding the back of my hospital gown closed!!
Some people also suggest bringing your own pajamas or Hospital Gown. To wear instead of the hospital provided gown, but I never have. Maybe I will next time, because I've had my eye on some really cute Delivery Gowns. :)
I suggest buying from my affiliate, Milk & Baby. They have Delivery Gowns, Hospital Gowns, Nursing Bras and Tops, Robes... even rompers for the baby and scrubs for dad! You name it, they have it! :)

2.) Depends
Alright. I know what you are probably thinking. You think there is NO WAY you are going to wear adult diapers. I was like you, too. Before
Now that I have tried them, I will NEVER give birth without them!
I didn't have them with my first child, and with my second I was hesitant about the idea of wearing diapers. But let me just say that I am SO glad I gave it a try. For the first day (the actual day I gave birth) I just wore the extra large pads and mesh underwear that the hospital provided, but after that I switched to the depends and they were great! They gave the support of underwear and the leak protection of a pad without the bulk.
I recommend the Depend Silhouette for Women.

3.) Non Skid Socks
Non Skid Socks
I chose thick socks with grippers on the bottom. I think it's easier than trying to get your slippers on and off when you get in and out of bed. The one thing I will say is that I got a little hot in these at night, but I wore them despite that because I loved having the grips on the bottom.

I suggest these Non Skid Socks because they are fuzzy and come in several colors!

4.) Toiletries 
Travel Size Kit
This will vary from person to person, but I found it was best to only bring Travel Sizes. They take up less room in your bag. Besides, you'll only be there a few days.

I actually bought them all as a set like one pictured and loved it! It was so convenient to just throw the case into my packed bag. You can do what I did, buy them all separately, or even just bring the big versions.

The hospital (usually) only has a small bar of soap. You know, the kind that really really dries out your skin? Ugh! So I suggest bringing (travel sizes!!!) of all of your toiletries.

Another thing that some people will want to bring is make up. I personally don't wear it, but I did include my tinted face lotion.

Again, this is the Travel Size Kit that I bought.

5.) Nursing Supplies
From Milk & Baby

Lansinoh is my preferred brand for nursing supplies.
The items you bring from this category will largely depend on whether you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed.

If you plan to breastfeed, you will need:
  • Nursing Bras and Nursing Tanks or Pajamas. As I said about the robe, I love the nursing items from Milk & Baby. They are as adorable as they are functional!
  • Breast Pads. I prefer disposable, but either disposable or reusable are available. I buy Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.
  • Lanolin Nipple Cream. Your nipples will be sore and cracked from breastfeeding at first. So, just like Chapstick helps chapped lips feel better, Lanolin will help chapped nipples. I buy Lansinoh Lanolin.
If you plan to bottle feed, you will need:
  • Breast Pads. You will leak colostrum until your milk dries up. I prefer disposable, but either disposable or reusable are available. I buy Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads.
  • Formula. Honestly, I wouldn't pack this in the bag. I would wait and talk to the hospital staff about which brand(s) they suggest, but you certainly can pack them ahead of time, if you want. I have always used Enfamil Premium Formula once I did start feeding my children formula.
  • Bottles. I wouldn't pack this in the bag, either. I would wait and talk to the hospital staff about which brand(s) they suggest, but (like the formula) you certainly can pack them ahead of time, if you want. When my children did start getting a bottle, I always used Playtex Drop-Ins.
6.) Camera

Now, it doesn't matter what kind of camera you use. A DSLR, Point-and-shoot, disposable, or even your phone... but be sure to bring one!!

And make sure YOU are in some of them!! You may feel puffy or tired and not want your picture taken, but it's important!Even if you never show these pictures to anyone else - you'll love looking back on those first days with your little one! Even if you don't think you look your best!

7.) Cell Phone and "To Call" List (and Phone Charger!)
There will definitely be people that you want to call right away when you go into labor and others that you will want to call as soon as you have the baby.

I suggest printing out a list of names and numbers, in case your cell phone dies (or you forget it). This is also good because when you are worrying about other things, you can hand the list off and delegate the task of calling everyone to someone else.

If you forget your charger or it suddenly stops working (like ours did) then ask the nurse if they have any in the lost and found that will work for your phone. That's what we did and the nurse told us that they had TONS because that is the most left-behind item.

8.) Going Home Outfit

Those of you that are going through this for the first time may not want to hear this, but your "going home outfit" will need to be either your maternity clothes, pajamas, a loose dress, or sweats (basically, anything stretchy). You won't necessarily look 8 or 9 months pregnant, but you won't be in your pre-pregnancy clothes yet, either!

That's not to say it can't be cute. Whatever out fit you choose, just make sure you are comfortable! And if it's cute, you'll feel a little better about it being sweats. ;)

With my last pregnancy, I took a pair of maternity jeans and a loose maternity top. Now, I was preparing in case I had to have a c-section because I was trying for a VBAC, but didn't know if it would be successful (It was! YAY!!). So I made sure to pack clothes from late in my pregnancy so they would be very loose. But next time I think I will pack my maternity clothes from the first half of my pregnancy.

1.) Change of Clothes and Shoes/Socks
From Milk & Baby
This one is especially true if your husband has an uncomfortable work uniform. That way, if you go into labor while he is at work and he has to meet you at the hospital, he won't be stuck in his work clothes.

I alwasy just pack a T-Shirt, Gym Shorts, and Socks with some Tennis Shoes for E. But I saw these Daddy Scrubs while I was looking at Delivery Gowns over at Milk & Baby and thought they were so cute! :)

Whatever you bring, make sure it's not his favorite. Just in case it gets ruined.

2.) Snacks and Money
As far as snacks go, I would just bring a few things. Just some items if he gets hungry and doesn't have the time to run out and get something. 

But also make sure to bring some money (including ones and change). It takes up less space than snacks and it will be nice for him to be able to get a break by walking to the vending machine or the cafeteria (or even a close restaurant for some take out for the both of you after the baby is born)!

1.) Going Home Outfit
From Milk & Baby
Some people will just choose to have their little one come home in the hospital onesie or some simple pajamas, but I personally like to save their first outfit as a keepsake, so I like to get a special one.

It's all up to you.

2.) Car Seat
Car Seats
 It doesn't matter which kind you have. Whatever you find works for you. Just remember to have one! You can't leave the hospital without it.

I even put it in the car (and make sure it's installed properly) a few weeks before your due date so that it's ready to go and you don't have to worry about it again.

I had a reader make an good comment about this. She said that they installed their car seat and then, before the baby was born, they got into a car accident! So, before they even had a chance to use it, they had to replace it! It's up to you, but she suggested to leave it at home and have dad go home and get the car seat (he will probably go home to shower, clean, etc anyway) and install it before you leave the hospital.

3.) Receiving Blankets *OPTIONAL*
Receiving Blanket by Carters
I personally didn't do this, but thought it was a cute idea: Sleep with a receiving blanket at night and take it with you when you go to the hospital. That way, when baby is born and you swaddle him/her with it, it will smell like you and comfort them.

4.) Diapers and Wipes *OPTIONAL*
Diapers and Wipes
Again, I didn't do this. The hospital will provide plenty. But if you decide to bring some of your own, that's fine too. 

(If it applies)
1.) A Gift "From the New Baby"
Buzz Lightyear Duplo
Whether or not you choose to have the gift be "from the baby" or not, I think it's a good idea to have a special gift for the older sibling(s). It will get rid of a lot of the jealousy over the new baby getting so much attention. Doesn't have to be much. Just something small to celebrate them!

We did this and I think it made a big difference. Our son wasn't so sure about the new baby, but once "she" gave him his new Duplo toy, he seemed to quickly warm up to her. He even tried to share it with her!

So that's it for my list! Is there anything I don't have that you'll be adding to your bag?
How far along are you? Was this post helpful??

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  1. Currently 31 weeks (tomorrow) I've had your page bookmarked for at least 2 months now. I just found the right bag for the hospital and I'm referring to your list again, very helpful. I went into labor at exactly 36 weeks with my first, so I'm trying to plan ahead this time. I love that your list has just the essentials, it's definitely going to help me out. Thanks.

  2. I took a lot less than this and all went fine. The hospital supplies slippers, and though I brought a nightgown of my own, they asked me not to use it because they "have hospital gowns for a reason". Toiletries - yes; baby going-home outfit - yes. But, as far as diapers, blankets, nursing or bottle feeding stuff - that was all provided. I didn't open what I brought.

    Snacks and/or change - YES! (I sent my husband home for Diet Coke, a personal must-have.) Phone and charger - yes!

    The "Depends" hint is a good one.

    1. I'm glad to hear it can still be done with less! :)

  3. Thank you, i am 34 weeks with my first baby. And your post is very helpfull , great idea to include pictures ;)

  4. I would suggest bringing along receiving blankets and jammies for the baby. A lot of babies react to the harsh chemicals used to wash everything there. All 3 of my girls have had this problem. When I had my first I didn't take any, and with my other two I did. Within an hour of changing over blankets, the rash had disappeared. :)

    1. That's a really good tip! You won't know until you get there whether or not your baby will have a reaction and it's better to be safe than sorry!

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  7. From an Adoptive First-time Mom, this was REALLY helpful!! Thank you so much!!! This gave me an idea of what I need to bring for me and baby, but also to help support my birth mom- thank you again!!!

    1. Congratulations on your new addition!!! Your birth mom will be so appreciative of your thoughtfulness!