As you near the end of your pregnancy, you’re flooded with emotions—excitement, nervousness, anticipation of the unknown, joy. While it’s a wonderful time, it can also be stressful as you try to prepare yourself as thoroughly as possible. One of the most important tasks to complete before your due date? Packing up your hospital bag! Before giving birth to her daughter recently, Caitlin tackled this challenge by doing quite a bit of research. Today, she’s showing you how to cover all the bases when you’re prepping for the hospital!
“I spent so many hours searching Pinterest for hospital bag guides, and talking to my experienced mama friends about what to pack—it kind of became my obsession in the months leading up to my due date! A compulsive over-packer, I wanted to be sure I had everything I could possibly need for the hospital when it came time for my daughter’s birth. Below is a guide of the items I found to be most helpful. Anything I forgot? List it in the comments below!”
1. BAGS: I suggest dividing your packing into three bags. This may seem like a bit much (my husband certainly rolled his eyes!), but it was so helpful to have everything completely organized when we got settled in our hospital room. Plan ahead to have one bag for labor/delivery that you bring with you when you check in to hospital, a second bag for you and your newborn that can be left in your car until after the birth, and a bag for dad or your birth partner(s). For me, it also proved really helpful to organize the contents of each bag with small pouches. I swear by TRUFFLE’s clear pouches—it’s easy to see what’s inside them, which definitely comes in handy if you’re asking your birth partner to find something for you!
2. LABOR ESSENTIALS: (Your labor essentials may vary greatly depending on what type of birth you’re planning or hoping for, as well as where you’ll be laboring and delivering. My suggestions are based on items I found helpful and reassuring to have on hand for my natural birth in the hospital.) Having a soft nightgown, robe and slippers to labor in will likely remind you of home and make you feel a bit more comfortable. HATCH Collection has a luxe set; Target also has some great options for cozy jersey robes. You’ll also want to pack a large water bottle, and an iPad/Kindle or other reading materials. Your own blanket or throw, plus pillows and blankets for sleeping, will make good additions to your hospital bag, too (bring colored pillow cases so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital’s!). Don’t forget mints, gum and lip balm—I swear by Aquaphor because it lasts for hours. Facial wipes (I love Simple’s) are refreshing when you get hot; hair ties, a headband and bobby pins are also helpful! Be sure to plan how you’ll time your contractions—download an app or pack a good old-fashioned digital watch. You’ll also definitely want a playlist queued up on your phone or laptop! Don’t forget your camera, and chargers for all your devices. Pack plenty of healthy snacks for your birth partner, plus a sweatshirt and slippers so he or she can be comfortable (and warm) as well!
3. BABY ESSENTIALS: Your baby will most likely sport hospital attire for the duration of your stay, but it’s nice to have a few of your own onesies and a going-home outfit on hand (bring a newborn size along with a 0–3 month size). Don’t forget a hat and booties, or a footed onesie. One swaddle blanket, one receiving blanket and a few burp cloths are likely the only other baby essentials you’ll need in the hospital. I love this super-soft multipurpose blanket from Numpfer; this knit blanket from koko’s nest is also extremely cuddly. And you can’t go wrong with lulujo swaddles. If you want to use your own diapers and wipes at the hospital, don’t forget to pack them!
4. YOUR POST-PARTUM ESSENTIALS: These items aren’t necessarily glamorous, but they’re incredibly practical! Though the hospital should provide you with almost everything you’ll need for your recovery, it’s nice to have your own witch hazel pads, oversized cotton underwear and overnight pads. This Earth Mama Angel Baby ‘New Mama Bottom Spray‘ is great, too! Bringing along a few comforts of home—bath towels, a wash cloth and your own (soft!) toilet paper—will make using the hospital’s bathroom and shower much more enjoyable. Pack some toiletries and a few basic makeup products in a small bag or pouch—you may want to freshen up or make yourself feel a bit more awake when you have visitors. Some women swear by Belly Bandit’s Post-Pregnancy Tummy Wrap, which can be especially helpful if you’ve had a cesarean section. Pack several comfortable outfits to lounge in. Avoid tight waistbands—I suggest fold-over or maternity yoga pants, cozy cardigans and nursing tanks (I swear by Target’s tanks and have them in several colors). You can sleep in these outfits, or in a nightgown with buttons that is conducive to nursing (this one is amazing for the hospital and everyday life back at home with your baby). A nursing bra is also a necessity if you’ll be breast-feeding—these soft, comfy sleeping ones from Target are a great start. Lanolin or an organic nipple cream (like Zoe Organics’s Nipple Balm) will be a lifesaver. You can also purchase a pre-assembled kit—the Push Pack, for example, already contains the essentials for your hospital bag!
Image by Krista A. Jones