I have had a lot of new moms, over the years, ask me what they should pack for their hospital stay after giving birth. It seems like everyone either packs for a 2 week stay in Rome or just enough for a one night stay at a friends. Unfortunately, both approaches won’t quite fit the bill and either cause stress over not having enough or anxiety about not having enough room to move around in those tiny hospital rooms due to all the luggage. Obviously, everyone has their own personal needs and preferences with what makes them relaxed and at ease. Some women need all of their cosmetics and hair products to make them feel beautiful and refreshed after a labor ordeal (yes, I am one of those people). Others, can just throw a shirt, shorts and some lip gloss in a bag and feel pampered to the moon (I wish I was one of those people). So whichever person you are this is just a general guideline of what I bring with me that will hopefully give you all a starting point of essentials. For a first time mom there is enough stress about how the baby is going to arrive to have to worry about what to put in your hospital bag. So hope this helps and gives you all a jumping off point to make your own packing experience a little less stressful! Oh, and I will also share what I’ve packed for baby since you don’t want to forget important stuff there either.
Comfortable pants and shirts
I always pack activewear including stretchy yoga pants and bubble tops. The bubble tops are great since they are really loose but can be tightened at the bottom if needed. Since no one really knows how big the belly will be right after -we all shrink differently- it’s nice to have something a little more loose and flattering so you don’t feel like a squished sausage when guests start pouring in. Plus, these tops are great for breastfeeding since they are so loose and typically tank tops. I buy these tops in a much larger size – again for comfort – but with the tie on the bottom I can use them for exercising post baby. I have found really cheap ones at Walmart and Old Navy
Socks and Underwear
Any socks will due although I prefer the ones that have a little bit of grip on them. Since I get epidurals the first few hours after labor can often be a bit sketchy due to the legs still feeling a bit noodle like. Since the floors are already slippery in hospitals I like a little extra grip so I don’t take a nice tumble. As for underwear, pack something cottony and comfortable. This would not be the best time to pack those naughty numbers from Victorias Secret. While those might make us all feel sexy after giving birth, they will inevitably be ruined by lots of after baby goodness and if you love VS as much as I do, you know that stuff isn’t cheap. So leave it at home so you can enjoy it a few weeks after baby is born.
I usually pack 3 nursing bras and 3 sleeper nursery bras. Many people use a regular nursing bra for both day and night use. I find the ones designed for sleeping a little more comfortable and it keeps my nice bras from stretching out since I plan on breastfeeding for many months. Nursing bras are expensive so I want them to last as long as possible. Technically, with my first pregnancy I used some larger sized cotton sports bras at night to save some money and they worked really well for nursing. Either way, I would pack about one for each day you plan on being there (obviously this could always change) since you won’t really be able to wash them or anything.
This includes nursing pads, lanolin cream, and I highly recommend the soothing gel pads. I like the Lanisoh brand in all of these products since they hold up well and are relatively inexpensive. The soothing gel pads are about 11 dollars for one set but they are well worth the price in those first few days of breastfeeding. It’s very common to have soreness, chapped nipples and a lot of tenderness. Trust me, a cooling gel pad is like heaven on those engorged bazookas. Thankfully, a lot of that soreness and discomfort goes away after about a week or so which means you only really need a couple of packs of these for those really bad days.
Any brand will do. I know there are some ideas on Pinterest to make a cooling version of these as well. I have never actually done this so can’t give my own personal review but it sounds simple enough and probably feels really nice afterwards so give it a try if interested. The hospital will also provide these for you but in case you find them uncomfortable it’s always nice to have a few of your own.
Cosmetics and Personal Hygiene Items
This pretty much includes whatever you want. For me this includes my makeup, face wash and moisturizers, lotion, chapstick and deodorant. I also pack a few things for a shower and my hairbrush and some baby powder to extend the life of whatever hairstyle I end up walking in with. Most of this stuff I end up buying travel size items for since they are easily packed in a cosmetic bag and don’t take up any room in my bag. I don’t bring a hair dryer or straightener or anything since that’s just too bulky and if I’m honest with myself I’m not going to want to spend 30 minutes blow drying my hair when I can be snuggling with my new baby. My personal philosophy is to bring enough to make you feel pretty, clean and comfortable but not so much that you look like you just walked out of a Vogue cover photo shoot.
For me this includes my camera, phone and phone charger. The one thing most people forget is their charger considering it isn’t really something you can pack ahead of time. Worst thing is to get to the hospital and have your phone die as soon as you are supposed to be making calls and receiving texts about visitors arrivals and everything else. I like to know when someone is going to walk through my door so it’s not the best situation for me to not have my phone on and operable. Am I the only one like this? Hmmm….
*I was going to include pictures of my bag but since everyone has their own stuff and product preferences I didn’t think it was necessary, however, I hope this helped for the Mommy portion of the packing experience.
*I included some pics of what I packed for Gavin
Again, some of this the hospital will provide while there but I like to use my own stuff and have extra just in case it’s needed
First, I have burp cloths and two receiving blankets I made. The blue is made out of cotton gauze and the other a jersey knit. I am curious how the jersey knit blanket works so included it so that I can test it out right away. It was one of my experiments so am anxious to see the results. However, any receiving or swaddling blankets will work.
Next, are the diapers (NB size) diaper rash cream, pacifier, socks, and a cute hat for pictures.
Then I have the clothing for baby. I packed 2 onesies and 3 sleepers. Since it will be warm outside the temperature in the room might get hot so he can wear onesies during the day if needed. Otherwise, he has sleepers to keep him warm. These are all NB size. The superman outfit is his coming home outfit that we bought the day we found out we were having another boy. It’s a tradition we have had with all 3 of our kids…so while it might be a little big….it will serve it’s traditional purpose. Ha
Lastly, I packed a very cute and soft blanket so that we can wrap him up and enjoy some snuggle time.
Here is a pic of my diaper bag which I have used as his bag. I just packed all of these essentials into the diaper bag that way I’m not digging through all of my stuff to find his. I got this bag off Amazon and love it. It’s SOHO brand and came with a million small bags for organizing things inside. It was only 30 dollars and was well worth the investment. I absolutely LOVE it!!
So there ya have it! Keep in mind that a lot of things will get soiled, spit up on or who knows what else so don’t pack anything that you’re particularly in love with. Also, lots of things get left or lost at a hospital so just keep that in mind when choosing things to bring. Hope this helps and remember you can always have someone run to the store or back home to grab something you forgot. Have a happy and healthy delivery and hospital stay!!!