The Hospital (Go) Bag

February 04, 2019

What To Be Sure To Pack
(in your hospital bag)

Just like going away on vacation, preparing to head to the hospital for the arrival of your newest family member involves a fair amount of packing. And just like going on vacation, most of us tend to overpack!

The plethora of information available on the subject doesn't help, either. All those Google searches, researching, and asking friends and family does nothing to narrow down the list of what you should really have with you in your hospital bag.

Never fear, for here is a condensed list of the ten (10) most essential things to pack in your hospital bag!

After two births and two stays in the hospital, I've got what to pack in your hospital bag down to a science.   This list of ten (10) nails it by making sure that you have the necessities you need for your stay, while still making your partner's life easier for when they have to load everything up and go home.

So, without further adieu,

Ten (10) items to pack in your hospital bag:

  1. A shower kit. The first shower you take may not happen until two days after the birth. It will be the most amazing shower you will have taken in a while -- and the most deserved! The hospital will provide generic soap, so we suggest you pack your own travel size provisions. Our L’Occitane shower kit comes fully packed with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, bar soap, lotion, and lip balm. All you need is your toothbrush and you are set.
  2. Nipple cream. Breastfeeding can be challenging, and sore/cracked nipples hurt like a real mother. It is helpful to have a little nipple cream on standby to ease the discomfort. Motherlove Nipple Cream is our choice, made of all natural and organic ingredients, this cream is safe for you, the baby, and can be used as a lip balm as well!
  3. Nursing pads. Depending on how fast you recover after birth, the majority of your milk will likely arrive after you return home from the hospital. But to be prepared, we love the soft reusable pads from Kindred Bravely that are gentle on sore nipples and come in a pack of four pairs.
  4. Backless Slippers. Hospital tile floors can be almost uncomfortably cold, so slippers are a must. Make sure they are the backless kind, like these, so that you can easily slide them on and off without having to bend over.
  5. Long cord phone charger. You never know where the outlets will be in the room, so a longer cord for your charger will make your stay more comfortable when you don't have to worry about your phone battery dying on you.
  6. Snacks! M&Ms, Snickers, Cheetos… errrr… I mean the healthy stuff, of course! Really, you can bring whatever your heart desires, just don't skip the snacks. My first child was born in the morning, and I was so nauseous afterward that I wasn't ready to eat until 10 pm that night. But by that time, the hospital kitchen had closed, so my only option was a basket of free cookies from the waiting room. I definitely learned to pack my own snacks the second time around!  
  7. Lip balm & Lotion. The cold, dry, and sterile hospital air can leave your skin a mess, so bring some backup to soothe the dryness (also see #1 & #2 above).
  8. Comfy pajamas. Whether you are a nightgown chick or a pants chick, bring pajamas that are comfy, but don't bring your extremely nice pair. In case you get a c-section, like me, you will be fine with the gown the hospital provides. Gowns are easy to get on and off, and won't touch your incision.
  9. Going home clothes for you and baby. Pack a simple dress or your maternity pants (I wore home what I wore to the hospital), but do not pack your pre-pregnancy clothes. It may take days and even weeks for your body to level out.
  10. Essential Oil Inhaler. When nausea strikes, these inhalers are the best non-medicated intervention. They were created by a nurse anesthetist as an alternative way to help her patients deal with nausea after surgery.  

What NOT to pack:

  1. Diapers and wipes. The hospital will provide diapers and wipes, and they've already charged you for it. So take it all. Take the pink wash bin home, you can use it to wash bottles. If it is not bolted down or requires an electric plug, take it. You paid for it.
  2. Pads and underwear. The hospital will also provide these mamma jamma's for you. When your supply runs low, ask for more. I took home several pairs of the big mesh underwear because they were surprisingly comfortable and went over my surgery scars. Nordstroms and Victoria Secret do not carry these, so stock up!
  3. Laptop/IPad. You will not have time to use it anyway, you'll be and should be sleeping during any downtime.
  4. Multiple Outfits for You and the Baby. For the first few days, the baby will be wrapped up in a swaddle blanket. Unless you will be taking professional photos in the hospital, you will only need one outfit to go home in for you and the baby. I wore home what I wore to the hospital.
  5. Breast pump. The hospital has their own hospital grade pumps and they are amazing. They will also provide you with the bottles, phalanges and all of the pumping supplies.

The Hospital Will Provide:

  1. Velcro Belly Band for C-section recovery. Definitely ask for this if it's not automatically offered to you. You will think your nurses are sadists when they are strapping this on you, but trust us, the compression feels good on the abdomen -- especially when you need to cough, laugh, or fart.
  2. Mesh panties. Stock up on as many as you can get away with! Target and Nordstroms do not sell these.  
  3. Maxi Pads.  Even with a c-section, you will have bleeding. The hospital is usually stocked with overnight pads for extra absorption, but you can always ask to switch out.
  4. Bed liners - for the first few days you will use them in your bed, but then take the rest home and use them for diaper changes.  
  5. Perineum packs: cold packs are great for vaginal relief. Even if you have a c-section, your perineum area will be swollen from surgery.
  6. Peri mom washer: this handy contraption looks like a condiment squeeze bottle, and it helps ease discomfort and cleanse your perineum area after you urinate or have a bowel movement. It's a much better alternative than wiping with hospital grade toilet paper -- talk about extra ouch in an area that has already been through too much…
  7. Nipple shields: some women may have flat or inverted nipples and nipple shields aid in providing a larger surface area for the baby to latch on.
  8. Stool softener: smooth the move so you don’t fear it, just do it. Most hospitals will not allow you to bring in outside medication as they need to keep track of your intake to prevent overdosing. Same goes with ibuprofen and such, so make sure you ask for any medications you know you will need to be comfortable.

In conclusion:

I know I've heard on rare occasions that some hospitals do not provide certain items, so when you are on your hospital tour, just ask. Ask if they provide: diapers, wipes, the giant sexy mesh underwear, pads, the velcro belly wrap for c-sections (see below), formula, and bottles.

*velcro belly wrap - you will think your nurses are sadists when they try to put this on you, but trust us, it feels really good and is very helpful for after you have a c-section. It supports your mid-section when you try to get in and out of the bed/chair and especially if you need to cough, sneeze and, well, fart!

Much love <3 & Good Luck!

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What To Have
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