Expecting a new baby, whether it’s your very first time or your sixth go around, is super exciting.
You spend your days busying yourself with nursery decorations, picking names, reading baby books and washing load after load of teeny tiny clothes; all in preparation for your new (or newest) bundle of joy. You get the room finished, you’ve got their name picked and all those little clothes are finally washed, folded and tucked away in drawers awaiting their new owner’s arrival, but that hospital bag is staring you down.
What are you supposed to take? You don’t want to way over pack and be stuck trying to lug six bags into the hospital while you’re in labor. But you DEFINITELY don’t want to under pack and be left stuck at the hospital with a brand new baby, sending someone on a Wal-Mart run in the middle of the night because you forgot that one really, super important thing that you really, REALLY need.
Whether you’re a first time mom or a seasoned veteran at the momming game, that hospital bag can be a difficult nut to crack. So I’ve taken the time to do a bit of the dirty work for you, and put together a list of the most essential things to pack for yourself and baby, as well as a few extra tips and tricks to make your hospital stay and as comfortable as possible for you and your newest edition.
Pads. Pads. Pads.
You’ve just given birth, there is going to be some bleeding. Okay. A lot of bleeding. It’s normal. But a lot of hospitals will only provide you with so many pads during your stay. Or at least, they’ll only provide you with so many of the thick good ones. After that, you get the thin, toilet paper-y ones that make you nervous to bend over in front of anyone. So to save yourself a little embarrassment and a lot of comfort, grab yourself a pack of the big, thick, cottony pads and pack them in your bag. You will thank yourself later.
Comfy, Stretchy Clothes
Again, you’ve just given birth. Everything will not go back to its original place immediately after. Not to mention, you will be sore in all sorts of places. The very last thing you’ll want to do is try to squeeze yourself into a pair of blue jeans, or pretty much anything that you wore pre-pregnancy. Give yourself some time and pack something nice and comfy. It may not even be a bad idea to pack one of your comfy maternity outfits. Now is not the time to be trying to look super-fly for anyone.
Hospital food is sucky. This goes for every hospital across the nation. They try. But, still always sucky. Plus, after everything you’ve been through, your stomach may just not be in the mood for the hospital’s Salisbury steak or tuna casserole surprise. So designate a little corner of your bag for a few snacks that you know you’ll be able to eat. Things like cracker packs, little individual bags of trail mix or even a PopTart or two. Plus, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad idea to stash a few extra bucks somewhere so you and your company can make trips to the vending machine, or even a last minute run to McDonalds.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, your poor breasts have another thing coming for them. They will swell, they will hurt, they will leak, and they will make you wish you never had them. Bring what you need to take care of them! If you plan on breastfeeding, bring along your pump and a nipple shield in case you may need it. If you don’t, bring an ace bandage to bind your chest with as soon as you can. The pressure will help deter your milk from coming in as well as help relieve some of the pain. Either way, make sure you bring some nipple pads to help with those pesky leaks.
Travel size is your friend in this instance. Most hospitals will offer the basics, but hospital shampoo is just as bad as hotel shampoo. Which means it’s not great. Plus, you’ve just been through a whole lot, and sometimes something as simple as the smell of your own shampoo and lotion can be a great comfort. Not to mention, if your husband or S.O is with you, the hospital won’t usually provide for them too. So a little travel bag with your own familiar toiletries will be a nice thing to have.
The first few hours to even the first day or so, your baby will be in a little tunic-like thing that the hospital nursery will provide. But, usually after the first 24 hours, your little one will get their first little bird bath. It’s kind of nice to put them in a nice comfy sleeper afterwards. Plus, you’ll want to pack a nice outfit for any pictures the hospital may provide, as well as a cute little going home outfit. As a little side note: Pack a preemie outfit and a bigger one. Doctors aren’t always right about birth weights, so you’ll be prepared no matter how little or big your baby is.
Binkies (If You’re Using Them)
I have nothing against the binkies. My kiddo used one until she was three. But a lot of hospitals don’t provide them anymore. So if you want to use a binky with your little one, or even think that you maybe might want to, toss a couple in the bag. They don’t take up any room, and they’re a nice thing to have available just in case you want to use one.
This is another one of those if you’re going to use it things. If you plan on breastfeeding, forgo the formula, it takes up a lot of room. But if you do plan on formula feeding, or if you’re currently undecided, pack a can or two just in case. Some hospitals provide it, some don’t. You can check with your hospital ahead of time, but it’s not a bad idea to just come prepared.
The hospital has their own blankets for babies. But they’re thin and not so comfy. Tuck one of those thick, fluffy blankies that you got at your baby shower into baby’s bag. It’ll give you a little extra something comfortable as your bonding with your new little one.
Again, this is another thing that most hospitals will provide. But they don’t take up a lot of room, and a handful of them in your diaper bag can prove useful in a pinch
*Extra Side Note*
Entertainment For Your S.O
If your husband or S.O is coming with you, throw a few things in the bag to help keep them entertained. A few magazines, a tablet or even some word search books.
This whole thing can be a bit overwhelming along with so very exciting! But if you do your research and pack efficiently, you should have everything you need to keep you and baby (and daddy) comfortable throughout your stay!