Packing a Hospital Bag for You and Baby

Hospital bag

Packing a hospital bag for any first-time mama can seem so overwhelming. Knowing what you need for both you and your baby when this is your first experience can be mind-boggling and make you feel completely clueless. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Unless you have someone close that has given birth recently and can give you the inside scoop, you don’t have a guide, unless you’re reading this. We’ve put together a quick checklist of the basics you’ll be needing during your hospital stay.

Read more:

  1. What To Expect When Having Your First Baby
  2. 7 First Time Parent Tips Anyone Should Learn

For Mama

  • During your hospital stay, you’ll need toiletries. Each room has a bathroom that comes with a shower so you’ll want to bring travel-sized toiletries with you so that you can bathe as many times as you’d like. If you have an uncomplicated vaginal birth, expect to stay anywhere from 24 hours up to two days. If you have a c-section, your doctor will most likely want to keep you anywhere from three to four days so that they can make sure you’re healing properly. We recommend you pack toiletries for up to four days in case you run into any unforeseen emergency.
  • While you’re recovering from delivery, you’ll be resting up in the hospital bed and going for the occasional walk down the hospital halls. For this, you’ll want to bring some comfy loungewear for each day. Again, we recommend you pack for four days because it’s better to overpack than under-pack. This will also allow you to have some options depending on what you’re feeling like for the day. A lot of moms like wearing tops that have easy access to breastfeeding so they can easily pump or nurse whenever they need to. You’ll also want to bring a pair of slippers or house shoes that will make you feel comfortable.
  • Unless you’re using loungewear as pajamas, you’ll also want to pack a few pairs of pajamas. Because our bodies are creatures of habit, your internal clock will do better once you change from daywear to nightwear to remind you it’s time to wind down and call it a night. It may be hard to get some sleep with a newborn wanting their midnight feeding but at least you’ll be comfortable for the long night ahead.
  • Postpartum diapers. Expect a lot of bleeding after the baby arrives. Some women feel more comfortable wearing pads while others feel better with postpartum diapers. The difference depends on your comfort level. With pads, the occasional leaking can happen that ends up staining your bottoms. With diapers, you don’t have to worry about it moving out of place since it’s full coverage and feels just like regular underwear, especially since they are designed to be more discreet. Along with diapers or pads, you’ll want to bring several pairs of underwear with you.
  • Nipple cream and pads. Whether your plan on nursing or not, pumping and baby can make your nipples tender. Be sure to pack a nipple cream that is safe for the baby if you’re planning on nursing to help you after feedings. Because you can expect to leak, you’ll also want to wear nipple pads for those unexpected moments to protect your top. Don’t worry about bringing your pump, most hospitals have one for you to use between feedings. If you’re planning on nursing, it’s best to avoid a pump so that you and your baby can get enough practice with latching.
  • Camera and phone chargers. Since your stay will likely be for a couple of days, you’ll want to make sure that you have all of the chargers you need for your phone and your camera. It’s such an exciting moment and you can expect family members to reach out the entire time so you’ll want to make sure that your phone is always charged and that the camera is always ready to go so that you don’t miss any important moments with baby.

Read More: 3 Benefits of Nursing Your Newborn

For Baby

  • Coming home outfit. A lot of new moms are getting creative with personalized coming home outfits for the baby since it’s something they can save as a keepsake for memories. Knotted baby gowns are a great coming-home outfit, as well as one of their outfits during their hospital stay. Baby gowns have made a huge comeback and one of the reasons is because it allows baby optimal comfort while being swaddled, while also making diaper changes easier on both nurses and baby during their hospital stay.
  • Birth announcement outfit. In recent years, taking a picture of the baby in their hospital bassinet after being born has become popular. If you’re wanting to take a picture of the baby as soon as you deliver, be sure to pack a cute comfy outfit for them and baby announcement signs. These popular baby announcement signs are a cute way to write down all of the baby’s measurements, time of birth, and place next to the baby for an announcement picture. If you’ve been on Instagram, then you’ve probably seen these a few times while being photographed in a few different ways. Remember to bring a marker with you so that you can fill it out once the baby arrives.
  • Extra clothes and swaddles. Between the coming home outfit and the birth announcement, you should be fine on clothes. However, if you run into some unforeseen circumstances, your baby may need to stay longer than normal. If that’s the case you’ll want to bring some extra clothes for the baby. Depending on the situation, you may be able to change them daily. Other times, they may need to just keep them in a swaddle alone. Either way be sure to bring some extra outfits and swaddles if you prefer to swaddle your baby in the ones you bring from home and not the hospitals.
  • This will be the baby’s first lovey. Be sure to bring a comfy blanket for your baby even in the middle of summer. Babies are used to being in a warm womb for nine months so a hospital’s air conditioning can be extra chilly for them. Even though they will stay swaddled, baby’s love having that extra layer of warmth when being held. You can also use it to place over their legs on their ride home in their car seat.
  • Car seat. Before you leave the hospital, your nurse will ask you to place the baby in the car seat to make sure you know how to safely strap your little one. Don’t be surprised if she follows you to the car as well to make sure you have everything buckled correctly. Before your hospital stay, it would be a good idea to get familiar with how the car seat works so that you can properly place the baby safely in and out of the car.

That’s it. If this list seems a little short or vague and you want a second opinion on what to bring, most labor and delivery hospital websites have a section where they too have a checklist on what you should bring. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to compare our lists so that you can see if there’s anything else they recommend you bring since you’ll be staying with them.

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