What's in my hospital bag: tips from a third-time Mom!
First of all let's be honest - there will be more than one hospital bag. In fact, unless you're packing a large suitcase, you might be like us and have as many as FOUR hospital bags! You'd think a 24-48 hour visit to a hospital might require less stuff, but you'd be wrong. And this will be your first taste of travel (whether it be on an actual holiday or just to the grocery store!) with a child in tow. The fact is, you're days of travelling light are behind you - sorry mama!
My hospital bag(s) this time around vary quite a bit from the first one I packed five years ago ahead of the birth of our son. I'd say the major difference is a lot less stuff for baby, and a lot more stuff for Mom. Newborn babies don't require too much while staying in hospital - after all, once baby is delivered, they become the patient and are tended to closely by the staff. That being said, you might be surprised by what you will need and it will differ based on where you're located - some hospitals may be more generous than others when it comes to handing out supplies. Better safe than sorry then! Here's what you'll want to pack for baby:
* Diapers: newborn and size 1 (I'm bringing 15 total)
* Wipes: first-time Moms will need more than experienced Moms ;) but no more than one pack
* Soother/pacifier: I'm packing two of the Philips Avent orthodontic soothers as they've always been a favourite around here. Pro tip: pre wash and sanitize them ahead of time
* Swaddle: I'm bringing two - one is a light cotton material, and the second a fleece. Hospitals are usually hot, but then again I've only given birth in the summer and I've head they can also get quite cold - better to be prepared for either!
* Onesies: I'm bringing 2-3 in various sizes (baby's weight and/or length may surprise you!) and fabrics. Pro tip: pick onesies that have feet and fold over mittens attache so you don't have to worry about packing socks or mitts too! If they don't have either, pack those too (baby's fingernails in particular will shock you!)
* Hat: good to have for heading home if not for just hanging out at the hospital - it will help regulate baby's temperature
* Going home outfit: this may be covered in the onesies you choose, but often times people pack something extra special for baby's first homecoming
* Blanket: you'll likely want a light blanket to rest on their legs for the car ride home, and/or to swaddle baby in hospital if it's colder than you expected
* Car seat: the good new is, they won't let you leave without one so you can't forget it if you try
Remember when I said you'll need more for Mom? I wasn't kidding! Check out what I'm packing for me, below:
* Your ID, hospital card (if you have one), and any insurance info that might be helpful
* Pyjamas: nursing friendly! Mine are maternity button-down from Gap
* Robe: especially if you're planning on welcoming visitors
* Flip flops: I'd prioritise these over slippers as they have the dual function of being able to go in the shower with you too - you won't want to go barefoot (especially if you're sharing a room/ward!)
* Going home clothes: honestly, don't be overly optimistic and pack clothes that haven't fit you for the last few months. I made this mistake with my pyjamas after baby no.2 and was totally uncomfortable. Just pack maternity clothes, or at least maternity pants and a loose top!
* Extra long pads: the hospital will give you some, but possibly not enough
* Pillows: one for you and your partner! Hospital pillows suck. Pro tip: bring a pillow case that's easily distinguishable so you don't leave them behind
* Nursing bra: you'll want to have one or two of these handy right away if you're planning on nursing baby
* Nipple cups and/or cream: this time around I'm brining my new Silverette nursing cups. It's unlikely that I'll have pain from nursing within the first 24 hours, but they're preventative too so I plan to start using them right away!
* Laptop/tablet and charger: because Netflix (hospital cable usually sucks)
* Phone and phone charger: obviously. Pro tip: pack an extra long charger cord because your phone will die and the plug won't be close enough to your bed
* Hand sanitizer: yes there's plenty in the hospital but I found it helpful to have a little bottle on hand if you plan on welcoming visitors and handing over your very new baby
* Powerade: often recommended by nurses during labour, and a refreshing pick me up in the aftermath too
* Nursing pads: if you're a first time Mom you will probably find you don't need these as it takes a few days for your milk to come in and for leaking to become an issue. But with my second child my milk came in the next day while I was still in hospital so they were helpful to have on hand
* Reusable water bottle: hospitals are so dry. And the water cups they give you are so small. Bring your own reusable bottle!
* Lip balm: see above
* Wash cloth: if not a large towel - up to you. Hospital towels tent to be tiny and thin
* Toiletry bag: packed with all your daily essentials - shampoo, conditioner, soap, moisturiser etc. etc. Don't assume the hospital will have any of these items for you - a hotel it is not!
* Prenatal vitamins and any other pills you have been regularly taking: just because baby is out doesn't mean you should stop taking your prenatal, iron supplements, and/or (if oyu're like me!) Tums for heartburn! I remember waking up in the middle of the night with extreme heartburn a few hours after my daughter was born and having to page a nurse for something that would help. Would have been so much easier had I just packed it myself!
* Sleep mask: this is more of a preference thing but if you're sleeping over night in a hospital there will always be a light shining from somewhere that you cannot turn off. The mask can help with that!
Things you may think you need that you probably do not need:
* Peri bottle: hospital should definitely provide (if they don't - ask for one!)
* Pain relievers: see above
* Breast pump and bottles: unlikely to need while in hospital assuming baby is not premature and there are no complications. Up to you - I never used either in hospital.
* Stretchy mesh underwear: the hospital should provide, and if you can get your hands on a couple of extra pairs - do it!