As you guys may know, we recently welcomed our daughter Honor into the world last week! What to pack in my hospital bag – and when to pack it – was playing on my mind for a few weeks prior to her birth. They say you should pack your hospital bag by 34 weeks, just in case of any early arrivals. The average hospital stay for natural births is 2 days (longer if you have a C-section), so it’s important to bring some items that make it feel a little more like home. I spoke to a load of girlfriends who are mums, made my list, packed my bag (on the late side, having been sick over the holidays I only got around to doing it at week 38 – eek!). I packed it just in time, as Honor arrived a week early, with a super fast 4 hour labor that left us with no time to scramble things together! Today, I’m sharing everything that was my hospital bag for our little one’s big entrance into the world.
Nothing sheer, as there will be plenty of hospital staff coming in and out of the delivery room.
2. Cotton pants
Leave the cute lingerie at home! You want to be comfortable. And if you have a c-section, you’ll want underwear that is high enough to cover the scar dressing and not irritate it. Whole Foods sells great organic, cotton underwear.
I found the coziest one at Restoration Hardware and also love those from Pottery Barn. Don’t forget one for your partner too!
4. Nursing Bra
I haven’t tried them yet, of course, but everyone has recommended Bravado. I have also ordered one from Coasabella, and I absolutely love how cute the style is.
5. Slippers and Socks
These are important. Keep your eye out for socks with grips on the bottom, to save yourself from slipping when you drowsily get out of bed.
6. Big Cozy Sweater
You’ll especially need this one in the winter time.
7. Eye Mask and Ear Plugs
Hospitals can be bright, noisy places, and you’ll want to give yourself every opportunity to rest when you can.
8. Pillow and Blanket
I’ve see a lot of friends take their own pillow and pillow case for comfort. I am always cold, and having my own blanket available to me just sounds better. Plus, if you have a C-Section, your temperature drops during surgery and you can get quite chilly.
Again, sometimes your own items make all the difference.
10. Maternity Pads
I am taking travel sized shampoo, conditioner, soap, face products, deodorant, and a small amount of makeup.
1. Muslin, Bib, Sleep Suit, Swaddle, or Mittens
The hospital does provide most of this, but it’s up to you if you want to bring your own. Remember to wash these items in baby-friendly detergent and softener before leaving the house. Also, when you leave the hospital and the baby is placed in the car seat, they can’t be swaddled in a blanket – they need to be in a onesie so their legs can be separated and fastened into the seat.
2. Bottles, Formula, and Diapers
Again, the hospital has this, but you might want your own
1. Phone Charger
Important to have always, but especially when you’re in the hospital overnight.
2. Music Dock or Wireless Speaker
Listening to music can help you feel happier, more relaxed, or even occupy the waiting time. The only advice I was given by a friend was don’t play your favorite artist. If you’re going through a lot of pain, you might end up associating that with the singer – she can’t listen to Lady Gaga anymore at all!
3. Battery Operated Tea Light Candles
Although you’re not allowed to light real candles in a hospital, low light has a huge effect on your mood. My friend highly recommended bringing some of these along.
To document your first moments with the newest member of your family.
You probably won’t use it, but just in case things take a while, it may be nice to have. My doctor told me of one patient whose hubby had created a comedy reel of her favorite clips from movies. It distracted her so much she “laughed the baby out!” – my doc’s words!!
6. Baby Car Seat
Legally you can’t leave the hospital without having this fitted in the car, and the hospital staff aren’t allowed to help you do it. So take the time to get it fitted beforehand – the shop attendant where you buy it is on hand to help.
7. Partner’s Hospital Bag
They will be crashing overnight too!
8. Cookies for the Hospital Staff
It’s always nice to thank those who work so hard to make this process go as smoothly, and safely, as they can.
9. Birthing Plan
Even though 99% of people have told us the birthing plan goes out the window once labor is in full swing, it’s still helpful to have an idea of what you do and don’t want when it comes to pain meds and birthing options.
What’s a birth plan ?