10 hospital bag essentials you must pack!
Having a baby is so exciting, especially the preparation part (I love to pack and prepare #militarybrat). There is so much you can buy for your new baby and to help you transition into parenthood. And if you aren’t careful, you will want to take all of it to the hospital with you! In all truthfulness, you will need so little. That is why I created this list of hospital bag essentials that you will want to be sure that you pack…and a few that you can just leave at home!
I have seen thousands of families come into the hospital to have their little one. Because of this, I have witnessed a lot of “I wish I had…” moments. We pack a month in advance and still are not prepared. I guess it is a lot like parenting in general. We never are truly prepared. At least after reading this list you will be a bit more prepared, at least for the first few days of your new baby’s life.
Hospital bag essentials for mom, dad and baby
Yes, some people do forget this. Bring comfy clothing that is just a bit too big for you now. Sometimes, your belly may actually get a bit bigger after having a baby. This is especially true after a c-section. You may want to get a comfy dress or pants that do not ride low (if you are going in for a c-section). Make sure that your clothes make it easy to breastfeed as you will be doing that a lot in the first few days.
Be sure to pack a robe and that this robe covers your back side quite well. Hospital gowns do not do this job so if you have on a hospital gown plus a robe that is too short, you will be shining your hiney a bit more than you want to. So choose a longer robe, preferably one that covers your bum when you bend over (you can thank me later). Something like this robe here is good, and it is cotton so very breathable!
BLUETIME Women Robe Soft Kimono Robes Cotton Bathrobe Sleepwear Loungewear Short (S, Dark Gray)
For dad or support person:
During labor things may get a bit messy or wet. Be sure that they have a change of clothes for the hospital stay and also a bathing suit if you want to try to labor in water at all. Mama can be naked, support person…not so much. They will also need a jacket or sweatshirt for after the delivery because your hormones will make you want to live in an igloo!
Bring clothing for baby, bring a lot if you want to. Just be sure that you wash it first. The chemicals used in processing baby clothing are very harsh and dangerous. Please wash all their clothing, blankets, bedding, and all other items they will be up against. I have personally told parents to not dress their babies in new garments and have seen other nurses do the same because they can be really difficult to get around. Most hospitals will provide a little shirt, a hat, and blankets so you don’t REALLY need to bring anything except for a couple going home outfits (they tend to mess up something).
Indeed this is another one that people forget all. the. time. Just pack a travel sized set and leave it there. You will be happy you did. Don’t forget your toothbrush. In all reality, most hospitals will have replacements, but it just feels better to have your own, doesn’t it?
3. A heating pad
Whether you are planning to have a cesarian section (c-section) or hoping for a vaginal delivery, one thing you will want to pack is a heating pad (an electrical one as personnel at the hospital can not heat up your personal bag of rice hot pad). There will be aches and pains after having a baby. Your muscles will hurt in your shoulders, if you get an epidural you will most likely have a sore back, and you will have after birth pains. A heating pad works wonders for these aches and pains unlike medicine will do.
Oh my gosh! Can I just say that hospital pillows are the worst? They provide just enough support that 3 beneath your head may help. Not to mention if you need some help getting comfortable while breastfeeding. You may need a ton. Just bring one for yourself and one for your support person and you can load up on the hospital ones to supplement your own.
Items you will need after the birth
5. Newborn swaddlers
These are the easiest way for a new parent to wrap their new baby up to help them sleep. Newborns love the tightness of a swaddle, but a tight swaddle takes a bit of practice. Save some time and bring one with you, just remember to wash it first:). These are also highly recommended by your baby doctors so use them!
6. A breast pump, if you have one
With insurance now providing breast pumps, it is really nice when a patient brings their own. Hospital provided ones can be costly and if you already received one through your insurance, you will not get another free one. As soon as you receive this, do me a favor: read the instructions thoroughly and go ahead and boil the pieces. Air dry those completely, then place them in a ziplock bag until ready to use. If, for one reason or another, you need to start pumping right away you want to have this available. If baby breastfeeds well, you should wait 6 weeks to start pumping. All my years as a mama-baby nurse gave me a lot of experience with pumps and Medela is by far my favorite pump and what I feel works the best. I actually used this pump for my entire breastfeeding experience with Little Mister:)
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with On the Go Tote
7. Essential oils
If you are an oil user, there are a few oils that are hospital bag essentials for sure. Check out my post listing the oils that you would want to bring, how to use them, and even a few DIY recipes to make before having your baby.
8. A car seat
Bring a car seat. Not only that, but please read your manual completely, know how to install perfectly, and then find a CPS Tech (Child Passenger Safety Technician) in your area to check your seat. Safety first! You will NOT need to bring this into the hospital right away. It will just be in the way, so tell daddy to leave it (installed) in the car until your nurse tells you to bring it up!
9. Your diaper bag
Absolutely pack a diaper bag, but just leave it in the car! There is nothing that you will need that the hospital cannot provide to you, I promise. You will need the bag, however, for the trip home. You may experience a blowout or a hungry baby. So pack your diaper bag, but just leave it in the car (with the car seat)! This list by Purely Unrefined is pretty good, just pack the 1st priority stuff though.
What else to pack?
10. Snacks for your nurses
I can’t tell you how much happier I am to walk into a room when I know for a fact that I can snag a piece of candy each time I leave. Yes, nurses do indeed like junk food. (I don’t keep it in my house though).
List of those not so needed items for the hospital:
Baby toys. Yeah, they don’t care.
Entertainment. Maybe a movie, but please, spare your man an evil glare and don’t allow a gaming system in the hospital. Give him a diaper instead.
Gifts and flowers. Believe me when I say that when you are due to leave the hospital, the last thing you want to worry with is a dozen glass vases full of water and flowers. Ask your friends and family to kindly send them to your home.
Diapers and blankets. Save the money and laundry for when you are home. The hospital will provide these items. Some hospitals do not, however, provide wipes. They will give an item that is comparable, but not as easy as a wipe.
I hope that this list is helpful to you as you pack up. Remember, you are only going to be there for 1-4 nights (in most cases) so you don’t need to pack like you are moving in. In order to keep the transition home as easy as possible, just pack these hospital bag essentials.
What is the one thing that you absolutely have to take to the hospital?