After a scary night of Braxton Hicks contractions last week, I realized very quickly that I should probably get some stuff prepared for this baby before it makes its grand entrance into the world. I have pretty much nothing ready, and the prospect of having to possibly leave for the hospital the other day left me feeling anxious that I didn’t have a single item packed for the hospital, no clothes washed for the baby, and no bassinet set up. We’ve been a little busy, but we still need a place for the new baby to lay its head!
After two previous vaginal deliveries, I think I’ve narrowed my hospital packing list down to the things I personally prefer to have with me. Our hospital provides pads, ice packs, peri bottles, and other postpartum health-related supplies as well as plenty of diapers and wipes for baby. So nice not to worry about packing any of those things!
Giving birth in light of the current global pandemic has certainly changed a few of my original plans, but I’m honestly so glad that there will be no visitors in the hospital or even in our home. Despite the difficulty I anticipate with managing two small children and a newborn, just having our home to ourselves and being allowed to settle in and relax with our new family member brings me some peace. When I’m still trying to figure out what nursing the new baby is like (and each one can be different), recovering from birth, and feeling exhausted, the last thing I want to do is have a visitor, especially overnight. It’s nothing personal, it’s just nice to have space in those moments for us - unless someone is dropping off food for us, then I accept slightly less space. :)
Covid also means there are different hospital policies than we’re used to. For example, we will likely be discharged after only one night postpartum, and the newborn nursery is closed, so we will be rooming with our new baby. We have always sent our babies to the newborn nursery for the first night to give us time to recover from the exhaustion of labor and delivery. It was so nice because they just bring the baby in when it’s time to nurse, then they take care of the rest. This time, we’re on our own, and I’m a bit nervous about what that first night will be like, especially if we’re up all night in labor before.
At any rate, I still have to pack and prepare my bag! Hopefully this means I won’t need it for a few more weeks at least, but if I do, at least I’ll be ready.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mommy
Comfortable nursing robe and matching pajama bottoms | Once, I packed a nursing dress I bought special for the hospital. I had it on for 5 minutes and my baby leaked poop all over it. This time, I’m going with a removable robe that I can wear a nursing tank under and just open it up to nurse and hopefully reduce the risk of a poop explosion! And as a bonus, it will be a good piece for after the hospital, too.
Nursing tanks | These are my go-to in the hospital because they’re comfortable for sleeping and also presentable. Not that we are having visitors, but I don’t want to be hanging around in just my bra, either! I also like that there is no elastic band underneath that would press on my breast.
Nursing bras | Nice to have a couple just in case or to wear under a loose, nursing-friendly top to go home in.
Nursing friendly, loose-fitting tops | You do not need nursing-specific clothing. If it makes you feel better to have it, great! But I have found that I often don’t like the style of the “nursing” tops, and then they’re weird to keep wearing once you’re done nursing. After nursing two babies, I have learned that I prefer loose, flowy tops that I can pop the baby under and see down the neck hole, or I just lift it up and nurse. I have given up caring who sees, breastfeeding isn’t sexual, and the baby’s head and my loose top block most of my boob anyway.
Open cardigan or lightweight, loose sweater | I love this for the same reason I will be using an open robe over a nursing cami. Just throw a cute cardi or open sweater on over your tank, and you’re good to go!
Comfy leggings | I like to pack items that coordinate with multiple pieces. Leggings are a must because they will hold your ice-pack and pad close to where it should be, and they’re great for the ride home. This time, I’m taking two pairs so I can decide which will be more comfortable in the moment.
Regular socks | My body goes through various temperature swings after delivery, sometimes I’m hot, sometimes I’m cold. I like to have options!
Slipper socks | Nice to have for walking around the room and those bodily temperature changes after birth. I also use my flip flops for this.
Flip flops | I use these for the shower and also walking around the room.
Cheap underwear | I like these for wearing a pad home and just in general for postpartum. My hospital provides the mesh disposable undies, and I will use those while I’m there, but I take a few of these in case I want to transition.
Face masks | Thankfully, my hospital does not require me to wear a mask in labor and delivery. I know this isn’t the case for everyone. We will be wearing masks everywhere in the hospital except for our delivery suite and when we are alone in the postpartum suite. I love these masks because they have a bendable nose bridge and super soft fabric. Not to mention super cute prints! I put on a clean mask as soon as the inside gets any kind of saliva or snot on it, then wash the dirty one in the sink with some hand soap between uses and let it air dry. Super easy, and it keeps them from getting destroyed in the drier.
Mommy coming home outfit | Pack something loose that you can wear over your leggings and a pair of cute, comfortable shoes to head home. You probably won’t fit into your pre-pregnancy pants, so give yourself some grace and choose something comfortable.
Nursing pads | Nice to have if your milk comes in while you’re there! But also great if you have sore nipples and just want something soft. I love these reusable ones!
My own pillow with colorful pillowcase | The hospital pillows are not comfortable. I bring my own and make sure to put a distinctive pillowcase on it so it doesn’t get confused with the hospital ones.
Donut pillow | The hospital bed is not comfortable, and the last two times my butt was soooo sore from sitting. I’m bringing this along to relieve the pressure from my perineal area. I asked for one of these the first time I had a baby, and the nurse refused to give me one because she said I wouldn’t heal as well. That was false and ridiculous, so I’m investing in my own.
Toiletries | You’ll need to brush your teeth, comb your hair, wash your face, and be clean :)
Hair dryer | I like to wash my hair after delivery because typically I’m sweaty or just feel gross after. But I don’t like my hair air-dried, so I’m bringing this favorite along!
Makeup | Because I like feeling like a real person.
Haakaa | Planning to use this to collect any letdowns of colostrum from the opposite breast while baby nurses. Which probably means I should bring a few milk storage bags to take it all home with me or a syringe to give it to the baby.
Nipple cream | I am determined to not have sore nipples, so I load up on this! The hospital usually provides a little tube, but I don’t like the brand they use, so I bring my own.
Chapstick | It’s true what they say about the hospital air being very dry. Bring chapstick and keep it close!
Phone charger | This is especially important in light of pandemic. Bring this along so you can video chat with your family and introduce them to your new baby, plus get tons of pictures and stay in touch with the world!
Snacks | I find the hospital food is mediocre at best. We pack lots of snacks we like and also get takeout for meals when we can.
Hand sanitizer | Because you’ll have a new baby and because of Covid.
Nursing pillow | Really handy to have this as you’re learning how to nurse!
Clorox wipes | Wipe everything down. Maybe this isn’t true of all hospitals, and maybe it’s not true of the hospital I’m going to, but in light of Covid, I’m worried about cleaning crews hurrying to get in and out of the rooms to limit their own exposure. Whether they are or not, I don’t think it hurts to wipe down surfaces where you can with a clorox wipe as soon as you enter your room.
Hospital Checklist for Baby
Newborn swaddle or outfit for pictures | If you plan to take some keepsake photos of your new baby while you’re at the hospital, bring a special swaddle blanket or outfit. I like to use a muslin swaddle to lay on the bed or cart instead of the hospital sheets and receiving blankets.
Newborn coming home outfit | This should be something a little more practical that baby can safely wear in a car seat.
Zutano booties | Baby socks are typically a waste of time for me because they constantly fall off. I love this brand because they stay on and fit for a long time!
Installed infant car seat | You can’t really leave the hospital without this, so install it before you go into the hospital if you can. Many parents with the best intentions install and use their car seats incorrectly. Follow @safeintheseat on Instagram to get all kinds of info on how to use your car seat properly!
As a bonus, I’m going to include what I plan to pack in my labor and delivery bag! We take a smaller, separate bag with us to L&D since we don’t need all of our clothes and such for that. Usually, I’m naked for that whole ordeal anyway, so who cares what you wear besides the delivery gown! It’s my goal to have an unmedicated birth this time because of my previous experiences with epidurals, so I have a few things to add to assist with my actual labor. Now, things could not go as planned, so I’ll pack this bag and hopefully remember to have some grace as we navigate whatever labor and delivery looks like this time.
Labor & Delivery Bag Checklist
Essential oils and diffuser | This is calming for me and helps me relax. I use clary sage mixed with something like lavender or citrus.
Lacrosse balls | Great for counter pressure during contractions or massage.
Rebozo / large scarf | If you’ve taken a natural birth comfort measures course, odds are you’ve heard of this. There are some great techniques you can do to help ease the contractions. We participated in comfort measures classes outside of the hospital through Kristie Graybill in Baltimore. She does virtual and in-person sessions, definitely contact her if you’re looking for useful, hands-on techniques for labor comforts. She provides classes through The Womb Room as well as private sessions through The Nurturing Root. For more information on birth classes, you can contact Kristie directly by clicking here.
Flip flops | For walking around the room or in the shower.
My own pillow & pillowcase | This is just comforting for me. Be aware that it could get really messy, so take one you don’t mind getting ruined.
Phone chargers | You don’t know how long you’ll be there, so take this with you and don’t risk losing your battery charge.
Birth plan | I like to have things written down, especially when I know I won’t be able to communicate effectively after a certain point. We actively share our birth plan with the labor and delivery staff so they are aware of our birth preferences before anything goes down. Bring a couple copies.
Face masks | Kyle is allowed to be in my room without a mask, but if he leaves at all, he is required to wear one. Bring a couple in case the first gets dirty.
Snacks / drinks for Kyle | The last thing I need is a labor partner who is famished. Take care of your significant other and throw in some snacks and drinks for him!
Spotify spa music playlist | It’s debatable if I’ll actually want any type of sounds during my labor, but I really enjoy the spa music playlist on Spotify as well as calming white noises like rain or thunderstorms.
I’m so glad I wrote this post so I know what I need to pack now! I hope it’s helpful for you if you’re planning to pack your bag soon, too!
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