specially for first-time expecting mothers, packing the hospital bag makes the whole “having a baby” process become a reality. It makes it real, and it means the end (of pregnancy – not of sleepless nights!) is in sight. While my general thought when it comes to babies and excessive gear is, “less is more,” here are a few of my “doula approved” necessities that I think will make you feel more comfortable and human in a pretty unpredictable environment.
Hospital Bag Packing List:
1.) Reading material – you may be blessed with a very quick labor, or if you were like me, you can spend days in the hospital waiting. I read a decent amount for each of my labors and it helped pass the time between visits from the doctor.
2.) Movies/TV shows – again, depending on your labor, having a way to keep distracted is a good thing! Some hospitals have DVD players in the room, or bring an iPad or laptop to watch.
3.) Lip balm – I’m sure you’ve read that your lips can get dry during labor, and if you’ve had an epidural, you won’t be eating or drinking. Having a moisturizing lip balm will ease that excessive dryness.
4.) Slippers/socks – my feet were FREEZING in the hospital. Our hospital provided me with socks, but after delivery, it was really nice to put my feet into a soft pair of slippers – especially walking to and from the bathroom.
5.) Nursing pads – depending on how long you’re at the hospital after delivery, your breast milk may come in, and you’ll need nursing pads to keep dry! I’m a big fan of the Johnson & Johnson nursing pads (they’re soft and stay put!). Johnson & Johnson Nursing Pads
6.) Nursing tanks – If you’re going to try breastfeeding, nursing tanks are a life (and modesty) saver. Pack a few of them, and you’ll have a little more privacy while feeding (especially when visitors are there meeting your bundle). I am a big fan of the Gilligan O’Malley nursing tanks from Target. They’re a great length, very soft and much more affordable than other brands. Gilligan O’Malley Nursing Tank
7.) Large, black, high-waisted underwear – Go ahead and laugh, but trust me, you won’t regret having an 8-pack of these in your bag! Delivery and after can be messy, and while the hospital will offer you luxurious, high-end mesh undies, I recommend having your own, comfy pair that you won’t mind tossing at a later time. High-waisted pairs are great, especially if you’ve had a c-section, as they’ll hit you above the incision line. Again, my favorite pairs are by Gilligan O’Malley for Target. Gilligan O’Malley Underwear
8.) Pajama bottoms and light bathrobe – You will most likely deliver the baby in a starchy, stiff hospital gown, and once you get a chance to take a shower, you’ll have the opportunity to feel SLIGHTLY more human again. Having your own pj’s will go a long way toward making you feel comfortable. I recommend using your nursing tank as your pajama top, and a pair of comfortable, loose-waisted pants as bottoms. A light, cotton breathable bathrobe will allow for easy access for nursing, while still keeping you covered. Because of hormonal shifts after delivery, you may have some hot flashes, so keeping the bathrobe light is a great idea. As expected, here are my faves! Gilligan O’Malley bathrobe Gilligan O’Malley pajama bottoms
9.) Toiletry/cosmetic bag – I packed a few trial size containers of shampoo, conditioner and soap, as well as a light scented or fragrance-free lotion. The hospital is not a hotel (nor is it supposed to be!), and while they offered soap, I much preferred using my own. In terms of make-up, while I know we all want to look our best for the onslaught of photos, this is where less is more. Pack a couple of essentials, but remember, you may not have the time, energy or ability for a full make-up application.
10.) Pads, pads and more pads! Giant ones! As I mentioned before, post-delivery can be messy, and you’ll need pads – and a lot of them! Get a few packages of extra-absorbent pads, and bring them with you. You’ll be changing them often! Always Overnight Extra Flow Pads
There you have it! While this is a list of the things I think are “must-haves,” make sure to pack things that make YOU as comfortable as possible. The more comfortable you are, the easier this process will be! Click the link below for a printable version of the checklist. Oh! And don’t forget to pack your postpartum doula’s phone number – she’ll be waiting