I woke up the other night in a state of sheer panic when I felt the most intense Braxton Hicks I had ever experienced in pregnancy. I honestly don’t remember having the same sensations with any of my boys, so my first immediate thought when it jolted me awake at 2am, was all the things I still had left on my to-do list before baby girl decides to enter this world. She’s already dropped so much that my doctor is measuring me smaller than just a few weeks ago and my pelvic bone has so much pressure on it that I’ve now been reduced down to a straight waddle. It’s real cute… I’m praying she stays in until December, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of having four babies, is that I have plenty of time to soak up all her newborn sweetness. There’s really no rush to get to the glamorous postpartum period. I will take all the days left in pregnancy I can get. Trust me!
Thankfully the Braxton Hicks passed and I haven’t experienced anything even close to what they were that night, but it’s definitely time to stop dragging my feet and pack the hospital bag. By the time I had Cason, I felt like a seasoned pro at knowing what I’d need (see his hospital bag pack-list here). This time around, I may have a bit more because baby girl needs all the outfit changes and bows. We need bow options, people. Other than that, I’m thinking just a few clothes and a car seat is sufficient. The hospital gives you all the newborn essentials and postpartum care supplies you need, not to mention you’ll want to leave room for all the goodies they send you home with.
So, here’s what I’m packing (or skipping) this time around and a checklist that could hopefully serve as a bit of a distraction from the early labor pain you might be experiencing during this waiting game.
- Hospital Bag
- Necessary documents for Mom
- Clothing – nursing bras (bringing this one from Belabumbum), robe (, slippers, pajamas, loungewear for the ride home (optional: flip flops)
- Postpartum Belly Band
- Electronics – phone chargers, camera chargers, memory cards
- Nursing Support – Silverettes and Nursing Pillow (if you like to use one)
- Comfort Items – extra blanket and pillow from home, your favorite snacks
- Toiletries – face wipes, deodorant, chapstick, a brush, dry shampoo, toothbrush/paste, just the basics for makeup
So, number 1 is pretty obvious right? You need a good compartmentalized bag to hold all of your hospital essentials. I’m planning on bringing this one from TwelveLittle. I plan to have all my necessary documents stored in the pocket up front, so it’s literally a no-brainer for my husband to find because once labor hits, ain’t no mama got time to rummage for an ID.
You’ll need to bring things like a valid ID, your insurance card, any important medical information (medications your on, known allergies, a birth plan or at least your intentions) and any hospital pre-registration forms completed. For the actual time you’re in L&D, you only need the bare essentials, which I consider to be your chapstick (you can get pretty dehydrated quick and no one likes chapped lips), a hair tie, and a camera (give that one to dad). The room is pretty sterile and the hospital provides you with the gown. Trust me, you won’t need a fancy labor gown off Etsy to bleed on. Save your money and use it instead on comfy clothes for your recovery.
Speaking of recovery, this is where most of your packed items will come in handy. As soon as they transfer you to the room where you’ll spend the rest of your time, you’ll want to get as cozy as possible to truly enjoy your transition to new mommy. The first thing I typically do is change out of the paper thin hospital gown and into some soft and dark pajamas and nursing bra. With Cason, I did a black nursing-friendly nightgown. Since I knew the nurses would be checking my pads the first 12-16 hours, I didn’t want to have to worry about pants, but since I’m delivering in December now, I’m going to say what the hell and bring this comfy pair of pajamas and fluffy robe. The postpartum belly band was fantastic at holding it all in and made me feel secure when I felt like my innards were falling out.
It’s nice to have some toiletries on hand to freshen up with after you just sweat your baby out. A face wipe is more convenient than having to shuffle to the sink, so I prefer to pack those. You can do them right in bed. Some mouthwash is good the first day, and then your toothbrush and paste are good for the morning. I’m the crazy person that does bring my basic makeup essentials with me so I can feel human again. It’s also good to put on your “face” for when you get released. I always like to look more like myself when re-entering to the real world after a fun 24 hours in the hospital where your life literally got turned upside down. Dry shampoo is also great to feel refreshed and clean in the event you’re like me and don’t enjoy hospital showers.
Everywhere Oil by Wiley Baby
The next thing is getting your bed to be as comfortable as possible, so you can actually catch a few Zzz’s or at least feel nice & snug while nursing your new little. I like to bring a pillow from home and a fleece blanket. Also having a few of your favorite snacks to munch on makes this situation a bit more bearable and “normal”. You can probably skip the champagne and save that one for your welcome home dinner. There’s just something incredibly awkward about sipping a glass while you’re being monitored every 5 minutes by the nurses. Trust me, with my first, I thought once I had him there would be some crazy celebration with confetti flying through the air and popped bottles. Once I realized that me breastfeeding a newborn baby with a glass of champagne standing in queue on my hospital tray was incredibly awkward, I gave up on the idea and preferred it to be a bit more personal between me and my husband alone. Don’t get me wrong, there’s so much to be celebrated and after 10 sobering months, girl you deserve it. Just trust me when I say, you’ll enjoy it so much more in the comforts of your own home while the baby sleeps blissfully nearby.
As far as footwear, I like to bring a pair of slippers or grippy socks to go back and forth to the restroom and save my toots from the cold hospital floor. I also tuck away a pair of flip flops in the event I decide I want to take a shower. In the past, I haven’t ever showered in the hospital, just because it kind of skeeves me out. But, my husband has.
For nursing, it really doesn’t take much the first few days since newborns are in such a hazy state of slumber. I start using my Silverettes immediately to prevent any cracking and pain. I used them with Cason the very first day and I can honestly say I didn’t experience any discomfort at all. They truly do work! It’s totally up to you if you want to drag your nursing pillow into the hospital. I personally prop up one of the hospital pillows under my arm to use since we’re only there for such a short time. It’s one less thing to worry about leaving with later, since you’re inevitably going to be walking out with much more than what you came with (see: new baby, car seat, and loads of goodies).
As far as electronics are concerned, can someone please tell me why they haven’t thought to include a usb port in those tray tables yet?! I’m always like 1000 feet away from an outlet, no matter what room they put me in. I plan to bring this 12ft lightening cable because, hi, who wants to worry about a phone battery when you just had a baby. It’ll seem to hit 20% fairly quickly with all of the photos and videos you’ll be taking of your new love. It also doesn’t hurt to pack an extra camera battery and memory card so you’re not seeing “card full” or “battery needs charge” when you’re trying to get the perfect shot together.
- Swaddle, Hat or Headband, any sort of props for announcement photo (ie. name tag, letterboard, garland, etc.)
- Going Home Outfit
- Car Seat
- Baby Book
- Infant Tracking App (already downloaded on your phone)
- List of Photo ops for in the hospital
Packing the bag for baby is one of my favorite things to do. I’ll be bringing this one, also from TwelveLittle, for little lady. A girl can never start her leopard addiction too early, am I right?
The worst part about it all is having to decide what you actually want to bring. You know nothing about this little human, but you’re expected to choose the right size clothes, colors and hair bows. Will she be big like her brothers or a tiny one like they’re telling me from ultrasound? Will she have hair so I can put on a headband or will I need to keep on a knotted hat to keep her head warm? Which swaddle print will read prettier for our Fresh 48 session? I totally need to color coordinate. I really hope this going home outfit fits her and is warm enough to venture out in the middle of December. Should I bring a knit hat for the car ride home?
Anyway, do your best, but know that bringing lots of options isn’t against the law. They’re so tiny after all.
The baby book you’ll want to bring for the footprints. Our nurses offer to print them right in the book for us after the baby is born and it’s so much better than having the paper copy taped in. Make sure to have that handy in the L&D room. I also like to have my baby app already loaded up on my phone so I can start tracking her feedings and diapers immediately. It also helps you to remember for the nurses, because they do ask each time they come in. Another helpful thing is to have your must-have photos ops listed out for your photographer, since it’ll tend to be pretty hectic when they arrive. Even better, try to have them emailed out to her prior to her arrival.
The Minimalist Baby Book by Tokki Goods
For baby girl’s car seat, I’m so excited to bring her home in this new Nuna Pipa FR-free infant seat from Modern Nursery. Modern Nursery is an amazing family-owned business that takes great pride in offering high-quality, innovative products that deliver elegant design and safety to you and your child’s life. I was thrilled to find the highly sought after Birch color-way on their site and what made it even better was the no sales tax, free shipping and 150% price match that they offered. Be sure to check them out – they also gave me an exclusive 10% site-wide coupon (*certain brands excluded), just use code ‘LittleAdi10′ at checkout.
Here’s a short list of things I’d definitely SKIP from the bags:
Any sort of diaper bag or things you’d keep in a diaper bag like diapers and wipes. The hospital provides everything you need to care for baby and they even send you home with a few days worth of goodies just in case. I’d also skip any of the postpartum care products like Dermoplast, perineal spray, pads, or spritz bottle. The only thing I like to bring is adult Depends. I used them with Cason and they worked so much better for holding up that bulky pad than the mesh undies they provide for you. Again, you only need to pack enough for a day or two – so I slip maybe 6 max into my bag. Typically you won’t need to change them every single time, so one can last almost all day. I also didn’t feel the need to use nursing pads in the hospital since you’re milk doesn’t really come in until 36-48 hours after delivery. The less padding on your body the better since you’ll already feel tapped out with all you’re dealing with down below.
What were your hospital bag essentials? Anything you wish you had?
Thank you to Modern Nursery for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.