Packing Your Hospital Bag: What You Need & What You Don’t
This blog post is guest authored by Alexa Bloom. Alexa is an Arizona native turned Minnesotan, currently residing in Denver, Colorado. She lives with her husband, sister, baby Asher (9mo), and two pups. Before becoming a full-time mama, Alexa held multiple leadership positions at two of the fastest growing companies in the world. She has been practicing yoga for most of her life and has taught both adults + kids yoga over the years. In her free time you can find Alexa traveling, hiking, and enjoying life on the lake with friends & family.
HECK YES! It’s almost time to bring your baby into the world. Can you believe all those kicks you’re feeling will soon be a tiny human that you’ll be endlessly kissing, smelling, and snuggling? It’s completely normal to feel all kinds of emotions around this time in your pregnancy: excitement, nerves, anticipation, ready to be done waddling…
Hopefully you’re taking this time to rest and relax as much as possible, but let’s address the number one question that first-time moms have:
What do I really need to bring to the hospital? What can I leave at home?
You likely want to avoid overpacking, but underpacking may sound like an unfavorable scenario too. I’ve narrowed down my top 8 items that I was so glad to have with me when I gave birth.
[This post contains some affiliate links but all product recommendations and opinions are my own. If you use these links to buy something, Oh Baby Consulting may earn a small commission.]
1. Snacks, snacks, snacks!
Pro tip: pack two bags of snacks (or one bag if you and your partner are good at sharing)! You won’t be allowed to eat for a long time due to hospital guidelines. Having your favorite snack foods on hand is the #1 thing most moms say they were grateful for post-birth.
Three in particular: warm socks, flip flops for the shower, and slippers or mocassins for walking around. I was really happy to have soft tube socks with grips on the bottom (like this) for during and after labor.
3. Robe & loose clothing
No explanation needed. You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible. Your loose + lightweight maternity pants and sweater will be perfect for the occasion.
4. Nursing-friendly PJs, tank, and/or bra
If you plan to breastfeed, postpartum nurses or lactation consultants will be there to guide you through all the ins & outs. New babies tend to cluster feed, or nurse every 1-3 hours, so wearing a top designed for this purpose is most convenient. I really liked what I had from Kindred Bravely (especially this bra).
Bring whatever makes you feel like you. If that’s makeup or your own shampoo, bring it. Just don’t forget your toothbrush, lip balm, and hair ties!
6. Cozy blanket and/or pillow
It goes without saying, but hospital beds aren’t exactly known for being the most comfortable. Having your own pillow or blanket will likely help you sleep better and feel a sense of home. Personally, I ended up being in the hospital for 3-4 days and I tend to run on the cold side, so having my favorite cozy blanket was a must. Same goes for your partner – his/her setup will be a lot less snug than yours, so it’s helpful to plan accordingly.
7. Nipple cream
Your body is going to be a food source for the very first time, which can be both beautiful and challenging at the beginning. Bottom line: I can guarantee you’ll be grateful to have this little tub of Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter with you – I sure was.
8. Water bottle with a straw
Is it just me or does everyone drink a ton more water when the cup has a straw? I loved having this water bottle; especially in the third trimester, in the hospital for labor & delivery, and while breastfeeding/pumping when I felt dehydrated more frequently. I still use this tumbler every single day, almost 10 months later.
Here’s what I didn’t need:
A Breast Pump or Haakaa Pump – Typically your milk won’t come in for the first few days, so your babe will be getting mostly colostrum (liquid gold) and the hospital will provide an electric pump for you to use there.
Nursing Pillow – Some women love to have theirs with them, but I felt just fine leaving it at home to lighten the load, and used all the pillows provided when feeding baby.
Postpartum Recovery Supplies – The hospital provides everything you need for your recovery and gives you plenty to take home too (if not, just ask)!
Multiple Outfits for Baby – They are swaddled almost the entire time. Bring a newborn gown or your own special swaddle if you want to take photos in something specific, plus something for them to wear for the car ride home. I thought my little one would go through many clothing changes, but he ended up wearing only one of the outfits I had packed.
If you’re a true minimalist, perhaps you could get away with this short list which hits on my most important items. But chances are you’ll want to download the comprehensive hospital bag checklist here. Good luck, mama! You got this.
If you’re exhausted, totally overwhelmed by your child’s sleep habits, or looking for answers to the sleep questions that keep you up at night (literally), then you’ve come to the right place. I’m Jamie, founder of Oh Baby Consulting, and my goal is to help your family get the sleep you need to not just survive, but thrive!