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Hospital Bag Checklist

Hospital Bag Checklist

March 23, 2020

 

Maybe it’s the stylist in me, maybe it’s the over-achiever, but I started packing my hospital bag over a month ago. Most sources suggest to start packing somewhere around 32 – 37 weeks, in case you do go early. Whenever you do pack it up, I created a hospital bag checklist for you (by popular request on Instagram!) to make it super easy to get it done and wisely.

The truth is, I read every blog and article on this topic the first time around and even put this together the first time. I felt SO prepared. I showed up with a giant rolling suitcase and a weekender bag, complete with my Boppy pillow (FYI, LEAVE IT AT HOME AND USE A HOSPITAL PILLOW) and the nurses laughed in my face at the sight of my giant over-packed luggage. Sure, I was prepared, but I couldn’t find anything I brought and totally missed some important things that I SHOULD have brought.

This time around I feel confident that I have just what I need (and in reality, the hospital supplies most of what you really do need), and fit it all into one small bag.

I highly recommend using a *small* rolling suitcase because mama, you don’t want to be carrying anything when you’re in labor and your partner will be juggling enough, including their own bag, which they should pack soon too! Additionally, using packing cubes will help keep everything contained/separated and easy to find by category.

 

HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST

 

FOR THE BIRTH:

Birthing gown  – this is seriously, best $30 ever spent to feel more comfortable during my birth (confirm with your hospital that this is allowed)

Socks with grips – the hospital should provide you with a pair but I felt so uncomfortable in them! I much preferred my own which were fuzzy socks but I have a regular pair (linked first) packed for when I overheat too.

Birth Mantras and other things/photos to motivate you during birth – I made my own birth mantra cards the first time around and gave them to a friend, so I’m so excited for these this time around. I also had a doula at the first birth who tracked down tape and put them up for me, but I love that these stickers from Birth Bubble are pre-made, self-adhesive and reusable!

Battery-operated tea lights – I know this sounds silly, but my doula brought these and they made a huge difference. We kept the overhead lights off (for a vaginal birth only of course) and they kept the room calm and serene. I almost forgot I was in a hospital setting.

Bluetooth speaker & its charger– I’m so grateful I had this at my birth, plus a great LONG Spotify playlist (you’re welcome to use mine!)to get you through the birth

Extra long phone charger – trust me, you’ll be happy you had this!

Queasy Drops or other sucking candies – You likely won’t be able to eat anything and between potential nausea and dry mouth, I’m packing these this time around

Labor Massage Oil – Not necessary, but I wish I had this the first time around

□ Your Insurance card

Any paperwork you may need for the hospital – contact your hospital as you may be able to fill it out prior

□ Your birth plan – to be honest, I made extra copies and handed them out to the nurses but I doubt they looked it over. It was more for me and this time I’ll add reminders for myself to advocate for me, like to NOT get hooked up to the IV until I absolutely need it.

□ Birthing books – I used the Hypnobirthing method and having my husband read the meditations from the book, which helped me manage the pain of most of my labor, until I got Pitocin.

Reusable bottle for water – The hospital should provide a big plastic cup (you may have to track one down), but I wish I had the comfort of my own metal water bottle

Snacks / Granola or Lara Bars – This is more for your partner, but great to have a stash of snacks for after you birth / in between meals, especially when hospital food can be gross (or like when I told them I was vegetarian, they gave me a plate of broccoli for dinner!). You basically will have just ran a marathon if you birth vaginally and if you choose to breastfeed, you’ll need all the extra calories.

*UPDATE: DURING THIS TIME OF THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK, BRING PLENTY OF SNACKS, AS SOME HOSPITAL’S FOOD IS PRACTICALLY INEDIBLE (no joke, Methodist in Brooklyn served me a vegetarian meal of just broccoli, and for breakfast handed me instant oatmeal with no hot water/anything else!) AND ONCE YOUR SUPPORT PERSON IS ALLOWED IN, THEN CANNOT GO OUT AND COME BACK IN* 

 

AFTER THE BIRTH:

Lightweight robe

□ 2-3 sets of 2 piece button up pajamas / loungewear like this great set– you won’t be getting dressed in the hospital, so be comfortable and feel good about what you’re in

Slippers – you’ll likely be in your grip socks the whole time, which the hospital prefers, but if these make you comfy, then bring them

Flip-flops – you’ll want these for the shower and if you’re too hot from hormones in your socks

□ 2-3 nursing bras (regular nursing bras and / or sleep nursing bras) if you plan on nursing

Nursing pads if you plan on nursing

□ 1-3 pairs of underwear – black/dark is best and large enough for big pads for vaginal birth recovery. The hospital provides underwear, but you may want your own to feel like yourself. This disposable underwear is even better than the ones at the hospital if you want to splurge.

□ Outfit to go home in – you’ll still look pregnant, so plan accordingly!

□ Slip on Sneakers / shoes  – your feet may be pretty swollen with fluid after so you’ll want something easy to get on!

□ Plastic bag for dirty clothes

*UPDATE: DURING THIS TIME OF THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK, YOU MAY BE DISCHARGED SOONER THAN USUAL, SO YOU MAY NOT NEED AS MANY OPTIONS. CHECK WITH YOUR HOSPITAL*

 

TOILETRIES:

NOTE: hospitals often provide all of the basic toiletries you may need, but I preferred to bring my own.

Face wipes – I usually would not advocate for waste, but you are not going to have the energy to wash your face, so this is what you’re going to want!

Toner – If you use it, you’ll be happy you have it and the one linked is refreshing at least

Eye cream – you’re going to need all the help you can get with the little sleep you’ll be getting mama

□ Moisturizer

□ Deodorant

□ Mouth Wash

□ Tooth brush & toothpaste 

□ floss

□ hair ties

□ body wash

□ dry shampoo – you’re probably not going to want to bother washing your hair

□ basic / easy makeup – tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush

□ hair brush

□ contacts / solution and/or glasses if you wear

Frida Mom squeeze bottle for after vaginal birth – the hospital should provide a bottle, but this is way better!

Natural perineal spray for after vaginal birth – the hospital should provide one, but it’s full of parabens and butane!

Nipple Balm – bonus that this one is also a lip balm, so one less thing to pack!

Extra absorbent and long maxi pads – if you prefer using your own for vaginal birth recovery, though the hospital will provide plenty. I got the natural ones linked here, but don’t plan on bringing them with me because I went through SO many in the hospital.

*UPDATE: DURING THIS TIME DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK, YOU MAY WANT TO INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING (CHECK WITH YOUR HOSPITAL, AS MINE PROVIDES FACE MASKS TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERS*)…

□ Face mask for you and support person*

□ Disinfecting wipes (I will not be bringing these, but many moms plan on it right now)

□ Hand sanitizer

 

 

FOR THE BABY:

□ 1 – 3 one piece / outfits for pictures and to take home – they’ll be in the hospital gear most likely, but you may want to bring a couple nice ones, including hats! I love the hospital cuddle boxes from Monica + Andy that are already put together for you with adorable prints.

□ weather appropriate layers, like socks and booties 

□ 1-2 receiving blanket / swaddles – the hospital will have swaddles but you’ll probably want something nicer for pictures

□ 1-2 burp cloths

□ large empty tote for hospital supplies – grab all the diapers, dry wipes and anything you’ll need for your recovery!

□ bottles / formula – IF you plan on bottle feeding from the start and prefer your own formula

*UPDATE: DURING THIS TIME OF THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK, YOU MAY BE DISCHARGED SOONER THAN USUAL, SO YOU MAY NOT NEED AS MANY OPTIONS. CHECK WITH YOUR HOSPITAL*

 

OTHER (NOT IN YOUR BAG):

□ car seat – make sure to install prior!

*UPDATE: DURING THIS TIME OF THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK, MOST HOSPITALS REQUIRE YOU TO BRING THIS IN WHEN YOU ENTER, AS NO ONE CAN LEAVE AND COME BACK ONCE THEY ENTER.

□ your partner’s hospital bag – leave what they want to bring to them, but they should include a button down shirt (for skin to skin time), comfortable clothes including pajamas/loungewear, book/ipad, snacks, toiletries, flip flops for the shower and either comfy socks or slippers to hang out in, as well as anything to make them feel comfortable.

 

 

WHAT TO PROBABLY LEAVE AT HOME:

x pillows – unless you MUST have yours…you’ll have enough to worry about. Just ask for extra pillows at the hospital

x Boppy – use a hospital pillow, it’s one less thing to worry about bringing

x Pacifiers – hospitals discourage this with newborns and will probably reprimand you if you bring one

x Magazines / board games / cards  – you’re likely not going to have the time/energy to even look at these things

x Diapers / wipes – don’t bother as the hospital will supply and you’re going to want to use dry wipes to start

x Cute outfits – you’re going to want to be comfortable, don’t bother

 

Please note that during the time I’m writing this, I’m not even sure IF I can have my husband with me at my birth, let alone give birth in a hospital. Being pregnant in the time of Coronavirus / COVID19 is probably the worst timing to be expecting in recent history, but just know we are in it together.

If we all have healthy babies, that’s all we can ask for. This is NOT an ideal situation and it’s been plaguing me daily, so if you’re experiencing this as well, I’m happy to chat and share anything I can. We got this mamas.

 

UPDATE: Moms-to-be and their partners officially won the fight when some hospitals temporarily updated their policy to no longer allow support people, forcing moms to birth alone. My heart breaks for the moms that had to find the strength to go through this alone and their partners that missed out on this experience. I feel so fortunate that I will be able to have my husband by my side, pending neither of us fall ill with the virus. 

 

Thank you to Monica + Andy, Zutano, Lamaze Intimates, Birth Bubble, Mommy Matters, Emu Australia, Farmacy Beauty, Bioderma, Fleur & Bee, Hatch and Teat & Cosset for providing product for my experience. What I choose to include and write about are 100% my own opinions and choices. 

 

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