There are lots of things that are overwhelming to plan for your first baby, for me, packing my hospital bag was one of them. I wanted to have everything I needed, but how on earth was I suppose to know what I needed considering I had never had a baby before?! Enter, my list of Hospital Bag Essentials – Must Haves for Mom.
As I was packing for the hospital, I did the basic research of typing “Hospital Bag Must Haves” into Pinterest and going through a few basic lists to create my own list of things we packed. Now looking back, here is my feedback on the things that I consider “must haves” based on my experience. Note, we stayed at the hospital from Saturday mid-day when I was induced to the following Thursday since I got a fever during labor and Vera went to the special care nursery for 48 hour observation (read more about that here).
Note, I never pack lightly (like ever). But in our case, I was very happy I packed heavy. Typical hospital stays are 2 days, but since I got an infection during labor, it meant little Vera had to go to the special care nursery for 48 hours. So AFTER our 2-day long labor, plus 48 hours of special care nursery, meant we were at the hospital from Saturday afternoon to Thursday morning. To say the least, Matt had run out of shirts by the last day.
Here are my Hospital Bag Essentials – Must Haves for Mom
As I mentioned, I was induced, so it wasn’t like we showed up at the hospital in any big rush with water broken or anything. Therefore, I “labored” for a long time (like 2 days), and was able to be in my own comfy clothes for a lot of it, which was great. The Gilligan O’Malley robe I got was from Target, and it was soft and thin. It allowed easy access for my IV, blood pressure cuff, and the belly monitors during labor. I know there is a trend to buy special cute “Maternity Hospital Gowns”, but honestly the robe I bought (which wasn’t maternity) worked just fine (I just purchased a bigger size) and I admit, it was nice to wear a cute robe when you are feeling super crummy during labor.
This is all I wore on top under my robe during the actual labor. It was comfy and supportive and the plan was to simply unclip the straps when baby was out to have “skin to skin” time. I also wore this the whole time during my hospital stay as it was easiest to nurse with the easy access.
This may be a given, but I will tell you what small detailed discovery I did have on yoga pants. I packed a pair of tighter thicker yoga pants (that are more for REAL running vs. just your standard Victoria’s secret yoga pants with the cute fold down waistband, more like the material of Victoria’s Secret Ultimate yoga pants). These ended up being really nice for after delivery when you have to wear those awful pads (#notglamorous), they did a nice job holding everything in place.
Soft Fleece Blanket
This was not on any list I saw, but I’m SO glad I brought it to the hospital. I’m a bit of a texture freak, so having something soft was very comforting both during labor, and for the nights following labor (itchy hospital blankets = not so fun when you are already physically beaten up from labor). I purchased a $10 Target fleece blanket on clearance after the college dorm items were being clearanced out. Best $10 ever spent.
Similar to the itchy hospital blankets, the pillows at the hospital are itchy pancakes, no good. Bring your own pillow, you’ll be happy to have that touch of your comfy bed at home with a nice soft pillowcase.
Ok, this isn’t really for Mom, it’s actually for Dad. A lot of hospitals have awful fold out couches in the delivery room for your partner that are not comfy at all (our hospital’s actually weren’t all that bad). BUT, just to be sure your partner is at their 100% best to support Mom (and baby) throughout your hospital stay, you may as well pack for them to have the best chance at a good night’s sleep. The sleeping bag just adds a bit of extra padding to that pull out sofa. You’re welcome, Dad.
These were one of my last purchases when packing for the hospital bag and boy am I happy that I got them! These are what I lived in at the hospital as they gave such easy access to feed baby and didn’t require a lot of changing of clothes. This was especially great for us because I had to travel through the halls to the special care nursery to feed my daughter every 3 hours, so we weren’t just in our room like a lot of standard deliveries.
Ok, these (combined with the nursing tanks) are what I would consider the clutch items to pack (when packing I had no idea what I’d be “wearing” in the hospital, and this combo is literally what I lived in). Key aspect of the cardigan, sweaters and sweatshirts is that they are either open or zip/button up. They were perfect to wear over the nursing tanks for when guests would come to visit, or just to be warmer/cozier, but still having access to the nursing tank for feedings.
Having a September baby, I lived in flip flops during my pregnancy through the hot summer months (and truthfully all during September too since I was so swollen that no other shoes fit!) I was happy to have the flip flops at the hospital to slip on when we took a few walks through the halls during labor, and for all the back and forth that we had to do between our room and the special care nursery.
I had read a few lists that recommended Chapstick, and now I 100% agree that it is a clutch for the hospital. Labor means drinking a lot of water and your lips really DO dry out, make sure your partner has your chapstick on hand to hydrate those lips!
Water Bottle Tumbler
Now the hospital will give you something to drink water from during labor, but I found that I was REALLY happy I brought my trusty tumbler like shown in the photo above with a long straw. It was great because I could drink out of it while laying down during labor, and it sat upright in the hospital bed with me to be easily accessible. (And yes, of course I always have to rep my favorite local favorite, Caribou Coffee
I hope this list helps some mamas pack that bag for the hospital! And don’t worry, if you DO happen to forget anything (I forgot a hairbrush, seriously?!), your visitors will likely be more than willing to bring your forgotten items in exchange for seeing your adorable baby.