If you are reading this then chances are that you or someone you know is expecting a little blessing and I send many congratulations your way. We were blessed to experience this six times over and each time was completely different. But I will save all of my birth stories for another time. This post is all about what to take with you to the hospital. A no-nonsense list of what you actually need. Some times you will see people post picture of their bags and bags of junk when in reality they don’t need about half of it. Now let me just say I understand there are times when you are required to have an extended stay for unexpected reasons, I get it. An unexpected C-section (been there), or have to unexpectedly have to spend a lengthily amount of time leading up to delivery. I apologize, as I have not been in that particular situation the best thing I can say is listen to what your doctor’s recommend you bring. Some places will allow more than others and it really is up to the specific establishment of where you go for delivery of what you will need. Usually at one of your appointments near the beginning of your final trimester they will give you a list of what to take with you, but not all do this. Personally I have given birth at three different hospitals, two of them Naval Hospitals and one of them a “civilian” normal hospital, on different sides and corners of our country, yay military life! But because of this I do understand that not everyplace is the same, so if you have questions, honestly the best place to ask is the place you will be giving birth. Helpful tidbit… the nurses tend to be extremely helpful so if you have questions and have the opportunity then they would be the best person to ask. However, here is my no-nonsense list of what you really do need when you go to the hospital for you and your little bundle of joy.
- Bags, choosing the right bag is up to you and will go hand in hand with how much you pack.
I usually take two backpacks. One for Laboring and another one for after the baby is here and can be grabbed after you go to your postpartum room. If you will be spending your whole stay in one room then you might want to take just one bag. However, in my experience, when you are really in the throes of labor your significant other is not going to want to wrangle a huge bag. Having an easy to grab Laboring bag that they can throw on their back while they help you up to Labor and Deliver can be pretty helpful.
- Snacks, Lets be serious. These aren’t for you. Sorry to burst any bubbles but most places wont let you eat if you are in Labor. If you are lucky enough to be allowed to eat during labor then I am so jealous! However I liked to pack some snacks for my husband(and one time my Mom), just in case they needed something to munch on. One of my labors was 28 hours. I wasn’t allowed to have anything beyond ice chips and popsicle, but hubby got to enjoy the snacks I had brought, out of my sight so he could eat without my hangry glares. They have their reasons for not letting you eat. If you are high risk and have to go in for an emergency C-Section, you and they do not want anything in your stomach or bad complications could happen during surgery that could have been avoided.
- Electronics, This I usually put in my labor bag. Any spare phone chargers if you have them. Your camera, charged and ready to go. The same goes for any other electronics you may need. Make sure this goes into the bag you take with you first cause you would hate to miss any good photo opportunities because the charger was in the car.
- Toiletries, Ok, so I would normally break this up. I wear contacts so I made sure that my glasses and a travel contacts case and solution were either in my Labor bag if not my purse. Then any other items that I would need to use for during and after a shower would be in my after baby bag. As far as pads go. Just go for the supersized overnight ones. But you really wont need that many and honestly that can be in your after baby bag. Because If you haven’t heard about the glorious panties they give you then you are about to be warned. As soon as you give birth no matter your size you will be given these amazingly stretchy ugly as all get out undies to use, along with some pads that look extremely dated but they work like no tomorrow. And… and!!! if you have any oopsies at least it happened to something that can be tossed than something of your own. I usually swapped over to my own preferred version once I knew I would be going home. You really don’t need much beyond that. I don’t normally wear makeup so I never took any but if you do and want to make sure you are constantly picture ready I would recommend taking it in your labor bag just to be safe.
- Baby Toiletries, You really wont need anything while you are at the hospital. You might want to double-check for sure, but every hospital I have given birth at had diapers, wipes, baby body wash, suction bulbs.
This is on top of the receiving blankets, shirts, and hats that they traditionally provide as well. You may want to bring some baby powder just in case you have an overachiever in the poop department(a couple of mine were), it can help keep their bums happy. But you wont be needing any booty ointments this early on. If it puts your mind at ease bring some for the ride home if it’s a long drive. But it’s just one extra thing that you really don’t need to pack. Some places will encourage you to purge any of the remaining wipes and diapers in the bassinet before you go because if it was opened they will have to toss it.
- Clothes, I have heard of these rare unicorns but if you are allowed to bring your own hospital gown then seriously take advantage of it. If not then be prepared to be in a hospital gown from when you are admitted till a few hours after delivery. The length depends on if you have any complications or not, may be longer than others but usually at some point before you get to go home you can change into your own clothes. Pajamas are usually the most comfortable option, and in my experiences nightgowns are the easiest to deal with. Cause they will be checking on you after birth and need to push on your tummy and sometimes check your downstairs to make sure all is well so the easier the access they will have the less of a headache it is for you. If you plan to breast feed then make sure your clothes have easy access for nursing.
Don’t forget your homecoming outfit. I would hate to burst any bubbles but you will most likely not be the size you were pre pregnancy leaving the hospital. Plan to be about the size you were when you were about 6-7 months pregnant. I usually went with a nursing top and the full panel maternity pants cause they did an amazing job of holding everything up when everything feels like its falling out. Now the fun part… the baby’s clothes, honestly all you need is their homecoming outfit. Hospital’s usually will provide swaddling blankets, a hat, and a shirt to clothe your baby while they are there. Now if you want to clothe your blessing in clothes from home from the get go then by all means go for it. But just know they normally will have you covered till it is time to leave.
- Baby blankets, this will be different for each season but usually a baby blanket and a couple of receiving blankets will do just fine. Burp cloths never made any sense to be cause my babies usually had a wider range of puking than those would cover. So I never wasted my time on them and would just throw a receiving blanket over my shoulder and called it good.
This usually went into the after baby bag as the hospitals usually will provide receiving blankets and we never really used our own blankets till we were getting them into their car seats to go.
- Nursing Pillow, now if you don’t plan to nurse then make sure to ask about what the hospital offers for formula newborns, quite often they will provide all you will need to feed baby till you are home. However, with nursing momma’s a good nursing pillow can be very helpful. I usually tried to have my bobby with me in the delivery room cause they are also a comfy supportive pillows. If you have a lengthily labor it could come in handy. As far as nursing goes. Make sure to take nursing pads and some lanolin along cause you will need them.
- Your Purse, Do not forget your purse when going to the hospital for the big day. You will need your wallet which should have any insurance cards along with identification cards that you will need plus spare change for vending machines. This is where I would normally have a stash of hair ties, chap stick, pens(for forms, there can be a lot), my trusty mom Leatherman, my inhaler, and anything else that I may need that time of year and season.
I hope this post can help you with your packing for the big day! Another bit of advice my husband recommends, let them pack their own bag. Along those lines keep them in mind when packing because whom ever it is that will be with you during delivery and all that will be the one carrying your bags in and out. He also recommended that you have stuff laid out in an obvious spot at home in case a short stay turns into a long stay and you need someone to run home to grab anything it will then be easy to locate.
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