Even though it was only just over 4 months ago, I feel like it has been years and years since I was pregnant. In my third trimester, I remember feeling huge and uncomfortable and ready to meet my baby boy. In an attempt to let the universe know that I was ready, I packed my hospital bag with still about a month left in the pregnancy. After lots of Google searches, I still felt like I was forgetting something and did not have all of the hospital essentials for labor that I needed. In the end, Juan had a duffle bag for himself, I had a big tote for myself and for baby, then we had multiple shopping bags of snacks, drinks, and other comfort items.
When we rolled up to the hospital for my scheduled induction (another story for another day), it looked like we were planning on moving in. Although we did end up staying for 4 nights (like I said, another story for another day), we still had packed way too much. Having all of the excess made everything much more difficult (staying organized, moving hospital rooms…). As big as the labor and delivery hospital room was, the room we moved into after baby was born was about 5 times smaller. Next time, I’ll know exactly what to pack and what not to pack. In the meantime, let me help you avoid my mistakes!
What to bring:
Blanket & Pillow
This was a last minute decision, right as we left our house for the hospital. Bringing my own pillow and a fluffy throw blanket kept me warm and made propping myself up in the hospital bed so much easier. I put an extra pillowcase over my pillow to keep it as clean as possible (obviously I washed the pillowcases and blanket once I got home) and I felt really good about it. Germaphobes unite!
Specifically Carmex (or your favorite brand). My lips got so, so, so chapped while in the hospital and I was applying chapstick every hour like clockwork.
Trust me, the last thing you will want during labor is having your hair stick to your neck. Then, once you have baby, you won’t want your hair falling in their face when you’re holding them. That’s not a very nice introduction to the world.
Comfy Pajama Pants, Nursing Shirt, & Nursing Bra
Getting out of the hospital gown was one of my priorities once we got to the after-labor room (along with getting the stupid IV line out of my hand). Putting on super loose, soft pants and an easily accessible nursing shirt/bra felt amazing and also made me feel more human.
One of my nurse recommended “daily goals” on the second day after baby was born was to take a walk around the hospital wing. I stayed in my pjs and threw my robe and slippers on to take the adventure. It did feel weird when we passed a maternity tour group to be in my pajamas while they were in their super cute maternity dresses. I guess I was a great preview for what they had to look forward to.
This is the one thing on my list that I didn’t bring, but wish I had. We use this now at home and I only wish we has it in the hospital. After baby was born, I could barely sleep in the hospital room. I was so paranoid with every sound he made and every time he moved in his little plastic hospital bassinet. At night, the only light in our room came from a computer screen or every 2 hours when a nurse would open the door to come to check on us. The computer’s glow was pretty harsh and everything went completely black when it went to sleep, so a rock salt night light would have been perfect. If I had had one of these, I would have been able to see baby so much better.
Hospital outlets are in weird places and I watched a lot of Netflix on my phone during my induction.
See above re: Netflix. While I was busy being anxious about labor and watching my 5th episode of Queer Eye instead of sleeping, Juan was able to get some final pre-baby shut eye while I used my earbuds.
Brining the carseat is mandatory, but I would recommend bringing one of these to loosely cover your little one while they are in it. After you’re discharged, you’ll be wheeled to your car with the car seat riding in your lap. You can cover the carseat with the blanket or cover to shield your new treasure from the world. The hospital I delivered in was super busy with patients and tours, so knowing Samuel was protected from germs and prying eyes kept my anxiety at bay.
I had brought leggings for my “going home” outfit, thinking they would keep me warm. When it came time to put them on, I could not have regretted it more. Still wearing my GIANT postpartum pad and mesh underwear, I wanted nothing to do with anything tight or constricting. I should have brought the loosest maternity dress I had and could have thrown on some long socks for warmth.
We brought way, way, way too many baby outfits, thinking he would wear them in the hospital. For the two days we stayed in the hospital after he was born, Samuel wore his diaper and his swaddle. The end. If we had wanted to dress him, the hospital had some generic white onesies we could have put him in. But there were so many nurses and doctors coming in to check on him…dressing him would have been so counterproductive. I would say, bring one newborn size PJ onesie and one 0-3 month size. You never really know how big or how small your baby will pop out.
The keyword here is essential. I had brought all of my toiletries that I use on a daily basis…makeup included. Not once did I touch my makeup. Not once did I touch my contact lenses or solution. Not once did I touch my NAIL FILE (yes…I brought a nail file…). Do yourself a favor and just bring what you absolutely need: face wash, travel-size shampoo, travel-size conditioner, hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste. And that’s it.
Whatever you end up bringing with you, you’re going to do great!
It may just take an extra hand or two to lug all of your stuff around, or you may have to send your partner out to pick up something you forgot. Hopefully this list can help you to remember all of your hospital essentials for labor. Happy laboring and delivering!