Hi all! Although my due date is still a whole 2 months away (although technically less now), I'm measuring bigger than my due date (and looking ginormous) and packing for the hospital is starting to actually creep up on my to-do list! I think I did a decent job packing the first time around for Liv's delivery, but there were definitely a few things that I could have left home, and a couple that I definitely should have brought! Today I'm sharing what I plan on packing in my hospital bag now that I know a little better!
I will say that my labor and delivery didn't go as smoothly as planned (you can read Liv's birth story here), so I spent some extra time in the hospital and was definitely not up and on my feet while in the hospital. Many women will have much nicer experiences and be walking around within a day of delivering! But it doesn't hurt to plan for things being not as perfect as you'd like them to be!
Within your hospital bag, make sure to also have a much smaller bag (preferably clear) to keep all of the essentials you want within easy reach in one place organized (and easy to find in the middle of the night). I like this one and this one! I didn't have this the first time and kept losing things on the bedside table or bed as things got moved around or when meals came. Speaking of meals, make sure to pack some extra snacks for during the day. Lactation cookies are a great snack - this mix you can make at home (or an amazing best-visitor-ever will bring a homemade batch) or you can buy premade ones. In some hospitals the patient kitchen and hospital cafeteria are only open during certain hours, so it's nice to have snacks on hand! And you'll soon learn that one-handed snacks are a nursing mamas best friend.
Make sure not to forget our tech essentials like your cell phone and cell phone charger - preferably one with a long cord as you never know how far the outlets will be from the bed. I took most of my photos and birth story notes on my phone so it really was good to have, I of course brought my bigger DSLR camera for some nice shots as well. N also brought his laptop which was great for all the hours I spent actually in labor before Liv arrived, we caught up on episodes of Scandal together which was really relaxing. And once baby arrives, they still sleep a lot, and there is never anything on during the day on basic television (unless you're a fan of soap operas). I plan on catching up on episodes of The Mindy Project. Again, my experience was a little different since I spent some extra time in the hospital (and N had to be back in class the next day) so I spent a lot of time with just me and Liv!
As far as clothes for you in the hospital, it's not fun wearing hospital gowns, but it also isn't practically to get fully dressed a day after delivering. The option of having a tank (for those hot flashes) that can easily be covered with a nice robe when visitors come by is ideal. I usually didn't wear pants, but when I did I was happy I packed super soft bottoms with a really soft waistline. I absolutely love this set: it includes a nursing tank, pants with a super comfy waist, robe to cover up (even a little matching outfit for baby)! Make sure to also have a nursing bra with you as well - one without underwires will be most comfortable. And the underwear. Giving you the TMI warning now. I thought I packed comfortable underwear, but in reality they weren't big enough to fit the monstrous pads the hospital provides for the monstrous amount of bleeding that happens afterwards. I had to wear the hospital provided ones which are one size fits all and not ideal. This time I'm packing appropriate comfy panties that will be large enough to accommodate those huge pads (plus the witch hazel pads and extra postpartum care stuff your fantastic nurses will hopefully show you) and still actually fit. The first time around I packed slippers but didn't really use them much, they just took up a lot of space in my bag. What I did wear all the time were my cozy socks - this time around I'll do slipper socks that you can keep on in bed and walk around with too.
Most hospitals will actually provide you with samples of lanolin gel - I originally had Lansinoh, which was good, but pretty thick. This may be TMI, but when you're in those first few days of trying to breastfeed, with cracked nipples and peeling skin, a thick and relatively tacky type consistency is terrifying - I found the Medela lanolin ointment to be thinner and much nicer to apply, definitely felt soothing! Add on the hydrogels and it was a wonderful much-needed break from the pain! My nurses were the best and would actually store mine in the fridge for me and I did the same at home when I could actually remember to!
There must be trolls in the hospital that steal hair ties while you sleep. Seriously, bring lots of hair ties if you have longer hair. Mascara and lip balm are nice to have, especially if visitors come by (I personally never used any of the mascara and just used the lanolin ointment as lip balm, but I also didn't want any visitors)! I've seen hospital bag checklists that include shampoo, conditioner, hair serum, blow dryer, and flat iron - and I try really hard not roll my eyes, but I totally roll my eyes. Then again I don't have the type of hair that needs washing every day so I shouldn't judge. I think dry shampoo is more than enough, I love this one. I also kept deodorant within easy reach. Then pack whatever other daily toiletries you use!
All hospitals will provide you with blankets for swaddling, and as tempting as it is to just one of those fancy swaddle blankets with snaps take this chance to learn from the nurses how to actually swaddle and get a nice little baby burrito! Unless of course you have dozens of those fancy swaddle blankets (which are great too, don't get me wrong - we loved ours but used plenty of regular swaddle blankets too)! Make sure to pack one in your bag for heading home.
I have no idea why I brought all of these outfits for Liv - the baby will stay in the same hospital onesies and nice and swaddled all day - no need for extra outfits! You only need one for going home, make sure it's easy to get on and won't irritate their little umbilical stump! A little one-piece like this is perfect. The hospital will have plenty of diapers so no need to bring that. For you, you're going to want something cozy (but likely still want to look put together) - I'm packing a loose-fitting soft V-neck sweater (hide the post-baby bump and easy access for nursing), leggings, and probably cozy shoes like Uggs (it'll be December). Make sure to have the car seat properly installed beforehand and ready to go! Below is a checklist of the essentials I mentioned in this post, feel free to click here for a printable PDF version of this list!
I hope this post can help some of you as you prepare for your own labor and delivery! It will all be just fine.