Whats in a bag – Your hospital bag that is!

As a mother of 4, Ive learned a few things along the way. How to pack a hospital bag is one of them. With my first born, I packed everything I thought we would need in a black USMC duffel bag. Babies take home outfit, breast pads, sanitary napkins, Maybe even threw the kitchen sink in there. Over-packed is an understatement and even then, I still had to make my husband run to Walmart for items. So, the next three babies came along and my bag got smaller and smaller. I’m one of those drive-by birth moms. I have the baby on a Monday and I’m out of there Tuesday afternoon/night so I learned to pack only what I need for 2 days in one bag (usually a larger sized diaper bag) so that my husband doesn’t have to carry out armfuls of items on discharge day.

What’s Inside My Bag?

  • ID and Insurance card! Along with any information you want the staff who will be caring for you to have!!!
  • Travel Sized Shampoo and Conditioner – Some hospitals provide you with the stuff they have in-house, some do not.
  • Sanitary napkins – They sell long, super absorbent pads. Pack a few for when you are ready to discharge. Most hospitals have their ‘mighty pads’ and a special mesh underwear type thing they give you in recovery but trust me, you’ll appreciate normal pads after this! NO TAMPONS!!!!! Never use tampons after having a baby until you have your doctors all clear!!!
  • Hair Brush – Pretty self explanatory.
  • Hair scrunchies/clips – Most new moms are a hot mess after birth. A quick up-do pony-tail fixes that!
  • Sleepwear – The hospitals provide you with a hospital gown. You can wear that (I did) or you can bring your own. What ever you think you’d be comfortable in. Sweat pants and a teeshirt are great.
  • Nursing bra or tank topBRAVADO! makes amazing nursing tank tops and bras. I own a tank top one and have had it since December. It still fits awesome. It worked out great when my milk came in and stretched to meet my expanding busts demands! They are $49 at Target on online but if you shop around online you can find them cheaper.
  • Socks – You can wear the hospital ones around while you are in L&D and recovery. Bring 1 or 2 pair of your own in your bag.
  • Underwear – They give you a special kind of mesh underwear to wear just after birth but I always felt more comfortable in my own under-roos. Granny panties are forgiven at this point!
  • Going home outfit – Something simple. A nice tank top and sweats or smaller sized maternity pants.
  • Shoes – I wore a pair of comfortable slip on shoes to the hospital (even after you had your baby, tying your shoes is still no picnic). Flip Flops are okay but you’ll be unstable so be careful!
  • Breast pads – You may or may not use them. Bring them anyways. Leaky boobs happen and its messy. There are many different types of breast pads. Disposable and washable. Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads are great. They can hold a good amount of milk you leak and fit nicely in your nursing top discreetly. LilyPadz are a washable breast pad that are also really good.

What baby needs:

  • Going home outfit – I know you have been waiting DYING to get those outfits you bought the day you found out you were pregnant or the day you found out the sex of you baby onto said baby. A nice cute sleeper works perfectly. Zip up or button up outfits work, too. Messing with pull over the head outfits can be uncomfortable for you and baby. Onesies can be put on from the bottom by slipping baby through the head hole. Onesies are made for this.
  • Diapers/wipes – The hospital usually use Pampers newborn diapers. These are a good brand. I prefer Huggies because of the built in lip at the back top of the diaper. It helps prevent baby blowouts (babies tend to have explosive bowel movements. Be ready!) from getting too far and too messy. Pampers does not have this design. So bring a handful of your own. And bring a pack of baby wipes even though the hospital will supply you with a pack of those also.
  • A baby blanket – 2 blankets will do. One is just in case baby has an accident on the other.
  • Spit up cloth – 1 or two will do. Nothing too big. Even a baby wash rag will do.
  • An outfit for the hospital stay – You can dress your baby while you are staying in the hospital. Something simple so the doctors and nurses can have access to baby when they come in to check on vitals.
  • Car seat – You will not be allowed to take baby home without one. Its the law. If you need help installing one, look at the installation manual since each car seat is different. For tips on how to properly put baby into one contact your local police department or fire department. Most give lessons on how to properly install them or will inspect yours to make sure you have done it properly.

What Dad needs:

Dad should pack his own bag of things he may need while he is by your side. Guys, if you need anything else, DO NOT assume your wife knows it. She is too busy trying to pack for the most intense experience of her life! PACK YOUR OWN STUFF!  I packed some items I thought my husband may need in a shopping tote and let him take care of the rest.

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste – You will be staying over night most likely and the hospital does NOT provide these for you. Just mom. Most places have a gift shop that does sell them. You’re better off bringing your own.
  • Change of clothes. Labor might be long or you might not go home to get more clothes before baby comes home. A sweater will be nice. Hospital rooms tend to get cold.
  • Camera, batteries – While it’s on her list – you’ll be held responsible.
  • Cell phone – And a phone list of contacts. And your charger! (Also, dont forget your charger on discharge day. I made that mistake.)
  • Snacks that do not smell – Chances are mom wont be eating due to some hospitals policies (which I totally do not agree with) so dont eat anything she will most likely hate you for. Onion rings and that yummy burger from Burger King are OFF the menu! If you want to eat, there is a cafeteria. Make a quick run, shovel it in quickly and get back to work!
  • Puzzle book or magazines – You’ll get bored. Theres only so many channels on the hospitals TV and at one point, your wife will sleep (which in turn you should be sleeping too).

We were lucky to live close enough to our hospitals that if we needed anything after delivery, my husband could run home real quick.

Moms and dads, based on where you have your baby and your birthing center or hospitals policies, your bag may be packed differently. Ive had hospitals births so this is what the above list is based on.

I want to congratulate you for the new little life you are brining into your family. Its a wonderful, life changing journey. Thank you for letting us help you prepare for it!

Good luck moms and dads!

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