Sharing all of my hospital bag essentials, plus one thing I wish we had brought!
1. Soft, button up pajamas: I wore my hospital gown for my first night, but on the second day of our stay, I switched to these button up pajamas that I’ve had for years (a similar more affordable option here!). I bled pretty heavily for my first few days postpartum, so I skipped the cute robe (even though I packed one) and opted for dark, comfy pajamas instead. I love these because they’re made of a super soft jersey knit and the button up comes in handy if you’re planning to start breasfeeding at the hospital.
2. Nipple balm: Again, if you’re planning to breastfeed, nipple balm will be your best friend! I kept forgetting to put some on for my first few feedings and quickly felt chafed! I’ve been applying this organic nipple butter after every nursing. My lactation consultant also gave me these silicone nipple shells to wear in between feedings to protect my nipples from rubbing against anything, which have helped the chafing subside quicker. I also brought a nursing bra and nursing pads with me, but my milk took a few days to come in so I didn’t use the pads at the hospital.
3. 10′ phone charging cables: In researching what to pack in my hospital bag, I kept seeing this recommendation everywhere! I’m really glad we purchased a pack of extra long charging cables because all of the electric outlets in our room were definitely far away and difficult to reach!
4. Eye mask: This was the one thing I wish we had packed! After a restless night of contractions, followed by another restless night fueled by new parent adrenaline, we took quick naps whenever we could. I don’t normally sleep with an eye mask, but it would’ve come in handy to block out the sunlight and any ambient hospital light at night. At one point, I was wearing my reusable face mask on my eyes just to get a few minutes of proper shuteye!
5. Cozy blanket and pillow from home: This was another popular recommendation from everything I read since hospital bedding is notoriously thin. Surprisingly, my hospital pillows felt plusher than expected, but it was still nice to have the comforts of home with us. I ended up bring one pillow, two blankets – including my Barefoot Dreams blanket – as well as my travel neck pillow to make sure James and I were both comfortable.
6. Comfy going home outfit: Yes, I’m the psycho that put on makeup and a cute dress to go home in. But after spending two full days looking disheveled, sleep deprived and contained to a small hospital room, I wanted to have a few photos that I could look back at and cherish forever. I’d go for something loose fitting like this leopard tie strap dress or stretchy like my favorite maternity tank dress.
7. Fuzzy socks with grips: I typically run cold, especially in my hands and feet, so fuzzy socks are my jam. I actually didn’t own any with grips on the bottom, but they’re super helpful on the hospital tile – especially when you’re getting up / out of bed for the first time and might be a little weaker in the legs. My hospital actually provided me with some cheap socks with grips, but these ones are way better and they’ll come in hand again this winter!
8. Hair tie & hair brush: This kind of seems like a given (along with any toiletries you’d bring with you for travel), but it’s also something you might forget in the flurry of packing a hospital bag (because pregnancy brain).
9. Your favorite snacks: We headed to the hospital in the morning, so we missed breakfast and lunch for the day. After I got my epidural at 12:30 PM, I was able to eat a cup of jello before we went into active labor around 1:55 PM. After delivery, there was a long stretch of time before we were able to move to our recovery room. It was no surprise that I was ravenous after pushing out a human being, but thankfully I brought a few favorites like Sour Patch watermelons and club crackers to tide us over. Something about the savory butteriness of crackers that just hits the spot!
10. Rubber flip flops: Cheap, rubber flip flops (think Old Navy or Havianas) are handy for showers or just walking around the hospital floor.
11. Boppy nursing pillow: My hospital actually had a nursing pillow available in the room (you may want to call ahead to check!), but I preferred to bring my own and start getting familiar with it! I love our Boppy (we also have the newborn lounger), but I don’t love the feel of the standard cotton cover that it comes with, so I opted for this cozy cover made of a fleece material instead.
12. Onesies in different sizes: The day before I went into labor, I swung by Carter’s to stock up on a few more onesies and look for a going home outfit. There was one that I loved, but it only came a preemie size which I figured would be too small for him. I totally regret not buying it because to our surprise, he came out at 5 pounds and 5 ounces and was swimming in his newborn onesies! We opted for a cute zip up onesie to keep things simple (with everything happening on our discharge date, my brain and motor skills could not possibly handle buttoning up a 2-day old baby!).
13. Swaddle blanket: During our stay, we took advantage of the basic onesies and swaddles that our hospital provided, and I’m glad we did because he was a poop machine during his first two days! On our discharge day, we dressed him up in this striped onesie and wrapped him with a love print swaddle from this set for a few photos. Then, once it was time to get in the car seat, we took the swaddle off and used it as a blanket for the car ride home.
- Laptop / tablet
- Camera, memory card, batteries, tripod (with the pandemic, we figured it’d be easier to take our own photos!)
- Driver’s license and insurance card
- Car seat
- Travel essentials for your partner (e.g. change of clothes, jacket, pajamas, toiletries)
Here are a few things I packed but didn’t end up using:
- Bathrobe: Considering the heavy flow of blood escaping me for the first few days, wearing a white bathrobe would not have been a good idea!
- Nursing pads: Like I mentioned earlier, it took a few days for my milk to come in so I didn’t need to use the nursing pads since I didn’t experience any leakage. Of course, better to bring them than to not have them!
- Postpartum recovery stuff: I actually didn’t pack any since our hospital provided all of it – ice pads, mesh underwear, witch hazel wipes, Dermoplast pain relieving spray, hemorrhoid cream, etc. I assume most hospitals will do the same, but it always helps to call ahead to ask. They also gave me whole goodie bag of extra postpartum supplies before I checked out!