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As Ryan Nicol’s arrival date neared, I began to pack our hospital bags. I wanted to keep my hospital bag down to the essentials. I asked so many mamas, “What do I ACTUALLY need to take to the hospital?” Everyone had so many helpful tips and tricks. Our doulas also provided us with an extensive checklist that I used as a reference while packing for the three of us.
Anticipating a baby’s arrival is overwhelming. Packing for the hospital — with no prior experience — only adds to that wow-is-this-really-happening feeling! Asking Instagram what to pack was extremely helpful! There were quite a few items that almost everyone suggested, including your own pillow and a SUPER long phone cord. Who would have thought to put those so high on the list?!
My Hospital Bag Essentials:
- Depends Silhouettes, or other large pad. The hospital will provide you with gigantic pads and mesh underwear after delivery. However, I found Depends Silhouettes to be more manageable.
- Frida Mom healing foam. While several women swear by Dermaplast, I found Frida’s witch hazel healing foam to be soothing and easy to use.
- Heating pad. Labor is called “labor” for a reason! You’ll likely be sore afterward; so having a heating pad on hand feels so nice.
- Nipple gel pads. Learning to breastfeed is challenging (understatement of the year); so having nipple gel pads helped make that discomfort bearable.
- Comfy socks. Hospital floors are cold. So be sure to pack thick socks or slippers so you aren’t walking around barefoot
- Thin Robe. The hospital will provide a big cumbersome gown. During labor, honestly, you probably won’t care how it looks. But afterward, during recovery, it’s so nice to have your own soft robe. It helps you feel “put together” during a very vulnerable time.
- Huge water bottle, preferably with straw. Again, labor is work! You’ll be grateful for that big drink of water afterward! One of my friends was given a Sprite cranberry mocktail after labor, and she swears to this day it’s the best drink she’s ever had!
- Cash. Here’s one I never knew, until I had a baby! Most hospital kitchens take exact cash only, especially during our current global health situation. Be sure to bring cash in small denominations so that you can pay for meals.
- Baby swaddle and hat. Upon delivery, the nurses usually bundle your little one in a generic swaddle and beanie. However, it’s so nice to have something special to dress Little Nugget in once you’ve recovered. A special outfit is perfect for that first “Welcome” photo and makes a special keepsake later.
- Baby sleepers (2). I highly recommend bringing your preferred baby swaddle/sleeper to the hospital. The nurses sometimes even have recommendations and can help teach you how to use them.
- SNACKS. Bring your own snacks. I’m going to say this again. Bring. Your. Own. Snacks. Some hospitals do not provide meals for the husband/partner, and frankly you will be hungry after all the hard work of delivery. Our room had a mini fridge, so we were able to have some decent snacks on hand.
- Wireless speaker. I played music my entire labor. It was so nice to have that distraction!
- Extra blanket. Labor can take some time, friends. Chances are, your husband is going to be snoozing on a weird green couch. He will be grateful for that extra blanket come nightfall!
- Long phone charger. I can’t tell you how many people recommended this item on the list. Our labor and delivery room was huge; and the bed was no where near any outlets. Having an absurdly long charger was helpful.
- Shower stuff. Bring your own shower products, trust me. No one wants to use the hospital’s washcloths after delivery. I’m sure they are perfectly sanitized, but it feels familiar to have your own things.
- Going home outfit for mom. Don’t forget your own going home outfit! It’s easy to get excited about those cute baby outfits and forget your own needs. I recommend a loose dress or maternity leggings. It’s not uncommon to swell a bit after delivery, especially if you needed to receive fluids. So aim for comfy and simple!
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When it comes down to it, what you REALLY need versus what you THINK you need at the hospital … are two different things. I’m so thankful for everyone who openly and transparently shared what to expect. I don’t think anything can quite prepare you for labor and delivery, but at least our bags were efficiently packed!
What did you pack for the hospital?