This Hospital Bag How-To Will Help You Survive and Thrive Your Delivery Recovery!
The nursery is ready, you’ve stocked the shelves and baskets with your choice of diapering items, the blankets have been washed in that soap that smells like newborn cuddles and fluffiness– now you wait. Maybe you’re waiting to go into labor, waiting on your scheduled birth, or waiting to see where the pregnancy takes you. By the half way point in your pregnancy, expecting mama’s (especially first time moms) start to wonder– what will I need in my hospital bag?
Traditional lists for hospital bag recommendations include cameras, phone and tablet chargers, change for vending machines, and books. This list isn’t that. We want to share with you what are the real essentials, because we believe the most important thing about your delivery is a comfortable, healthy, happy mom and baby!
The truth is, a lot of what you pack in your hospital bag will be determined by your individual preferences. There is no right or wrong way to pack a hospital bag, especially if your delivery isn’t in a traditional hospital.
One cool experience that goes along with enjoying new motherhood is getting to be a large-scale baby product tester! Diapers, soaps, lotions, blankets… so many options!
And baby isn’t the only person who’ll be staying in the hospital. Mom, and maybe moms partner or support person, will be there too. While motherhood will lead you to your own product preferences, we’re going to share the items we love to have in our hospital bag: from comfort items to baby faves, that will be sure to help keep the focus on bonding with baby!
Here’s What We Love to Pack in Our Hospital Bags:
BYOB (Bring your own blanket!)
A small comfortable quilt for mom, and a few linen or light cotton blankets for baby are a must. Hospitals provide blankets and swaddles, but whether you’re snuggling baby or get a few restful and much need moments (especially if your stay surpasses a day or two) you’ll be longing for a comfy blanket of your own. Some moms also recommend your own pillow, if you have specific sleeping needs. For baby, we love Aden + Anais cotton swaddle blankets. These are great for lightweight, long term use size and quality (I can still swaddle my five-month-olds!).
Don’t scrimp on that post-baby shower!
I really recommend your own large bath towel. You know the one that’s all broken in and soft? That one! Your super sensitive after baby body will thank you for not scrubbing it dry with the small, bleached towels available in the hospital. Because hospital showers can be slippery, a shower sandal is a great little add to your hospital bag! Forget the tiny travel 2 in 1s. Bringing your favourite Shampoo and conditioner will help you feel refreshed and keep you tangle free (less combing, more snuggling!).
Finally, a moisturizing, unscented or lightly scented baby wash is the best thing to use when you’re showering after baby– it’s important baby bonds with you and your natural smell, unmasked by heavy fragrances. I also love to bring a small container with coconut oil. I use it for body lotion, apply to dry lips (hospital air is DRY!), as a nipple ointment to avoid cracking after breastfeeding (wipe the breast clean before nursing again), and even apply to diaper rash or use as a baby massage oil (just be sure to test on a small patch of baby’s skin before widespread use!).
With a new baby, you might not have time to get your hair styled each day.
However during labor and straight through to toddler-hood, nothing screams being a mom quite like tiny fingers being wrapped around your locks. A small toiletry bag filled with a few hair pins, elastic bands, large clips, a comb, and a headband will give you some style and comfort choices to keep your hair off your face and neck– and out of baby’s hands! Try a non-slip headband designed for exercise (lululemon has styles for all hair types), so you know it will stay put during labor!
Your feet swell, you’re walking around a hospital, enough said. Lots of shops sell hand knitted slippers than can be washed when you get home, or grab an inexpensive pair you can toss after, they’ll probably get a little dirty.
Snacks for success.
Most hospitals do serve 3 basic meals to their admitted patients, but recovering for labor and trying to produce quality breast milk will require quality fuel! A few packages of instant oatmeal (choose an organic, steel cut, plain or naturally flavored version if available). These will slip nicely into your hospital bag, and can be prepared with just a little warm water. A great source of good energy, steel cut oats are also linked to increased breast milk production!
Dried fruit, trail mix, and all-natural granola bars are also great options that can be packed well in advance. Pack a large, glass water bottle as well, so you or your partner can refill without using a ton of plastic bottles. Be prepared to drink more water than you ever thought possible– labor, birth, breastfeeding, and physical recovery all require optimal hydration!
Coming home outfit.
Yes, we want to see your adorable newborn outfits (awwwww)– but what about mom? A cute, comfortable, and functional coming home outfit will allow you to heal and bond. Whether you raid the men’s section or pack your favourite weekend top, a couple of button downs are essential for breastfeeding access, but also for skin to skin bonding. You’ll probably want to spend as little time as possible in a hospital gown.
A comfy flannel, linen, or other light material button down will provide a breeze-free back, with access in the front! Along with this be sure to pack a couple nursing bras. At least one should have no underwire, for comfort and to avoid pressure points on milk ducts. My go to come home outfit: nursing bra, nursing tank top, a lightweight chambray button down, and a pair of medium to thick leggings (leggings are great for little to no pressure on a c-section operative site, and for keeping panties in place post-delivery).
Don’t forget your partner.
They have probably been in the hospital several hours, and likely don’t want to leave baby if possible. A fresh outfit complete with socks will go a long way in making them feel like the important part of your family puzzle. This will keep them from needing to make a trip home immediately– meaning more bonding time with baby and extra hands to get mom whatever she needs!
And sometimes labor happens fast and unexpectedly. Don’t panic if you forget these ‘essentials’ you’ll find on other lists:
Nursing Pillow. You and your baby are just learning the in’s and outs of nursing, holding, latching, burping… the feeding process isn’t always easy! A nursing pillow is a great tool to get you in a comfy position, especially as baby packs on the pounds, but in the first few days, you can easily prop up your arms with hospital pillows to comfortably support a tiny newborn!
Custom hospital gowns are cute and very popular right now, but regardless of delivery method chances are your gown will get messy. If you’ll feel more comfortable in your own gown, that’s totally up to you– packing a simple, light housecoat will also do the trick! So if it doesn’t make it to the birth, you can have a friend bring it by afterwards!
Diapers. Unless you plan to cloth diapers from day one, hospitals often have diapers on hand for the duration of your stay. Feel free to get your partner to pick up diapers or bring some after delivery, but this is one bulky item you don’t need to cart around in your hospital bag.
Tons of clothes for baby. A few sleepers and maybe a cute custom hat will do the trick! Chances are your tiny new person will not fit into much more than a newborn (or preemie!) sleeper, and keeping them in just a diaper, skin to skin as much as possible boosts many health benefits for mom and baby.
What About Preparing for Delivery?
If you’re physically prepared for birth and recovery, you’re already ahead of the game. Don’t forget to brush up on your postnatal breathing and core strengthening tutorials in your Knocked-Up Fitness Membership. These will help your pelvic floor bounce back and heal correctly after pregnancy!
After baby, you can check out the next Core Rehab Program, to build up your core strength and heal the muscles and fascia that are affected by pregnancy and delivery.
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