Packing Your Hospital Bag… Do You Really Need ALL That Stuff?

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What to bring to the hospital when it’s baby time can be a struggle. You don’t want to forget something important, but do you really need to bring three suit cases?

As a labor nurse, I’ve seen many different variations in what people bring to the hospital. Personally, I pack light.

I only bring one bag of essentials and that is it. Anymore than that can be difficult to haul. Plus most rooms aren’t that big, so extra and unnecessary items just cause clutter and take up space.

Here are some of the things I will have packed and ready to go:

  • Hair Ties- If you have long hair, don’t forget to pack a few hair ties.
  • Nursing Bra- Nursing Bras are a must if you’re planning on breastfeeding. They make nursing so much easier and provide support.
  • Nursing Pads- Your milk probably won’t come in for a few days, so you may not need these. Just in case, pack a handful of nursing pads to have available if you start to leak.
  • Flip-Flops- Hospital floors are pretty gross. I personally don’t let my feet touch the floor at all when I’m in the hospital. Flip Flops are perfect to throw on to walk around your room or wear in the shower.
  • Comfortable Pants- If you choose to wear your own clothes instead of the hospital gown, bring some baggy, comfy pants. Nothing is worse than having tight leggings on after delivery. You need some room for a diaper pad and an ice pack. Also if you have a C-Section you want pants that don’t hit right at the incision site.
  • Clothes/Pajamas- Some mamas feel more comfortable in the hospital gown, some feel more comfortable in their own clothes or pajamas. Pack only what you think you’ll wear.
  • Socks- If you get cold easily, pack a couple pair of socks to wear to keep your toes warm. Non-skid socks with cute sayings on the bottom are fun and handy to have.
  • Boppy-  Boppy pillows are super helpful while learning how to breastfeed. They give you extra support to hold your baby in the right position to nurse.
  • Snacks- The hospital provides food for you, but if you’re a snacker like I am then you’ll likely be hungry in between meals. It’s nice to have a few options with to grab if you need a little something to hold you over.
  • Chapstick- Hospitals are dry places and pushing is hard work! Your lips will likely get dry during your stay, don’t forget the Chapstick.
  • Going Home Outfit for Baby- I usually keep my baby in a hospital gown throughout our stay. For me it’s easier and less laundry to do once you get home. I will be bringing a going home outfit and that’s it. If you’d prefer you can bring some sleepers to use instead of the hospital gown. I recommend gowns or sleepers that zip rather than the button up ones which can be difficult to maneuver in the middle of the night when you’re half asleep.
  • Car Seat- You’ll need a car seat to go home, so make sure you have it ready to go. You can wait and have someone bring it up to the unit after baby arrives, but at least have it in the car. The day you think you’re going to go home, put the baby in the car seat and adjust the straps to fit. That way it’s all ready to go when you get the go ahead to leave and you’re not trying to figure it out last minute.

There are some things that will have to be packed when it’s time to go:

  • ID and Insurance Card- You’ll probably be asked to provide these when you check in so make sure you have them.
  • Phone Charger- Obviously you’ll be needing to keep your phone charged to keep everyone updated on your sweet little baby.
  • Toiletries- Sure, the hospital may have shampoo there, but it won’t be as good as your stuff! Don’t forget the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste- These are an obvious thing to pack, but often forgotten!
  • Deodorant- Have I mentioned pushing is hard work? You’ll want to bring some deodorant to help curb the sweat.
  • Make-up- If you are a make-up kind of gal, don’t forget your make-up bag.
  • Blow-dryer and Straightener- If you feel like you’ll have the energy to do your hair, bring them!

There are also some items that I will NOT be bringing to the hospital:

  • Underwear- The hospitals usually provide you with lovely mesh underwear. Birthing babies is a messy business, I’d recommend wearing theirs so yours don’t get ruined. If you choose to bring your own, make sure you bring some you don’t mind getting ruined.
  • Formula- If you’re choosing to bottle feed, the hospital should provide you with formula while you’re there. Save your formula for when you get home.
  • Pads– Unless you’re super picky about the pads you use, the hospital should supply those as well.
  • Lanolin- This is usually given to breastfeeding moms at the hospital. It’s only a small tube, but it should last until you go home and can use your Lanolin .
  • Money- I’d leave your purse/wallet at home. You really shouldn’t need large amounts of money. If anything, bring a few dollars for the vending machine and have your debit card packed away in a hidden spot in your bag.
  • Breast Pump- Unless you plan on pumping exclusively, I would leave the pump at home. If for some reason you need to pump, the hospital should have one for you to use.
  • Blankets-  Many moms bring their own blankets, but there’s no guarantee that it won’t get ruined in labor. If you’re really attached to the blanket, don’t bring it.

Although I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to packing for the hospital, feel free to bring whatever you think you’ll use. If you don’t think you’ll use it, don’t bring it.

You’ll have enough things to bring home and unpack as it is, so don’t bring your whole house with you!

Is there anything you brought that didn’t make my list that you feel is a must? Comment below and let other mamas know!




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