Okay mamas! This one’s for you!
First I want to take a moment and say hello! Because the last time I published a blog post was like… December 2019. Oops.
Long story short, Our sweet girl made her appearance in March and then the world shut down and I’ve basically been surviving the last 5 months as I settle into our new normal. Which I know is a phrase a lot of people are throwing around these days, but Evan and I were going to be adjusting to a new normal with or without a global pandemic so, here’s to becoming parents and navigating all the social craziness in the world right now.
A few days ago I asked which topic you were most interested in hearing about and you answered. So I am here to tell you all about what I packed in my hospital bag, and everything I probably could have left at home!
I have included some links to specific items, none of them are affiliated so I will not receive any credit if you purchase through my links. They are simply here for your convenience!
I had planned and packed for having an unmedicated childbirth. I was anxious about the epidural and other pain relief medications so I was apprehensive to agree to them. More on that if/when I share my birth story. But, I had packed two bags for my stay, one for labor, and one for postpartum. I was able to pack everything I needed, or thought I needed, in those two bags.
When I was first admitted at the hospital we only brought in my labor bag and left the postpartum bag in the car until I was moved to our mother & baby room. That way there would be less to carry when we switched rooms. Your hospital might not have you switch rooms like mine did. If that’s the case, you could save your husband a trip to the car and bring it all in at once, or if you have a big enough bag, put it all together!
In my Labor bag this is what I’d packed:
- Shower flip flops
- You will want this if you plan to walk around during labor, since hospital gowns are open in the back. It also comes in handy postpartum when you want to leave your room for a walk or when you go with your baby for any testing done outside the room.
- Old Towel
- I’m sure the hospital would give you a towel for the shower, but I liked having my own. I made sure to bring an old one because labor and postpartum are messy business and I didn’t want to ruin a good one!
- Bluetooth Speaker
- Diffuser & Oil
- Water bottle with straw
- you absolutely want the straw- trust me!
- this is the one I used and loved!
- Portable fan
- you’re going to be the only one hot and sweaty so you’ll definitely want this
- Lip Balm
- unless you’re super great about hydrating, which let’s face it, when you’re laboring this might be the last thing you think about, your lips will be dry so pack a couple in case you lose one!
- Calming Lotion
- for labor relief
- Ultrasound Photo
- As a focal point
- Handheld cross
- To hold during contractions
- Headbands & Elastics
- Labor is hot and heavy business, you’re gonna want to pull that hair back.
- Drivers Licenses
- Birth Plan
- Insurance Cards
- Cash & Credit Cards
- For vending machines, food, cafeteria, etc.
- Thank You Notes
- Nurses Gifts
- Kindle & Charger
- iPad Pro & Charger
- Watch & Charger
- Phones & Chargers (with long cords)
This is how much of it I did not need:
Bluetooth Speaker Diffuser & Oil Calming Lotion Scarf Ultrasound photo Handheld cross Birth Plan Thank You Notes
As I’d mentioned, I had planned for an unmedicated birth, so I had packed with the intention of “setting a comfortable space” and using distraction methods to help me through the pain. Again, I will give more detail later but, I ended being too sick to labor unmedicated and chose to get the epidural. I have zero regrets. Because of choosing the epidural, I ended up not needing any of these things. I thought I would like to have music playing, but it turned out I wanted silence so I could focus. I also thought some calming lavender scented lotion and massage would help. Hah! No. Smells made me vomit and I did not want to be touched at all. So that is also why the diffuser and stress away essential oil did not ever make it out of my bag.
I wanted to be that mom who was “on it” and wrote up thank you notes for her nurses but I was not. Also, whoever gave me that idea was an overachiever because, how did you have the time or energy to write them? We did, however, get coffee and donuts for the nurses each shift so they all knew how grateful we were. The best part was they would go in the breakroom and it could be shared with the whole floor.
I guess I could have written down my nurses names and sent thank you notes after the fact, but I forgot. If thank yous are your thing, you can do better than I did and remember to write down their names!
I also never ended up needing my birth plan, though it was still nice to have. Most of what was on mine was already standard practice at my hospital, and my nurse asked me questions every step of the way. Besides, the “important” part of my birth plan was for my hopes of having an unmedicated birth. Once I’d chosen the epidural that kind of went out the window anyway.
Let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in seeing my birth plan!
After Anna was born, Evan went and grabbed our postpartum bag and met us back in the room we would be staying in for the next two nights.
Here’s what was inside my postpartum bag:
- Comfy Outfit
- Socks (3)
- Nursing Bras (2)
- Frida Mom Underwear
- Coming Home Outfit
- Shirts (2-3)
- Shower Flip Flops
- Socks (3)
- Underwear (3)
- Fridababy Peri Bottle
- Brush & Comb
- Hair Gel
- Maxi Pads
- I really liked these natural ones
- Swaddles (3)
- Onesies (3)
- Coming Home Outfit
- Sleeping gown
- Mittens (2)
- Socks (2)
- Footie Sleeper
- Car Seat Cover
And this is what I could have left out:
Shirts (2-3) Slippers Shower Flip Flops Socks (3) Underwear (3)
Fridababy Fridet Makeup Hair Gel Maxi Pads
Swaddles (3) Onesies (3) Sleeping gown Hat Mittens (2) Socks (2) Wipes Samples
So, I really didn’t need to pack much for Evan at all. He ended up going home to shower each day so he didn’t use much of what we packed for him. He did switch into sweatpants at night to sleep and used a hoodie when he got cold though so those were useful to have for him!
I am not sure what hospital policy is with the current pandemic situation. Your husband may not be able to leave the hospital. If this is the case, I would make sure to keep stuff for him in your bag
As far as toiletries, I used the hospital bottle and pads so I didn’t need my own. The maxi pads I’d brought were nothing like the dinosaur sized pad you will be wearing while in the hospital. I think the only one of my own pads I wore was the one on the way home once the postpartum bleeding slowed a bit. But while you’re there, you’ll definitely be using their pads.I did prefer my frida mom underwear over the hospital mesh ones they give you. They just felt more comfortable to me and I liked how they were high waisted and came up over my belly, so I definitely recommend taking some of those with you.
I definitely over packed for Anna too. The hospital gives you shirts to put them in and swaddles them in blankets they provide. I did bring my own swaddles so I could practice with them but every time I did, the nurses took her out of my swaddle and put her back into one of the hospital blankets. The hospital also supplies diapers and wipes so you don’t need to bring any of that. Save your money and space in your bag and just use the ones they provide while you’re there.
Things I didn’t pack but wish I did:
- Pumping bra
- Nipple Shield
- The nurses gave me a medela one, but Anna wouldn’t nurse well with that one and I found it difficult to keep in place. I liked this one I found on Amazon instead.
- Soothing Gel Pads
- These Medela Tender Care HydroGel pads would have been amazing for my very tender nipples.
- Nipple Cream
- I really liked the Earth Mama Nipple Butter. I tried the Lansinoh and Medela creams and neither of them were much help. I ended up sending Evan back to grab this from the house.
- I would bring a couple different ones to try. I ended up sending Evan back to the house to grab one of each of ours for Anna.
All of these things I didn’t think to pack because, in a perfect world, I was hoping Anna would exclusively nurse and not need a bottle or pacifier right away. I had read all the books a girl can read which recommended not introducing these things because they can cause nipple confusion. I can go on and on with this topic but I’ll save that for another day because I have got to wrap this up. For now, I’d recommend adding these things to your bag “just in case” because they would have made my hospital stay that much easier.
One last thing I’d add is that I had this bag packed and ready to grab and go at 34 weeks. We also installed our car seat base into the car at the same time. I ended up not going into labor until 39w5 but it was comforting to know that if I went early, all Evan had to do was grab and go. Another tip I’d read but didn’t do is to organize your bag into easy to find, labeled, ziplock bags. This makes it easier for Dad to locate what you need when you need it!
I hope this helps, mama to be! I’m praying for your safe and healthy delivery of your baby to be!