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With little dude #2 due in less than two weeks, my hospital bag is packed and ready to go. I personally found it really helpful before Ethan was born to read blogs and watch videos about what other moms, especially moms having their second or third kiddo, packed for their time in the hospital. And even still, I updated my packing list for this time around since there were things I brought with me last time that I didn’t use, and things I wish I’d had with me.
Before I dive into my bag, I wanted to say – what you ultimately decide to pack in your hospital bag is totally up to you and your personal preference. Just like everything in pregnancy, and in raising your kiddos, there’s tons of advice out there. Take it with a grain of salt. Keep the pieces that work for you and leave the ones that don’t.
At the end, you can download my packing list for reference if you’d find it helpful.
So first you need a bag, something to pack all your things in. I just used my roller carry-on suitcase. I tend to be a light packer, preferring to travel with carry-on only whenever possible, and I was actually able to fit everything for both me and baby boy into this Samsonite suitcase. It’s got a ton of space inside, with two seperate sections; zipper pockets to keep smaller items secure; and an adjustable handle.
The best part — it rolls. Getting into the hospital is one thing. But when you leave, you’ll be leaving with even more stuff than when you came. Our hospital sent us home with diapers, wipes, a water bottle for me, a plastic bin for washing pump and bottle parts, a peri bottle for keeping the lady parts clean while they healed, paperwork galore, and more. I’d recommend keeping an extra bag, reusable totes are great, in your car or tucked away in your hospital bag if you have room to carry home all this extra stuff. Stack it on top of your roller suitcase, and your partner will have an easier time of getting everything to the car while you’re in charge of baby.
In My Hospital Bag: For Mom
- Lotion, chapstick and eye drops — Hospital maternity wards are kept really warm, which means the air is really dry. You’ll definitely want lotion and chapstick handy, and maybe even some eye drops.
- Travel size shampoo, conditioner and body wash — Not everyone showers while they’re in the hospital, but I did last time around. And it made me feel like a human again so much faster.
- Towel — This is a space hog for sure, but I didn’t bring one with me last time and I wished I had. The towels the hospital provided were scratchy and too small to cover anything on a postpartum body.
- Deodorant — Always a must.
- Makeup Bag — Again, not everyone puts on makeup while they’re in the hospital, but I did last time, and it helped me to feel more like myself and more presentable for photos and guests. I’m only bringing concealer and mascara
- Hair ties and a comb — I forgot to bring hair ties with me last time, and had to borrow one from our nurse because my hair kept getting in the way when trying to breastfeed. Lesson learned!
- NBD hair cream — While I do plan to shower, I won’t be drying my hair. I love Redken’s No Blow Dry cream, which helps my naturally frizzy hair air dry in a more presentable way.
- Flip flops — For the shower, because ick.
- Toothbrush & toothpaste — Yep, a must.
- Dermoplast — If you end up having a vaginal delivery, your bottom will be really sore, whether you tear or not. Dermoplast is one thing our hospital didn’t provide before (though diapers filled with ice to sit on were plentiful). I’m bringing some with me just in case.
I thought I’d wear a hospital gown the whole time I was in the hospital last time and didn’t bring many clothes. But I found the day after he was born, after showering, I was much more comfortable (and less exposed) wearing my own cozy, comfy clothes. So this time, I’m bringing a little bit more:
- Nursing PJs — I have a light, breathable pair from Target that I hope won’t make me too hot in the hospital.
- Cotton robe — For a while, the nurses still need easy access to your tummy and possibly your, well… to make sure things are healing as they should be. A robe offers that access and is also easy to nurse in.
- Nursing tank + nursing bra — I don’t know which I’ll prefer to wear. Your tummy is like a bowl of jelly after giving birth and I wonder if I’ll want the extra layer from the tank or not.
- Short sleeve shirts x2 — I’ll want a t-shirt for coming home in for sure, and possibly one for wearing in the recovery room if I’m feeling more comfy in leggings. I chose two that are lightweight and very loose, easy for breastfeeding and pulling up for tummy checks as needed.
- Long sleeve shirt — I am due in June, but for now at least mornings and evenings are still cool. I may want a long-sleeve when heading home.
- Leggings x2 — A pair of maternity leggings and high-waisted non-maternity leggings will be coming with me. I’m not sure which will be most comfortable — I’m assuming the maternity leggings, but I may want more support from the non-maternity leggings when coming home.
- Socks x3 — I’m bringing a pair of socks with stickies on the bottom for labor, in case I’m able to move around, and then two extra pairs for wearing in recovery.
- Underwear x2 — I mostly wore the mesh undies the hospital provided last time, no need to risk getting staining your own underwear. But I’ll need something to come home in, and I threw in an extra pair just in case.
- Sleep mask — Getting rest after baby is born is crucial. You might go into labor in the middle of the night, or labor for a whole day before your little one makes their debut. And then there’s the constant flow of nurses and doctors in and out of your room, for you and for baby, on top of visitors. A sleep mask will help you to sleep a bit better no matter the time of day.
- Pillow case — Not a necessity by any means, but I just love our flannel pillow cases. A little bit of comfort from home to help with the rest I mentioned above.
In My Hospital Bag: For Baby
The hospital will provide pretty much everything you need for baby. Last time I packed a diaper bag with all the things, but it was overkill and just another bag to lug around. I’ve downsized and squeezed all of baby #2’s things into my bag;
- Newborn jammies x2 — I’m bringing two newborn-size jammies for coming home in. They go up to 10 lbs, and I very much hope I don’t have a 10-lb baby that needs 3-months jammies. If that’s the way things go, we live close enough to the hospital that Kristian or another family member could bring something. Why two? I’m not sure which one I’ll want to put him in.
- Newborn onesies x2 — I personally like to put my kiddos in onesies inside their jammies. They’re also great for using inside swaddles at night and naptime, without jammies if it’s too warm.
- Socks — To keep his feet cozy when possibly wearing only a onesie and swaddle.
- Hat — We ended up coming home with three extra hats provided by the hospital at different times, like his hearing test. But I’m still bringing one of our own for going home just in case.
- Nail file + mittens — We didn’t bring these for Ethan, and oh man I wish we had. He was born with super long nails and was constantly grabbing at his face. He ended up with scratches everywhere.
- Swaddle — The hospital provided a swaddle last time, a Halo one I think. I just didn’t like that style for Ethan. He was able to wiggle out of it even when he was a newbie in the hospital, and the wings would end up around his face = scary. I’m bringing one that has a little less fabric and worked better for us when Ethan was little.
- Blanket — Just a thin one for coming home if it’s chilly.
In My Hospital Bag: For Feeding
If you’re hoping to breastfeed, things get started right away with putting baby to breast every 2-3 hours round the clock as soon as they’re born. I’m packing a few things to hopefully help the breastfeeding process this time around.
- Nursing pillow — Figuring out the whole breastfeeding thing didn’t come naturally to me and Ethan, and it was a struggle in the hospital to get comfortable. I’m hoping a nursing pillow will help.
- Nipple cream — Maybe TMI, but I got such awful cracked nipples in the first couple weeks with Ethan because his latch wasn’t good and I wasn’t using my pump correctly. IMO, it’s never too early to start using nipple cream.
- Nursing pads — My milk won’t likely fill in while I’m in the hospital, but just in case there’s any leaking going on, I wanted to be prepared.
- Burp cloths — Again, probably not needed but just in case.
In My Hospital Bag: General
- Insurance card & ID (not pictured) — Yep, gotta have these. They’re always in my wallet and so they’ll be with me when we go to the hospital.
- Phone charger — Gotta keep that phone charged up for all the calls to family and friends, photos, social posts, etc.
- Pen, paper & folder — You’ll end up with so many papers, from paperwork to get your kiddo’s social security card and birth certificate, to handouts on how much they eat in the first few days. I found having an extra sheet of paper to take notes on was helpful too, to note the different tests they were doing (ie: hearing, bilirubin, etc) and the results, and other tips from the nurses.
- Treat for nurses’ station (not pictured) — Not 100% necessary, but so nice. A little something for the nurses who are monitoring you and your baby round the clock. If you can’t bring something with you (and even if you can), consider sending a thank you note in the weeks that follow for the nurses that go above and beyond for you and your little.
- Extra bag — To hold all the things the hospital has us take home at the end of our stay.
Nearly everything I’ve including above is for recovery. I didn’t bring anything with me for labor with Ethan and didn’t find that I needed anything special, apart from some chapstick — our hospital provided everything else I would have wanted like a birthing ball and peanut, etc.
I’m also not bringing my breast pump with me this time. Kristian ran home during our stay last time to grab it so the lactation consultant could show me how to use it. Long story short, I wasn’t shown correctly and didn’t check the manual = lots of pain + bleeding. But in the end, a little Googling and talking with my physician got me back on track. I’m plenty familiar now with the pump that I don’t feel the need to bring it. Plus, I’ve heard that hand expression is more efficient for colostrum than a pump.
That’s everything! It might feel like a little over packing in some areas, but my thought was, if it’ll help keep me and baby comfortable AND it fits into the bag, it’s coming with.
What are you packing in yours or what did you bring with you that you couldn’t have lived without?