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If you believe what you see on Pinterest, your hospital bag is actually the size of a suitcase and needs to be filled with designer birthing gowns, books and toys for your newborn who can’t even see yet, and a white noise machine.
Don’t get me started on the fact that almost every Pin has a section on what you should be packing for your husband. Can he not handle the simple task of throwing some boxers, a clean outfit, and a toothbrush into his own backpack? I mean, honestly.
Now I’m not saying that if a designer birthing gown showed up on my doorstep, I’d turn it away. I’d pack it in my bag. But it’s not something I would call a hospital bag essential. And that’s what I tried to make this list– just the essentials.
I polled my Facebook fan page community and got tons of responses when I inquired about hospital bag must-haves. So thank you, ladies, I couldn’t have done this post without you all!
Note: Printable version of the checklist is at the end of the post.
- Comfy pajamas/loungewear/sweats (*Nursing pajamas if you’re planning to nurse.)
- Warm socks and slippers
- Face wash
- Lip balm
- Shampoo/conditioner/body wash/flip flops for showering
- Hair dryer (if you definitely need it– I’ll skip this)
- Contact solution/case/eyeglasses
- Any medicine you are taking
- Anything you’d pack in your toiletry bag if you’re going away for a weekend trip, minus the glam makeup and hair products).
- Dry shampoo. This is genius! Who wants to shower at the hospital each day? I didn’t. I’m definitely packing dry shampoo this time around!
- Hair elastics
- Phone charger
- Empty shopping bag to bring home all the hospital goodies you get (paperwork, Tucks pads, maxi pads, gifts from the hospital, etc.)
- Boppy or My Brest Friend pillow for feeding baby
- Pillow (if you’re partial to your own)
- Snacks…for you, your partner, and your kids if they visit (unless you’re a fan of vending machine food, which I kind of am!). I had both my kids in the middle of the night and made my husband go get me food at Wawa because the cafeteria was closed. Good suggestion– lollipops to suck on for when before the birth when you’re not allowed to eat anything!
- Breastfeeding accessories (breast pads, lanolin, nursing tops, nursing cover)
- Gum/breath mints
- Granny panties (*Most people surveyed only ending up using the mesh undies that the hospital gives you, but if you’re not sure, bring a couple pairs of granny panties.)
- Mittens (for scratching)
- Going home outfit
- Side snap onesies
- Warm blanket to tuck around baby in car seat (for chilly months)
- Baby book (if you’re putting hand/foot prints in it)
- Car seat
Helpful Reader Suggestions
- If you think there’s a chance you might end up having a c-section, you will be staying longer at the hospital and need more clothes and things to keep you busy (book, laptop, etc.).
- Write out a list of your expectations for the birth and afterwards for your partner to have. That way if you are sleeping or “out of it,” he has your requests (epidural or not, circumcision or not, who can come in the birthing room, etc.) clearly spelled out and he can then relay them to the staff.
- Blank thank-you notes to thank the hospital staff are a nice extra to pack, but you may just want to do that from home.
- If it’s a summer month or you’re prone to being hot, a clip-on fan for the side of the bed might be helpful.
Many of the hospital bag checklists that I’ve seen suggest that you pack things like maxi pads and Tucks hemorrhoid pads, but don’t all hospitals provide that? Mine did. I guess you should check with your own, but I find it hard to believe that it’s not standard practice to have medical supplies to stop a woman’s post-labor bleeding, though.
In case you didn’t know (I did not), hospitals will provide bottles and formula for the duration of your stay, should you choose not to breastfeed. And diapers! (No need to pack those, either!)
And tell your husband to pack his own damn bag. You’ve got enough stuff to worry about.
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