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The Essentials to Pack for the Hospital

Posted by Ashlei Jackson on

The Essentials to Pack for the Hospital
Your baby is almost here! As the weeks countdown, it's advised by EVERYONE to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go. As a first time mom, I had a hard time doing this because who can literally pack everything beforehand and let it sit in the corner collecting dust? So, to help make it easier to get ready for delivery-day, we've broken our list into 4 parts. We suggest you print and go over the list with your husband, mom or sister so that if something does happen unexpectedly (like going into labor at the mall) - someone else can complete the packing for you.
Ever After Tip - you could be in 3 different rooms over the course of your stay (triage, labor/delivery & post-partum). Your partner and/or family will have to lug everything from room to room. Pack just what you need - not everything!

1. PRE-PACKING FOR YOU

These are the items you can put in the bag right now for yourself. Ideally, you should pack your bag 1-2 months before your due date. Plenty of babies make their appearance before their due dates.
  • ID Card & Insurance Card - make sure both are in your purse and if possible, make a photo copy for your hospital bag just in case. While you're at it, go ahead and start memorizing your medical ID number now. They'll ask for it over and over and over again in the hospital.
  • Comfy Robe - most people suggest you bring nightgowns which can be more glamorous than hospital gowns but personally, I didn't want to have to stress about bodily fluids getting all over my own clothes (and I definitely didn't want to do laundry later) so I stuck with what the hospital gave me and instead, used a very comfortable robe. This is great if you get cold easily plus it gives plenty of coverage/privacy yet is still easy to breastfeed in. Go for a dark color because again - it won't show any stains or spills. 
  • Nursing Bra or Sports Bra - the more comfortable, the better. Bring 1-2 sets of nursing pads. The hospital can give you nipple cream if you need it.
  • An Outfit for Traveling Home - Make it super comfortable and loose. You will be close to the same size as before birth (sad truth) and heavily bleeding from your nether regions (don't worry - they give you disposable underwear and super-sized maxi pads). Go for comfort and ease.
  • Movies - Most hospitals will have a television and DVD player in the labor & delivery rooms. You can load your tablet as well but don't count on having Wi-fi access. You can also bring books or magazines but those require more focus to enjoy. Movies can offer a welcome distraction from the early stages of labor.
  • Birth Plan - While few births go according to "plan," it can be helpful to have a hard copy of your birth plan to review with your partner, family and doctor. 

2. PRE-PACKING FOR BABY

These are the items you can put in the bag for baby. While you may be tempted to pack tons of baby gear, keep in mind - newborns have very basic needs.
  • 2 Outfits - While in the hospital, your baby will spend a lot of the time either wrapped in a blanket (provided by the hospital) or skin-to-skin with you. The more skin-to-skin contact, the better. You will need an outfit for baby to travel home in. Bring 2 outfits that are warm (we had our baby in early June and he went home in a long sleeve set of pajamas.) The baby is used to 98.6 degrees so they will appreciate being cozy. And in case your baby is larger than expected - bring an extra outfit that is a size larger (like 0-3 months).
  • A Cute Hat or Headband - You'll want to take a few early pictures of your little one and while they'll look adorable being wrapped in their blanket, a cute hat or head band can add some flair for pictures.
  • Nursing Pillow - You'll be exhausted so a nursing pillow is going to make the art of breastfeeding a bit less hassle. If you are bottle-feeding, a nursing pillow will still take the strain off your back and neck.
  • Car Seat - By law, you need to have a carseat to take your baby home. Don't expect anyone from the hospital to watch or help you install it, though. Make sure you know how it latches in to your vehicle or seek out a local check point (like your fire department) that can help.
  • A Dribble Shield - perfect for nursing & burp time dribbles and it can drape over the car seat to keep germs and light at bay. Click here to see how
  • Don't worry about...diapers, a basinette, front pack, diaper bag etc. 

3. PRE-PACKING FOR YOUR PARTNER

Don't forget your support system! While you will be the star of the labor & delivery show, your partner is an essential piece of the puzzle.
  • Non-perishable Food - When you're in labor, you're not thinking about food (I didn't eat at all during my 24 hours of labor) and afterwards, the hospital provides food for you (I was STARVING!). Your partner will have to rely on the hospital cafeteria (if available) and nearby fast food for larger meals but having snacks on hand will make the hours in between bearable. Think protein bars, pretzels, jerky...anything than can be packed ahead of time.
  • Extra Change of Clothes - My husband would have never guessed that he would need a sweatshirt in June but I was so overheated during labor that our room was like an ice box. He was very glad he had extra clothes.
  • Pillow & Light Blanket - Sleeping conditions for your partner are pretty slim. They will appreciate these small comforts.
  • Reading Material - This can help pass the time if/when you're sleeping.

4. LAST-MINUTE PACKING

These are the items that you will throw in before you get in the car and head to the hospital. If you are worried about forgetting something, make a list, print it out and put it next to your pre-packed bags.
  • Your Purse - You need your ID, insurance info and possibly a credit card. You can also make it easy and pack only a few essentials in a wristlet and leave your purse at home. Leave as many valuables at home as possible. Lots of people told me to leave my wedding rings at home however, it's nice to take pictures of your hands holding the baby and it's sweet to have your wedding ring on for those shots. If you do bring valuables, make sure your partner has a safe place for them.
  • Toiletries - for you & your partner. These are basic items you use everyday
    • toothbrush & toothpaste (for both of you)
    • hair brush & hair ties
    • face wash & moisturizer
    • contact lens items and/or glasses
    • beauty products - such as make up
    • chapstick - you do a lot of deep breathing and the air is dry in the hospital
    • basic hair products 
  • Digital Devices & Charging Cords
    • Camera
    • Phones
    • Tablets/Laptops
    • Wall charging plugs/adapters and cables
Worried you'll forget something? Relax! The hospital is there to help and provides nearly everything you really "need." You got this, Momma!
Did we miss something? What item was essential for your hospital adventure? We'd love to know!

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