As I mentioned in my daughter’s birth story article, when I was preparing for my first birthing experience (over two years ago now), I packed way too much and brought too many unnecessary items in my hospital bag (like reading material…HA, ha-ha, hahahahah).
Many mamas won’t be packing a hospital bag until they are close to full-term, but if you’re anything like me and your life/body seems to always have a plan of its’ own, it may be a good idea to prepare a little bit earlier than the near end of your third-trimester.
Some women may even be able to pack last minute and not have an anxiety attack about forgetting something, but I personally cannot imagine being in that scenario. . . especially with full-swing pregnancy brain that causes me to forget just about everything these past few weeks! (What’s my birthdate?)
Therefore, now that I am a month or less away from birthing my second child (we’ll see how things go), I have comprised my ultimate (minamalist) hospital bag list:
Although you’ll be pretty occupied during your stay, your partner at least will need a fully-charged phone to be able to call and update family members as to how you and baby are doing, etc.
- Boppy Pillow (or equivalent)
If you plan on breastfeeding, this type of C-shaped pillow provides great support, especially since you’ll most likely be utterly exhausted from labor.
- Extra Pillow (or pregnancy pillow)
Hospital pillows are not always the comfiest, plus you may only be provided with one. In my experience, having an extra pillow helped to get in “comfortable” positions during labor (maybe bring one you don’t mind getting trashed or buy a water-proof/zip-able cover). I will be bringing my Boppy pregnancy pillow with me – no doubt, it’s almost like a security blanket at this point for me!
Toothpaste, tooth brush, hair brush, floss, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, hair-ties, etc. Normally your hospital stay will be 2 days or so, but anything can happen, so be prepared to have to shower and stay hygienic while you’re there.
- Extra Underwear
However many panties you think you’ll need per day for this occasion, double it. Things are not pretty and you want to be able to be as comfortable and clean as possible. I personally will be packing some of my hubby’s boxer briefs in my bag because I found them to be the most comfortable choice postpartum with just the right amount of space and support for those ginormous pads you’ll be sporting, yet not too tight or uncomfortable.
- Change for Snack Machine
If you’re like us, most likely you don’t have immediate family living close to bring your significant other food during the big ordeal and you’re not going to want them leaving to pick up food for themselves (no eating for you during labor), so having change for vending machines is a good idea to help them stay fueled as your support.
Although this isn’t totally necessary since cell phone cameras are a pretty great quality now-a-days, some may still want to bring a digital or professional camera to document the joyous time.
Convenience, comfort, easy-access, you get it ;)
- Rubber Sandals
Not necessary for everyone, but I personally liked having them to use in the shower (hospital floors, bare feet, yuck!)
- Comfy Pajamas or Robe
You’ll be spending a few days in a bed, you’re going to want comfy pajamas or a soft robe.
- Going Home Outfit
Comfortable, loose, clean – it’ll feel refreshing to be heading home.
Whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate having the support and leak-protection in case your milk comes in while you’re still in the hospital.
I’m bringing three. These are a must not only for warmth, but security and comfort from those newborn startle reflexes and ‘life on the outside’. Also can be folded and used to prop baby’s head a tad (handy if your little one has reflux, etc.)
Unless you live in cold weather, a bigger blanket is not necessarily a necessity, but it was so special for us to finally see and hold our daughter in her fuzzy pink elephant blanket her daddy got for her during the pregnancy. (Again, can also be used to gently/barely prop baby in specific position if necessary…)
You’ve probably been dreaming about the day that you can dress your baby in those tiny cute newborn clothes you’ve been swooning over all pregnancy, but don’t forget to consider his/her comfort.
Meconium: a dark greenish-blackish tar-like substance that is your infant’s first feces. As a first-time mama I did not know any better and had our daughter in a diaper without any type of ointment, etc. Those first few poops are so tar-like that we almost had to scrape it off her little bottom (no buena). The rest of her infancy we used Burt’s Bees Multipurpose Ointment after almost every diaper change and she never suffered diaper rash or that awful ‘scraping’. I will be bringing baby boy his very own tub to protect his tush from that first poop! – you can find it here.
Although most hospitals will provide you with diapers during your stay, bring a few just in case.
Once you’re all packed, I’d suggest leaving your bags in your car/trunk in case your doctor keeps you after a prenatal visit or if you are rushed to the hospital because of an emergency. Also, don’t forget the carseat! The hospital will be inspecting and ensuring its’ safety before you’re allowed to go home. Some mamas may also want to bring their own ‘fuzzy socks’ or maternity pads, but most hospitals will supply you with these, thus why I left them off of my minimalist list ;)