You learn a thing or two after having your first kiddo: about parenting, about the world, and about what you think you need versus what you actually need. We went from thinking I would have an all natural birth and be sent home the same day, to an emergency c-section and almost a week at the hospital. So, I didn’t have a lot of time to make a hospital bag last time. My husband just ran home after the fact and did the best he could finding things.
But after spending that week in the hospital, plus too much time in waiting rooms for sick loved ones, I consider myself to be an expert in what we need to survive at the hospital for at least a few days. Here are the non-negotiables going in my hospital bag:
Comfy nursing-friendly pajamas: I am not normally a matching PJs kinda gal, but when everyone else sees what you sleep in, you want to be comfortable but also have easy access to a boob, some button front pajamas are a good option. I picked up a few pairs of varying sleeve and pant lengths at TJMaxx and Goodwill over the last few months and will be taking enough for every day.
Lightweight robe: I lived in my robe while we were at the hospital last time. It was one of the only things I had already packed for our short all-natural birth, so it was a great way to stay covered up until I could nurse our son.
Slide sandals: I love the idea of slippers in the hospital, but in August I think it would be hard to regulate my temperature. Instead, I will opt for the ever fashionable socks and sandals look. Having slide on shoes was handy for us last time because our son ended up spending time in the NICU, so we had to walk down the hall. You will want some type of hard-soled foot covering even to walk to your hospital room.
Socks: Both regular socks and a pair of compression socks will go in my bag. This helps me stay warm when I need to, but also helps prevent any swelling or fluid build up if needed.
Long phone charging cord and block: I already had an 8-10 foot cord, but ordered a 15 foot cord after experiencing the hospital’s outlet situation last time. We could charge a phone fine but couldn’t use it while charging with the previous length.
Coming home outfit for me and baby: I will probably opt for a loose summer dress, either maternity or just swing dress. It will still be warm outside in mid-August so that allows me to be comfortable and not worry about whether something will fit or not.
Adult diapers: I read somewhere before our first son was born that Depends-type underwear are more comfortable than the mesh underwear and pads they give you at the hospital. Let me tell you, I appreciated those so much last time and passed on my leftovers to a friend. I purchased a difference style this time but still planning on taking those mama diapers along.
**One tip given to me as a c-section mama the first time (and yes, you still bleed after a c-section) was to put a pad inside the diaper where it crosses your incision. This keeps the rougher fabric of the diaper from sticking to the incision. Worked like a dream!
Snacks: All the food for before, during, and after, for me and my husband. Be sure to monitor what your partner chooses as snacks if you have food or smell aversions. Last time, my husband chose Reese’s cups as a snack and the smell of peanut butter made me want to hurl. Remember drinks to keep you hydrated. Gatorade, Liquid IV packets, or something with extra electrolytes.
Other items: Other things that I don’t feel need explaining that I will pack for myself include nursing bra, eyeglasses, toiletries, my birth plan (very loosely written), and any medication I am on. Also the infant car seat, a blanket for the baby, and toiletries and clothes for my husband.
Don’t overthink it all and don’t panic if you forget something. The hospital is pretty prepared for almost anything. Don’t expect them to have Paul Mitchell hair products, but they can get you what you need. What were your top items to pack in your hospital bag?