Labor + Delivery Hospital Bag Checklist
It's been a minute since I've been on the blog. Emma Grace keeps me pretty busy and recovery has been longer than I thought it would be! She will be six weeks old today and that marks the six weeks recovery for me. I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be able to take a bath vs. a shower. It's the little things these days.
I thought I had prepared myself enough for labor and delivery, we took all the classes, I talked to my momma friends about their experiences, followed all the checklists I could find, and let me tell ya, I just don't think there is anything or anyone out there that can fully prepare you enough for your first experience giving birth. I think that it is one of those experiences that you just have to go through yourself to really find out. In a way I think there is beauty in that, you can hear all the birth stories you want but you won't really know until you experience your own story!
I've been thinking about doing a birth story blog to share my experience, let me know if you'd want to hear it! It's a fun one - hah! But I figured I'd start with what the heck did I bring with me and why.
I'll start by saying bring whatever you want, whatever makes you feel comfortable and whatever you feel like you'll need to bring a tiny human in the world, you do you! But if you want to hear from one more mama on what to bring, keep reading!
I'm going to organize the lists by who needs to bring what. A mama bag, daddy bag, and baby bag!
- your own pillow (trust me, the hospital ones blow)
- soft blanket (this was my saving grace, it made my room feel much less hospital like and I enjoyed it's comfort during contractions and during late night feedings)
- soft/fuzzy socks (if you don't want to wear the hospital ones)
- phone charger (labor doesn't always look like the movies, there was a lot of waiting around, and it's nice to keep family/friends updated or just play on your phone to keep you distracted, so you'll need to keep it charged!)
- camera (if you don't want to use your phone)
- hair ties
- head band/hair clips
- nursing gowns (2)
- nursing bra (1-2)
- going home outfit (I suggest bringing a loose dress or very loose sweats and top - you won't have that pretty round belly anymore and if you end up having a c-section like me then you'll want the dress so you don't irritate your incision with pants!)
- slip on shoes (your feet will be swollen!)
- dry shampoo
- straightener/curling iron/hair dryer
- make up wipes
- face wash
- tooth brush
- towel (It's nice to have to dry off with, again, for the comfort of feeling at home without being home!)
*on the toiletries, I brought everything I used to get ready with in the mornings and my nightly routine care, you'll want to shower after delivery at some point and it's really nice to have your own things. One more way to make you feel comfortable and human.
-pillow (hospital pillows are not comfortable! and Dad will most likely be sleeping on the worst cot/couch known to man)
-nice outfit if you plan to take some pictures at the hospital
-button down if dad wants to do skin to skin
-swim trunks (in case you need help showering - trust me, you will! and you might rather have your hubby help than a nurse - up to you!)
-snacks! (he can always go down to cafeteria, but during labor you probably don't want him leaving you much, and he needs to keep his energy up so he can be there for you!)
-folder *put dad in charge of all paperwork! The hospital will most likely send you home with one but it's nice to have one of your own, you will leave with paperwork that will need to be turned in for social security for babe and birth certificate, etc. Plus postpartum care instructions, prescriptions, etc.
Babies really don't need much - the hospital provides all the basics you need! This was just what I brought based on my personal preferences.
- onesie's with mitten cuffs (1-2) (they will have long fingernails most likely and the hospital didn't trim hers, they love to put their hands by their face and the regular newborn mittens never really stay on well - we LOVED our mitten cuff onesies. I've linked an example here so you know what I am talking about.)
- boppy/nursing pillow
- pacifier (ok so some people are conflicted on this because of nipple confusion, use your own judgement. Once I knew we had a great latch I wasn't worried about the paci, and she took one in the hospital. Now that we are home she doesn't like it as much. Do whatever works for you!)
- cute outfit for pictures (I'm adding photos of her outfits and linking them below!)
- going home outfit (make sure it's not a gown so that you can get them in the carseat easily!)
- swaddle and hat (newborns LOVE to be swaddled, we love our super soft copper pearl swaddle blanket and hat and she still loves it!) Linking here
- cute bows/hats
- any items you want for some hospital pictures ( we brought a letter board, a cute little name tag with her name on it, the baby blanket that I was taken home from the hospital in, etc.
- car seat (you can bring this up to the hospital room the day you leave, I would leave it in the car until then)
That is really all you need for baby! The hospital will provide diapers, wipes, blankets, etc.
The hospital provides a lot of items for postpartum care. Listen to me when I tell you that they charge you for everything you use, everything in that room - so you might as well bring it home with you. If it isn't attached to the wall I say it's fair game! LOL. Kidding but really... so bring an empty bag for these things.
TAKE HOME BAG:
-nipple cream sample (if they don't provide this, ask for it the minute you start breastfeeding, your nipples WILL hurt, and the nipple cream helps so so much.)
-gel cooling nipple pads (again, if they don't offer, ask if they have some, they saved my live.)
-mesh undies!! (these are your best friend. I even asked for extra the day before I left so that I could stock up at home. You will live in these for like a week, and you'll want to, trust me.
-Pads - I really liked the large maxi pads from the hospital, so I stock-piled on those before I left as well.
- Pump parts - Depending on how your breastfeeding journey goes or if you end up having to syringe feed/tube feed your baby for various reasons you may pump in the hospital. I ended up having to pump for a few feedings because we had a little trouble with latching day 2. Take all the pump parts home if they match the pump you got! You paid for them.
WHAT NOT TO BRING:
-laptop/ipad - some people bring these to pass time during labor, but honestly we were so anxious we were watching my contractions and her heart rate the entire time or watching a movie on the hospital TV or sleeping. Plus you don't have to worry about leaving it in the room/packing it up to leave, etc.
-too many clothes - you don't know how long you are going to be there, but you don't want to overpack. You can always have someone bring you extra clothes
-wedding rings/jewelry - if you are blessed to not have swollen so much in late pregnancy that you can still even wear your rings, don't bring them to the hospital. You'll end up taking them off at some point and you really don't want to lose those!
WHAT I WISH I WOULD HAVE BROUGHT:
-breast pads/nursing pads - I never asked the hospital, but I wish I would have brought some breast pads/nursing pads. I wasn't leaking quite yet, but the nipple cream that I put on and those gel nipple pads left oil stains on my nursing gowns. If I had used breast pads then I wouldn't have had that problem.
I can't think of anything else... if I do I'll come back and add it. If there are other mama's reading this let me know what you brought that isn't on my list that you loved having with you!
I hope to work on a postpartum survival blog to share what we really needed those first few weeks of life and what I really needed for recovery. There are so many things I wish I knew before hand but again, sometimes you just have to experience it for yourself to really know.
Thanks for reading! I hope this helps some expecting mamas out there.