With just 2 weeks left until my due date things are getting a little crazy around here. We’ve already had one false alarm where we thought maybe Baby Girl was coming a little too early. Thankfully she’s stayed put a while longer but the false alarm (and the fact that my first baby came fast and early) made me realize I really need to get things in gear and be prepared! I’m so relieved to have my baby girl’s nursery completely finished and ready to welcome her home but now I need to get myself and my hospital bags ready to dash out the door if necessary. With my first baby I definitively over packed so this time around I’ve scaled it down to the things I really will use and yet I like to be well prepared so I didn’t go completely minimalist. Here’s a look at what I have in my ready-to-go hospital bag the second time around and some tips for packing a hospital bag for yourself.
Comfortable Nursing Lounge Wear or Pajamas
This is a must for me. I am bringing a pair of super soft and stylish nursing pajamas from Kindred Bravely to wear during the post-partum recover. Their “Davy” Maternity & Nursing Pajama Set is incredible comfortable, convenient for nursing and provides enough coverage to look put together enough for anyone who may be visiting. The material is very stretchy and flowy to accommodate for an every changing body during pregnancy and postpartum nursing. During labor and delivery I just wear a comfortable sports bra and hospital gown. I really don’t want all the mess of labor and delivery all over my own clothing so I go minimal for labor/delivery and change into something comfy of my own after I’ve cleaned up a bit. I’ve loved wearing this pajama set during the end of my pregnancy and will probably be living in them for a while after too!
Comfortable and Supportive Nursing Bras
I LOVE these French Terry Nursing Sleep Bras from Kindred Bravely. I can wear these during labor and during the recovery time. They designed to be convenient for nursing in the middle of the night and just offer enough support without being restrictive. Perfect for sleeping in! They are very well made with quality materials and just so buttery soft! I really think these are the best nursing bras I’ve tried and they are very affordable too. Kindred Bravely was started a year and a half ago by Deeanne, a mom whose youngest had just turned 1. She dreamed of finding the perfect pair of nursing pajamas to replace her one year old set, and not finding quite what she wanted, decided to create her own! Now Kindred Bravely offers several bras and pajama sets all designed around bringing comfortable, functional and stylish clothing to moms everywhere. I definitely appreciate her hard work and consider these bras and pajamas my new favorite go-to for comfortable, quality nursing lounge wear. Her pajamas and lounge wear sets are perfect for those first several weeks with a newborn when you’re recovering at home and nursing 24/7. I actually loved the Davy Pajama set so much I ordered the Angelina Night Gown too so I have another option to wear!
Comfy Clothing for After Delivery and Going Home
I also packed my maternity leggings, nursing tank and a long light-weight sweater to layer over that for going home. Think comfort when packing for recovery. Whatever makes you feel comfortable and somewhat put together. As far as undies go, I do usually just use the (super stylish) mesh hospital panties since they are easily thrown away but sometimes I like the support of my “real” underwear over the mesh ones to kinda hold everything together, especially when going home. Don’t forget flip flops for the shower and I also like wearing a comfy pair of tennis shoes for going home.
Natural Nursing Products
Nursing with my first baby was a challenge from the start. I was so unprepared and unfortunately the hospital staff were not super helpful either. This time around I am planning a head! I’ve got my nursing sleep bras and am bringing some disposable nursing pads for when my milk comes in (I can’t remember if the hospital supplied these at all). Also I am bringing my own natural nursing products as I really didn’t care for the lanolin the hospital gave me last time. Bella B Body Care makes some great natural Nurturing Nipple Butter that I will be using liberally to help ease pain and discomfort from nursing and to heal cracked nipples (if that happens to me again!). I like that this nipple butter has no lanolin and is made with all natural ingredients that not only help to protect the nipple from friction but also soothe and encourage healing. Also I’m bringing these Soothing Breast Wipes to help soothe soreness and freshen up between feedings. Bella B Body Care actually makes several great natural and organic postpartum care products to take of mom! I’ll also bring along their Bee Relieved Feminine Soothing Spray with offers natural relief for pre/postpartum perennial pain and irritation without harsh chemicals. In fact all of Bella B Body Care’s natural and organic products are free from parabens, animal-by-products, petroleum, lanolin and hash chemicals.
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What to Pack For Baby
Don’t forget baby! I did with my first, the nurse looked at me like I was a horrible mother when she asked if I had an outfit to dress baby in after his bath and I said “uh, no actually.” Really they don’t need much since they stay swaddle up so warm in the hospital but I do recommend bringing a simple long-sleeve onesie (I like the side-snap tees to allow the umbilical cord area to breathe and mitten cuffs to keep baby from scratching herself) then also maybe a pair of pants or some socks and also a comfy footed sleep n’ play for the ride home. Also since it’s my first girl I wanted to have some fun accessories (bows!) for all those first photos we’ll be snapping so I found these adorable hospital style bow-hats from Infanteenie Beenie. They’ll keep her both warm and stylish. I also will bring a pretty muslin swaddle blanket, not only for first photo ops but also they make awesome lightweight covers for nursing since I’ll have visitors in and out while trying to establish nursing with a newborn. Finally, don’t forget the car seat! Make it easier on yourself by making sure the base and seat are properly installed and ready to go ahead of time. We brought the seat back into the house but left the base in the car so all we have to do is grab the seat on the way out the door! You might also want to bring a warmer blanket for layering on baby for the ride home if it’s cooler weather.
Other Essential Items to Bring in Your Hospital Bag
- Camera & extra battery – also make sure your SD card is empty and loaded into the camera! You want to be prepared to capture all those wonderful first moments with your baby.
- I.D. and Insurance cards
- Phone and Charger – have an extra charger ready to go in your bag so you don’t forget it last minute.
- Toiletry Items – don’t go crazy but remember to pack the essentials as most hospitals don’t provide them: lip balm, deodorant, face wash/wipes (I like wipes to make freshening up easier), travel size shampoo/conditioner, body soap, your toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Make up bag – again you don’t need to look like a movie star but having some mascara, concealer, eyeliner and a little power really helps me feel refreshed, confident and put together. You’ll be getting lots of photos taken so if it makes you more comfortable, take a few minutes to freshen up!
- Ear plugs and eye mask – these might be handy if you’re a light sleeper because sleeping in a hospital room with all sorts of beeping lights isn’t always easy.
- Mints or gum – for freshening up or to suck on to keep your mouth from getting too dry during labor when you can’t drink water!
- Nursing Pillow – I leave this in the car until I decide if I need it or not but I do love the Shuga Bebe Couture Nursing Pillow for nursing sitting up in a bed or couch. It really helped me position baby in a correct way to help with getting a proper latch which is key to preventing nipple pain and injury!
- Snacks and Tea – My husband needed some good snacks to keep him steady during my labor and I was ravenously hungry afterwards so I loved having substantial things to snack on such as Peanut Butter Cookie Lara Bars and a good trail mix are some of my favorites. Throw your favorite granola, trail mix or snacks in these re-usable Yummi Pouch Snack Bags from Revelae Kids as convenient and eco-friendly way to pack your favorite snacks!
And yes, I brought my own tea and had a “tea party” after delivery. Or rather I asked for hot water and drank Mother’s Milk Tea from a styrofoam cup while everyone oohed and aahhed over my baby. Tip: I recommend drinking this Mother’s Milk Tea to help with milk supply and also Red Raspberry Leaf Tea in the days following delivery to help your uterus heal up and return to normal.
- Bag for Dad – Men are pretty simple. Something to sleep in, clean underwear, clean shirt, deodorant, toothbrush, snacks, some cash, maybe a pillow and call it good. We had a separate small bag packed for my husband and left this in the car until after labor & delivery. Though men are usually simpler to pack for do be sure to ask him what he’d like to have with him at the hospital. This is all new and scary for dad too, don’t leave him out. Think ahead for what would help him be most comfortable too.
Tip: I use these Yummi Pouch reusable snack bags from Revelae Kids not just for my personal snacks but also to keep smaller things like toiletries or lip balm, earplugs, gum, hair ties and I.D. organized and handy! They have several different sizes and they make a great way to organize things when you’re traveling.
What I’m not bringing. I’m not bringing things like pads, witch hazel wipes, towel, baby wipes, diapers, pacifiers, socks with treads, pain meds, pillows from home or a water bottle because I found that our hospital supplies those types of things. If you’re picky about things like having your own pillow or having a nice towel (hospital ones are thin and small), or want to wear your own socks then definitely bring your own! I also never used the robe I brought last time but then I was constantly hot from all the hormonal changes going on postpartum. I didn’t have time to kill last time so I didn’t bring anything to entertain or relax myself but I know some people do bring things like an iPad, earphones (or small speakers to listen to soothing music), book, cards etc. to keep themselves occupied during early stages of labor. Also I won’t be bringing my breastfeeding pump this time since I already know how to use it and I don’t plan to use it often, but if you’re a first time pumper you may want to bring this so the lactation consultants or nurses can teach you how to use it properly.
Tip: I suggest packing a separate bag for mom that you’ll bring in with you when you go into labor & delivery. Leave a second bag with the dad and baby’s items and mom’s going home items (anything you don’t NEED during the labor and delivery part) in the car along with any pillows or nursing pillows until after the birth. Once you’re settled in the recovery room someone can go retrieve your other bag but that way it’s less to haul around and keep track of during the stressful labor and delivery time!
My biggest piece of advice is to plan ahead and pack early (at least 2 weeks before your due date). Things can get overwhelming quickly when you realize you’re going into labor and having a well packed hospital bag ready to go can help relieve some of the stress in the moment! Here’s a helpful free printable hospital bag checklist from The Bump you could use to make sure you’ve got everything you need ready for your big day. Tailor it to your needs and preference.
These final 2 weeks feel like an eternity! It’s been a rough pregnancy and I am just so ready to meet this little princess who has been growing inside of me the last 9 months. But at the same time I am trying to just take it slow and soak up time with my little man before he has to share me with his sister. I’m sure we’ve got some crazy times ahead of us adjusting to multiple kids but we are greatly looking forward to it. Having our bags packed, room ready, and car seat installed is a nice load off my mind when there are so many other things to think about during this time!
What are some of your must-have items for a hospital bag? Or what did you bring that you found you didn’t need?
Karen and her husband of 7 years have one active but very sweet toddler boy and a happy baby girl. She loves being mommy, spending quality time with friends and family, traveling and trying new things.
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