I probably should have done this a couple of weeks ago, but I finally got around to packing my hospital bag (suitcase) this past weekend…
The first time I packed a hospital bag was a couple of years ago when I gave birth to my daughter, and I feel like I packed all the wrong things. I ended up NOT having any of the items I really wanted during, and after I gave birth. I felt like I wasn’t prepared, and to be honest, I totally wasn’t.
This time around, I’m not making the same mistakes. I feel like I’ve learned some valuable lessons, and I truly know what I want in my hospital bag. I’m sure necessities vary for every woman based on your personal birth plan, but to find out what I consider to be essential necessities in my hospital bag, continue reading…
I broke packing my hospital bag down into two areas, labor necessities, and recovery (after-birth) necessities.
Labor Necessities Bag–
This is a smaller bag that I packed inside my bigger bag. I’ve shown my husband what he needs to grab as soon as we get to the hospital (I made sure the bag was bright and colorful). Having this smaller bag packed makes things a little easier for my husband to keep up with. When you first arrive at the hospital, they put you in a room to see if you’re actually in labor. Once they think you are in ‘true labor’, they move you to a labor and delivery room. Once you give birth, they move you again to your recovery room. There is a lot of moving around, and until you’re in your recovery room, there is no need for your hubby to keep up with your suitcase from room-to-room (he will end up leaving it behind somewhere), so having a labor bag of necessities makes things a little easier to keep up with until you get settled into your final recovery room.
Here’s what I packed in this little bag:
- Socks: Hospitals can be chilly, and your feet will be like ice, especially if you pace back and forth in your delivery room while having contractions (if you plan not to have an epidural, or you have to wait until you can get one). You’ll want socks, trust me.
- Aquaphor: This will keep your lips nice and moist while you’re inhaling and exhaling a thousand-million times in a row. I didn’t have this the fist time around, and my lips were sore and cracked after.
- iPod: This is a quite simple. Soothing music can do wonders for your nerves while in labor. I made a playlist for the big day.
- Computer: This is not something I recommend bringing, but this is something that I will have packed in this bag. I’m crazy, and plan on working while I’m laboring. I’m planning on having an epidural again, and if I’m in labor for 16 hours like I was with my first, I will have some time to write. I find writing to be soothing, and it keeps me calm.
- Kindle: Much like writing, reading soothes me as well. I think it will also come in handy for those times when my newborn is having tests done in the nursery, and I need some distraction from worrying/missing him.
- Hair Ties: This could also be a headband, clips… anything that will keep your hair out of your face while pushing.
- Nipple Cream/Balm: Right after I gave birth to my daughter, I nursed her. Yes, you’ll have nurses around to help you with this, but still, your baby may not latch correctly. My daughter didn’t, and I had instant sore nipples. It wasn’t until the next day before a lactation nurse came to see me with nipple relief, so I’m for sure packing my own this time around.
Recovery (after-birth) necessities Bag–
This is really where I screwed up the first time. I packed all the WRONG things, but hopefully this time, I’m prepared.
Here’s what I’m packing in this bag (suitcase):
Toiletries: This is where we get into what some of us women find to be essential. When I packed these items a couple of years ago, I got unfamiliar travel items, didn’t pack my make-up bag, and didn’t bring anything to fix my hair (no hair brush). I just didn’t think this would matter to me, but when friends started to come visit me in the hospital, and a million pictures were taken, I wished I had a few familiar things from home to make me feel like myself. Your hormones are so crazy right after giving birth, and having items that smelled different like different shampoos and soaps, made me feel homesick and uneasy. My suggestion is packing shampoos/conditioners, soaps, deodorants, and lotions that you are use to and use everyday. I think having the familiar smells will make me feel more comfortable this time around, and with all the change going on around me, I think the smallest things could make a big difference.
- Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Mouthwash- travel sizes for me AND my hubby
- Face Wash, Face Lotions– I went to the store where I purchase these items, and they gave me free sample sizes of the products I use, and these were the perfect size to pack
- Hair Drier– hospitals are not like hotels. They will not have hair driers
- Make-up Bag– I at least packed some under-eye-concealer, and some mascara for the sake of pictures
- Flat Iron– This might sound stupid, but having my hair done makes me feel so much better
- Hair Brush
- Hand Mirror– so I can lay in bed while quickly doing my hair and make-up
- Body lotion
- Nursing Tanks- (3-4)
- Nursing Bras- (2)
- Comfy Pants- (3-4) I would leave all the new comfy pants you have purchased for “after baby” at home. I would bring some of your cuter older ones. This may be gross, but you’ll be leaking… A LOT, so you may stain/ruin these pants…
- Socks– This will save you from walking around barefoot.
- Change of Clothes for Your Husband– You never know when you’ll go into labor, so this may save your hubby a trip home in the middle of the night. I packed some athletic pants, a t-shirt, and some underwear for my hubby.
- Going Home Outfit– This can still be comfy, but you might want to pack something just a little cute. This is an event that will be documented with a ton of pictures and video. My first time around, I wore my husband’s clothes home, and I looked a hot mess…
- Outfits- (3-4) I would be sure to pack little comfy outfits with the built-in hand protectors. It will break your heart to see little red scratches on your baby’s face, so having little outfits with the built-in hand protectors will keep the scratches at bay until you can file their little nails at home. Also, I packed one baby gown. All I wanted was to examine and gush over Joleen’s tiny body when she first arrived, and having a gown allows you to examine all those new, cute little body parts.
- Swaddle Blanket– Joleen’s hospital swaddle was a ratty mess. So, you may want to have your own packed just in case.
- Hooter Hider– If you plan to nurse, you may want this if you have people visiting and your baby needs to eat.
- Soothies Gel Pads– These stay on your nipples in-between feedings. They soothe and relieve sore, dry nipples, and they will become your best friend. I didn’t have these for almost 24 hours after I gave birth to my daughter, and I wish I had, so I’m packing my own this time.
- Prenatal Vitamins– Yes, your hospital will most likely have these if you need them, but I just think your body goes through so much change, why introduce a different brand of vitamin to your system? Also, I swear mine keep me regular, so after giving birth, I want all the help I can get with that…
That is about all I have packed. I have a sticky note stuck to the outside of my suitcase for a reminder of the things I will need to grab last-minute, like: makeup bag, flat iron, nursing pillow, computer, my pillow, glasses, etc.
BUT do you think I’m missing anything? What would you add to this list??
Now you can confidently focus on the 9 Awesome Things You Can Do After Giving Birth!