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My Very-Prepared Hospital Packing List

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Going-home outfits: one preemie, one up to 10 lbs. / Photo by Ali Smith via Ali Loves Curtis

For better or worse, I’m an over-thinker.

When it came to delivering my first baby, I wrote up a hospital to-pack list that’s as thorough as (or quite possibly more than) any out there. I wasn’t kidding around. Since labor and delivery was a huge unknown to me, having everything in place made me feel a little more in control of what could potentially be an out-of-control situation.

I still can’t believe I’ll be having a baby in about a month. In an effort to ready myself (and face reality), today I pulled up my hospital packing list. I still think it’s pretty good reference, and I plan on packing the same items for this delivery.

Here’s my method: the list is beefed up with added tips and bits of information for your hospital stay:

Most delivery rooms don’t have electrical outlets so you’ll have to have everything charged in advance: phone, camera, laptop, iPad, etc. I separated my items by stuff I’d want right at my side during labor, and everything else in a larger bag that my husband brought in from the car once we had switched to our overnight room.

Immediate stuff (small bag):

  • toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, glasses, etc. Anything for freshening up when needed.)
  • headband/bobby pins/elastics
  • chapstick or lip balm
  • magazines or DVD you won’t find annoying (I found books to hard to focus on during labor)
  • writing material for jotting down first moments/memories
  • music, and form of listening to it
  • ankle socks (so you’re neither barefoot nor wearing bulky slippers)
  • 2 pillows from home with patterned pillowcases (bring white and they’re likely to get mixed with hospital pillows)
  • baby book and nice pen (for doctor and nurse signatures, plus footprints)
  • handheld fan (never used it, but is sounds nice)
  • heating pad (not electric; I filled a sock with rice—if having an epidural you probably won’t be able to use it)
  • camera, charged and ready to go

Other optional items (small bag): Put your partner in charge of readying these items, at the very least.

  • change for vending machines
  • snacks for those going to hospital with you
  • charged camera batteries
  • cell phone chargers
  • laptop/iPad chargers
  • cables/materials for downloading photos
  • change of clothes for partner (You never know how long you’ll labor. And don’t forget to include underwear!)

Stuff for later (large bag):

  • 2 comfortable nightgowns (you won’t want to wear pants, and button-down or henley nightgowns make it easy to nurse/pump)
  • light robe
  • slippers
  • socks
  • flip flops for shower
  • daily face wipes
  • travel kit (shampoo, conditioner, soap, contact solution, some makeup, etc.)
  • 3 pairs dark underwear
  • cozy, casual nursing bra
  • witch hazel pads (hospital should supply them, but just in case)
  • 1 roll soft toilet paper from home
  • going-home clothes for you
  • going-home clothes for baby (bring a hat and his/her smallest outfit, pants are best for getting baby in the carseat)
  • warm blanket or BundleMe

Stuff to take home from the hospital: Don’t feel guilty; you’ll be happy you took what you did when the hospital bill arrives! In my opinion, you more than pay for it. I even packed up stuff I hadn’t yet used so the nurses would re-fill my supply. The last thing you want to do after having a baby is head to the store because of low supplies.

  • baby’s first hats (they might be the only ones that fit for a while)
  • baby’s first shirt (I have mine framed in a shadow box)
  • witch hazel pads
  • Dermoplast spray
  • diapers
  • thick maxi pads (they don’t sell ones like these at Rite-Aid!)
  • disposable undies (you won’t find these elsewhere, either, and they come in handy even if they’re kind of terrible)

And don’t forget:

  • carseat, installed
  • put together a contact list of everyone you’ll want to send the news to right away. (Blind copy the contacts, add your good news and a photo or two, and send away!)

So … what would you add to the list? It’s hard to imagine I’m forgetting anything with one this long!

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