Hospital Bag – What to Pack

 

I remember being about 32 weeks pregnant and all the conversation at work switched from, “How ya feeling?” to “Are you packed yet?”.

You really don’t need much to have a baby. Got your vagina? Packed!

However, if you’re having a hospital birth, there are a few things to make your stay a little more pleasant. Here’s the list I came up with, but feel free to let me know what you took, or are taking.

 

For You:

Pillow: Hospital pillows are about the thickness of a communion wafer – maybe it’s so you can’t smother someone with them to get your inheritance early, dunno – so it’s always nice to have a pillow from home. Not only is more comfortable, but your pillow kind of smells like your bed and that’s always comforting. Use a non-white pillow case so it’s not confused with a hospital pillow that someone could walk off with when you’re in the “loo trying to poo”.

Flip flops: There’s a good chance you will need to walk around at some point so a lot of women take slippers. A friend of mine told me to take flip flops (or crocs) because you can wear them in the shower and I will be forever grateful because the shower in my hospital looked liked a scene out of Seven. My feet also swelled beyond the width of a slipper, so I was lucky to have the flip flops to accommodate the charming loaves of baked bread formerly known as my feet.

Socks: I wore them with my flip flops. I didn’t see any sign saying “Victoria Secret runway”, so Haters could suck it.

Sports bra or Nursing Bra: You may or may not need this one but it’s nice to have if you want to contain the post birth boobs. I was so obsessed with breastfeeding the first time around that a bra was the last thing on my mind, but bras are small enough that they can get tucked in a bag without taking up too much space and if you want one, there isn’t much of a substitute, so you may as well take it, or even better, wear it when you go in.

PJs and robe: Again, I didn’t wear my pajamas or robe because I wasn’t in the hospital very long, but it is nice to have a little sliver of home to make you feel that much more human. There’s only so long you can walk around in one of those shear sheets with your ass hanging out before you lose your mind.

Underwear: Bring something ratty that can be thrown out or burned later. You will have to wear some kind of maxi pads to deal with lochia (a lovely term, I know.) so this isn’t the time to pack a thong. Maternity underwear is probably your best bet to guarantee a comfy fit.

Maxi Pads: Most hospitals will supply you with maxi pads to deal with the post birth bleeding, but I suspect they are shipped by the crate with ACME printed on the side. They are usually thick and kind of diaper’ish so it’s nice to have something that has wings, propellers and whatever other cutting edge technology maxi pads keep coming up with. That said, hospital pads are free so load up on the thunder pads if they don’t bother you. Depends or adult diapers are also another option which may sound a little strange but they actually work really well.

Nursing pads: This was originally on the “Don’t Bother” list, but many women in the comments said that they did need them so tuck a few in your bag. They don’t take up much space and you can always use them as coasters if you don’t end up using them.

Towel: You can never go wrong with a towel – they are the multi-tools of a hospital stay. Use it to sit on if you’re in labour on the way to the hospital to spare your seats if your water breaks (a bit). Take it in the shower with your during your stay. Cover anything gross that you may need to lie on like a questionable pillow or couch arm. It’s always a good go to item to always have on hand.

Trash bag: Don’t take this to the hospital but leave it in your car to sit on if your water breaks before or on the way to the hospital. Saves on detailing and isn’t a bad thing to have in your glove box anyway.

Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, brush, contact lens solution and case, glasses, chapstick, hairband or hair tie, hand sanitizer, or anything else your would take to stay over night somewhere. There are some gross moments that sometimes comes with birth so don’t add chapped lips to them.

Lanolin or nipple cream: If you’re planning to breastfeed, take nipple cream along just in case the road is a little rocky.

Makeup: You can also add makeup to the list if that’s important to you for photo ops. I didn’t wear makeup because I thought it seemed petty and, “who the hell was I kidding?”, but now I wish I had because I looked like death in those first photos – hot, puffy, death – so there are no first photo of me and each of my kids where I don’t look completely awful.

Gum and Gatorade: I don’t know what kind of desert air they pump through a hospital, but it’s dry. My hat goes off to you if you work in one because I don’t know how you don’t look like a raisinette. I ate ice chips by the metric ton when I was in labour but the odd stick of gum and sip of gatorade really hit the spot when I wasn’t allowed to eat. Gum is also good for your spouse who may have been drinking a gallon of coffee just before getting up in your face to say your doing a great job and to practice breathing exercises. Feelings may get hurt if you scream, “you breath smells like the ass of alley cat” in the heat of the moment. Take gum.

Snacks: If you are in labour there is a good chance you will not be allowed to eat in case you need to have surgery quickly, however, if you’ve been given the green light to nibble have a little something delicious on hand so you’re not stuck with hospital apple sauce at 3am.

Trashy magazines: Especially if you’re being induced, there is often a lot of hurry up and wait time. Take something light so you don’t have to think too much and you can just thumb through. When it’s time to go home, try to leave them as well. It’s doubtful you’ll want to read them at home and the nurses or other patients may enjoy reading them too.

I.D. and Insurance: “I’m sorry, you want to know who I am and to pay for this birth?!”

Tech stuff: If you’re like me, you’ll need to take your cell phone (even if you’re not allowed to use it) to get everyone’s number if you want to make a call. You can also play games and surf the web if you’re in a bit of a labour limbo. Take your charger too.

Pen and phone numbers: Pens are always scarce and you, or your partner, are going to need to fill out forms. Phone numbers are good to take so you can keep playing Angry Birds while your husband goes off to call your hysterical sister to say, “the baby still isn’t here yet.”

Birth Plan: I’ve talked about birth plans and how my plan was “to have a baby”, but it’s never a bad idea to have a general plan of what you’d like to do (or not do) so everyone is singing off the same song sheet.

Camera: Someone, at some point, will want to see a photo of this kid so here’s a good chance to capture a couple. Here are some cool photography ideas in this post and on one of my Pinterest boards too.

Going home outfit: Let me be really straight here, you ain’t leaving the hospital wearing pre-baby clothes so don’t bother packing them. Pack something clean and comfortable and that’s it. Maxi dress. Yoga pants and a t-shirt. Nun halloween costume. Doesn’t matter, just make sure it’s comfy.

Big Sister or Brother gift: If you have older children, you could consider having a gift that’s from the baby for them to open when they come to visit. They’re probably going to feel pretty displaced over the next few months so it’s a nice way to introduce them to the new ad
dition to the family.


For Baby:

Diapers: Most hospitals will give you a few but it’s a good idea to bring your own whether you’re going to use cloth or disposable. It’s not a bad idea to bring size newborn and size 1 as my 10lb baby never fit the smaller size.

Wipes: Again, hospitals may or may not supply you with wipes so it’s a good idea to have them on hand.

Soothers: I was all anti-soother until my son was born and my milk didn’t come in. Soothers are awesome and I will fight that fact to the death. Take a few different kinds with you to see what fits the bill, although, I had one child that loved soothers and one that didn’t care for them so they are a little hit and miss. Again, small enough to tuck in the bag so take ’em along.

Scratch mittens: My baby wore scratch mittens in the hospital and that was it because they kept falling off and he’d scratch both of us with their little talons so I ended up trimming his nails after and few days at home (I wished that I’d known about these ones back then.) Newborns have wafer thin nails so wait until you’re a little “with it” before you trim their nails (whether with trimmers or by biting them) as there isn’t a huge difference between the feeling of their nails and the feeling of their skin. There are plenty of things to feel guilty about with being a mother so let’s not add removing the tip of a finger to the list in the first few days.

Hat: The hospital will often give you a hat, but take a little one just in case. Personally, I didn’t use hats much once I got home but people believe in hats on babies with an old lady vengence and a hat war was pretty low on my priority list at the time so I just rolled with it.

Receiving blanket: Like a towel, receiving blankets can be used for a variety of things. Wrapping a baby up. Used as a nursing cover if you’re not feeling comfortable with putting on a boob show yet. Wiping little mouths, hands, feet. As a car seat cover to block the sun when you leave the hospital. You can’t go wrong. I recommend a inexpensive soft one as they seem to be the most versatile in the beginning – and aden+anais if someone is feeling generous.

Going home outfit: Some people go all nuts with this (I did the first time around) and dressed them like they are greeting the queen. If you aren’t sentimental about this, take a onesie or sleeper to take them home in. I didn’t factor in the inexperience of dressing a newborn (less than a day after giving birth) into the equation and it was an awkward and unpleasant experience for both of us. Keep it simple and axe anything with buttons – zippers and snaps are the way to go. Also make sure the clip from the car seat can get between the baby’s legs so skip the sleep sacks, etc.

Baby book: If you have a baby keepsake book and a kind nurse that has time to help you out, you may be able to score some footprints from a seasoned pro that can get a good impression for you.

Nursing pillow: I wasn’t going to add a nursing pillow to the list because I personally think home pillow trumps nursing pillow and you don’t want to rent a uhaul to take all your crap to the hospital, but a lot of women listed this as an essential. Breastfeeding can be really tricky for some people (me included) so every little bit helps. Even if you don’t want to take it in for the initial check in, you can put it in the car and send someone down for it if you want to use it.

Car seat: I don’t think there is any hospital out there that will let you leave the hospital without a car seat (I guess if you’re taking the bus home it’s another story). So leave it in the car and bring it up as you’re packing up to leave.


For Your Spouse:

Toothbrush, deodorant, underwear, pillow and blanket or sleeping bag: My friend thought she was going into labour and called her husband at home and told him to pack a bag and meet her at the hospital. It was a false alarm but when he got there he had packed his hockey jersey, some toothpaste (no toothbrush) and a pair of her socks. I shit you not.

More than likely your spouse will be able to leave and take care of himself (or herself) but if never hurts to take some emergency essentials just in case they unhinged in the flury of birth.

What not to take:

Jewelry: You will need to take it off and leave it unattended. Leave it at home.

Baby Do-Dadery: Manis and pedis along with hair brushing, bathing, etc. can wait for home so don’t bother bringing things like nail clippers, snot suckers, soother clips, etc.

As with all things, what some one finds essential, someone else will find frivolous, but this gives you an idea of all the things you may or may not have thought of.

Lastly, it’s always a nice gesture to leave a “thank you” for the hospital staff.

I brought a jar of Hershey kisses the first time and that went over really well. My mother took in a basket of bananas, apples, granola bars, and other healthier snacks that didn’t need to be refrigerated for the hospital staff that took care of my grandfather.

Nurses in particular do a lot of gross shit for you while you’re in there so, even if it’s small, it’s nice to say, “thank you for holding a bed pan while I vomit. I really appreciated that.”

I forgot the second time. I’m a dick, I know.

Hope the list helps and let me know what I missed.

Here’s the list along with a printable version of What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag.

 

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74 Comments

  • This is my second child and first time I even considered finding a list before I was due. The first one, well, very much like your first comment, "Vagina packed! Let’s go". Big mistake. When my husband came back after the delivery with a pack of pads and two pairs of mens underwear… well… what can I say. That’s what happens when you send the boys out to shop for essentials. I would swear they are more frazzled and confused than we are in the whole process!
    I have to say, this is the first time I have read a pregnancy article and actually laughed out loud all the way through it. Thanks so much for making this topic funny with your flavorful word choice! I loved it! Not too mention, how prepared am I now?! Wahaha! Ready for the big day!

  • 1 thing on my list this time around is 3 ply toilet paper. There’s nothing quite as horrible as trying to wipe down there with industrial toilet paper, let alone right after you pushed a kid out!

  • Same here! My due can be any day now.

    The check list from my hospital says I need a couple of ‘tennis balls’ to ease the back pain. I’m not sure it’s essential. I’ll let you know guys later whether it was necessary or not after giving birth my baby girl in a few days.

    Plus, I’m bringing some herbal tea bags (A.K.A. Milkmaid tea) for successful breastfeeding because one of my friends strongly recommended it.

    Good luck to every mom-to-be friends 🙂

  • i love your list! i packed so much crap with my first and i didnt even use most of it. i did end up taking new born diapers and happy i did because she came out 5lbs, 5 oz. and couldnt fit in size 1 diapers that the hospital provided. i packed 5 baby outfits "thinking i would let her wear one everyday we were there and then extra’s too" then ended up only using one for her to come home in, still wish i would have brought a sleeper or gown, but i learned! haha the only thing i want to add to your list is that i bled alot and the mesh undies they gave didnt work, i tried the heavy over night pads i brought and ruined 3 pair of undies and my mother in law went and got me some more, she also brought me Depends for women. i was very skeptical and embarrassed to use them until my nurse said lots of women bring them. they worked great! so they will be in my bag to pack for the hospital this time around. and i used them for the first 2 weeks till it quit.

  • Forget the undies, I got some Depends (I’m only 29 too!). They were comfortable, no leaks, and you couldn’t even see them under my yoga pants!

  • My husband picked up a hospital bag from TheMotherDuck.com i’ve seen them on etsy too…so cute with all the essentials that made me feel better after birth! Maybe It was the thought he put into it but it was pretty awesome!

  • My husband did order me a hospital bag from TheMotherDuck.com so cute with all the essentials that made me feel better after birth! Maybe It was the thought he put into it :)but it was pretty awesome!

  • This is the FIRST list I’ve ever seen that mentions maxi pads! Thank you!
    It was the one thing I had no idea about when I had my first child, and its been the one thing I warn every expecting mother!!!! Luckily, I have a husband who has never been too embarrassed to go to the store to get things for me….and after the birth of my first child, he went in and found an employee, told her he needed pads for his wife and could she help him get the right kind. He said "she’s just had a baby and needs the biggest kind you have". And he came home with the perfect ones! 🙂

  • This was such a fantastic and entertaining article! I’m due with my second in a few weeks and for some reason I am dragging my feet with the whole packing thing. Your list made me laugh out loud on several occasions (and of course reminded me what I did and did not need to pack.) Thank you!

  • "Hat wars." Lol.

    My kids both wore the same going-home outfit, and in retrospect, I picked it well. It was just a little three-piece outfit from Target. Soft cotton onesie, fleece pants, and a little thin fleece zip-up hoodie. A cute pair of socks completed the whole thing. It was adorable, comfortable, warm without bunching up in the car seat, and not too bad to get on a newborn, comparatively. And cheap. And unisex. Tiny penguins!

    I’m seriously laughing about the husband "packing" the bag. At six months with my first, I had a gas attack that I thought might be early labor (seriously like that Louie episode), so we decided to go in to L&D. I was sitting there in major pain (now that I’ve been through it, yes, it was as bad as labor contractions) saying, "Can we go now?" Meanwhile my husband’s racing around, worried that we’re going to be stuck at the hospital for a while. So he gets his keys. Gets his wallet. Puts on shoes. Misplaces his keys. Decides to unplug all the electronics in case of a power surge. Finds his keys. Pours some coffee and eats a granola bar. Decides to pay the mortgage because it’s due in a couple of days and he doesn’t want to miss it. Forgets the hospital bag. Throws some clothes in a grocery bag. Goes back for the phone cable. I mean, the man was seriously freaking out. Fast forward to when I actually went into labor, at 1:40 a.m. I had a contraction and woke him up, saying, "I think I just had a contraction!" I spent the next 20 minutes arguing with myself about whether it was a real labor contraction and whether I should call my doula and he was trying to convince me to get some rest. He later told me that he was thinking, "Please stop talking and go to sleep; I’m so tired." At the end of the 20 minutes, I had another one and my water broke, and he said he kind of mentally slapped himself and said, "Wake up, man! Your wife is having a baby!" He definitely snapped to at that point and started graphing my contraction times. :.)

  • HA!! "Vagina? Check!" That’s how I feel since we showed up at the hospital for <a href="http://preparingforpeanut.com/ethans-birthday-weekbirth-story-part-one/">my son’s birth</a> with my purse, my husband’s wallet, our cell phones, and the clothes on our back. After stressing about what to pack, turned out we needed nothing at all. The nurses even had a camera to take pictures!! Hoping we’ll get to pack the bag for the next one though…love how it’s just part of baby prep.

  • I just had my first baby 8 weeks ago (wow how quickly that time passes!)

    This list was so helpful in deciding what to pack, but I wanted to circle back with comments on what was needed and what wasn’t.

    I LOVED that we packed our own towels. The hospital supplied them, but ours were so much more soft and big, so it was a touch of home.

    We had visitors almost the entire day after Isla was born, so I was very glad to have yoga pants, nursing tank, and sweater. I could move around and not worry about sitting in a hospital gown or nightgown.

    We brought in thank you goodies for our nurses. Our hospital has you labor/deliver on one floor, and you move to the post partum floor a few hours after delivery. So we brought 2 gift bags full of fun size candy for the two sets of nurses. It was greatly appreciated by them. I had my husband take it out to the nurses station on each floor.

    I wore flip flops the entire time. They were great for showering and then to walk around the room. Then I could take them off when I did get into bed and didn’t have to worry about getting germs into the bed.

  • LMAO!!!
    Forrilla, you had me in tears. And pretty darn dead-on. I’d add Eyeshades, like what you get on the airplane, made such a difference in the quality of the (little) sleep I got in the hospital. Earplugs too so every beep or door slamming doesn’t chafe. And, don’t mock me, I’m surprised I wore it myself, but for my 2nd I was given my own “curasanas” gown which went a long way in making a normally not-so-great experience so much more tolerable. It’s a cozy gown with a closed back that is super accessible for breastfeeding (the staff was happy with it too) and nice for pics and visitors (no cheesy prints here). I actually used my curasanas forever at home with nursing etc and now it’s my go-to gift, even for my dad when he had to have surgery. Anyway, pretty useful and different, more clean and classy. I just ordered a new set with jacket online bc I know how much use I’ll get of it.

    Thx again for the guffaws!

  • one essential: earplugs – for mom and copilot. Hospitals are noisy, and you’ll need every drop of sleep you can manage.

  • Please ladies, everyone pack a roll of the softest toilet paper you can find. Hospitals supply sandpaper they are touting as TP. After a vaginal birth your vagina will be thanking you for bringing it!

  • I was looking for a list, but some included … a spray bottle to cool you down while in labor and some random unnecessary items, I just loved this list. Thank you!

  • Toilet Paper – I know this sounds crazy but after my first was born, the one thing I really remember from the stay in the hospital was that the toilet paper was the most industrial one-ply available – not what I wanted to be using after 36 hours of un-medicated labour/delivery. This time a roll of the softest stuff available will be finding it’s way into my bag.

  • Great list. I over packed with some things and under packed others. I completely forgot my pillow, and after a week of lying in a hospital bed with awful pillow, I was well and truly ready for the comfort of my own bed.

  • I wish I could get a drink with you-You are hilarious. I am so glad I found this site. It has been so helpful. I am pregnant with my first baby and scared to death of childbirth!

  • I seriously was in tears reading this…you are so funny! I am due in 3 weeks and it is nice to have a good laugh to ease the tension. Great blog. Thanks so much!

  • I just heard yesterday that it’s important to bring snacks for the nurses??? My friend had a successful birth with a cornucopia of Trader Joe’s goods – cookies, chips, crackers, dried fruit, etc. I had a c-section, and I was snack-less. Do you think it makes a difference?

  • What a useful list! As a first-time mom, I definitely would have not have thought to bring some of these items. I especially liked your addition of bringing gifts for the nursing staff. I can only imagine what it’s like to be on the other end of the process, and showing just a little gratitude for all that they do is a really great gesture. Thank you for the printable list as well; so helpful!

  • Im a post partum nurse and I have to warn- many hospitals around the country have bedbug problems. You don’t wanna take those home with you- Just use the hospital johnnies and pillows! Besides you’ll be bleeding and leaking everywhere, so just ruin the hospital stuff and not your own.
    Bring a pacifier because many hospitals will not supply you with one anymore . And the hospital snack choices are pretty bad (crackers and peanut butter) so bring some snacks for in between meals.

  • A breast pump. I had a very hard time breast feeding my first, wouldn’t latch and I had supply issues, so the hospital gave me one of their pumps to use. Holy hell! What a medieval torture machine! This time around, I’m packing my own gentle Medela pump. It was the first thing in my bag and probably what I missed the most the first time around. Oh, and either Metamucil or a stool softener.

  • While I agree with not bringing nail clippers, bring a nail file as some babies come out with razors and the nurses will refuse to cut the nails due to liability issues. All three of my sisters needed it and thankfully had it packed!

  • If you think there is any chance you might need nipple shields for nursing – I recommend checking them out ahead of time. I had/have the flattest nipples on earth and used nipple shields for about the first 3 months of nursing. They brought me some in the hospital in size extra small saying, "this is the only size we’ve got" …. o.O I was all, "Um, hello?" My breasts were like twice the size of my newborn son’s head, so extra small was less than helpful.

  • My biggest piece of advice: Pack ahead of time; people thought I was crazy packing my bag 6 weeks before my due date, but guess what? Peanut came at 36 weeks and I was so relieved to have it packed and ready to go when my water broke!

  • I am 33 weeks prego with my first and I have started putting my list together. I am having a hospital tour today so I will see if they will give us a list as well so I can finally start packing.

    Your blog was really helpful, thanks for all the though out details.

  • Love the line – got your vajay, then you're good to go LOL! Usually moms just prepare all the baby stuff, right? But it's equally important to bring her own must-haves before and after the delivery. Thanks for this list!

  • Where I delivered my first I could have essentially showed up with just my vagina and been good. They supplied pretty much everything. I'm hoping I get as lucky this time around. In a different state so no luck with going to the same place.

  • I laughed so hard at the "your breath smells like the ass of alley cat" I cried, so thank you for finally making me cry for a totally legitimate reason.
    This is a great list, thank you! I would have never thought of gum, and my boyfriend's breath will most assuredly offend me, what with his nervous eating habit and severe coffee addiction. I also love the idea of leaving a little something for the nurses (aside from bodily fluids); I'll grab something for my midwife while I'm at it.
    I just discovered your blog through Pinterest. I'm 30 weeks pregnant, and I love how grounded, sane and hilarious you are.

  • I'm packing my bag this weekend (will be 36 weeks) and had to come back to this post. Love it! For some reason my husband seems to think that he can't leave the hospital while I'm there, so when we went shopping for toiletries and such, he picked out stuff for himself and told me what clothes he'd be packing. I had to nicely tell him that he's not staying there the whole time b/c he's lucky and can go home to change. At least he was supportive. 🙂

    Just an FYI – Lulu Lemon does still sell that wrap! It's not cheap, but it's freaking cute. If you go to their site and look under "tops" it's the "Transformation Wrap".

  • I am so glad this was posted when it was. I am 34 or 36 weeks, depending on which Dr you ask, and I hadn't even considered having a bag packed. I think some where in the pregnancy brain, I thought I was going to be pregnant forever. Lol. Oh well. All packed now and prepared for the day…as much as I can be for #1.

  • I took the flushable toilet wipes for adults (not baby wipes). We had a bit of an extended stay, and everytime I would go to the bathroom, I'd dread it. The wipes helped me feel cleaner without having to scrub, so it didn't make me sore.

  • Lol, the post about the what the guy brought to the hospital cracked me up! 🙂 I think that is a good idea. I would suggest always have a bag ready to go where ever he was!

  • We packed a jar of Tucks medicated pads. It's kind of a funny story.
    Basically, my best friend told me that the medicated pads will add lots of soothing fun to the party in my mesh hospital panties. They join up with the huge maxi pad and the latex glove full of ice and start doing beer bongs together.
    Plus, she claimed it would save us all kinds of money because the hospital charges you something like five bucks for EACH TUCKS MEDICATED PAD.
    (by the second baby, I didn't care)
    So while I was in labor I was pretty out of it since I was doing an unmedicated birth…and afterwards I look over at the counter and notice my husband had taken out the Tucks medicated pads jar out of our bag, opened it up, and put it on the CANDLE WARMER. Wtf??
    What a ding-dong. Apparently he had no idea what they were and they seemed to fit on the candle warmer, so voila. There you go.
    I still love him, even though he ruined my Tucks medicated pads and even though our natural-birth baby ripped my vagina to hell.

  • A couple of my girlfriends were talking about getting a push present. Is this something that I should look in to? I feel like I have given push presents before without realizing I was doing it, like coming over to their house with wine and flowers when it was time to meet the baby. I think the idea of a push present is nice, and gives them something to commemorate the birth with. Plus, it’s an ancient tradition. Thoughts?

  • Our hospital provided lists of what to bring for yourself, what to bring for the baby, and what to bring for your support person, which was very helpful. I'd spent weeks reading about how to pass the time in labour, then my baby came within 50 minutes of my water breaking at home, so THAT was time well spent. Blergh. A couple thoughts from my (first) experience a month ago:

    Music – We were in for two nights so I was very happy to have my MP3 player and a cheap and cheerful little battery-powered speaker. It helped keep me a little more sane during that first cluster feeding night to have music I loved with me. 🙂
    Cash – I was induced two days in a row and we underestimated how quickly we'd burn through the meal and snack money for my husband. Super handy to have change for vending machines on hand for when he didn't feel like leaving the ward to go farther afield for food.
    Nursing bra – The hospital list said to take one, but as a well-endowed woman in the boob department, I was at a loss as to how I would know what size to take. I was wearing a 38J pre-baby. Seeing as I'm 38 and my name starts with J, I think it's the ultimate in monogramming… Getting a decent bra is hard enough for me with there being very little selection and what selection there is being expensive – like $120+ each expensive – so I wasn't about to spend hundreds of dollars trying to guess. The great women at the specialty store I shop at suggested coming in once my milk came in. I was just hanging around the house for the most part for those first few days and just did without and dealt with the hassle of getting all undressed when I needed to feed the baby when I wasn't feeling like going braless around my father-in-law. Having that advice from the bra shop women (who totally understood what I was dealing with, unlike my mother-in-law…) really helped as I was uncharacteristically stressed out about that, of all things.

  • Keeping in mind that I'm not even a little bit pregnant (can one be a "little" pregnant…?), I've started a google doc to keep track of the stuff I want to remember for when that time comes. At least half the links are to your blog. You're hilarious and informative, which I'm pretty sure is the best way to learn about the disturbing ish that is baby-making. Thanks for a new bookmark 🙂 I'm hoping to avoid a hospital birth, but being the planner I am, I'll need to be packed just in case.
    And thank you to the commenters for your suggestions, especially Samantha – my night guard needs to be the first thing on my packing list. I probably would have packed it for sleeping, but I'm not sure I would have thought about using it in labor.

  • If you've ever ground your teeth (especially if you're having an unmedicated birth) take a mouth guard. I broke one of my back teeth during labor and spent my daughter's first six days of life on Percocet. And then the tooth got pulled. It was way worse than the 36 hour unmedicated labor/birth. So, best to avoid that.

  • Along with the big brother/sister gift… hubby and I baby sat older brother while parents delivered. We took tons of pics with our digital camera of everything we did- park, mc donalds lunch, playing with puppies, etc. We then made him a Shutterfly book along the lines of "The Day I Became a Big Brother." Like a little celebrity 🙂 and I think the parents enjoyed having it later.

  • I just wanted to add a couple of things that I wish someone had told me that I would totally bring next time around.

    1. A little hand held fan: Not only do you pee out all that extra water weight but you sweat it out in giant buckets. Even better a lot of newborns have a hard time regulating temp. at first so you can only turn the A/C down so far before the guilt of turning your new baby into an ice cube takes over. I sat in bed at all hours praying that some angel would show up with a fan…did not happen.

    2. You might get lucky enough to use the really thin pads that can absorb a lake so I would take some of those. At least during the day when you can change them often, it is so much more comfortable.

    3. All those creams, sprays, and what not they give you to care for those stitches are WONDERFUL. ASK FOR A NEW TUBE OF EVERYTHING TO TAKE HOME!!!!!!!! Some of it will be over-the-counter but the one cream that was my savior was not and I left the hospital thinking "Oh I have plenty of that one!" WRONG!!! Beg, plead, cry for a new tube before you leave.

    That last one might not apply but I wish I had done that for my packing to leave the hospital and I didn't.

  • I think the thing I remember is not having change. Both my spouse and me would get cravings for candy or need a pop and we'd only have bills. Toss in a roll of quarters so your set no matter how long your their.

  • Oooh, so useful! I've booked marked this and a couple other lists to make sure I get it all! I can't believe I'll have to start packing a bag in a couple weeks! Yikes! Better buy some jumbo sized pads soon!

  • OMG you are hysterical! I love this blog!!! I am 36 weeks pregnant with my first child. Thank you sooo much for the list! 🙂

  • Ladies – my son was born three weeks early and I was NOT packed for the hospital. It was the single most important mistake I made. My water broke after childbirth class and I was not able to leave the hospital, which meant…my husband had to pack things to bring for me. BIG. MISTAKE. He was not able to bring me everything I really wanted, or brought me the wrong thing on my list. Plus I was not in a good state of mind to begin with and couldn't think of everything. Pack in advance!!! This time around, I'll be doing it three months in advance, no joke.

  • I thought scratch mittens were a thing of the past? I read that, and they didn't have them at the hospital, and they (*They, you know, of those that tell us everything somehow) say that they scratch at their baby faces in the womb and it's more comforting to be able to feel than have a mitten on. Oh, I know where I read this, in the baby booklet from the hospital. Anyway. Good list. I didn't bring anything but a few cute onesies and my toothbrush/paste. I was fine. I ain't fancy.

  • I have to say, I hardly used anything I took with me. I do recommend maxi pads (Always in the purple pack I think is what I got)- my hospital only allows so many in their "birthing pack" and I went through them quick (then they gave me these things that looked like a giant puppy pad- I was like, no way- glad I brought my own!). I wore the mesh undies the whole time (and stole some to take home) so underwear wasn't needed.
    They provided amazing toiletries (mine stayed in my bag), the food was great (delivered from nearby restaurants), they gave me stool softeners and diapers and wipes and onesies and hats, plush towels and pillows. I gave birth at a nice specialty hospital so maybe a regular hospital is different.
    I do recommend slippers of some sort and socks and pjs (with easy access because they check you quite a bit afterward). Other than that, nothing came out of my bag. Oh and my daughter's coming home outfit (a cute sleeper) and my camera.

  • I LOVE the idea of a big brother/sister gift! That is absolutely a great idea. If you have older kids, and even if you can't do the gift thing, definitely pay attention to them as if it's an ordinary day for them at home–I mean conversation-wise–so that they don't have to feel right off the bat that their whole world has turned upside down. And that was good advice for us for after we got home too–we made sure the older boy (who was under 2 at the time!) got some special mommy-time and some special daddy-time with him every day, no matter what the baby got.

    A thank-you note for the nurses is great–we also put a little picture in it of the baby so they could post it on their bulletin board with all the other baby pics.

    And whatever you do, don't forget your vagina.

  • DO NOT PACK ANY SORT OF JEANS TO GO HOME IN! Even maternity jeans will fit stupid. Just go with yoga pants. The ones you wore when you were about 6 months preggo. You will thank me. ANd wear a comfy sweatshirt or tee. You *will* feel flubbery. The belly does weird things after delivery. Do not compress that shit. 😀 I'm preggo with baby #6. I have *some* experience…..

  • I'd suggest having the bag all ready to go by the door. Everyone made it sound like I'd have hours at home to gather a few last minute things…and I had a list (which included start the dishwasher.) Let's just say I didn't have any time to gather anything and ended up with nothing to wash my face with at the hospital.

  • 1. Take Depends instead of maxi pads. Think of them as disposable underwear instead of adult diapers. You'll need them for at least a few days.

    2. Snacks for Daddy – you never know how long you'll be or when the cafeteria will open.

    3. Sort of like the prunes, stool softeners. Because that first poop can really hurt.

  • A big sister/brother gift for your older child(ren) to open when they come up to meet baby for the first time. It's tough sharing the spotlight – and mom's attention!! – so I brought my girlies a little something so it wasn't just "all about baby" but about all of us as a family. Otherwise, spot on!!

  • I also took along a white noise machine. It really helped to block out hospital noise, and helped to soothe my baby girl to sleep.

  • Prunes are a good snack food to eat so the poo experience is more pleasant. I also liked having some good soothing music like Enya to listen to during delivery. I had a collection of music I new would help me relax.

  • Having been through this 5 weeks ago, I have these notes:
    -Make sure the pillow you bring has a pillow case the can't be confused with the hospital's (so something not plain white)
    -I didn't mind the hospital gown and it was convienent for breastfeeding. But I loved wearing a pair of my shorts underneath.
    -We liked a deck of cards for killing time.

  • Definitely the car seat. We weren't even ALLOWED to go home on the bus. We had to have a car seat and take a taxi. (Which kind of sucks if you live on the same bus route as the hospital and you don't have a car, but I got my car seat free with my stroller so it wasn't too bad. And honestly, I couldn't have managed the bus that soon after delivery anyway.)

  • Seconding the poster above me – I understand having a vagina during L&D is absolutely essential.

    I'm 37 weeks now, and finding out tomorrow if I should expect to be induced in a week or so (because apparently no one believed me when I said I fully expected a 12-lb boy until my last appointment, when I grew 4 inches in a week). I've had the go-bag packed for at least three weeks, and the diaper bag for the boy. Our hospital keeps new moms a minimum of two days, 3-4 if you have a C-section, so I've got a few more clothes than just the go-home outfit (maxi dress, fyi). I had a nurse friend suggest Crocs vs. flipflops for safety and ease of wear – she had a patient fall in the shower during labor because her wet flipflops slipped.

    I hadn't heard any thank-you gift mentioned – I'm glad you did. I wouldn't have thought of that!

  • Love the list! Great reference…. I completely forgot to bring any clothes for my son in my hospital bag, even though we were there for 4 days and only lived a couple miles away. I had to have my mom go home and grab a onesie right before they were going to discharge us! Though, on the nursing pad note: I was wearing nursing pads daily from about 26 weeks, I kid you not, so that was definitely in my bag. Drove me up the wall. (And then had trouble maintaining my supply, go figure!)

  • Ooooh, I'm due any day now and forgot about a thank you gift for the nurses– thanks for the reminder. I've got all this energy now so will go off and bake some cookies for them. Only half joking. Maybe a jar of candy's more appropriate, it wouldn't go bad or stale …

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