There are so many lists floating around the internet that tell expectant mothers what to pack for their trip to the hospital. Many, many of these lists are crammed full of things that are 100 percent useless. So, I’m giving you my personal list of items to pack.
Why should you listen to me? Well, this is my 3rd baby, but more than that, I’m an over-packer. An over-preparer, and I’ve learned the hard way that it is NOT helpful when it comes to the hospital! Bringing too many things (even if they feel necessary) will only lead to frustrating clutter and an overwhelming load of junk to get into the car…along with the newborn!
Tip #1: Glance through the lists on sites like babycenter and thebump, but your most reliable list will be on the website for the hospital YOU are delivering at. The items NOT on their list will be provided for you (like diapers at most hospitals) or they are NOT needed.
- Id, insurance card, and hospital paperwork (unless you get this in early).
- Eyeglasses if you need them.
Some hospitals won’t let you wear contacts, so if you NEED glasses to see, bring them.
- Hair band(s).
- Bathrobe that can be thrown out.
If you’re modest, this is especially important. Labor will leave you more exposed than any other experience; however, that doesn’t mean you want to show your butt cheeks just to use the bathroom.
- Pillow from home.
I am big on textures and smells. The last thing I want to focus on are the stupid super-firm hospital-issued bricks…I mean pillows.
- Music AND player.
This is NOT to alleviate boredom You will NOT be bored! But there will be times when you need a focus point. Even if you’re planning on anesthesia, you will still experience some intense contractions before they get to you. Having something comforting or at least distracting is crucial. For you this might not be music. It could be a favorite movie or a magazine, but bring something.
-Two notes: 1.) I learned the hard way that technology doesn’t always cooperate (iTunes) so I advise bringing a cd AND a cd player…because not every hospital has those due to the reliance on wifi. 2.) I am an avid, almost obsessive reader. I don’t advocate bringing a book. It’s too hard to concentrate on words in those situations. Plus, there will be doctors, nurses, your partner/coach and family buzzing around interrupting. There really isn’t time for even casual reading.
- Memory cards
These are all listed separately for a reason. They get forgotten.
- Comfy Clothes and shoes.
- Snacks and change for vending machines/ cash for the cafeteria.
- (After Labor) Toiletries: deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush
- (After Labor) Change of clothes
- Immediately post labor you will want some basic toiletries. It seems silly & vain, but people will take more pictures of you than they did at your wedding…so trust me.
-toothbrush & toothpaste
-makeup (if you wear it)
unless you’re fine with staying in the hospital ones
- Flip flops/slippers
Hospital floors are gross.
- Phone, charger, Top Priority contact info
Outside of the main circle, we plan to just let social media do the talking for us.
You will not be allowed to eat during labor. You will not care DURING labor…you will be starving AFTER. You will have no way of predicting WHEN the baby will come, so don’t rely on fast food or the cafeteria. Check your hospital accommodations. Our suite had a small refrigerator so I was able to bring real food, not just snacks.
- Nursing bras
Bring 2 or 3 so you can feel freshened up. You will have lots of visitors.
- Nursing pads
- Nipple cream
This is usually NOT provided!
- Tucks pads
Even if you don’t have hemmorhoids, these pads will provide immeasurable relief to your healing lady parts
- Depends underwear
I know it sounds crazy, but the last thing you want to worry about (especially with a room full of visitors) is whether or not your pad has leaked.
- Pics of older siblings
This will automatically send the message that they are still important!
- Gifts for older siblings
Even something as simple as a sucker goes a long way.
You will not remember as much as you think you will. Pain, pain meds, the general bustle of labor and the recovery will keep you busy for a few hours…and then you’ll have a new baby to stare at! You’ll want to write down those thoughts and feelings while you remember so you can recall them later.
- Going home outfit for Mom
Everyone remembers the sweet outfit for the newbie, but Mom also has to make it home! I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want the world to see me in my nightgown. Make sure you plan to still be wearing maternity sizes. I know, it sucks, but your body will eventually recover.
- Installed carseat
- Going home outfit
- Blankets (2-3)
You may choose not to pack these because the hospital will provide blankets. J is allergic to bleach, though, and spent those first few days broken out because I didn’t know that. Since then, we just bring our own.
- Outfits (3-4)
For the stay
What NOT to Bring and Why to Leave it at Home
- Birth Plan
-In my experience, no one reads them. It’s just setting you up for disappointment if you expect this grand plan just to watch people walk all over it. Going in with hopes is great, expectations are dangerous.
-Discuss your wishes with your providers and then (as long as you and baby are safe) just let things go.
-Super weird, right? Well, the hospital provides them. Maybe bring 2 if you have a long drive home, but otherwise, don’t waste the space.
-Unless your doctor tells you to bring your meds from home, leave them. All your medicines will be logged by the staff and handed out as required.
- Breast pump
-If you end up needing one, the hospital will have one for you to use or rent. Unless you are scheduled for a c-section or other event that would prevent you from being with your baby, though, you shouldn’t need one at all. You’ll only be producing colostrum and the baby will need every drop.
- Baby book
–Anything you want to remember can be put in the notebook (plus so much more). You won’t want to worry about it getting lost/damaged. And, the hospital will give you separate papers of the keepsakes like footprints and souvenir birth certificates.
So there it is! What have you other mama’s found was totally unnecessary or burdensome to bring along? Did I leave off anything important? I’d love to hear from you!