When I packed a hospital bag during my pregnancy with G, I pretty much followed lists I saw online and made sure I had the key things my sister mentioned. Obviously, I ended up with a lot of things that I didn’t use at all (my entire makeup bag, books, my iPad), and I was missing other things that would have made my stay a lot more comfortable (makeup remover and all shower materials including shampoo and conditioner). This time around, I was more strategic, but I’m sure I still overpacked because it’s what I do.
Two going-home outfits for the babe.
This is probably an example of overpacking, but anyone who has been the mother of a newborn knows that unexpected messes happen. So, I’m bringing an extra outfit just in case. My only criteria for these were that they were cute (and all newborn clothes are cute), comfortable, and warm. Short sleeved onesies, long pants, socks, hats, and long sleeved tops were the uniform I stuck with. G stayed in the hospital’s kimono top with a diaper and swaddle until we went home, so that’s what I expect for the new babe as well.
A swaddle blanket, warm blanket, infant diapers and hypoallergenic wipes.
I definitely won’t need the diapers in the hospital (these are more insurance for emergencies on the 45-minute ride home), but our hospital doesn’t provide wipes for some reason (just towels, which I thought were too rough on newborn skin). The warm blanket is for the ride home, and this swaddle is larger than the well-known hospital issued blankets (which I love), and may be easier to use (G didn’t stay swaddled very well with those).
Boppy pillow, lanolin cream, breast pads.
Trust me, these are essentials if you want to be comfortable. Other not often mentioned tips: take home the gigantic mesh underwear and maxi pads the hospital will give you — they are the best things ever. These were all tips from my sister (that most people will not want to mention), and they were lifesavers!
Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Basic makeup (tinted moisturizer, concealer, foundation powder, bronzer, liquid blush, makeup brush), night-time moisturizer (I use Vaseline like an old lady, which doubles as makeup remover), nail clippers and file, chapstick, facewash.
Again, probably not going to use all of this. But these are the basics in case I have the energy to use them. The essentials are the toothbrush and floss, makeup remover, nail clippers and facewash. For some bizarre reason, I did not pack any facewash or makeup remover last time. Even more bizarre was that I had on full eye makeup when I went to the hospital in labor. Afterward, all I had was a hospital issued bar of soap to wash my face, hair, everything. My face was so dried out and I couldn’t get my makeup all the way off, which was just unnecessarily uncomfortable and something I don’t want to worry about when visitors are coming this time around.
Dry shampoo, deoderant, hair ties and bobby pins, rat tail comb, razor, hand sanitizer, body wash, wide tooth comb, travel size shampoo and conditioner. (Not pictured: a loufa.)
Again, just the basics to feel refreshed and together, in travel sizes so they don’t take up too much room. Luckily, I am not picky about brands for these things, but if you are, I’d suggest decanting your favorites into travel containers well ahead of time and packing those even if you aren’t packing a bag in advance.
Book, iPad, extension cord, phone, headphones, camera charger (not pictured: camera), chargers.
I know I said I didn’t use my iPad or book last time, but I have this fear that I will be in labor for 24 hours or something, so I stuck them in there just in case. Plus, it’s something for S to do if he’s bored. Phone and chargers for obvious reasons. Headphones for sleeping at night (frequent bed checks and hospital noises are not the most restful soundtrack for sleep).The extension cord is one of the things I wish I had thought to bring the first time. You will need to check your phone to communicate with your husband, babysitters or relatives, but often the bed is not close enough to an outlet to have your phone charging while you’re in the bed. And trust me, getting up and down frequently is not the easiest feat right after giving birth. Hence, extension cord. The camera is essential because you will be obsessed with that little face immediately and want to take one million photos of it.
Robe, comfortable pajamas, leggings, oversized sweater, flip flops, throwaway slippers, zip up sweatshirt, oversized tshirt, oversized sweatpants.
Only bring comfortable, oversized, and mostly dark colored clothes. You don’t want anything you have to worry about getting dirty or being too tight. Flip flops for the shower. Throwaway slippers because hospitals are germy. Warm layers and socks are important because hospitals are also chilly.
Other things not pictured: Drinks and snacks for me and S during labor, gum, toothbrush and change of clothes for S, cash/change for vending machines, and car seat for going home.
I hope this is helpful to any first-time moms out there! I know I read a million of these types of posts when I was pregnant the first time, and each one had a little something different. The biggest lesson I think having a baby teaches you is to be flexible, have no expectations, and go with the flow. It’s a lesson in letting go of control and just letting life happen, and it actually feels kind of refreshing.