There are many of these lists out there, some can get a little crazy, some are just not enough stuff. Regardless, I frequently get asked the question “What do I bring to the hospital?” My answer to this, everyone is different, however I did compile my own list below to get you started.
Breast pump– I wouldn’t say this is an essential. I didn’t have one when my daughter was born and I borrowed one from the hosiptal. I brought my pump when my son was born and put it in the car if a “just in case” scenario came up. And it did. After my son was born I had grown a strange attachment/friendship to my good old breast pump that I used with my daughter. Yes, the hospital has breast pumps you can borrow. Once it was time for me to start pumping because my son was up in his own hospital room I really just wanted my own pump. There was something strangely familiar about that rhythmic pulsing that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Robe, zip hoodie, cardigan– Whichever you prefer. I bring all three. You just never know how cold or warm that hospital room will be and just maybe you will forget to empty your bladder. And your bladder will decide to empty itself in the wheel chair as they are wheeling you back to your room. Then your robe is ruined until you get home and you need an extra coverup. (I’m not speaking from experience or anything)
Toiletries/make up– This is an ESSENTIAL. I’m a very modest person. Childbirth is not time to be modest. Every inch of your will be seen or touched by a medical professional. Sometimes several times over and over again. There is nothing I want more than a shower and my make up bag after having a child. Make up makes me feel human again. I do not allow visitors to come to the hospital until I have showered and put make up on. Maybe you like to have your hair done, maybe it’s a piece of clothing, whatever it is for you that makes you feel human, do it.
A good list of what needs to be in this bag:
Pony Tail Holders
Slippers– I have used the hospital socks with both of my children. Those work great for your post partum care because you never know what is on those hospital floors or you never know what kind of liquid will end up on your feet. However, when my son was transferred up to the PICU it was nice to have my own pair of slippers. I was discharged and we stayed an extra night to make sure my son was healthy enough to go home.
Dirty clothes bag– As stated above, you just never know what is going to get on your clothing. Bring a garbage bag or a plan of some sort for your dirty clothes. I recommend a garbage bag because I did not want one of those mesh laundry bags to hold my urine soaked robe.
Games/Labor distractions– Labor can be really boring. My family was constantly wanting an update on my son’s birth and the only update I had for them was who was winning a game of Rummikub. Bring games too play with your spouse. Our nurse also offered to play a game with us but then another patient showed up and she was too busy.
Movies/Netflix/Devices– Again, Labor, delivery, and discharge can be a “hurry up and wait” game. It’s important to have something to occupy you while you are waiting for whatever it is you are waiting for. I suggest making a playlist of all your favorite music or at least music that doesn’t annoy you because everything is going to annoy you wile you are in labor.
Going home outfit– You need a going home outfit. I would recommend nothing too fancy. You just had a baby. Now is the time to break out the leggings or yoga pants and over sized sweatshirt. You have no idea what size you will be when you walk out of that hospital so bring something that is forgiving.
Pajama’s– After having a baby I just wanted to be in my own clothes. I wear jammie pants with a nursing tank and a cover up of some sort for the rest of the hospital stay. Whatever you feel comfortable in is what you should wear.
Granny panties/fancy pants/pretty pants– Whatever you want to call them. If you haven’t purchased them yet now is the time to have them. I susually break mine out towards the end of my pregnancy but if you haven’t broken them in yet, now is the time to have them.
Clothes– I usually pack for my husband because he is usually working as much as possible to anticipate the arrival of our child. I bring him several pairs of his favorite lounging clothes. He’s pretty easy, tshirt and pants. I will say, I did not bring him enough when it came to our son. A day and a half of labor, plus the extended hospital stay left him with few choices.
Cash (for snacks/vending machine)– Labor can be really long and it’s nice to have some cash for snacks for him. He needs his energy just as much as you do.
Ipad/Cell phone/Devices and chargers– Entertainment will be a necessity. Make sure you have everything you need to keep them.
Toiletries– Because Daddy needs a shower too.
Snacks– It is nice to have a little bag of snacks for dad in the room with us. There are certain points in labor when I didn’t want my husband running to the vending machine to get his snack. I NEEDED him in the room with me.
Coffee/Via packets– Becauase sometimes Daddy is going to stay up all night.
Car seat– They won’t let you leave the hospital without having a car seat for baby.
Warm Blanket– You never know what the weather will be like when you go home.
Going home outfit– I would keep the outfit pretty simple. My kids both wore a really cute pair of feet jammies. It’s really hard to dress those little babies.
Newborn hats– The hospital will give you one but it’s not a bad idea to have an extra. You will learn quickly that you always need an extra for these little creatures.
This is my list! Like I said in the beginning, everyone’s hospital list will be different My advice is that it’s better to have it and not need it then not have it and need it. I did put quite a few things in the car that I thought were “maybe” useful and it turned out I didn’t need them.