Once you hit your third trimester you may start thinking about what you need to bring in your hospital bag. If you are like me, you might be working on this in your second trimester. Let me start off by saying this blog was definitely a learning experience – and I hope I can help some soon-to-be-mommas learn from my mistakes.
I read all the blogs and packed everything that anyone said I might need. I packed, and unpacked, and repacked my hospital bag a dozen times and then when my mat leave started a week before my due date, I packed and unpacked some more. I was driving myself crazy and by the end of it all I had a full bag, as well as my husband, and baby and did we use half of the stuff we took to the hospital? Absolutely not.
So I wanted to break it down for you all into items we actually needed while we were there and some nice to haves as well as items that the hospital was able to provide so you don’t need to bring your own.
1. A water bottle with a straw: I found this extremely helpful to keep me hydrated. Since contractions can be very intense my husband was able to help me drink in-between each one.
2. Toiletries: I went to shoppers and got the mini travel items so that it would fit easily in my bag. Make sure you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash wipes (easier than face wash), deodorant. I also packed dry shampoo in case we would be there fore a few days and hair ties to keep my hair back during labour and nipple cream to help after labour as we were attempting breastfeeding.
3. Long phone charger: My labour was 13 hours and so I definitely needed to charge my phone but there is likely not going to be an outlet close to the bed so make sure to pack a long phone charger
4. Snacks for you and your partner: The hospital won’t provide food for your partner so it is good to have some snacks on hand. I was also desperate for some fuel as my labour went on because going 13 hours without any food is difficult. Try get easy to digest snacks that will give you a lot of energy like nuts or dried fruit. I also found gatorade extremely helpful .
5. Lip Balm: It is extremely dry in the hospital and so having lip balm nearby was key. I used it as much as I used the button to up my epidural.
6. Comfy coming home clothes: Your body is going to go through a lot over the next few days, you don’t want to try and throw on jeans and leave the hospital. Pack some loose fitting clothes.
7. Slippers or warm socks: After labour it is likely your feet will get swollen as your body starts to release liquids, on top of that you want to be as cozy as possible and you are likely going to be encouraged to move around a little bit to avoid blood clots so slippers will be a huge help.
8. Wallet and health card: This is pretty obvious but when those contractions hit you won’t really be able to think about too much so make sure you remember to bring your health card info.
9. Nursing clothes or comfortable robe: If you plan to breastfeed you will likely be attempting to do that right after giving birth and so it is nice to have some comfortable clothes that have easy access for breastfeeding.
10. Coming home outfit in baby in different sizes: We knew we were having a large baby and so I brought outfits for him in both newborn and 0-3. I also brought a ton of swaddles that didn’t get used because the hospital provide us with some while we were there. We also gave birth in the winter so we made sure we had a hat and gloves as well.
11. Car seat: This will literally be the only test before leaving the hospital. Make sure you know how to put your baby safely in a car seat.
Nice to Haves
1. Your own pillow: Yes the hospital will have pillows but you could have a long labour ahead of you and a few nights in a hospital bed so I appreciated having my own pillow
2. A sleeping bag/blanket for your partner: Hospitals can get quite cold and who knows what the sleeping arrangements will look like. We didn’t end up needing the one we brought because the hospital had quite a comfy chair for him but it was nice to have it in case.
3. Your own towel: We didn’t stay long enough to need a shower, but depending on what kind of birth you have you may be in the hospital a few nights and having your own towel can be comforting.
4. Portable speaker: Depending on what kind of birth plan you have it might be nice to have some way to listen to music while you are in labour. We forgot our speaker and ended up sleeping most of the labour anyway (thankful for that epidural) but I have heard it has been a useful tool for many families.
5. Laptop or tablet for your partner: Again my labour was fairly long, 13 hours and so my husband downloaded a few shows ahead of time that he could watch on the laptop.
6. Essential oils: There is a lot going on when you are in labour – especially the pushing stage (and a lot coming out of you aside from a baby – just managing expectations here). And so I really loved having the essential oils on hand to keep a calm feeling in the room and also to have some nice distracting smells.
7. Wipes: Hospitals will provide you with some but the hospital we were at in particular didn’t have wet wipes and so it was handy to have our own.
Don’t need/hospital will provide
1. A portable fan: We definitely packed one and it took up a ton of space, but the hospital provided us with one. You may want to ask ahead of time if one will be available because this was a nice to have for sure especially when you are getting hot flashes during labour – and pushing is hard work.
2. Diapers for you and your baby: I spent hours on youtube searching the best postpartum underwear only to be given diapers of my own after labour. They had plenty for my baby too and even gave me some of each to take home with me. Oh and they will also have padsicles on hand for postpartum pain.
3. Sitz bath: Sitz baths are lifesavers postpartum so I bought one for myself, but the hospital actually provided me with one.
4. Nightgown: I got a cute one because I read on a blog that you would be more comfortable in you own nighty during birth – but here is the thing, there is so much going on I didn’t even notice if it was more comfortable than a hospital gown, and with all the chaos you will be ripping it off at some point to have skin to skin with your baby once they arrive.
Now every labour is going to be different. We were lucky in the sense ours was pretty straight forward and we only had to stay one night at the hospital. You may need more or less depending on how long you will have to stay, but if it doesn’t all fit in one bag – you have likely overpacked my friends.
Good luck mommas you got this!