Having Baby: Packing a Hospital Bag


This is a real fun post to write, but hey - I've answered it in email form many times lately and found the web of pinterest lists that were meant to help only confused me.  So here's my must-have hospital list.  Know that I am generally more on the minimalist side of things.  I hate extra stuff.  I hate having tons of bags.  And I really hate spending $$ on things I won't use.  So know this is a real list of the things I really used most.

1. My own water bottle:  I took my 24 ounce mason jar tumbler with me and had Luke refill it over and over and over and over.  They fit in the car cup holder, hold a ton of water and kept me from spilling water on myself and Truman.  I'm a little clutzy from time to time.

2. Black Nightgown:  Target's Gilligan & O'Malley line is my most favorite.  Love all their black gowns because one - if your milk leaks, no one can tell, two - they're cozy and three - I'm still wearing them.  This one in particular is sleeveless and loose enough to pull to the side to nurse baby.  I was also a hot person...still am...so this was perfect and allowed me to cover up with blankets if need.  Plus.  Black.  Hides all the things.  I took 2 nightgowns, which was good for me.  We stayed the night T was born (11pm birth) and an additional night so this was all I needed.  And when you're in labor they make you rock the hospital gown, so hey.  No need there.  Here I am rocking my nightgown, all cool and comfy.


3. One Nursing Tank:  Now you know yourself more than I do, but I hate constricting things, and nursing tanks are a bit of that to me.  This was a good one to have on when folks visited.  I wore a cardigan over it and could nurse easily if needed.  It's also available in black and made me feel a little more human.

4. 3-4 Pairs Underwear:  LOVE THESE.  Still do.  I bought a size up from normal and I still wear them at night, though much more loose and cozy.  This fabric is great, forgiving, cozy, doesn't have a band to push on incisions or the like.  I bought two packs in black (surprise!) and am still so so so glad I did.  They're not the best underwear for wearing with real clothes, but for laying around with a babe or being cozy they're the best.

5. Leaving the hospital outfit: I left the hospital in my favorite maternity leggings.  They're long enough and cozy, but still have enough pressure to help hold all the things together.  They're also black and super tall which feels super on your squishy tummy.   I wore them with a black v-neck, my favorite pair of ballet slippers and a longer sweatshirt cardigan that tied at the waist.  This made me feel like a human, cinched my waist at the only place I still had one and covered my behind since I was wearing leggings as pants.  But listed.  I was comfy.  It was also blue which worked out nice for a boy, but really is a good color on me - so again - anything that makes you feel more excellent is wise in my book.  Look at me.  I even look tan in my blue with my straight hair.  Hurrah!


6. Camera - Won't bore you with these specifics because we're both photogs, so you're likely not packing to the hospital what we are.  But charged batteries, battery chargers, extra memory etc. are essential.  PLEASE don't just take photos on your iphone.  It's tempting, but what if it crashes before you get home, the quality isn't thaatttt awesome for printing heirloom hospital images and such so yes.  Bring a camera.

7. Nursing Bra:  Soma's nursing bra's were BY FAR my favorite.  They are expensive, yes, so I waited to see if I could tough out nursing to spend on 2 more, but what I should have done was buy 2 of these (they're discounted at two) the week before I had T in a non-snug size.  Take one to the hospital - wear it home.  Wear it until your milk comes in THEN decide if it fits well and either exchange the other for a different size or keep it.  I am not a small busted lady, but not huge either and I was two cups larger than before - and those 3 target bras I tried to 'save money on' made me miserable and are sitting in my closet if anyone wants them.  Spend here.  It makes a world of difference in your nursing longevity.

8.  Baby Book Parts: I used a project life book for Truman, because that works best for our photo heavy ways, so I took the little 'baby feet' card and also had 2 others and told Luke to insist that they make several foot prints.  Still glad I did.  These cards were also perfect because they're small and easy to hand over to the nurse to stamp and then toss in with our paperwork.

9.  Cell phones and chargers:  Pack the chargers.  You'll need them.

10.  Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, facewash, razor, blow dryer, straightener: the skinny version of what you use to get ready in one tidy bag.  I have crazy curly hair that annoys me if it's sticking all over my face, so drying my hair and washing it with my smelly hair products made me a happy, clean person.  PACK YOUR HUSBAND A NEW TOOTHBRUSH in case things go South there.  Luke had his own bag packed, too, but I had another toothbrush just in case he forgot.  Cause listen.  Nothing's worse than a bad-breathed push-partner.

11.  Aveda Blue Oil:  I'm not an 'oils person' persay, but I've always LOVED Aveda's fragrance and this one in particular keeps me from nausea.  Sniffed it like I was doing drugs the whole hour I pushed and then wore it like perfume to keep the hospital smells at bay.  It was necessity for me.

12.  My own towel: Brought my favorite hair towel and one cozy towel from home.  Hair towel for my 2 foot hair was necessary, but I could have survived without my own towel from home but I was still glad I had it to be cozy in.

13.  Diaper bag: Packed with one going home outfit for baby.  Yes, one.  People show up with clothes as gifts should a diaper disaster happen.  2 diapers for the ride home (take the hospital diapers and wipes you have left..you paid for them!), one swaddle blanket and that's about it.  Everything you need you'll be sent with.  And you're just going home and you'll pass plenty of Targets should you need something, but you won't.  You'll be all "Let's stop and get some real food, babe."

14.  Cheap Flip Flops and new socks: I brought one pair of cheap flip flops for hospital walking and showering.  Wore them during labor and after for showers.  New socks are divine, so pack 5 pairs of your favorite and change them as needed to get a fresh dose of comfy.  It's helpful.

15.  Car seat with base, installed:  Just have this bad boy in your car, ready to roll and send your hubby for it when it's time to head home.  We didn't need it to checkout, I suppose, but we popped Truman in it and rolled out, no questions asked.  We also wished we had installed our car seat mirror, as you'll find all the baby noises in the first car ride turn into scary noises.  Weird, but true.  Mirror adds a bit of comfort.

16.  Pen and paper stuff: insurance cards (I put copies of them in Luke's bag in case I became a hot mess at any point - this made me feel better), vending machine quarters just in case, drivers license.

17.  Stool softener: Follow the directions and just keep taking it until things are moving.  And chances are you'll need it a bit after that.  And if it's scares you a bit, you can always take it before you get to the hospital to see how things work out for ya.  But don't do hospital time without it.

18. Pads with Wings: Hospital Pads and mesh underwear were fine for me at the hospital for the first 24, but after that I chose these for the added assurance of more coverage.  Fun stuff.  But listen.  They help.

19.  Book or Kindle: Almost forgot!  I read nearly a whole book while I was in the early stages of labor.  Kept me up walking, passed the time and kept my mind occupied.  Isn't for everyone, but it was a saving grace for me.


Think that's about it.  As for Luke's bag, I had him pack a couple changes of clothes (socks and underwear emphasized), a pair of proper and athletic shorts (I'm hot....all the AC was always high, high and he was glad to have classier bottoms on when meeting T), a sweatshirt, blanket and two pillows.  We used old pillows with matching cases that were weird so we wouldn't overlook them.  We tossed the pillows as we left and kept the cases for a deep clean.  Mostly because I'm weird about my pillows, but I was glad for them.  He had his toiletries, a list of people we needed to tell with their contact info, a book, headphones and copies of our important medical infos.  That was about it.  He used my hospital towel in the shower, the shampoo they gave us and was generally a super flexible person, happy with his small man bag.