Alright, you guys know I love a good checklist. I’ve had multiple girlfriends request the checklist to end all checklists for packing the perfect hospital bag for them and their soon-to-be little bundles of joy. I can promise you that you will want to pack SO MUCH MORE than is on this list: don’t. You won’t ever take a hair dryer out of your suitcase but you (or your adoring hubby) will still have to drag it out of the hospital eventually.
The hospital will have EVERYTHING that baby NEEDS while in the hospital- diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, etc. The only things you need to bring for baby will be comfort items you have picked out for them.
Cute headbands– The only way I kept myself sane waiting for my children to make their grand entrances was by messing with my hair. I had planned inductions but I still truly believed that my water would spontaneously break and I would be rushed to the hospital, making it without a second to spare. Because of this, I spent most of the last month of my pregnancy curling my hair. I DID NOT want to be on day 3 of a blowout when I went into labor (#firstworldproblems). Anyway, even if you haven’t had time to do your hair, a cute and comfortable elastic headband will take your mind off your hair and back onto the baby about to make you a momma!
Makeup– Generally, labor is a long process. If you have an epidural like I did it’s an even LONGER process that will be quite boring. Call me crazy, I passed the time doing my makeup.
Limited toiletries– believe me when I tell you that you will not be shaving your legs or exfoliating your body while you’re in the hospital having a baby. You will need: toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, loofah, hairbrush, hair ties, bobby pins.
Leave at home: strong smelling anything, exfoliants, masks, nail polish, etc.
2 sets of 2 piece pajamas– whether you have a vaginal delivery or C-section, there will be a lot of grossness going on between for legs for the foreseeable future. Trust me when I say you WILL NOT want to wear a dress anytime soon. Make sure that the tops can either be unbuttoned or are nursing tops so that you can feed baby without too much fuss. Also, when buying your pajamas, SIZE UP. You will not want a tight waistband on your newly empty tummy.
Socks– hospitals are COLD. Make sure that you have some fuzzy socks to keep your feet warm.
Lounging/Going home outfit– I wore essentially the same thing home from the hospital both times: black leggings, a solid Old Navy nursing tank, an unbuttoned loose fitting button down shirt, and ballet flats. I felt put together and cute but not froo-froo or fussy. I never changed out of pajamas until it was time to go home, there is SO MUCH going on and so little time to worry about what you are wearing in the hospital. If you think you will want to change out of pajamas while in the hospital, then bring two “going home” outfits. Keep it simple and VERY comfortable.
Postpartum pads– Seriously, YOU WANT THESE IN YOUR BAG. These pads are the absolute best things in the world for relief after a vaginal delivery. They will provide cooling and pain relief and a soothing smell all at once.
ID/Insurance cards– I don’t remember anyone actually asking me for these but I had them on hand
Living Will, medical power of attorney– as scary as it is, labor is dangerous. If you have a living will and/or medical power of attorney, you will want copies of these with you in the hospital.
iPad, books, puzzle book– Again, you will likely be bored waiting on baby to make their appearance. Bring something to keep your mind occupied during the wait.
Chargers– Make sure that you have chargers for your phones, iPads, cameras, etc.
Newborn shirts– If you are a first time mom, I can virtually promise you that you will not be comfortable dressing your BRAND NEW baby when you are in the hospital. They will have a raw umbilical cord, and be so new and wobbly and pink that the very thought of pulling newborn outfits over their little heads will be terrifying. Grab a pack of these newborn shirts so that you can practice getting them dressed without worrying about their little necks or ripping their umbilical cord off.
Hats, socks, mittens– again, hospitals are cold. Your baby will likely stay swaddled in the hospital blankets or snuggled up for skin to skin time with you the majority of the time they are in the hospital. However, for any photo ops you might want, grab a few hats, socks, and mittens for them so that they are warm and cozy.
Pacifiers (maybe)– some lactation consultants discourage the use of pacifiers for the first few days. I let our babies use pacifiers from day one so I brought a few along to the hospital with us.
Nursing pillow- If you are nursing, the nursing pillow will make you and baby much more comfortable while you learn this new skill. I LOVED the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow.
Car Seat– you will have to have the baby’s car seat installed into your vehicle before leaving the hospital with them but the nurses won’t be able to help you get them into the car seat. Make sure that you’ve watched a few educational videos about the proper way to install the car seat into your vehicle and to get them baby into the car seat.
Going home outfit– the general rule for babies is that they need one more layer than you do to stay warm. So, if you are having a baby in the winter, make sure that they are bundled up appropriately. The going home outfit should be over the top cute (duh) but also practical for the season. If you’re going home during the winter, bring a blanket for the baby for the car. You can bundle them up after they are strapped in to the seat. Make sure that the blanket is on their bottom half and not anywhere near their head or face.
Here’s your handy checklist!