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  • Writer's pictureNicole Ament

What do I pack in my hospital bag?

One of the most frequent questions we get from clients is what to pack in their hospital bag. While this obviously a personal preference that will change from person to person, here's a list of the most common and useful things to take with you for your stay in the hospital while you labor and recover with your baby.

Car seat - While it certainly won't fit in your hospital bag, it is important to make sure that you have with you the car seat that baby will be going home in. Feel free to leave it in the car until you're being discharged, and then it can brought up for inspection by the nurses. If you are choosing to use a convertible seat, it'll be checked upon you getting to your car curbside to make sure it's properly installed and baby is in it according to the manufacturer's instructions. NOTE: Many hospitals offer a free car seat inspection where a certified professional will help you install your seat and also check to make sure you've properly installed it yourself as well. Local fire stations also offer this service.

Phone and chargers - You will need your phone, or your support person's phone, charged and ready to go so that you can reach out to your doula and other support while you're in the hospital. You'll also probably want to take a thousand pictures to send of the new baby, so charging cords and plug-ins are a must.

ID and insurance card - While it is always recommended to have all your hospital registration done long before labor begins, you'll still want to make sure you have these in case they're needed during your stay. Most hospitals will need them for admission and forms that get filled out after delivery.

Comfy clothes - Some people choose to bring their own gown with them to labor in, while others choose to use the hospital gown or labor in other clothing items such as bralettes and tank tops. Whatever you choose, make sure that your postpartum attire screams COMFORT and EASY ACCESS, especially if you're breastfeeding. Always be mindful that the things you bring to your labor and postpartum MAY get stained and ruined; labor and postpartum can get messy. Really soft sleepwear and loungewear is the best, even better if it buttons and makes access simple. Underwear that is soft and comfortable is a must as well, though you may like the hospital mesh panties they give you to wear while you're there (I took extra home with me!).

Comfortable nursing bra and milk pads (if you'll be body feeding) - My biggest recommendation to all clients for the first 5 weeks postpartum if they're going to be feeding with their bodies is to expect to be 'chest out.' Not only does it make for super easy access, but babies eat so much and so often that it just makes it easier to not have to worry about continuously taking off or moving clothing to feed baby.

Footwear - Socks are a must in the postpartum, at least for the first few weeks, and comfortable slippers can be heavenly while in the hospital, where the floors are hard and cold. Many prefer to bring flip flops that can get wet while in the shower, so just make sure that whatever you bring is easy to get on and off.

Your own pillow - I won't beat around the bush with this pillows can really suck; they're cheaply made, don't have a lot of support, and can be noisy. Having a familiar pillow to crash your head on when you're able to get rest can make your stay 100 times better. Some people even bring their own throw or other blanket from home to make them feel more safe and loved as well.

Nipple cream/coconut oil/silverettes - This can be such a blessing in disguise as we venture into the newness of having our body being used to feed like never before (even if we've done it before lol). Sore nipples are pretty common for the few weeks and months after having a baby, and nipple cream/coconut oil can help tremendously. The nice thing about coconut oil is that it's a wonderful for cracked nipples, since it doesn't contain any additives and is a natural product, meaning that if baby ingests some because you forgot to wipe it off, it's likely not going to hurt them. It's also thought to help with thrush, as it has anti-bacterial agents in its makeup. Make sure you're reading the ingredients on your nipple creams! Some require removal of the cream before feeding baby for safety measures! Silverettes are a great tool to help heal aching nipples and help to protect them against clothing that may suddenly feel rough against our sensitive skin.

Toiletries - Some hospitals supply you with these, but it's always nice to have those familiar items that we're already accustomed to use, so make sure you throw in some shampoo/conditioner, a comb/brush, hair ties, deodorant, body wash, and lip balm. If you wear glasses and contacts, definitely make sure you have those with you as well; you want to be able to see your baby!

Baby journal/baby book - If you will be documenting your babies first everything's, make sure to bring this with you as well! The nurses can get their feet prints and stamp them right into the book for you, plus, you'll have it readily available to add info into while it's fresh in your memory.

Snacks - Nighttime, especially, on the postpartum floor can be hit and miss with food, so make sure you're bringing snacks for labor AND postpartum. Most hospitals have a small fridge, so you can bring stuff that requires being kept cold and keep it in there. Having snacks on hand to munch on also saves you time, as postpartum floors can get busy and sometimes, it can be a while before a nurse is able to get any food brought into you.

Things for baby to wear home - Some people bring stuff for baby in their own bag and some simply add it to their bag of stuff. Your best bet is to bring a few different sized outfits for baby to go home in/get pictures taken in. A blanket to cover them when outside, during the colder months. If you want to use a pacifier with your baby, bring one of those as well. Don't worry about bringing diapers or anything else for baby, as everything that is in the room while you're there gets sent home for them with you.

Pack minimally. You'll likely only be at the hospital for 24 hours after your birth and will really be so busy snuggling and feeding your baby that you won't need a lot of stuff to keep you entertained. By all means, bring whatever you want that is going to make you feel safe and happy, though. Don't forget to remind your spouse/partner/main support person to bring their own bag of items as well! While there is a couch or chair in each room for them to sleep on, it's not usually very comfortable, so they should bring things to make it as comfortable as they can. Hospitals are also noisy and bright, so many people bring ear plugs and eye patches to drown out the noise and lights.

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