Aug 02, 2021
Your due date is coming and you are thinking about packing your hospital bag. What should you bring? Am I bringing too much, too little? I provide you my minimalistic recommendation as well as my first son's birth story, it wasn't as this type A momma planned!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mommas.
Read below for my minimalistic recommendations followed by my first birth story.
After giving birth your hormones are all over the place; one minute you are sweating buckets and the next minute you are freezing. A comfortable robe you can snuggle into is the perfect item.
Also, before COVID, you were encouraged to walk around the maternity floor. The gowns the hospital provided me exposed my back side and being able to cover up without putting on real clothes was nice. Many robes also have a matching hospital gown you can get. I got one for my second delivery and found the gown easier for breastfeeding; the shoulders had straps that snapped down, while the hospital gowns require you to remove an arm from the sleeve.
I also used the gown heavily once I brought my son home. I found it the perfect item of clothes to sleep in that gave me easy access for breastfeeding during the night.
Introducing Lucas to his brother for the first time, wearing my robe and matching hospital gown
Hopefully COVID is over soon and visitors will be allowed back in the hospital rooms, and when that happens a set of leggings and T-shirt/tank top comes in handy.
I personally wore the hospital gown (first son) or my own gown (second son) for the majority of my time at the hospital. However, I didn't want to see my friends and family in that gown. For my first, non COVID times, my mom bought me a comfortable set of clothes to wear. I had several visitors and was happy to have my own clothes during those visits.
Be realistic, after birth your body doesn't automatically go back to your pre-pregnancy form. You will still look pregnant after birth and you won't want to suck it in to fit into a pair of jeans or want to! Be kind to yourself, you just grew and delivered a baby!
You most likely will want to wear your pregnancy clothes, as they will be the most comfortable. Or you can bring a pair of postpartum leggings with you, I will for my third birth. Read more about postpartum leggings here.
I am a sucker for warm fuzzy socks. Hospital gowns come down to your knees, leaving your knee downward to your feet uncovered. The best way to keep your feet warm is to wear socks, and when do you have a better reason to wear fuzzy comfy socks than right after birth?!
The hospital has all you need for your new baby, diapers, wipes, clothes, swaddles, blankets and even formula if you want it. I only dressed my babies in hospital clothes right till I was set to bring them home.
The baby's hospital clothes were comfortable for my babies and they were cute! You do not need to change your baby to go home, but as a new momma I was excited to buy my "coming home outfit". Both my boys wore the same outfit to come home from the hospital.
First Son in Baby Bear Outfit Coming Home Outfit
Second Son in Baby Bear Coming Come Outfit
Do not go overboard here, the basics is all that is needed. I would suggest:
I personally don't wear much makeup. I brought my BareMineral foundation powder and yellow finishing powder, this helps to reduce the red in my face; I naturally have a very red face. Lastly I pack eyeliner and chapstick.
My husband is an eating machine and while the hospital normally provides your partner a meal, hospital portions can be small. Having a bag of snacks is essential for me to keep him from getting "Hangry"!
With my second child, COVID was in its first wave, and we were told if my husband left the room he wouldn't be allowed back in. That meant he couldn't go get any food or snacks during our stay and that thought terrified him. We made sure we had our snack bag ready and he even shared some of the treats we packed.
In all seriousness, after giving birth you might be hungry too! You can save time by bringing some snacks you enjoy instead of sending someone out to get them for you.
If you are like me you use your phone for pictures, who carries around a camera anymore? You will want to take a million pictures of your newborn and capture their cuteness/sweetness. Make sure you bring a charger in case your phone dies so you don't miss a moment!
You are not allowed to leave the hospital if you do not have a carseat for your newborn. We used the same infant car seat for both our boys and kept it around in case we have more babies. After much research I chose the Chicco Infant Carseat. I find it safe; it passes all safety tests and recommendations, and it is easy to use.
This carseat also has adapters that work with my BOB jogging stroller. With the adapter I can click the carseat to the stroller and take my newborn along on walks knowing he is safe.
My first son leaving the hospital in his Chicco car seat
Above are the basics I packed for my second son's birth when I actually planned my hospital bag! Well, I also took my laptop as I was finishing up my last class of my MBA before graduating and wasn't sure if I would need it.
My overall recommendation is to keep it simple.
If you are curious about receiving blankets vs swaddles for newborns check out this post. I used a combination of both for my boys. You do not need to pack these items as the hospital will be able to provide you with them.
I had started an accelerated MBA program while I was pregnant with my first son. My official due date was October 21 and I was told that for your first pregnancy it is common to go beyond the 40 weeks. My birth plan was to have my son, unknown gender to me at the time, vaginally and I assumed I would get the epidural. This is far from what actually happened; lesson learned. It is great to be prepared and have a plan, but you need to be flexible.
I was working full time and taking two classes, Economics and Accounting, twice a week. My midterms were scheduled for the second week of October and I was counting on taking them before the baby came. Leading up to October I was concentrating on staying ahead of my class work, knowing I would need a full week off.
My husband and I took a birthing class in September at our local hospital, Doylestown Health. The class first covered vaginal deliveries and didn't cover C-sections till the end. Our instructor liked to talk and ran over time on breathing activities and vaginal delivery information. At the estimated class end time we hadn't even discussed C-sections and I had a new puppy at home. I decided not to stay longer, I was planning on a vaginal delivery anyway.
The birthing class went over your hospital bag and suggested packing your bag around 36 weeks. I was focused on getting through my midterms and didn't think to pack a bag early.
On October 3, when I was 37 weeks pregnant, I woke up and went to the local YMCA to swim laps. I am normally not a swimmer, but, while pregnant, I find it to be the best exercise in the third trimester. After swimming, I drove 45 minutes to work and stayed until 4:30. I had class that evening and my school was about 45 minutes from work and equal distance from my house.
I picked up dinner, because I wouldn't get a chance to eat later. I craved for Taco Bell, (I have fond childhood memories of eating there, but as an adult eat it once a year maybe)! I drove through and ordered my favorite, Chicken Quesadilla combo meal. I put the bag down and not wanting to drive and eat.When I got to school I opened my car door and my water broke as soon as I stepped out of the car!
This was not part of my plan and I had no idea what to do. I walked into class, dropped my bags and headed for the restroom, leaving a small trail of amniotic fluid behind me. I sat in a stall completely unable to process what was happening. I couldn't put my pants back on, otherwise they would get wet, and I felt trapped in the bathroom.
I called my husband to let him know and I assumed I could drive myself to the hospital, if I could find a way to get to my car. One of my classmates heard me on the phone and asked if she could help. She found our program director, a woman who had 4 kids and who also have been in the Israel army for 10 years. She immediately took charge. She called security to get them to block off the restroom, deliver us towels (in case the baby came quickly) and ordered snacks. She also called my husband and said I couldn't drive and he had to come and get me.
Fast forward 30 hours and I was in hospital, barely dilated and exhausted. My body was not ready to give birth even though I had been on pitocin for hours so, (yup you guessed it) I ended up having a C-section. Again, something I had never considered as part of my possible birthing plan options. And I had no hospital bag.
The hospital has EVERYTHING you and your baby will need for the birth and even after the birth. So, if you don't have a hospital bag you will be okay! However, it is nice to have a couple things from home. For my second son I packed my hospital bag right at 36 weeks and, of course, my son didn't arrive until my scheduled C-section at nearly 40 weeks.