What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag
When I had my first child, I headed to the hospital with a huge duffel bag full of stuff that I was told I would need for during and after labor. I went through checklists given to me in books and pre-birth classes and ran around town buying and borrowing things like a handheld fan and a water bottle with a straw.
It turns out that 80% of what was in the bag was completely unnecessary. When I was due with my second baby, I packed a much smaller bag, but never even had time to get it from the car in the crazy rush to get to a delivery room before my daughter Amber appeared.
Now my sister-in-law is about to have her first baby, and I started this list to send her of what you REALLY need for your hospital bag, from my perspective and Sprout’s. You’ll notice that it is mostly for after the baby, as most hospitals really do provide everything you need for labor, including a water bottle with a straw.
What to bring:
• An iPad or Laptop with movies – If you end up having an epidural, you may have a lot of lying around time. Also, you may want to create an email list of whom you'll send your baby news to so that you don't have to try to remember everybody while you are in the hospital.
• Flip flops or slippers – You’ll want something comfortable to slip on to take walks down the hallway.
• Shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, and soap for you – The hospital is not a hotel and won’t be providing this for you. You’ll probably want to shower after the birth and you should bring whatever products you would normally use.
• Shampoo and body wash for the baby – This is one case where we are suggesting you bring something most lists won’t mention. A typical hospital will wash your newborn baby in Johnson and Johnson’s baby shampoo, once presumed to be the most gentle. Recently, the company pledged to remove cancer causing ingredients from their shampoo including antibacterial agent triclosan and the preservative quaternium-15 which releases formaldehyde. Read more here about Johnson and Johnson. You may want to bring your own, such as the organic Earth Mama Angel Baby Bodywash and politely ask your nurses to use that for the first bath.
• Chapstick –They’ll probably only have Vaseline for you to use if you forget your own.
• Hair ties – The last thing you’ll want is hair in your face during labor or when you’re trying to nurse.
• Cell phone charger – There’s a good chance your battery might not survive all the excited calls to and from your friends and family members.
• Granny underwear – Whether you have a c-section or deliver naturally, you’ll be wearing a maxi pad for a while afterward. Nobody tells you this before.
• Comfortable, loose pants – If you plan to have visitors, you may not feel so comfortable with socializing in your open hospital gown. Also, contrary to what you may wish, you will not fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans as soon as the baby pops out.
• Nursing tanks or comfortable nightgown/pajamas – See above. Plus you may not want that gown in all of your pictures with your newborn. You will likely be nursing often and want something easy to remove.
• Open-front sweatshirt or robe – It can get chilly in the hospital room and you may feel more comfortable being slightly covered up with visitors there.
• Change of clothes for Dad – Don’t forget that your partner will be around too and if you have your own room he may even stay over for the few days you are there. He should throw an outfit change or two in your bag so that he doesn’t have to go home if he doesn’t need to. (A note to the dads: My husband says that if you have a cot in the room, you should take the mattress off and put it on the floor.)
• Take me home outfit – You may want to consider a special outfit for baby’s first trip home. You’ll take pictures of the momentous day, and later you can show them the tiny outfit they came home in. We recommend an organic cotton top and bottom set, so that nothing is rubbing against the babies raw umbilical cord stub. Organic cotton is breathable and prevents the possibility of pesticides potentially rubbing off on baby's porous skin. Footed pants take away the need for socks that will fall off, and kimono tops are easiest at this stage as they don’t need to be pulled over a baby’s head. This is one of our most popular sets. Either wash it before hand in an all natural detergent or, if you are superstitious or don’t know the sex, have a family member hold on to it and wash it while you are in the hospital. You may also want to bring your own hat for the baby.
• Camera, extra memory card, and battery charger – You won’t want to miss any of your baby’s first adorable moments so make sure the camera is packed and ready!