Pictured: 1) Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat; 2) Organic Nursing Cover; 3) Niche Nursing Pillow; 4) Vanilla Grapefruit Lip Balm; 5) Charlie Diaper Bag in Khaki; 6) Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter; 7) Mint Receiving Blanket; 8) Sea Lion Kimono Top, Footed Pants, & Knot Hat.
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. Then, just before my sister-in-law had her first baby, she asked what you REALLY need for your hospital bag, so I created this list 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. See our range of natural & organic personal care products.
• 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 & 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 about Johnson & Johnson.) You may want to bring your own, such as the organic Babo Baby Shampoo & Wash, and politely ask your nurses to use that for the first bath.
• Lip Balm –They’ll probably only have Vaseline for you to use if you forget your own. We love Ebaviva's Vanilla Grapefruit and Jasmine Orange balms.
• 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 + Nursing Cover – 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 Your Partner – Don’t forget that your partner will be around too and if you have your own room they may even stay over for the few days you are there. They should bring another outfit (or two) so they won't have to go home if it's not necessary. (A tip: 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 – A special outfit for baby’s first trip home! You’ll take so many pictures of the momentous day, and later you can show them the tiny outfit they came home in. We recommend an organic cotton top & bottom set, so that nothing is rubbing against the baby's umbilical cord stump. Organic cotton is breathable and prevents the possibility of pesticides 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. 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. Our exclusive organic cotton Sea Lion Set (above) is one of our most popular newborn outfits, or you can check out our whole layette range.
• 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!
• Diaper Bag – You're going to be carrying a diaper bag everywhere you go for a while, so you might as well start by using it for your trip to the hospital. All those compartments make it a great way to keep all these things organized. The Charlie is a fantastic genter-neutral option.
• Infant Car Seat – Clearly not for your bag, but you will need this! Hospitals won't let you check out without a safe way to get home, so make sure you have one that's installed and ready to go, so you're not scrambling at the last minute! At Sprout, we love the Nuna Pipa Infant Car Seat.