What should I pack in my hospital bag? A mom and OB/GYN answers!
Packing for the hospital is a necessity that can be overwhelming. It’s confirmation that things are about to get real! Below is a guide that I followed when packing my own hospital bag. In no way are all of these items absolutely necessary. Some are what I describe as creature comforts that enhance or help your experience. I have added a couple of “Dr. Jill” tips as well that come from a medical perspective.
- Important paperwork: Driver’s license or other ID, insurance card, birth plan or any paperwork your doctor asked you to bring, although this may be less necessary now with electronic record keeping.)
- Glasses or contacts if you wear them. Don’t forget the case and contact solution.
- Toiletries: The hospital supplies them but if you want what you are used to, pack your own shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste/toothbrush, face cream, lotion, LIP BALM (it is very dry in the hospital), hair clip or ties.
- Makeup: Certainly not necessary but come on now, there will be a ton of pictures!
- Nursing bra
- Comfortable clothing to go home in: Thankfully most of us are not Princess Kate and do not need to look perfectly polished in a dress and heels! Think yoga pants and tee shirt or maxi dress. I also recommend flip flops. Your feet swell after delivery making it difficult to put shoes on.
- Bathrobe and slippers to use when your doctor tells you to get up and start moving! The hospital does provide ”no slip” socks in case you do not have slippers.
- Maxi pads- The hospital provides pregnancy pads, but they are humongous, and make you feel like you are wearing a diaper. I recommend regular maxi pads for a more comfortable experience.
- Disposable underwear- To be honest, I was a huge fan of the mesh panties the hospital provides! Not at all sexy, but very functional. They are stretchy and loose, so if you have a C-section, it does not irritate your incision. They also hold that big pad in place to prevent leaks. If you are not a fan of the mesh panties, I recommend inexpensive cotton “granny panties.” They will get stained, and you can just pitch them after!
- Music, magazines, crochet kit: Bring things to help occupy your time during down time.
- Consider a towel from home. Hospital towels are thin and barely surround my non-pregnant torso!
- I would recommend leaving your jewelry at home. In the excitement, pieces can get misplaced.
- Bubblegum: This is a Dr. Jill tip. If you end up with a C-section or go in for a planned one, chewing gum after your operation can help expedite bowel function. Normally your diet gets advanced if you pass gas. This will help!
Moms are so worried about what we need at the hospital, we can frequently forget dad. Important items for dads to pack include:
- Pajamas: It is never fun walking in on dad in his boxer briefs! Please stay covered!
- Multiple changes of clothes- this way you can stay with your family without having to run home and change
- Phone charger
- Snacks (To help you through labor!)
- Money and change for the vending machines
- Notepad/pen- Make sure to write down any questions you may want to ask your nurse or doctor. It’s amazing how sleep deprivation makes you forget what you wanted to ask.
- An extra bag: When you leave the hospital it will be with more “stuff” than what you came with. Prepare for that!
- A book, headphones or something to help you occupy time/nervous energy
- The car seat: you must pass the car seat test before leaving the hospital.
- Special outfit to go home in or take pictures in (Bring two or three- expect the meconium blowout or spit-up to ruin what you planned for baby to wear)
- Baby blanket: The hospital blankets are awesome! Really, you can use those, but if you want a special one, bring it.
- Baby book: If you are planning one, this is the best way to get footprints or even your caretakers’ signatures in
- A baby nail file/mittens to prevent scratches on baby’s face
Consider bringing a bag of chocolates other snacks to share with the nursing staff. Maybe even a cool pen! They will be working very hard for you and a simple token goes a long way.