What’s In My Bag? Maternity Ward Edition

Aug 10, 2022

Well, it’s about that time.  With a planned induction on the horizon, packing my hospital bag was a task that took on new urgency this weekend.  Here’s what went in it (largely based on reader feedback).

The Bag // I have an older, leather Cuyana weekender that is the perfect size for this purpose, so I just intend to reuse it.  If you want the newest version of the weekender — which comes with an amazing zippered-pocket system — get on the waitlist.  Other weekender options include J.Crew’s Montauk tote in leather, which is utterly sublime, and Lo and Sons Catalina weekender, which might be the perfect choice for a hospital bag, now that I think about it.

The Organization // Packing cubes.  They seem like a dumb thing you don’t need, but you do.  I used them for my wedding, it was the only thing that kept me from losing it when I needed to change for events stacked on top of each other.

For our baby bag, I picked up a new set that I can reuse.  You can also buy a set from CalPak, who has fun prints and tougher fabrics, but the cheap ones work for me.  Etsy also has a few options that are themed for the hospital.

The Clothes // A fellow reader mentioned that she didn’t take clothes to the hospital for delivery because the hospital has everything you need, and things tend to get gross.  I respect that as an ethos.  So while I am packing some things, I may not use them if it seems easier not to.

The first thing I bought was this Seraphine Labor and Delivery pack — it has a great robe, button up nightgown, and lounge set in dark grey.  I also bought the Kindred Bravely hospital gown, which has an opening in the back for monitors and whatnot.  As for  a going home outfit, this Gap maternity dress is super comfortable and easy to wear, and I can leave the hospital feeling like a person (because it might be the last time for weeks that I’m not in leggings).

I also packed some of Kindred Braveley’s new pumping/nursing bras.  I’m trying to be flexible with the whole breast feeding thing.  I’m prepped if I decide to go that route, I’m also prepped for formula feeding.  As Ali Wong says: Formula-fed babies have the shiniest hair.

For socks, I packed some fuzzy ones with tread.  I also packed slippers, because my feet get cold.  And I’m sure my feet won’t be down to normal size yet, so I’m leaving the hospital in Birkenstocks.

Baby Clothes // I decided to buy most of my newborn clothes on Poshmark.  But I ended up loving how soft these Kyte baby onesies were that I bought a couple for her first days.  They have zippers and come in fabulous colors, and did I mention they’re super soft?  I bought two for the hospital, but also grabbed this cute hat and kimono top set.

Beyond that, I think my kid is going to be wearing a lot of Old Navy.  They sell these cute multi-packs where everything coordinates, so I don’t have to worry about making outfits while sleep deprived.  This “Grow with Me” multi-pack comes with one shirt for each month, so they literally grow with your kid.  And I love the prints on this set of footies.

Baby Extras // Again, I’ll be relying heavily on hospital-provided items for the first few days.  I see no reason to bring all kinds of things to the hospital when their swaddle blankets, pacifiers, etc. are just fine.  But I do want to shout out the folks at Babylist.

We registered there because it allows you to select items, and then your friends and family can buy the items from any store that has them in stock.  I also loved that I could buy sample boxes of pacifiers, swaddles, bottles, diapers, and the like.  Every baby is different (or so I am so often told), and having options for these items seemed like a good idea.

Toiletries and Hygiene Items // I hit the travel section of Target pretty hard for shampoo, toothpaste, etc.. Beyond that, I’ll be relying heavily on the hospital provided recovery items like pads and mesh underwear.  I bought the Frida Baby Pack and Peri Bottle for when I get home.

Also, a reader had an excellent suggestion that I wanted to share.  Hospital towels are those small, white, scratchy ones that no one wants to use.  So I bought a dark-colored, bath sheet-size towel from Target to take with me.  Because why use a bad towel when a good one costs $15?  Dammit, I’m worth it.

Water Bottle // My Stanley Tumbler is coming with me to the hospital. Though I considered buying this Owala, which is well-reviewed and does not spill.  I’m also packing a couple of LiquidIV electrolyte packs.

Mom and Dad Extras // I’m packing a bit light for the hospital, because I can always send Kyle home for things if I decide I need them.  But everyone seemed to agree the following four things were must haves: 1) a 20ft iPhone cable, 2) a good quality hand/body lotion, 3) a sleep mask, and 4) and the book I really want to read and haven’t gotten to.

Anything you packed in your bag that I missed?  Anything you wish you had left at home?

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  1. ShEryl says:

    – pack food. No amount of food provided by the hospital could sustain me, I was ravenous. Granola bars, chocolate, nuts, high yield snacks. You aren’t allowed to eat once you are admitted (in case they have to do anesthesia), so eat well before you go.

    – an eye mask and ear plugs, it is loud and bright.

    – any meds you might want, such as allergy meds, etc. caveat is that I am a physician so was aware of med interactions. After you deliver you may not be on any meds besides as needed pain, so most other meds are fine.

    • aMY says:

      Agree about snacks! For you and your support team. I’ll never forget my husband trying to hide that he was eating Reese’s while I was in labor.

      And I’ll be forever grateful for my SIL who brought me a cheeseburger and fries from one of my favorite local restaurants after I had my first baby.

      So happy for you, Abra!

    • Janine says:

      Just want to note that it’s not true that you can’t eat after admittance, but depending on your provider, they may protest. But you may feel nauseous so easy snacks like applesauce, nuts, whatever will taste good to you are gold. And hard agree snacks are great for in between meals. Consider bringing a heating pad for labor pain and post-labor cramps. I didn’t use a lot of what I brought, but the heating pad and nursing pillow were critical. Also ask your postpartum nurses to teach you things like swaddling, etc. if you need help or a refresher. They’ve done it all a million times.

    • Elz says:

      Coming from the pharma/hospital and legal side, please don’t bring meds to a hospital. We can’t allow them as we can’t confirm what they are, where they came from, etc. In fact, my clients will either have the patient discard the meds, or leave at home. if you have maintenance meds, the hospital will provide those as needed during your stay. The care team will need to be in charge of your meds during your inpatient stay. Monitoring pain meds and other medications patients have during their stay is a requirement of care.. It’s a safety thing!

  2. Leigh says:

    Snacks. You need snacks.

  3. Jules says:

    Take some snacks/food! Out of all the things I packed, that was the best. The hospital actually had decent food, but did not provide any for my husband. Also…. I just want what I want, you know? Also, Gatorade came in super handy.

    Also, try to have some frozen/ready-to-eat meals stashed. The first few days back from the hospital were such a blur. If it hadn’t been for the stash in our freezer I don’t know what I would have eaten. I also had cooked a HUGE pile of chicken in the slow cooker that we had in the fridge, which was a total lifesaver. I didn’t even have the bandwidth to think about takeout/delivery. And while friends and family delivered food for us, it was just easier and more reliable to have stuff at home.

    So excited for you! I hope you have a smooth and uneventful delivery!

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, my hospital also did not provide food for my spouse, so he had to leave me, after an induction and pushing and a C-section, 3x a day to go get his own food from the Potbelly downstairs or the hospital cafeteria about a 10-min walk away.Almost two years later, the lack of food for the support person is what angers me the most about my birth experience. Getting food delivered is also an option some places. Wish we’d packed more shelf-stable bars/meal replacements. I preferred a wheeled carry-on suitcase as my hospital “bag” because it’s hard to carry so many bags. I also liked bringing my own pillow from home in a non-white pillowcase so I didn’t mix it up with the hospital pillows.

    • Shannon says:

      My lifesaver was a freezer full of homemade burritos.

      I made a bunch of options – black bean, shredded rotisserie chicken, scrambled egg, etc. – wrapped them individually in wax paper and stuck them in freezer bags. My husband and I set up assembly lines.

      We did another round of burritos when he was about to wrap up paternity leave.

      Having something we could plunk onto a plate, heat right up, and eat one-handed while holding a baby really helped.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Just a hint on snacks- thanks to the L&D nurse with my first kid… most hospitals cover your meals while you’re there but not your spouse’s. But they don’t limit the amount of food YOU get, though. So at Sibley here in DC, I could order as much as I wanted for myself. I would order enough for both of us and just be like “ugh breastfeeding, i’m SO ravenous”. We never ran out of food and fed both of us for free! I ended up with two C-sections so was there for 5 days the first time and 4 the second… was such a great tip and kept us from having to shell out more $$ or have my husband be worried about chasing down meals during peak covid/inability to leave the hospital and instead focus on enjoying bonding in the hospital. But yes, agree that there are those cravings the hospital just can’t meet- for that, refer to the snack recommendations.

  5. Jill says:

    – chapstick and your regular face cream, for the same reasons that you want nice hand lotion. Hospital air is dry!
    – an iPad or laptop to watch something. Your induction may take a while, and after baby is born you’ll (hopefully!) be bored for a few days in the hospital. It’s nice to have a something to watch besides whatever is on the hospital tv.

  6. nel says:

    Here’s what I’d add, based on experience of not having them (COVID meant we were stuck in the hospital pretty much and couldn’t leave to get them, so your situation might be different).

    +advil/tylenol/microwavable headache bean bag. Kyle should take these, because the hospital won’t in the event of a migraine/pulled muscle, etc. you’ll probably get a headache from the sleep loss, meds, stress, etc … have these at the ready!

    +halo fleece sleep sack with swaddle wings. if you don’t know how to swaddle, don’t even think about learning in the hospital. just bring this and forget about it all. Our hospital actually carried them.

    +gatorade/coconut water / anything with electrolytes that you can stomach. you don’t be able to eat if you get an epidural, so this is the next best thing.

  7. Allison says:

    A few others to consider!
    1. Bring a swaddle that zips/velcros closes if you’re planning to use one at home. I found the learning curve on burrito swaddling an actual tiny newborn to be an extra challenge that I didn’t need post-labor. Seems silly but it is way easier to use the pre-made swaddles if you already have them.
    2. A zip front sports bra was super handy for quick skin to skin time or the when the lactation consultant drops by at the least convenient time.
    3. Love Old Navy’s kiddo clothes, but don’t sleep on the Amazon “Moon and Back” Hanna Andersson collection. A fraction of the brand’s usual price (and it fluctuates often), but still great quality cotton that actually holds up to a million washes. Plus cute simple patterns. https://www.amazon.com/stores/Moon+and+Back+by+Hanna+Andersson/page/286DF600-1D00-48AF-85B1-89F7C9850941?ref_=ast_bln
    4. A favorite chapstick or lip mask to keep in your robe pocket. The dehydration is real.

    Good luck!

  8. kate says:

    Buy more pads for post delivery and have them at home and ready to go. The hospital doesn’t supply or send you home with nearly enough! Even for the first couple of days. So be prepared. Change them often and take all the precautions in your bed. Just a point of experience: If your hospital is allowing visitors have them come at night and not during the day. While the staff is attending to yours and your baby’s needs get as much rest as you can. The last thing you need is to entertain guest to entertain.

  9. Mel says:

    SHOWER SHOES.

  10. Kath Gregg says:

    I love that you are bringing a book! But I recommend an iPad or laptop because your attention span/state of tiredness is not likely to handle reading.

    Chapstick.

    Comfy blanket – hospital blankets are so thin and it is cold in hospitals.

    Flip flops for walking the halls and the shower.

    Camera.

  11. Jess says:

    – That little tabletop baby nightlight that people tap to turn on — my daughter was up multiple times a night and I didn’t have to turn the overhead light on at 3 a.m. It was nice.

    – Snacks and bottled water. We weren’t allowed to leave our room to go get water (the nurses had to) and we were always SO thirsty. YMMV because your hospital might let you get stuff

    – I spent a fortune on making little baskets for the nurses. Would not do again. A box of pastries/bagels/pizza is fine

  12. Ashley says:

    +1 to whoever said they ordered 2 entrees for themselves and shared with husband. we did the same, and the hospital kitchen never batted an eye when they brought us 2 meals.

    my husband was FREEZING in the hospital and recommends that every support partner bring an extra hoodie and warm socks.

    so so so happy for you!

  13. Brittany says:

    SNACKS! Hospital food is unpredictable and while they’ll deliver meals, they don’t really do snack service. I brought granola bars, some candy, individual mixed nuts bags.

    Small speaker – we didn’t use this a ton, but a couple times we just wanted some music or background noise that wasn’t hospital sounds or the terrible TV options.

    Pack of cards – labor can be long and while painful, it’s boring. We played Phase 10 for a few hours early on.

    Tweezers – I forgot these in my toiletry packing and wish I had them.

    Also something to consider: you may not deliver naturally. I had an emergency C section and was not prepared for that recovery. I wish I had assembled a tote of things I’d need for single-floor living at home for a few weeks, since they tell you to avoid stairs as much as possible.

  14. Naomi says:

    I actually have a different perspective on snacks. I brought tons, and didn’t end up eating any. While I was in labor, things were so chaotic that food was the last thing on my mind. After, the hospital provided meals, and they were so big I always had food. I think every hospital must be different, because I definitely won’t be loading up a ton of food, just to cart it back, this time around!

    • Carissa says:

      I agree on snacks. The hospital food was *fine* (not great, but fine. Actually, the breakfast I had of pancakes, sausage, eggs, AND grits after delivery was–at the time–AMAZING and I devoured it). But beforehand, I couldn’t have eaten if I’d wanted to, and certainly didn’t have time to think about it.

      I hate to be a naysayer but I’d also consider leaving a book at home. Sleep instead.

  15. Morgan says:

    Agree on the snacks!

    Also, hospitals are very dry! Highly recommend a portable humidifier and plenty of good lip balm.

    We also brought our baby books so we could get our babies’ foot prints right after they were born.

    Best wishes for a smooth delivery and easy recovery!

    • Tricia says:

      Ooooo yes to the baby book! Nurses did their footprints for us! Also I would set up little “recovery stations” in your bathrooms at home. Have baskets with pads, peri bottles (youll get one at the hospital too!), extra mesh underwear.

  16. Michelle says:

    + 1 to snacks for the hospital.

    Also, ask for extra of the mesh hospital underwear they provide after delivery.

    • CLSDC says:

      +1 for the snacks and grabbing as much of the mesh underwear as you can stuff in your bag. If you deliver vaginally, you will need it. Real underwear isn’t useful that first week. You’ll be glad you had the disposable kind.

  17. Katy says:

    This seems super decadent, but your own pillow (just pop it in your trunk). I did not pack my own pillow and the hospital’s was awful. When my toddler was admitted to hospital for RSV this spring and we had to stay overnight with him for 2 days, having our own pillows was lifechanging. I love how real you’re keeping hospital packing – I think you’ve nailed it! PS knix postpartum underwear for when you get home is the bomb.

  18. Shannon says:

    Looks like you are well prepared! I am sure it will go great! I did take my own pillow. I, of course, also forgot and left it at the hospital. But I was still glad I took my own.

  19. Tricia says:

    We packed our fire stick and a sound machine! Also a cute swaddle blanket for pictures 🙂 Won’t lie….snuck in a mini bottle of Veuve too.

  20. Madeleine Levin says:

    Please bring your preferred pillow and pillow case. It made such a difference in my comfort. Also, I much preferred the adult lady disposable underwear: they felt more secure, less bulky and overall were comfortable. Lip balm!!! Must pack lip balm. Andddddd extra preferred snacks because lord knows depending on the time baby arrives what food options will be available ❤️

  21. Chelsea says:

    Bring a nursing pillow! I also brought a little makeup for photos in the hospital (and did my makeup pre-csection)

    • Elinor says:

      That is such a smart idea! A nursing pillow made a huge difference for me, and I wish I’d had it from the get go

  22. Amy W. says:

    I know you said you planned on using the hospital provided post partum stuff but pack the Frida kit to bring with you. the Peri bottle is just worlds better/easier to use and the mesh underwear is also way way better than the hospital stuff. I wish I’d bought a second pack of the mesh underwear alone. I didn’t end up pushing so I didn’t need the ice pack pads but the mom friend I passed them on to couldn’t stop thanking me afterwards for them.

    The other thing I didn’t bring but had my husband go back for was the boppy. It really did make nursing much less stressful when we first started it.

    • Lindsey says:

      Agreed on bringing the Frieda stuff with you. There is a reason everyone buys that peri bottle and you’ll need it immediately.

      • Anna says:

        Another vote for the Frida mesh underwear. I will be bringing that to the hospital with me for second baby as it just fit me better than hospital provided and felt more secure. I also really liked the foam witch hazel better than the Tucks pads. That whole kit is amazing.

  23. Siri says:

    This is a really good list. I would add snacks/bottled water/etc. for your support person during labor — because of COVID, my husband could not go out to get food and the hospital cafeteria was closed.

    If you’re planning on trying nursing, I found a nursing pillow incredibly helpful to have in the hospital.

    If your bag is totally full, an empty tote bag — our hospital sent us home with a bunch of postpartum/baby supplies (witch hazel pads, numbing spray — which was a life-saver — newborn diapers, etc.).

  24. Diane says:

    Lip balm!
    Also- definitely the water cup with a straw… I found it much easier to drink in various positions when I had a straw.
    And I had my journal- but I’m old school and like being able to write things down on paper.
    I also brought my Boppy nursing pillow (or rather I sent my husband home to get it) because it was much firmer than the hospital pillows for nursing.

  25. Kristen says:

    So excited for you! I used nothing that I packed aside from some toiletries and going home outfits. One thing I didn’t expect – hot flashes! Your hormones are going crazy postpartum & I was burning up while everyone else was a little chilly. Another thing no one told me – you get cramps the first few days of breastfeeding. The act makes your body release hormones that help shrink your uterus back down. Also, ask for a stool softener. Trust me lol. Birth is far from glamorous, but wow – if I could relive staring at my teeny newborn son over & over again I would. Wishing you an easy L&D, a speedy recovery, and so much love!

  26. Minnesota says:

    My fourth was born 20 years ago, so some things have changed but many have not. To the advice above I would add:
    –until you go through labor you don’t really know what you’ll be like. I thought I’ve be loud and really rely on everyone in the room, but in fact I ended up mostly in the rocking chair and shower, extremely quiet and all in my head. My partner called it grim determination. There were long stretches where there wasn’t anything for him to do, so I’d recommend that Kyle bring a laptop and a book. Hospitals typically have great wifi.
    –I’m not familiar with the peri bottle referenced, but just know that a peri bottle will be really important in the first days of your recovery. I thought the hospital-provided one was sufficient, but I was so grateful for it.
    –If you don’t already have one, this would be an excellent time to put a waterproof mattress protector on your mattress.
    –I was induced with three of my four and thought it was fine, just FYI.
    –When I was worried about things during labor, it was calming for me to remind myself that women have been having babies since the beginning of time. For some reason that was very reassuring.
    Best of luck. You’ll do great!

  27. Clara says:

    TLDR really good lip balm. All the panting and mouth breathing did a number on my lips. Bite agave lip mask was a lifesaver.

  28. TiFfany says:

    You might want to take some lanolin. I forgot to bring some, and my doctor actually had to prescribe it for me which seemed to take forever. So just pack it.

  29. Elinor says:

    Next time I am definitely bringing our sound machine. Hospitals are noisy and there will be lots of people coming in and out.

  30. Alisha says:

    The only thing I would add is a newborn size nipple for a bottle. You might not need it, but the hospital usually only has size 1, which can be a little too fast of flow for newborns. Target has Dr Browns which worked well for me

  31. Nancy says:

    You may not need this in the hospital, but you will shortly after you get home: disposable nursing pads. Forget the reusable, they are simply not absorbent enough. Full disclosure, my youngest baby turns 23 on Monday so I may be outdated. (I had to pack a disposable camera in my bag, which seems absolutely hilarious now.) And as for baby things, those baby sleep sacks were a godsend. I went back into the hospital when my son was 10 days old. They gave me a private room and let me bring the baby with me, but I had to take care of him while I was hooked up to IVs etc. Those drawstring gowns were the only thing that got me through. So easy when you’re exhausted.
    Many blessings to you and your family. Sending good thoughts your way.

  32. Maggie says:

    Re; baby clothes – don’t assume your baby is going to fit into newborn clothes just because they’re a newborn. I had to send someone out for bigger clothes because my first was too big for anything NB. The next time around, we just brought size 0-3 months.

  33. E says:

    Pillow for KYLE! Our hospital had enough for patients but none for support people. We brought one and are so glad we did!

  34. Jess says:

    Suggest packing pants/nursing tops instead of dresses—it’s easier to do skin time and nursing. These from Amazon are awesome SUIEK 3PACK Racerback Nursing… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GZNSGSP?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

    Tell your hubby to plan to write down/enter in iPhone notes your birth story that first day or two (your sense of time will be warped and you’ll both be too tired to do it later!)

    Also—hoard all the stuff they give you (peri ice packs, underwear, pads, etc) and put them in your bag every time they restock. You’ll want them at home!!

  35. Ana says:

    Congrats! So happy for you!

  36. Bette says:

    So excited for you! Just want to emphasize the sleep mask & sound machine suggestions (for getting as much sleep as possible – hospitals are so loud!). And the point about skipping the dress in favor of leggings and shirts – easy access to chest is #1 priority whether it’s for breastfeeding or skin on skin contact. I didn’t bring twinkle lights – ha- but I did bring an essential oil diffuser and my delivery room smelled like lavender the whole time which made everything a little better. Good luck, you got this!

  37. CLSDC says:

    You may end up not wearing the ‘lounge set’ or the robe. I would pack a comfy blanket instead. After delivering vaginally, the last thing I wanted to do was put on new ‘nice’ clothes and bleed through them. I mostly stayed pantsless or in black yoga pants if I needed to get up or roam. The amount of blood and other things was surprising to me. THe loungewear everyone told me to get stayed in my bag and was way more useful in week 2 and beyond.

    That being said, all the supplies they provide for care of that area are critical, and take as much of them home with you as you can. I found the ‘pain’ spray they gave me to be a godsend, and couldn’t find any online after, so with baby #2, I took an extra can. But the mesh underwear, the ice packs, pads, etc. will be needed.

    I would also make sure your husband has some layers to wear too, the temperature was varied depending upon the day and what room we were in. Also, ask the nurse the best way for a husband to rest with you. They know ALL the tricks, and have seen all the setups. I have a friend that didn’t ask, and they didn’t know that the chair in the room next to the hospital bed expanded into a bed, and he slept in a chair every night. Nurses are amazing, super resourceful and have seen it all… 🙂

    Lastly, a Stanley is great, but the hospital “JUG” they give you is straight up fire. I asked for a second one and used those two water jugs for years around the house. Not great for traveling, but man, those things hold tons of water and ice, and stay cold forever it seems. Not as pretty as a Stanley, but don’t overlook it’s fantasticness. 🙂

    Congrats and good luck!

  38. TheLOOP says:

    You have a great list already. I would add lanolin, a pair of nipple shields to help with latching in case needed, and lots of post-partum ice pads (or padsicles). My hospital gave me a few of the latter but I bought a case for home so I didn’t worry about running out.

  39. Mary G. says:

    I don’t have children but remember hearing this tip that I thought was amazing. Bring ceramic coffee mugs for you and your spouse. Hospital coffee is much better when it’s an a mug vs a flimsy styrofoam cup!

  40. Sarah says:

    I found I overpacked for each kid. I never needed makeup. The only things I really needed as far as clothing was: A couple nursing tanks, cozy PJ pants, a robe and joggers and a t-shirt for the ride home. A couple onesies for my babies. I wore a regular hospital gown during labor and delivery and for a day or two after with my first because I needed an emergency c-section and had complications and literally couldn’t change into anything else. If you wind up needing a c-section they don’t let you eat for a at least a day. I never ate any of the snacks I packed. They provide almost everything for mom and baby including a large water cup with lid and straw. Obvs bring a phone charger and skin care, toothbrush etc. Husband just needs comfy clothes.

  41. Ann says:

    I heartily recommend bringing in a few packets of nut butter or some other hearty snack. I had an induction along with an epidural, which meant I went 12+ hours without solid food. By the time I gave birth, it was 3:00 AM and the hospital kitchen was closed. I was STARVING. I got some crackers and juice from the nurses, but I needed protein. If I hadn’t had my packets of PB / Almond butter, I think I would have passed out.

  42. Ali says:

    Music! We played our Bose speaker for 4 days straight in the hospital, including 40 hours of labor. The nurses loved coming into our room and making song requests? It gave us energy during a very draining labor, and was soothing in the quieter moments.

  43. CP says:

    Re food, I think it depends on the hospital. I gave birth at UCSD and they fed me and my husband breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three and a half days. It was wonderful, and the food was pretty good.

    A couple of light snacks are good to munch on if labor takes a long time to progress or if you give birth in the middle of the night.

    Good luck, and my best wishes to you for a safe, fast, and easy labor and delivery! Your life will never be the same – in the best way possible – once your baby girl takes her first breath!!!!

  44. Leah says:

    1. Nursing pillow
    2. Husband items: his pillow, wear comfy clothes, and be prepared to goto Target often
    3. Extra Always nightpads
    4. No book; but tablet is good idea
    5. Frozen meals in freezer at home
    6. Agree with preparing room downstairs if you need emergency c-section- good idea
    7. Drink a ton of fluids

    Good luck!

  45. Stefanie S. says:

    Depends disposable underwear is so much better than the mesh underwear you get from the hospital. I definitely stuck a handful of those in my hospital bag when I had each of my kids.

  46. Lauren says:

    1. Lip balm is a must.
    2. A laptop to keep yourself occupied. I had an induction that took five days start to finish – lots of waiting to get the show on the road!
    3. Have a peri bottle in each bathroom in your house.
    4. Like five extra pairs of black undies. There were a shortage of mesh undies at my hospital and I was grateful to have extras available for my stay.
    5. The hospital will probably give you these but – nipple shields! I didn’t know these were a thing but if you have any trouble with nursing at all, definitely advocate for yourself to try with these – they were a game changer for me!

  47. SARAH says:

    — A nursing pillow! “My Brest Friend” (if you can get past the name) is amazing. It clips around your body, which is extremely helpful when you’re learning how to nurse/wrestling a baby alligator.

    –Definitely, definitely velcro or (even better) zip-up swaddles. I’m on my third pregnancy and still don’t know how to do an old-fashioned blanket swaddle, and as someone else said, you don’t want to be learning how to do this in the hospital.

    –I wouldn’t bother bringing books, but a laptop or iPad is key, especially for those long hours of waiting for the induction to kick in. Then again, I survived my first induction watching “Four Weddings” on TLC on the hospital TV.

    –Soft, pull-down nursing bras for sleep (Medela makes my favorite, I’ve now worn it for years post-partum!)

    –Always (or similar brand) adult diapers. Seriously, I lived in them for weeks. They are the best freaking thing, and so much better than soaking maxi pads and destroying underwear. Also, hoard as many peri-ice packs as you can from the hospital.

    –Nipple shields for breastfeeding. They are like training wheels when nursing is really hard in the early days. Don’t worry if the hospital lactation consultant discourages them; they are soooo helpful for latching, and minimizing nipple pain. You can always shed them later once you’ve got the hang of things. And if you get terrible nipple pain that won’t go away, your OB can prescribe something called “All Purpose Nipple Ointment” or something like that. It was a lifesaver. Also recommend Hydrogel cooling nipple gel pads.

    You’ve got this, mama!!!

  48. Lauren says:

    I am probably in the minority but I HATED the mesh underware and hospital pad combo. I used them in the hospital but needed my husband to help get everything situated and then switched to depends for the ride home and while home.

    I wouldn’t rely on the hospital for providing a pacifier – ours does not so I always made sure to pack my own.

    We like stretchy bamboo cotton swaddles (Lou Lou & Company are my favorite) and they were so much easier to keep baby nice and tight. Both my boys busted out of the hospital swaddles super easily.

    I packed a little bit of makeup and dry shampoo so I felt like I didn’t look like death, even in my hospital gowns, but totally up to you.

  49. Kim says:

    Lip balm, a nursing pillow, and your own pillow. If you have a baby book, take snapshots of the pages for labor and delivery — mine included blanks for things like the weather and they remain blank (my kids are 7 and 5) because I didn’t see them until afterwards!

    Definitely pack some snacks. I found myself more likely to want them in recovery than during L&D (my L&D nurses were great and hooked me up with snacks if I wanted them then). As others have said, hospitals have varying rules about food while in L&D — I had an epidural both deliveries and still had small snacks, but it really does range quite a bit.

    Good luck, and I hope everything goes smoothly! We’re here cheering you on 🙂

    • Kim says:

      Oh, and makeup remover wipes or some other way to wash your face without getting up. Getting into the bathroom may be easy or may not be easy!

  50. Aam says:

    Not stuff, but I wish I’d made appointments with a lactation consultant and with a therapist before I left the hospital. Therapists all have long wait lists now, and LCs in my area book about two weeks out. Therapy can be such a huge necessity because the postpartum hormones can be absolutely brutal. And the LC is basically a necessity if you want to try to breastfeed: it won’t be intuitive no matter what.

  51. Mallory says:

    If you haven’t already, look up how to size yourself correctly for breast pump flanges. At least in my experience (and those of a lot of my moms’ group) nearly all of us were quite a bit smaller than the standard 24/28mm flanges that come with pumps. Especially if breastfeeding is difficult/not possible at first but a goal, being able to pump right away and often is crucial to establishing your supply. “Exclusive Pumping” is an exhaustive resource that is helpful even for folks that are planning to primarily nurse but occasionally pump, or if you are planning to pump once your leave is over. If I could do it again, I’d bring my pump with me with my correct flanges vs using hospital supplied ones. You may also be able to do a pre -delivery consult with a lactation consultant. I wish I had done that sooner and saved myself a lot of frustration & pain!

  52. M says:

    Water bottle- the hospitals I’ve been in have provided those big ones with the straws. Nurses would grab and refill constantly. I’m not sure I would worry about it.

    Hospital clothes- I only brought going home clothes for my first had HATED being in a gown all day. For subsequent births I brought old comfy clothes that if they got too gross I wouldn’t mind bleeding on or throwing away. Think old sweats, old soft cardigans with nursing tank underneath. I just felt more normal sooner if I could have “real” clothes on.

    Also, I think my husband made a target run each birth for forgotten chapstick, a book, he needed a sweatshirt, so try not to stress too much!

  53. Shannon says:

    So happy for you!

    I wound up having an infection and needing a C-section, so a lot of the conventional advice didn’t apply. I was pretty sick.

    I wore cheap, button down nightgowns from the clearance section of Ross. They were great because I didn’t care what happened to them, and even though breastfeeding didn’t work out it was convenient for when the doctors needed to take a look at me.

    I also found it helpful to have a point person among our friends to keep everyone updated and share a few photos, and then visit, so we weren’t deluged.

  54. Emily says:

    I would add a Velcro swaddle, a nursing pillow, and bring the the frida peri bottle to the hospital with you (the one the hospital provides is rubbish).

  55. GiNny says:

    +1 for snacks. Our hospital had very limited cafeteria hours as a holdover from covid and my husband wasn’t keen to leave for food.

    I also was advised to have depends underwear or similar at home. Just easier than dealing with a separate pad and underwear situation.

    I meant to bring my own pillow but forgot it and was totally fine, fwiw. Just ask for as many pillows as you need.

    Strongly second the idea of making an appointment with the lactation consultant before you leave the hospital as things are just different at home and you may need a little help (your insurance may cover). Also consider bringing your pump if that’s in your future and having them help you assess your phlange size, as another commenter suggests. I didn’t think I’d be pumping for a few months and was overwhelmed and unprepared when told I needed to start pumping shortly after our baby was born.

    Best wishes for a smooth delivery!

    • Ginny says:

      And bring your nursing pillow so you can have nurses/LCs help you figure out how best to use it before going home!

  56. J says:

    Regarding toiletries – don’t forget lip balm! I also took some make up and felt so good when I put it on the following day.

    With respect to breastfeeding/pumping…if you aren’t buying your pump at the hosptial, take it with you if you plan to try. The nurses or a lactation consultant will teach you how to use it.

  57. Roo says:

    Pack empty bags (like tote bags or what have you) and take everything in your hospital room when you leave — diapers, pacifiers, lanolin nipple ointment, swaddles, dermaplast, hemorrhoid witch hazel wipes, ice packs, cold packs, socks mesh undies (if you’re like me and realize that you’re too swollen for real underwear for awhile.). They have to throw out anything that’s open and partially used. So take it with you!

  58. Whitney says:

    Bring your own Miralax!! The first poop you have after delivery is nearly as terrifying as the delivery itself (just keeping it real)! The two little Colace they give you per day in the hospital just don’t cut it. Bring your own Miralax and Gatorade to mix it in and use LIBERALLY!

    Also agree with the people commenting that you need to bring ALL THE SNACKS.

  59. RR says:

    As a mom of 3, Old Navy will always be your friend. I just bought my 9 year old a ton of back to school multipacks from Old Navy. They have slim sizing and plus/husky sizing so they are perfect for whatever build your kid has. All three of mine are completely healthy and perfect, but my daughters had different body types, and it was great being able to find clothes made for both of those body types.

    Also, pro tip–the Gap Rewards credit card is actually amazing. We have basically clothed 3 kids for 14+ years almost for free. Of course, you end up buying clothes other places, but we could have completely outfitted them in Gap/Old Navy/Athleta Girl with no problem–just from the Gap Rewards. I just bought my youngest $450 worth of clothes and paid only the $40 that was above what our Gap rewards were. And it’s not even our main rewards card. I love the travel cards and cash back cards, but no card has saved me more money than my Gap Visa! And as my older two have started to prefer non-Gap/Old Navy clothes, I get to spend more money on myself at Athleta.

  60. Lauren says:

    The Kyte PJs are amazing! Our daughter wore those at night exclusively from 3-18 months. For the first three months, I recommend the Lou Lou and Co. night gowns. They’re super soft, and it is so much easier to do a diaper change with a gown!

  61. Emily says:

    Another comment related to buying a dark, soft towel for that hospital stay – you can use this again at home (obviously) for those first few weeks of bleeding. But even beyond that, I put it down clean on my bed or couch when I was nursing for added protection there, and even after that it became a great thing to have in the car when we were on outings in case of a diaper blow-out. Well worth $15 when you can use it for literally months and months.

  62. EMM says:

    Coming at you live from a hospital bed with a 1 day old on my chest – I had a similar due date and she came about three weeks early (!). Chiming in to say that your list looks great – I actually did a Cuyana weekender + packing cubes too, and it’s a great setup. You seem to have everything covered, but I echo the chorus of “pack ALL the snacks!”. And don’t overpack! I feel like I have all the basics for comfort/a small collection of personal toiletries/etc. and it’s great. I tried to make an effort not to fall victim to the millions of blogs/instagram posts about bringing 10,000 things along. You’re going to do great!

  63. Jennifer says:

    Hopefully you already have this planned, but bring something to trim your fingernails and toenails. Our little guy came out with ginzu knives and was really excellent at scratching his face, and the hospital doesn’t provide anything to help. Can’t recommend the battery powered infant nail file enough!
    Also, ditto to the comments about the Frida panties. We had a c-section, and the ones from the hospital just weren’t as comfy or secure.

  64. Chandra says:

    A book for your hospital stay? Hilarious!

  65. Meg says:

    That Seraphine set is amazing. I have the bra, robe, and nightgown and they were real winners for months after the baby came.

    I had a baby last year, my biggest suggestion is to pack light. I had a NICU baby and emergency C section and stayed in the hospital for five days. Even then, you only need two sets of pajamas, a robe, slippers, and… that’s seriously it. Pillow and blankets for Dad, swaddle for baby, and the going home outfits. Everything else I brought was never used!

  66. Meg says:

    A few favorite snacks for you (and Kyle)! Pack fun stuff, because girlfriend you’ve earned it!

    Also, change for the vending machines. You may want that one snack you didn’t pack at 2am and your best bet will be a vending machine.

    Slippers or sandals for Kyle. My husband only packed his sneakers and it was getting gross after a while. He’ll also want a pillow from home.

    Fun printed swaddles for newborn pics. Yes, the hospital pics are overpriced, but I cherish them so much. It perfectly captures each of us at such a critical moment in time!

    Very basic makeup for you. It’s hard to feel fully yourself after birthing, but the simple routine of some BB cream and mascara really helped me feel more like myself with very little effort.

    Good luck and congratulations!!!

  67. K says:

    Good luck! Bring a nail file, they come out with vampire nails (and scratch themselves and you)

  68. Nellie says:

    Wow, you are so prepared! I didn’t even know what a pumping bra was before I was home for a few days. I was just holding the parts to my boobs like a goober while my son was in the NICU. The Kindred Bravely ones are pretty great, I pretty much lived in them the first few months.

    Co-sign the nail file. This is the one I still use on my 16-month-old: https://www.amazon.com/Electric-Safety-Trimmer-Clipper-Fingers/dp/B07MXNVLMD/ref=asc_df_B07MXNVLMD/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=532888167967&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=17025811675545542893&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9061285&hvtargid=pla-989680896185&psc=1

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