Your due date is near and you're nesting — a lot. You’ve prepared the nursery, bought all your necessary baby gear, and are now anxiously awaiting your baby's arrival. In all the baby fog however, you have forgotten to figure out which things you will need when you are in the hospital. If this is your first baby, you may not know what to pack, because... you really don't. So, to make your life a little easier, here’s a list of hospital bag essentials you need if you’re giving birth for the first time.
With my first baby, I had no clue what I would need, so I packed everything I could. I ended up with a suitcase of stuff I barely needed. But of all the things I packed, it was surprisingly the weirdest things that gave me comfort, like having my favorite fragrance and a pair of beautiful, silky pajamas. I think that after giving birth — where you are physically and emotionally falling apart from the pain and general yuckiness — it feels unbelievably amazing to put yourself back together.
A nice hot shower, your own shampoo, and scented soaps and lotions, along with pretty comfy pajamas can make you feel like yourself again after giving birth. Aside from the pretty stuff, it’s important to take essentials, like your favorite brand of maxi pads, and good sturdy underwear for the bleeding after birth. So along with your ID, keys, and wallet, these essentials will have you covered for your stay at the hospital.
If you think labor and delivery are a lovely, glamorous experience, I’m sorry to burst your bubble. Having a baby will have you covered in all kinds of sticky, smelly body fluids, so when you get to that after birth shower, you’ll feel like you’re in heaven. The hospital may provide you with some generic soaps and lotions, but they won’t be as nice as bathing and pampering yourself in your favorite scents. You can pack something like this Lancome 3-piece La Vietnam Est Belle Travel Set ($30, Macy's) so you’re not lugging around huge bottles.
After the sweaty ordeal of delivery, your hair will need some pampering, so pack the hair products you know will give you a great hair day and make you feel like yourself. You can pick up a travel size set, like this Kiehl’s Travel Essentials Set ($15, Bloomingdale's), so you don’t end up carrying heavy bottles in your bag.
From the time you get to the hospital, until the time that you are holding your newborn baby, you will likely be in a generic hospital gown. And let’s be honest — it’s not really a gown, it’s just an oversized ugly apron that will get bloody and sweaty throughout your delivery. So once you labor is over, after a nice hot shower, you’ll feel great in a pair of pretty pajamas, a nightgown, or robe. Target has a great line of nursing sleepwear, which can make it easy for you to breastfeed your newborn if you choose to. You can check out this Lamaze Women's Nursing Robe and Chemise 2pc Pajama Set - Blush Peach ($45, Target), which looks comfy and pretty.
At the hospital, you’ll probably get a pair of non-skid socks to walk around in, but when you get in and out of the bathroom or shower, the last thing you’ll want to wear is wet socks. Just in case, it’s a good idea to pack a pair of flip flops or house slippers, and maybe your own pair of cozy socks to keep you comfortable in bed. I have these pair of Skechers Go Walk Pizazz Flip Flops ($25, Amazon) that are super soft and comfortable, and they’re perfect for relaxing tired or swollen feet.
If you are planning on breastfeeding, you should definitely pack a comfortable nursing bra. Nursing bras give you easier access for feeding, and after your baby is born, you’ll need all the ease and comfort you can get. You can pick up a sleep bra, like this Wrap Nursing Sleep Bra ($17, Motherhood Maternity) so that you are comfortable during your hospital stay, and on your way back home.
Sometimes labor can take forever to get going, so it’s a good idea to keep your laptop, tablet, or a book or magazine handy to kill time. And after delivery, you’ll find that your baby will sleep most of the day, which may give you time to relax or update social media. Smaller, more portable devices like the Amazon Fire Tablet ($50, Amazon) or Amazon Kindle E-Book Reader ($80, Amazon) are definitely convenient and easy to fit into your hospital bag.
The hospital will keep your baby in their own onesies and blankets for your stay, but when you leave, you’ll want a going home outfit. If you are planning on taking lots of pictures of your baby’s first day out, pack something cute and memorable, and make sure it is weather appropriate. This adorable Unisex Welcome to the World Footie & Hat Set ($14, Bloomingdale’s) is perfect for your baby’s first days.
During delivery, you may not be allowed to eat. The first thing I asked the doctor after seeing my newborn for the first time was “Can I eat something now?” So it’s a good idea to pack your favorite snacks, whether it be granola bars, chips, or nuts. It’ll be great to have something to munch on while you wait for your delicious hospital food to show up. If you’re a foodie like me, you should check out this Hangry Kit ($19, Amazon).
There are a few other things that you should make sure you pack in your hospital bag. The most important things are your IDs and Insurance Cards so you can be properly admitted to the hospital. You should also remember to pack a hairbrush, toothbrush, and some deodorant, and don't forget to grab house keys and phone/laptop chargers if needed. Your camera's a big one too, and last but not least, pack your favorite lipstick. I mean, why the heck not?
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