It’s a balmy (kind of a gross word, but so accurate), hot Santa Barbara evening, and I’m sitting here with my 39-week, super puffy feet propped up on a workout ball (impatiently) waiting for baby boy to come. I figured I’d make good use of my time sharing what I put in my hospital bag since i’ve just been staring at it (hoping that somehow would put me into labor) and started to think that If I did that for too long, it’d have the same effect as watching a kettle waiting for it to boil. But seriously, little man. We’re ready for you.
Birth Wishes/Birth Plan
This is a great way for you to know your hopes and wishes in regards to the baby’s birth and to be able to communicate them with your birth team. Not everything is guaranteed because you can’t predict what kind of labor/delivery you’ll have, but in our case, we (Dave and I) were so glad to have discussed what we wanted beforehand and were able to share those wishes with doctor, nurses, and doula. If you’re interested in seeing ours, you can check it out here.
If you plan on nursing, you should pack a nursing bra/or tank. This will just make nursing your baby a bit easier (sometimes it takes a while before you adjust to breastfeeding, so anything to make it go a bit smoother will be a God-send).
Again, nursing can be super challenging, so having this on hand will help ease the discomfort–anything to help you get adjusted to nursing is **insert praise hands here.** The hospital will provide this for you, but if you prefer a more natural formula, you’ll want to bring your own.
A Robe/Button-Up Shirt
Having a robe or a button-up shirt to throw over your nursing bra/or tank is great, especially if you plan on having visitors.
After you’ve given birth, you don’t want to be in anything too constricting, so I recommend bringing a super comfy pair of pajama shorts or pants to wear during your stay at the hospital.
Pack toiletries for you and whoever will be spending the night there with you (don’t forget chapstick–hospital air can be a bit dehydrating). And yes, I did include my makeup bag. If this isn’t your thing, not a worry. I just like feeling a cleaned up and somewhat put together after all the hard work :).
You never know how long labor will last, so anyone who’s there with you may need some food to re-fuel with. They’re also good if you just want to bring something along for once you’re in the recovery room and wanting your own stash of goodies ;). These are in my hospital bag right now–love ’em.
Your nurses are your people during your stay at the hospital. They are the people who essentially make or break your stay there. I was so grateful for the team of nurses I had during my L&D experience with Aria. What you bring is kind of up to you, but typically edible treats are the best way to go!
Going Home Outfit
It’s hard to say what your body will do after birth. For some lucky ones, it’s as if they were never pregnant. But i’m guessing for the majority, our bodies will take some time to adjust. Comfy lounge pants or your trusty maternity jeans will be a good option for going home in. Remember, you’re healing and stuff, so you’re not going to want to be in clothes that are too tight or constricting.
Not gonna lie–a number of things on this list are things that I personally have under my must-have’s, but I know they can be excessive for some. At the end of the day, you do you and figure out what works for you and your fam bam :). In case you’re curious, I put an (*) next to the things that I would consider my must-have’s.
Music. We had music running the whole time, and since we didn’t want to just play them through the phone speakers, we made sure to have actual speaker speakers. I had different albums picked out and Dave just had them on repeat for me.
Not the real kind…cuz that’s illegal. But you can bring the LED kind if you want to set the mood. I have some friends who’ve done this and loved the ambience it provided. Although we didn’t use candles, we did leave the lights off or dimmed since that helped create a way more relaxed and calm environment.
Our bodies go through a lot, and I found that the Belly Bandit just helped support the healing process and with kind of holding everything in place and offering just an extra bit of stomach and back support once you’re postpartum.
I know different moms have different opinions on using nursing covers; i’m totally a fan–especially with this kind that doubles, triples, and quadruples as a shopping cart cover, car seat cover as well as a scarf for mama.
YES, you read that right. The weird hospital post birth mesh undies are like ill-fitting parachutes for your butt–not a fan. There are Depends that basically fit like a good pair of underwear, and I find these a bit (no, a lot bit) more secure. I used them right after delivery and for a few days after because, well, you’ll need to unless you want to go the massive pad route. Don’t knock it ’til you try it (ok, I may have knocked it before I tried it but hey…I digress).
Again, you’re healing. Stuff just happened, so you’ll want this handy. The hospital will give you some that works great, but again, if you’d like a more natural option, you’ll want to bring some of your own.
I found that I didn’t need these until a couple days after I got home once my milk came in, but this time around, I did throw a couple in my bag just in case. I prefer the disposable kind. I originally wanted to be super eco-friendly and use the washable kind, but it was just too much work to wash them and they weren’t absorbent enough for me.
I’m all about having pleasant scents swirling about me. Having your diffuser there can definitely help make a sterile hospital setting feel a bit more like home, which can be a nice comfort when you’re strategically pushing–I mean, peacefully introducing a human into the world.
(Lavendar & Peppermint): Lavender is calming (great for after baby arrives) and Peppermint helps me with nausea (I know that’s not for everyone; some of my preggo friends can’t handle the smell of peppermint). Some great ones to keep your energy up during early and active labor are ones are citrus blends (like Citrus Bliss or Grapefruit).
If you don’t want your little one to be in one of the hospital ones (sometimes they can be a bit scratchy and stiff), you’ll want to bring your own.
Going Home Outfit
Because tiny baby clothes are the cutest and because you don’t want the onesie you bring your baby home in to say “Property of (insert hospital name here).”
The Extra Extras
Since we’ll be introducing Aria to her baby brother in the hospital, we brought her a little gift from him to her, so she can feel included and welcomed in this process. She’s not even two yet, but i’m telling you, she KNOWS some change is coming her way (and we want to help her transition as best as we can). Brother’s gift to Aria will be: this and this b/c she loves to color and is all about learning her letters right now.
I know this seems like a lot of stuff, but it’ll really just boil down to what you think/know you’ll need for a comfortable/pleasant hospital experience. The things I mentioned are what worked for us, and I hope this list gives you a place to start when you’re putting your bag together! Let me know if there’s something that you’re putting in that is a must-have. I’d love to know!