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I came up with my hospital bag checklist mainly by going through YouTube “What’s in my delivery bag?” videos. I also got some good advice from friends or remembered items I had heard about over the years. I was nervous about having to make a dash for the hospital. Being packed made me feel more ready for the delivery. Here are my top 25 ideas for a hospital bag checklist:
1. Christmas lights!
This was one of the best, most memorable parts of the labor experience, suggested by a friend. We brought a small strand of battery powered white bulb lights we had for camping, but any strand from your Christmas decor collection will do. I don’t like the bright overhead lights, so as soon as all the medical procedures were out of the way for my induction, we turned off the overhead lights, turned on one low light over the newborn station, and spent our time in the warm glow of Christmas lights. It helped me relax and feel cozy. Everyone who came into our room commented about how much they loved the lights.
2. Cute Ski Socks
My ski socks are probably my second favorite thing that I brought. I happened to have a cute pair and wore them during my entire labor and delivery. They made me feel cute and kept me warm the whole time.
3. Two Pillows & Two Soft Throw Blankets
The pillows and blankets we brought from home were nice for feeling comfortable until my water broke, then we set them aside to preserve them for our post-delivery hospital stay.
4. Breastfeeding Pillow
I have the My Brest Friend Pillow, which I learned about from a YouTuber. Learning how to breastfeed was a real struggle for me and Claire, and the nursing staff didn’t seem to know what to do with this pillow during our breastfeeding instruction sessions. Now that I have successfully used it at home, I would definitely bring it back next time in case breastfeeding goes better. In case it doesn’t, see number 5.
5. Breast Pump
6. Bottle Brush
Again, in case breastfeeding isn’t going so great, a bottle brush would have been so nice for washing all the pump parts.
7. Hands-free pumping bra
I didn’t have a hands-free pumping bra with me, but will bring it next time. I HATED sitting there pumping when the time came and having to hold the flanges. At a time when I already felt demoralized for not being able to breastfeed, it would have been nice to be able do anything on my phone, or even talk with my hands.
8. Nipple Balm
I had brought an organic nipple balm from Target. I liked it better than the hospital-provided lanolin.
9. Power Strip
The power strip was nice for charging our laptops and cell phones in one place and in case there weren’t enough outlets.
10. Personal Toiletry Bag
We basically have pared down our toiletries into one bag for me and one bag for Michael. We get ready from our bags that we travel with so when the time comes to travel the bag is already packed and stocked. This is also the wannabe tiny-homer in us shining through.
11. Partner’s Toiletry Bag
12. Comfy Nursing Bras & Jammies
I didn’t leave the postpartum recovery room. Not once. There was no reason to have anything fancier than jammies, unless it would make me feel better about myselft to be cuter. Which I did put makeup on for, and it at least kept me from crying breastfeeding failure tears for a minute.
13. Comfy Bathrobe
14. Comfy Going home maternity dress
I wore a comfy dress to go home in, otherwise I would have been wearing jammies.
15. Swaddle blanket
This might not apply to everyone. I had watched videos on You Tube of people advising to bring an empty diaper bag so you can take home all the swaddle cloths the hospital will give you. Our hospital wouldn’t let us take even one blanket, so we wrapped Claire in my dirty sweater to go home in. She survived, but next time I will bring a blanket for the occasion.
16. Baby Clothes
I over did it on the baby clothes the first time. Next time, I would bring 2 newborn onesies and a 3 month in case it’s needed. The newborn clothes were even enormous on Claire. I thought we would have all this time for cutesy photo shoots with all her outfits in the hospital. We were so busy with all the hospital staff visits and learning to breastfeed and attempting to sleep for an hour here or there, it wasn’t a photo shoot kind of vibe.
17. Baby Nail Clippers
These are nice to have in case you need them.
18. Something to wear during delivery that isn’t a hospital gown
I LOVED the photo of me and Claire after I delivered her. But there’s an ugly hospital gown laying over me for no good reason. I would rather have not had anything on – there was basically no point to me wearing clothes. Either bring something to wear or have nothing but a sheet will be my approach next time.
19. Gift for delivery nurses’ station
We ended up bringing a “Bucket Full of Sunshine”: a yellow themed bucket with peanut M&M’s, crystal light packets, yellow items from Lush…basically a small tin from a party store with yellow items to go with the sunshine theme.
20. Gift for postpartum nurses’ station
We didn’t think of this the first time, but I would recommend it.
21. Depends & Always Overnight Pads
I loved wearing Depends and the Always Overnight Pads when I got home. Next time I will probably bring both to the hospital because they were much more comfortable and made me feel more normal than those gigantic hospital pads.
23. Husband’s or partner’s clothes & shoes
24. Mini Keurig
Michael loves coffee. I love tea. The coffee at the hospital was, well, you know. I ordered hot tea for breakfast, but we had hospital staff coming in and out of our room and it didn’t stay hot long enough to drink. Next time we might bring one of these!
25. Cooler & Snacks
Food for your partner: We ended up getting Jimmy John’s subs the night before the delivery and had a half of a sub leftover and a bag of chips. We brought it in the cooler and I convinced Michael to eat it around 4 pm. I know he was trying to stick it out because I couldn’t eat, but I was glad we had something for him to eat when the time came.
Zevia ginger ale: This was my go-to pregnancy drink for nausea. I had heard some people talk about nausea during delivery. I brought the ginger ale in case, and because I could still drink it after the induction started. I enjoyed having a familiar sip!
I was glad I had an induction delivery. And one that went so well. Having a thought out list ahead of time made me feel more calm when my scheduled childbirth rolled around.