Being a first time mom is nerve-wracking AF. The stakes are so high. For exactly 39 weeks and 5 days I spent hours agonizing and researching things like the best high chairs or the most absorbent diapers or even the most reliable sound machine. By the time it came to actually packing my hospital bag, I was overwhelmed with information. Different people recommended that I pack different things.
Some women said to basically bring everything but the kitchen sink, while others were more spartan and suggested that I pack nothing but myself since the hospital supplies everything else I might need. Now that I'm almost 4 months into motherhood and on the other side of labor and delivery, I definitely have my own thoughts on what absolutely needs to be in a bag.
If you're a first time mama or simply preparing to support someone who is about to give birth, this list is for you! One thing I will say that I have discovered is that less truly is more. You really don't know what kind of laboring experience you'll have and the hospital truly is equipped to make sure your basic needs are met. That being said, if you're anything like me--ahem, a control freak--you'll definitely want to cover a few bases.
Hospital Bag Must-Haves
- A bag: Duh. Sounds basic AF but listen to me here, give some thought to what kind of bag you bring with you to the hospital. Ideally you want something that is lightweight and easy for you to manage. Maybe that means a roller bag or a duffle. Make sure that it's something you can manage on your own just in case you have to tote it around for a bit. I chose this bag from Lo & Sons. I loved that it had a separate bottom compartment for all of Nola's things. That being said, at 9 months pregnant, it wasn't the easiest thing for me to carry so thank God I packed my husband too lol.
- Clothes for Baby: When the baby is born the hospital will swaddle them in a cozy blanket and also provides diapers. Newborns are swaddled up during your entire stay so there really isn't a need to bring several outfits for them unless that's something you absolutely want to do. I would however pack ONE outfit to bring that baby home in. Trying to get a seat belt over a swaddled baby is a recipe for disaster. To that end, I'd stay away from gowns as well. They're cute but impractical when trying to secure your baby in a car seat. They just make buckling the seat belt more difficult than it needs to be and you'll already be a sore, worried mess. Stick to something easy like this or this. Also bring a pair of mittens just in case!
- Toiletries: Make sure you don't forget about you. Bring your toothbrush, toothpaste and some deodorant for sure. The hospital has soap and all but I personally liked having my own and since it was already in my toiletry bag, I brought it along. The morning after delivering Nola, it felt so good to get in the shower and wash up with my favorite soap and to lotion up my body with a luxe smelling scent. I would 1,000% recommend bringing some body products for your stay.
- Shower Shoes + Towel: Hospital bathrooms are like dorm room bathrooms i.e., shower shoes are a must. Get some cheap flip flops from Target, Walmart, Old Navy or Amazon. Something you wouldn't mind tossing before heading back home. I also chose to bring my own towel, the ones they had in the bathroom were small, thin and harsh. After all I just put my body through, I wanted something plush on my skin so I brought my own towel from home.
- PJs + Going Home Outfit For Mama: Trusttttttt me. After labor, you're going to want to put on something other than that thin ass hospital gown that you've been wearing for hours. Do yourself a favor and splurge a bit on some nice jammies to slip into after you've settled down. Also you're going to need an outfit to go home in. I personally wore the same thing to and from the hospital and I'd recommend you do that same. I treated myself to a lovely cashmere sweatsuit and wore that. Wear whatever you want but I'd advise you to stay away from anything too tight (i.e. jeans, leggings etc.,) You'll be wearing a literal diaper anyway and if you have a c-section you won't want anything near your incision. To that end I'd suggest baggy sweats or a really loose dress. Make sure whatever you wear is breastfeeding friendly if you plan on breastfeeding!
- Frida Mom-Kit: This absolutely isn't sponsored AT ALL but I feel really strongly about getting the Labor & Delivery + Postpartum Kit. It comes with a hospital gown which I chose to deliver Nola in. It also has grippy socks (Pro Tip: Change into those after you deliver the baby. Wear the hospital ones until then. Trust me and you're welcome in advance), the upside down peri bottle (a fucking GODSEND) and disposable panties for mama. Now, to be fair, the hospital does give you mesh diapers and a squirt bottle but the Frida ones are truly better. The hospital panties feel like loose gauze and the Frida ones actually feel like they're holding everything coming out of you in (graphic but true). I realize it's a pretty pricey item at $100 but it's worth it. Leave the pads and healing cream that come with the kit at home. The hospital definitely has a lot of that for you to take and you should take it allllll honey.
- Robe + Pillows + Blanket: You don't have to pack these items but if you want to, it's your world! I personally brought my own robe and blanket but I ended up not using the blanket at all (Nola arrived too quickly for that!).
- Photo Props: If you want those adorable newborn hospital photos, don't forget to pack a few props. I personally love these.
- A DSLR Camera: We decided to just use our phones because in the moment we didn't think to pull out a big camera but pack it if you want! Our iPhones worked just fine.
Leave This Shit At Home Sis
- Make-up: Really? Hahahahhahahaha
- Reading material: You won't have the time or the mental capacity
- Your normal panties: Tuh, no. Not unless you want to bleed all over them
- Face masks: You aren't going to the spa, you're about to enter a war zone
- Diapers for baby: The hospital will give you a pack of newborn ones. Take all you can carry lol
Mamas did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!