What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag + Postpartum Recovery Tips
Hey There friends! Brace yourselves- this one is a long one. Grab your coffee and a notebook and get ready to jot down what you think you may need still for the hospital! This is for sureeee my personal preference so I totally understand if you’re like what!? I don’t need that! Or if I maybe left something out that you’ve already packed- I just want to be a resource for those of you who were like me and straight up googling everything I could to figure out what I really needed to bring! As a first time mom, I was so lost on what I really needed and what I could leave at home. At the end the only thing running through my head was…HELP! So, hopefully this (long) blog post can be a resource for you if you’re currently packing up or to use in the future for all of you mommies to be one day!
Let me just say…do not fear that you will be overpacking for your stay at the hospital. We brought a carry on suitcase, a tote bag and our pillows and I was so nervous I was going to be “THAT GIRL” that overpacked to give birth…. fear not… you will not be judged whatsoever and I kind of wish I brought one more pillow or one more blanket. In fact, a couple that arrived at the hospital the same time as us, had…brace yourselves… TWO STORAGE BINS of stuff on top of their bags and suitcase and pillows!! Not quite sure exactly what was in there, but it put me at ease that I indeed did not over pack us and to let YOU ALL know in advance- whatever you want to bring… YOU BRING IT GIRL! PS one of my nurses told me she had a patient that brought her tempurpedic mattress cover for the hospital bed. Kind of laughed real hard when I first heard that, but then was immediately kicking myself that I didn’t have that because hospital beds ain’t the comfiest thing in the world.
Without further a’do, let’s get started on the list of what I brought in our bag for myself, my hubs and Jackson and what I wish I had brought and what I brought and didn’t need! At the end of today’s post I’m also shedding light on some tips I’ve been using postpartum and answering some questions y’all sent into me as well!
For your baby, you really do not need much. Like at all. You really just need whatever you’re bringing your babe home in and that’s it lol! We brought a couple blankets for cute IG photos, but we would swaddle him to sleep in the hospital blankets at night! (Jack still loves these haha!) You honestly don’t need like any clothes at all- I know , I know you’re probably SO excited to dress your cute lil bundle up in some cute lil clothes- I promise you, you probably won’t. The Doctors and nurses really encourage skin to skin in the beginning stages of life and moms who plan to nurse- nursing your babe while he/she is only in a diaper is the best thing ever. It bonds you two so quickly. You and your S.O. are going to be so incredibly exhausted, you are not going to want to be dressing and undressing your new born each time they are hungry. ALSO! the whole stigma of “bring a new born size outfit and 3 month old outfit” Unless you know FOR SURE you are having like a 12 lb baby….leave the 3 month clothes at home. Your little nugget is going to be so tiny still- even if they weigh 10 lbs they will fit in new born outfits so save yourself some space. And if that new born outfit doesn’t fit and you have a little chunker on your hands, the hospital will have a onesie that will fit. The hospital literally has everything you could possibly need for your baby so the only thing you need to pack is if you would prefer your own. I did bring our own pacifier, because I wanted him to try those out first before the bigger hospital ones, but we didn’t even give him a paci until like 5 days later lol Basically this is what you need:
- going home outfit (new born size )
- cute blankets for pictures
- a hat (the hospital provides these as well and will more than likely fit your baby better than the newborn size you brought)
- a pacifier if you want a specific kind
- I brought socks and mittens but it was still hot in FL- didn’t need them
- I brought a little brush (actually did use this because Jack has SO much hair)
- I packed a diaper or two and a small thing of wipes for the ride home- rookie mistake, you get a TON from the hospital to take home
Wish we would have brought nail clippers with us- Jack’s nails were really long and the hospitals will not clip them for you anymore.
Alright so now we’re to the part you all really want to know about…what do YOU, MAMA need to bring with you to the hospital? Honestly, I did not need that much- a lot of the necessities the hospital provides, but the things I did bring, I am SOO glad that I did. Remember- this list was my personal opinion so you may not need this much OR you may be like, “what the heck Aub! why didn’t you pack XYZ!?” This is what was in my suitcase so I’ll share everything in the list below and explain here and there where needed.
- A warm cardigan this is the one I brought and it’s hands down the absolute best! 100% worth the price
- A light weight robe Bringing both a heavier cardigan and a light weight robe was the best decision I made. Hospitals are COLD, but your hormones go NUTS during labor and especially after delivery. Having both of these options allowed me to warm up with the cardigan when I was shivering cold, but then the light weight robe was great for throwing on 5 min later when all of a sudden I was hot…but still cold and then wearing a tanktop nursing gown was great when I would randomly get the sweats. Y’all… your hormones right after delivery are WHACK!!! make sure you bring different options to accommodate your temperature swings, but are also nursing friendly if you are going to breast feed.
- multiple nursing night gowns or button down PJs. Ok, so this is for sure personal preference- I personally like to sleep in shirts or sleep gowns so I knew I’d want a nursing gown in the hospital and not shorts and a shirt pjs. Reasons I went with a nursing gown
- I knew this was already my preferred way to sleep even pre- pregnancy, I hate when shorts get all twisted while you sleep
- I didn’t know how sore my hips, stomach etc were going to be and didn’t want to risk a waist band. Also, heaven forbid I had to have an emergency C-section or something, shorts would not be very comfortable on stitches.
- I liked that a nursing gown was more convenient for nursing- the clip and flap down are easier access than unbuttoning a bunch of buttons
- Gross, but after delivery, you bleed. ALOT. Your body is getting rid of toxins, fluids and everything else that goes along with birthing a human SOOO I knew I wasn’t going to want to be in a hospital gown any longer, I wanted to put on my own clothes and with a gown, I could pull it up so I wasn’t sitting on it and didn’t get it dirty if that makes sense.
- THESE are my fave gowns. I would suggest bringing at leasttt 2- I kinda wish I had brought 3 so I wasn’t wearing the same ones after a shower.
- One nursing bra for the day you leave– you’ll have on either a hospital gown or a nursing tank or gown/ pjs and won’t need multiple bras a couple of my fave lounge nursing bras I’ll link right HERE and HERE
- Slippers with a good grip (gets cold in the room and slippers will keep your feet warm and you won’t slip on the floor like you would with socks. Also, I wasn’t as grossed out wearing slippers into the bathroom as I would with a pair of socks. blehhh )
- Flip flops. You’ll want them for the day you go home- especially if your feet are still swollen from all of the fluids they give you. I honestly didn’t need them in the shower- our hospital was very recently renovated (like a couple months ago) and the rooms and bathrooms were like a hotel and very clean. If you do still get grossed out- make sure you bring a rubber pair for the shower.
- nipple butter (BRING YOUR OWN!) Oh am I SOO happy that I brought my own nipple butter. Breast feeding often and for the first time ever- they get very very tender and the nipple cream the hospital has is not very good at all. I bounced back and forth between THIS kind and THIS kind- one is a little more lightweight- the other is heavier duty when needed.
- Bring LOOSE clothing for day of hospital discharge. I went into the hospital with loose sweatpants and a tighter maternity tee thinking it would be fine for the day we left the hospital too uhh no….your stomach is not the big, round, tight pregnant belly anymore but it’s also not flat, it’s so lopsided and strange looking you don’t want a tight shirt. TRUST ME! Thank goodness I threw a loose tee into my bag and I was able to wear that shirt home!
What I brought and didn’t need
- I brought real undies and my own pads– again, personal preference on this one, but in my experience, I wore those mesh undies from the hospital home. and yes, you’ll still need the hospital grade pads the day you leave. suck it up, at this point you’ve lost all sense of anything and don’t really care at all about something like a pad haha
- I brought my own ladayyyy diapers and other “recovery items” like dermoplast etc again, just my opinion, but I was good with sticking with the hospital mesh undies and their own recovery items, so I wouldn’t pack your own- leave it at home because you will need them the first week. ( I will touch more on this later in PP recovery though)
- I brought some nursing pads– I personally didn’t need these, I didn’t leak- wouldn’t hurt to just toss some in your bag just in case- you never know how your body will be producing. I’ve liked THESE so far. I have the disposable ones, but I like these pads the best. They don’t stick to you and they’re washable/ reusable so you save major $$
- Breastfeeding Diary- the hospital gives you sheets to track feedings/ dirty diapers etc THIS diary is the same thing, but you can continue using it when you go home from the hospital. I’ve now moved on to just using the “Baby Tracker” app and I really like it.
What I wish I brought
- I wish I had brought 1 more nursing gown or maybe a loose nursing tank. The next day I was walking around and I wish I had more “clothes” to wear around so I wasn’t in my gown and robe. Maybe a loose pair of shorts and a tank. Then again, I was so out of it and dazed… you really don’t give a crap what you look like haha!
- THIS. I wish I had brought my “momwasher” with me. This thing was my best friend when I got home from the hospital and I am SO mad at myself for not packing it. Once you take a look at it, you’ll understand- it’s very easy to use and effective. The one at the hospital was awful and I would get water all over my legs every time I used the restroom. If you take anything from this post, BUY THIS AND BRING IT TO THE HOSPITAL. You’re welcome.
So Justin and I didn’t use too many toiletries and we honestly didn’t bring much either. Here’s a list of what we brought. ( I personally think we brought the perfect amount- not too much not too little) One tip I have- if there’s something in your morning/night routine that you love and makes you feel comfortable and settled, bring it. Whether it’s doing your hair, makeup, shaving (haha!) idk just anything, bring it to make yourself at ease. For me it was my skin care and luckily what I use comes in travel size so I packed that and it made me feel more like myself and human.
- shampoo and conditioner
- body wash
- Micellar water and cotton pads (great for cleaning your face without having to get up and wash it in the sink- was a nice refresher) Face wipes do the same if you prefer that.
- DRY SHAMPOO!!! I didn’t bring any hair tools so I was banking on dry shampoo to save my life. it did. I even packed the full size bottle bc I needed it ha
- hair ties and clips
- Skincare THIS is what I brought
- Makeup ( I luckily had my makeup bag in my purse- kept it with me the last couple weeks of pregnancy, just in case… judge me LOL)
- Chapstick ( THIS IS A MUST- your lips get DRY during labor, the hospital is cold and you’re not allowed to drink water so you get dehydrated)
- DON’T FORGET YOUR PRENATALS. So glad I packed these. You lose a lottttt of energy and stamina after birth and the prenatals helped get my body back on track even the next day.
What I brought and didn’t need
- I brought a calming scented lotion and I brought my lavender essential oils to put on my wrists and under my nose. Not saying I didn’t need it, delivery and pushing and everything just happened so fast that I kind of forgot about packing it and at the end of the day, lavender oil isn’t going to help get that baby out any quicker… just saying. Going to yoga will teach you to calm yourself and breathe correctly better than a lavender oil lol
What I wish I brought
- Like I said, I didn’t bring any hair tools- just dry shampoo. However, I wish I packed my hair dryer! Luckily my mom was able to bring me hers! I didn’t wash my hair at all while in the hospital- didn’t have the energy and dry shampoo did the trick, but my hair would get a bit wet in the shower and I hateeee that feeling of “wet hair when you didn’t wash it” So I ran the dryer through the ends of my hair and roots after showers.
- Your own pillows and colored pillow cases (so they don’t get thrown in with the hospital ones)
- TOWELS! So happy we brought our own towels AND face towels- the hospital has some obviously, but it felt homey to have our plush towels.
- blankets (sheets only if you want)
- magazines and books (was too nervous and tired to even look through any mags)
- laptop/ earphones (LOL nope I was not going to be checking emails while I was in the hospital! What the HECK was I thinking!
- boppy pillow or breast feeding pillow ( I was still pretty swollen and the boppy hurt to put around my waist, but I would turn it on its side and rest my arm while nursing!)
- SNACKS! Make sure to pack some Fiber One bars or protein bars! After delivery.. you are SHOOK. It’s like you just ran a marathon so you neeeed to eat and need protein to refuel. I remember my mom shoving the mac and cheese and chicken breast down my throat after I gave birth and I wanted nothing to do with it! JK she wasn’t shoving it down my throat, but she was feeding me and begging me to eat because I needed something! Also your hubs will need to eat so make sure he has lots of snacks too.
- Nightlight– we brought THIS one. Actually did come in handy in the middle of the night so we didn’t have to turn the big harsh lights on.
- LONG chargers– find some HERE
What I wish I brought:
- My wedge pillow
- my own blanket (We packed one for Justin, but I wish I had packed one for myself too)
Men are apparently very easy and don’t need much, the list below is basically everything Justin packed- the only thing he said is he wished he packed MORE clothes etc.
- gym shorts or sweats to sleep in
- zip up hoodie for skin to skin
- a hat so he didn’t have to worry about bed head
- laptop/ phone for work stuff
3 days Postpartum (nursing tank HERE, leggings are the mother tucker, linked below)
Alright soo I feel like this could be an entirely separate post and I very well might do that, but in the mean time, I’ll hit on a couple tips I’m glad I did in preparation for recovery and answer some questions that were sent my way.
Tip #1: Buy some lady diapers (these were my fave and surprisingly pretty darn comfy) buy yourself some pads and granny panties (target has some cute ones) get some dermoplast, tucks wipes, and the Momwasher *all available on amazon fyi* Besides buying all of this in advance, I actually put together a little basket full of this stuff and kept it on top of our master bath toilet. That way I always had everything I needed right there in that basket. I probably should have made little mini baskets of this stuff and kept it in the powder bath or guest bath but I was able to run up to our bathroom so I had everything I needed.
Tip #2 : Stock up on some loose comfy (cute) clothes. I bought a few soft loose sweatpants and joggers from target and a couple cute nursing tops and tanks. I’m a firm believer in when you get yourself dressed and (semi) put together- you feel better about yourself and the day. While these were all comfy clothes- I was still getting out of my PJs and dressed for the day.
Tip #3 BUY THE MOTHER TUCKER LEGGINGS These things are magical haha go with your pre-pregnancy size- they’re going to look like they don’t fit, but they will I promise. I liked how it felt like a belly band- good for recovery, but was comfortable to sit in when nursing etc…
Tip #4: THESE ice/hot packs are GREAT in the beginning stages of breast feeding. Engorgement is no joke and these helped immensely!
Tip #5: I mentioned THIS pillow for pregnancy- it works GREAT for supporting your new (large) nursing boobs while you sleep!
Tip #6: If you can get out of the house or if you’re feeling up for a short walk- GO FOR IT! The fresh air and sunshine work wonders on our bodies and brain. (also good for baby!)
Tip #7: Take the help. Ok I was one of those people that’s like okayyy but help with what? PSHHHH as soon as I had Jack I was a yes girl. “Can I come help you fold laundry?” yes. “Can I bring you dinner?” Yes. The help doesn’t necessarily have to be specifically with baby, it can be can help for YOU!
Tip #8: Enjoy this time. Don’t immediately step on the scale or worry about your diet or other silly things, literally take in every little second with your new bundle and your life will gradually get back to normal and you can start focusing on you again.
Tip #9 I know I have mentioned before that I saw a Chiropractor throughout my whole pregnancy for lower back pain- well, I’ve been continuing to go for upper back pain now. Breastfeeding and holding a baby all day will do some WORK on your back and seeing a chiropractor once a week has been helping with that- especially while I’m still not cleared to work out. Once I am, I feel like yoga is going to help stretch out those back muscles too.
Tip #10: Take the pain meds. I hate pain medicine- I don’t like how I feel on them and they make me foggy so I originally opted out right after I had Jack. Luckily, a friend of mine was our night nurse the first night with Jack and she practically begged me to take some so I could sleep and I am so happy she did. (thank you, Hannah!) Your body just went through hell and you have so much adrenaline you don’t even realize how tired and how much pain your body is actually in, so listen to your nurse, take the pain meds and SLEEP.
Tip #11: Don’t know if this actually helped or not, but I amped up my water intake the last couple weeks of pregnancy- especially the week before my due date to help my milk supply come in. I think my actual milk came in the day we got home from the hospital or the day after. I feel like that was pretty quick for it to fully come in so maybe the extra water in take the last couple weeks help regulate everything and get my body ready to nurse! Just a thought- worth a try and water is good for you regardless!
Tip #12 Let your nurse take your baby to the nursery the first night so again, you can sleep. I remember hearing this tip while I was pregnant and I was like ehhh… I’ll be fine. Nope! Just let them! It doesn’t make you any less of a mom, in fact, getting some much needed sleep will make you a better mom! While Jack wasn’t necessarily crying the first night, I was constantly on edge like- what was that noise…is he okay… I couldn’t sleep because I wanted to be aware and on call. I let Hannah, our nurse take him to the nursery the first night and I slept great knowing Jack was in perfectly capable hands (more capable than a first time mom like myself lol!) And that just gave me some ease so myself and Justin could get a good nights sleep after being awake for 24 hours.
Questions from You
Q: What do you think about a belly band postpartum and what did you wear the first few days?
A: Mentioned this a little bit above- I have THIS belly band, I like it, but it is hard to sit in it so driving, sitting to nurse etc is a bit hard and uncomfortable while wearing it. That’s why I love the leggings version!
Q: Favorite easy postpartum meals
A: I had ZERO energy at the end of my pregnancy to prepare freezer meals- luckily, our family and friends have been AMAZING bringing us dinners! I did buy some fish, chicken, veggies etc and froze them so we have produce to cook when the meals lighten up. I also bought some prepared meals from Costco and put those in the freezer as well!
Q: Did you have someone other than your hubs at your house to help you?
A: We haven’t had anyone stay with us overnight- luckily, both of our families live in town so they have all been ready to come over at the drop of a hat if we need the help. The first week we had family coming over at least once a day just to check up on us etc… I’ve heard of some people hiring a night nurse if your baby isn’t sleeping great- this allows you to be able to sleep through the night.
Q: What items do you recommend to help your recovery?
A: See the Tips above
Q: What did you pack/actually wear in the hospital?
A: Packing list above ^^ Everything I packed in terms of clothing, I knew I wasn’t going to need until after I delivered. I didn’t want to ruin any of my clothes so I was fine with the hospital gown during labor and delivery.
Q: What baby things have made your life easier?
A: These swaddles are great, the DOCK-A TOT is magical. It’s a must have. You’re going to laugh, but this $20 chair has been great– I’ll put it on the counter when I’m cooking or working, THIS white noise sound machine, THESE bottles and THESE pacifiers Jack lovesss
Q: Good nursing bra?
Q: What did you think of the TakingCaraBabies class?
A: I really really liked this class! It wasn’t very long, each segment was anywhere from 7 min to 15 min so you can get in a few segments while baby sleeps. She gives great tips, but I also liked that it confirmed some things that we were unsure if we were doing right. You can most certainly take the class early (before babe is born) to prepare yourself, but I think it’s most effective when you can actually try the methods Cara suggests with your own newborn and have seen what your baby’s habits are. Maybe they’re already a good sleeper- you don’t want to mess that up, maybe your baby doesn’t sleep well, Cara explains every question you didn’t know you had in this class and it is soo helpful. It also gives you something to do during the first couple weeks of maternity leave when you’re basically stuck on the couch/ in bed anyway! CLICK HERE TO TRY OUT THE CLASS!
Q: (THE BEST QUESTION EVER HAHA!!!) Can I bring champagne to the hospital?
A: While I don’t know the rules for your hospital- my Dr told me I could have a glass the day I left so I say… YOU DO YOU, sneak it in that hospital bag and if you live on the edge and do just that… make sure you tag me in the pic of you popping that bottle after you’ve just endured the hardest/best thing ever… giving birth to your new BABY!!!!!
PIN FOR LATER
AND THAT’S IT! This post was WAYYYY longer than anticipated, but honestly, I wish I had a tell all post to prepare me for going into the hospital and certain things postpartum. I hope this can be a resource for you or your girlfriend who’s expecting! Thank you all so much for popping by today and GOOD LUCK to all of you beautiful mommies to be!