As a soon-to-be mama, you may be wondering what to pack for your stay at the hospital during the labor and delivery of your baby.
Packing the right things in your hospital bag can help you feel comfortable and prepared during this exciting but stressful time.
In this episode adapted from an IG Live, I’ll provide you with my simple list of essential items to pack in your hospital bag to ensure a stress-free delivery experience.
Do you want my printable Hospital Packing list? If so click here
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Trish: [00:00:00] My name is Trish Ware and I am obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth and helping you to navigate with the practical and the magical seasons of this journey called motherhood. I'm an all day coffee sipping mama of seven. I've had the amazing privilege of delivering many babies in my 15 plus year career as a labor and delivery nurse and as a mama of seven.
I'm here to help you take the guesswork out of childbirth so you can make the choices that are right for you and your baby. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and does not replace your medical advice. Check out our full disclaimer at the bottom of the show notes.
We're going to talk about packing your hospital bag because I know y'all worry about it and I, [00:01:00] it's something you think a lot about at the end of your pregnancy. So we're going to talk about my top tips for packing your hospital bag. When it comes to packing your hospital bag, here's what I want you guys to remember.
Keep it simple. Keep it simple. You do not need a whole bunch of stuff. Take as little as possible, because here's the thing. Someone's going to be lugging your bag around the hospital. So let's say you deliver in one room. And then your move to your postpartum room, all those bags go with you. And funny, I have had patients who come in with the entire luggage set.
You do not need your entire luggage set. Trust me on this one. You only need the [00:02:00] necessities. You do not need everything. So we're going to keep it really simple. And then if you guys want, I have a hospital packing list for vaginal deliveries, and then I have a belly birth packing list. So a lot of you guys start asking us towards the end of your pregnancy, what should I pack and when should I pack?
So my number one tip for you, tip number one, have your bags packed by 36 weeks. Latest 35 to 36 weeks. Cause you just never know if you're off on your dates, you might go sooner than you think. Now, most first time moms typically Take a deep breath. Don't get scared. Most first time moms go to 40 weeks and 5 days.
But, go ahead and pack your hospital bag. You can get some travel size essentials like daily your makeup and toiletries. [00:03:00] And then add the things you use every day that you want to have with you at the last minute, but you'll know what that is because you're going to have a little sticky note or something on top of your hospital bag, knowing what needs to be added.
And you can have a running list there, but go ahead and pack your bag by 35 to 36 weeks. Okay. So that's tip number one, pack your bag by 35 to 36 weeks. If you go into preterm labor. If you go to an appointment and they say, Hey, your blood pressure is out of control, or this and that's going on and you need to go to the hospital for an induction, you don't have to stress about your bag.
It's already packed. So that's my number one tip. You want to pack the right things. Because you want to be comfortable in the hospital, but like I said before, you don't want to be stressed out by worrying about all the things. And the truth is, There's not a lot more that you need besides you and baby.
So we're going to talk about that. [00:04:00] So we're going to talk about some essential things and then things that I've seen based on my experience. So let's start with clothing. Now, here's another tip that let me just say. You can pack two bags. One that is your labor and delivery bag, and then one is your postpartum bag.
Inside of your labor and delivery bag, that's going to be like your labor pain coping tips tools, and things that might make you more comfortable during labor. I'm going to be teaching about that all week. So if you haven't signed up for a fearless birth experience, do that now. So you're going to have your labor bag and then you're going to have your hospital bag.
Now you can have a small essential bag that you can move from your labor bag to your postpartum bag and inside of that would be things like maybe some dry shampoo in case you're in having an induction and you're there for a while. Or you can pack some gum, chapstick, [00:05:00] some stuff you can add to your drinks like to flavor your water, and some sneaky food.
Like protein bars and honey sticks and things that will give you energy during labor, that's going to go into your labor tool bag. Now, for your labor bag, you would also want to put your labor gown, if you're going to wear a labor gown, your slippers. You do not want to walk around a hospital room without anything on your feet.
Let me repeat that. Do not walk around your hospital room without covering your feet. Here's why you don't want to walk around without your feet. covered and protected. Your nurses are walking through the hospital and back into your room. Your doula might walk down to the cafeteria and back to your room.
Your partner may walk down to the car and back to your room. Guess what's on the bottom of their shoes? Nasty stuff. So you want to cover your feet. And I recommend that you have slippers. [00:06:00] That way you can slide them off before you get in your bed. Yes, the floor is disgusting. And you aren't getting any of those germs in your sweet little labor bed where your baby is going to be laying soon enough.
So this is a, you don't want to, I can't tell you guys how many times I have had family come in with toddlers and babies and they're letting them crawl over the ground and I know darn that I was just in a birth that looked like a crime scene that CSI had to come and investigate. Because there was so much stuff all over the place, and I walked from one room to the other.
The germs I'm stepping in, I don't know about, but they're there, I promise you. Hospitals are not clean environments. Robe and slippers. And don't put your slippers in your bed. Don't put your dirty socks in your bed. You want to make sure that you've got clean getting into your clean bed. Another thing that you can do is maybe flip flops.
If you take a shower, I personally would rather wear flip flops [00:07:00] than My bare feet. So you can wear flip flops around your room and then get right into the shower, get right into the tub, what have you. A labor gown, if you want to wear a labor gown, or you can go butt naked. This one's up to you. You can wear a tank top.
You can wear whatever you want that makes you feel comfortable during labor. This is up to you because it's really important. This is another thing that I'm teaching this week. Your environment matters. How you feel during labor is so darn important. So bring a labor gown or something else to wear while you're in labor.
Bring your own blanket. Bring your own blanket. Yes, I would bring your own slippers. We give you slipper socks, but they're hard to take on and off getting in and out of the bed. I'd have something to slide your feet into. Bring your own blanket. Bring your own pillow. Now, when things get a little messy, if you want to put your [00:08:00] pillow away from your bed, you can.
But, I would bring your own pillow and blanket, because this is going to make your experience so much more home like in the hospital. Bring a blanket that you like. I love my fuzzy blanket. I bring it everywhere. It's like my blankie. So bring that blanket with you. It can get washed. Pretty much everything that comes out of you during birth can wash off your blankets and I can give you tricks on getting stains out.
I know this down to a science. So I would Make sure you bring these things. Now, all of these things are going to need to be washed. Your slippers, once birth is over, you can wear them throughout the hospital stay, but before you go home, ask your nurse for a pair of gloves and a cavvy wipe. And you can wipe off the bottom of your slippers, they're good as new, they're super clean.
Now I would not take home our slipper socks, they're nasty, they're not comfortable, you don't need them. Okay, so the next thing that I want to talk about [00:09:00] is your personal clothing. Everyone wants to bring these super cute outfits and I'm all for it. But I just want you to remember that you get a little bit messy after birth and you might bleed through your panties, your diaper, your pad, whatever you're wearing.
So what I would recommend is that you either wear a gown. Or wear something that you don't mind if you get blood on it, which I can help you get blood out. I know some tricks. But bring something comfortable. And if you want to have a cuter top on and then just cover with blankets during postpartum, you can now, if you're one of the LNM mamas, we recommend that you guys do not worry about entertaining.
During those initial hours, you want to be just you and your little family unit trying to acclimate and get to know each other. Just set boundaries. Do not worry about others coming in, but if you want to wear something cute, that's entirely up to you, but make sure it's nice and stretchy. Either [00:10:00] you can pull it down to nurse, you can open it to nurse, or you can lift it to nurse, but just make sure it's nurse friendly if you're planning on breastfeeding.
Another thing that I want to talk about is your underwear. You don't need to bring any. We give you the really sexy, stretchy, netty panties that are amazing. And you can wash them in the sink. You can ask your nurse for extra ones. But you don't have to pack underwear for the hospital. You can wear what we give you.
We give you plenty. You don't have to bring pads for the hospital. We give you enough. We give you plenty. If you don't like ours when you get home, use the ones you've bought. But don't waste space in your bag. for things that we're going to give you anything that's consumable. You can ask for more and you can take out of the drawers and the cabinet.
So if you've got pads or ice packs or underwear or any of that, put them in your bag, take them home. I prefer the mesh panties. They're amazing. They're like one size all. [00:11:00] And like I said, you're not going to ruin them once you get home, your bleeding is still going to be heavy, but you might have like an idea on how to handle it.
And you're going to be less likely to be laid out everywhere. Now, keep in mind as well that when you're laying in bed. And you're laying back, the blood is going to pool, and then when you sit up, it's going to come out. So make sure you have adequate pads and what have you. You don't need any kind of shoes while you're at the hospital besides your slippers.
Now, the other thing that I would think about is a going home outfit. You might want to have something to wear home. And this can be what you wore to the hospital. You might fit into regular clothes, but you might not. So I would bring something stretchy and comfortable. I'm a huge fan of Cozy Earth.
It's a little pricey. I think we have a 40% off coupon. I'll have to see if I can find it, but it is so worth it because it also temp it does like a regulation on your temperature. Soft is better and it's amazing. They have some amazing stretchy pants that are like. [00:12:00] Super cute and super stretchy and super soft.
Okay. So let's talk about that's for you Toiletry wise just bring what you need. You don't need a lot Now I would bring toothpaste because the toothpaste at the hospital is horrible the toothbrushes are horrible, but we do have them available if you need them. I would bring some gum. I would bring some high quality snacks, like I said, for both labor and postpartum for your partner or your coach.
We cannot give them any medication. So I always recommend that you pack some Tylenol and ibuprofen for your partner, not for yourself. We'll give you whatever you need. But if your partner gets a headache, I cannot. Give them any medication like I have to have a doctor's order and they don't have a doctor there because it's an OB unit.
So make sure you bring some stuff if they have allergies if they have any kind of medical condition They need to have all of their medical stuff with them Now another thing that's really [00:13:00] important is throw a charger in your hospital bag Do not worry about packing the one you use. Just buy one on Amazon, they're a couple bucks, and throw an extra one into your bag and have that available for your iPad, your phone, your laptop, whatever it is that you're gonna take, which will be your entertainment.
Another thing that I would recommend is a reusable bottle. We have a great bottle that we give you, but it doesn't keep your drinks cold. And if there's one thing I've learned about a laboring woman, is that she loves an ice cold drink. I have this one. Just a no name brand. It's not a name brand. It's a no brand one that I got off of Amazon under 20 I think and it keeps my drink cold for 36 hours I think.
Some crazy amount of time. Anyway, so that's another thing. So have a reusable bottle because I want you drinking fluids during each, in between each contraction. That's your partner's job. Make sure you're drinking, staying hydrated. Okay, let me look. I've got a list here. [00:14:00] Now, if you wear contacts. Have some extra stuff in your hospital bag for your contacts, your eye care, have an extra pair of glasses, make sure you pack your glasses eye drops, whatever you need for eye care.
So think of eye care. And all of this is on my list. And at the top of the list, you have my link to all of the items in a handy little spot on Amazon. Okay. So As far as electronics, again, this is going to be your entertainment stuff. You want to have your phone, your iPad, your tablet, your chargers. You want to have a, whether you want a Bluetooth speaker, or maybe even something to connect your tablet or your phone to the TV, especially if you're an induction mama, so that you can watch something on your TV.
As far as toiletries, we said face care, shampoo, conditioner, cause ours suck, dry shampoo is the bomb when you're in labor, hair ties, [00:15:00] like something to tie your hair back or a claw, deodorant and lip balm. Everything else we're going to give you. You don't need to get yourself all prettied up, just.
Enjoy your baby. Enjoy your partner and, bond with your new little family unit. So the other thing that I would say is for nursing. Let's talk about if you're planning on breastfeeding, but even if you're not planning on breastfeeding, highly recommend a breastfeeding pillow, a nursing pillow of some kind.
I love my boppy. I think it's wonderful, but some sort of nursing pillow, even if you're going to bottle feed because the arm gets tired. And if you've had a C section, it can protect that C section scar and your tummy from more pain. So that's a, wonderful. Even if you're not breastfeeding either way, I want you to bring nursing pads because you will be leaking at some point.
Make sure you've taken your breastfeeding class. And we have one that we recommend here. I think it's like [00:16:00] 19 a nursing bra or tank. So let's talk about bras when you're in labor. I personally like to have a bra on. I wore a nursing bralette, and you can leave it on even if you have an IV in. A lot of nurses will tell you to take it off.
You don't have to. You can leave it on. That being said, it, wear one that doesn't have any wire or metal in it. But in an emergency, we may have to cut it off. So I always got a cheap one. You can wear like a sports bra if you want a sports nursing bra or a bra that you can just pull down and pull your boob out.
Doesn't matter. Make sure you bring a really supportive, good nursing bra for postpartum because those boobies will not feel good. Promise you on that one. Okay. A diffuser is another thing. Some essential oils, but we're going to talk about that during birth because that's part of your pain coping tools.
Let me look and make sure I haven't missed anything. Okay. For paperwork, you wanna bring your birth plan, you wanna bring your photo id, [00:17:00] your insurance card. You wanna bring your prenatal records if you need to. A lot of systems are electronic, so you may not need that anymore. And then you wanna print out, so if you're one of my students or one of my mama's, print out your.
Laboring positions and you're pushing positions, have it there. So you know what to do when whatever's happening, because we have it where you can figure out what you need to be doing based on what your nurse says. Another two things that I recommend, I love the Haka little hand pump. This is great.
If you're in labor and you are not progressing, you can do a little nipple stem. Your nurse will probably figure it out, but that's okay. If you have the Haka Cholesterol Collectors, they are fantastic for mamas who might have high blood pressure or have GDM or some other reason that there might be an issue with baby.
I would definitely have them. For the rest of you, you don't necessarily need them. But if there's a [00:18:00] chance that baby might need supplementation, let's say your baby has a cleft palate or a cleft lip. This is a great thing to add to your labor and delivery bag. Let me see, have I, oh baby! I forgot the baby stuff.
For baby, a going home outfit is really all you need. We have little shirts and we have diapers. You do not need to bring diapers. You can take some when you leave or again, whatever's consumable in your room. So if you have a pack of diapers that your nurse gave you, take them home, pack them in your bag.
You don't need to bring diapers. A swaddle, fantastic, a cute little beanie. Otherwise they can wear our shirt. You don't need anything fancy and then have your going home outfit and really think about the weather. So if your baby is going home in Florida in August, like several of my babies, you don't want to have a sleeper.
You want to have maybe a little t shirt. So think about the weather as well. And then some photo op supplies. A lot of mamas and [00:19:00] daddies like to take pictures in the hospital and do a little photo op. So bring those with you, but keep it simple. Don't overwhelm yourself with stuff you have to remember, and then you can also bring your baby book or some photos or like cardstock paper to do footprints and your labor nurse or your postpartum nurse will be happy to get footprints for you.
You can also buy a cute little shirt and we can put footprints on a shirt for you or for a sibling. We did it for my daughter when my son was born and then you just spray it with hairspray and don't wash it. That's the key, because it will come off. But you might be able to get fabric paint. I don't know if that's safe for babies, so don't take my word on that.
Alright, I'm thinking if there's anything else, if you are a belly birth mama, I have a list specifically for you, and we'll do a packing list live for you guys maybe in a couple weeks.
Hey mama, I hope you enjoyed this recording from an Instagram live. Please write a [00:20:00] review and hit subscribe so that you won't miss a single episode. As always, I will see you again next Friday. Bye for now.