18 May What to Add to your Hospital Bag
*This post has been updated to reflect my thoughts and feeling now that I’m packing up my hospital bag again. Before I dive in… I need to acknowledge that I can hardly believe it’s already time to pack a bag for baby number two! It’s so cliche, but if this is your first baby, it flies, momma. Hold onto every moment.*
One year ago, yesterday, I woke up and took a pregnancy test and was blown away to see that it was POSITIVE! The next nine months flew by, and, as you’ve probably figured out, I had my first child, a baby boy, 4 months ago! One thing I’ve learned throughout the whole experience is that the moment you become a mom, you become a member of a HUGE sorority of other moms who want to do whatever they can to help you out, which is wonderful, considering the whole process of being pregnant and becoming a mom is filled with the unexpected [and really weird stuff you’ve never talked about before]. When I first became pregnant, I turned to Pinterest to find what other moms recommended for everything from foods to steer clear of to what to register for.
Now, I find myself as the advice-sharer. I have several friends who either just gave birth or are ready to pop with babies of their own and I want to do whatever I can to make their experiences easier! Since I’ve been there before, and it’s all fresh on my mind, there are several little nuggets I want to share with any new mom-to-be!
When I prepared everything to go to the hospital, I read blog after blog after blog. There was advice that was right on the money and recommendations for things that, really, I didn’t need. Everyone tells you the general things to pack, pajamas, snacks, a pillow… blah blah blah… you know how to pack a bag, I know. But this list is different. Here are some things that you may not find on a list that I took with me to the hospital and was SO glad I did. These made ALL the difference in the world!
DISCLAIMER: I’m about to get real with you about the after-effects of childbirth. Men, you have been warned. Also, thank you for visiting my blog, dude! It’s super girly so I commend you! That’s all.
Before we begin, this wouldn’t be a mom-post without some unsolicited advice… Here’s mine.
Unsolicited piece of advice #1: Pack your bag beforehand, duh.
Unsolicited piece of advice #2: Pack your bag with YOU in mind. Fill it with things that will make you feel your best. My goal was to give myself the “Spa Experience” as much as possible, so I ordered small bottles of my favorite body indulgences and as soon as they arrived, they went straight into the bag, so I was excited to use all my new, yummy things in the hospital [may sound dumb, but it made me feel good]. Pick your favorite-smelling things, your softest fabrics and anything that makes you feel like a million dollars! Baby will have everything they need [aside from cozy jammies] at the hospital already, so you need to think about YOU!
What to Add to Your Hospital Bag That You Haven’t Already Thought Of
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1. Nursing Pajamas // OH. MY. GOODNESS. I’m so glad I thought to buy some nursing PJ’s BEFORE the baby arrived. They make it so much easier to feed in. Plus, it was nice to wear something that I hadn’t ever worn before, like a brand new jammies gift just for me because I had a baby! I bought 2 pajamas–one gown and one top with pants. The first day, you’ll want a gown on because you’ll be changing your ‘undies’ quite a few times and you won’t feel like stepping in and out of pants/pulling them up and down. I LOVE the options I tagged below! I also recommend black. Wear a lot of black. You’ll experience lots of fluids… sorry, but it’s true. Make at least something you pack be black, my friend, so you can wear it again one day.
2. A Leisure Robe // At one point I had 14 people in my hospital room, including the baby. You’ll want to cover up. Plus, they’ll have you walk around postpartum and you’ll feel better wrapped up. Also, nursing pajamas are LOW CUT in the front and your boobs will be bigger that you EVER thought they could possibly be. Trust me on this… This cotton one looks comfortable. These nursing pajamas come with a robe and matching jammies for baby too!
3. Your Favorite Smelling Bodywash and Lotion // I specifically purchased these two [Zents Earth Body Lotion and Philosophy Grace Bodywash] for my last hospital bag and I’m doing it again. After delivery, nothing can compare to the amazing feeling of rinsing off in the shower. I specifically packed my bag with a spa date in mind. I wanted to make sure that I had what I needed to ‘pamper’ myself once I had the baby. It was the best feeling not only to be clean, but to smell like my favorite smells. Make the most of that hospital trip and reward yourself for the last 9 months of work ending in the hardest workout of your life!
**Okay, I know these options are not all-natural. They are worth the indulgence to me because being in a hospital gives me the heebie jeebies and I want to feel some sort of luxury or indulgence. I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule… 80% natural, 20% indulgence. Moderation is good and my hospital bag is about me and not anyone else. No, I don’t rub the lotion on my nipples right before breastfeeding in case you were wondering.
4. Dry Shampoo // You’ll notice I didn’t include actual shampoo. After delivery, I was not in the mood to wash, dry and handle my hair, so I’m so happy I brought Dry Shampoo. This one is my favorite and smells so good! I was induced, so I knew it was coming. The day of my induction, I had my hair shampooed and blown-out at Drybar so that it was fresh. [honestly, this was the best thing ever.] You don’t have to do this, but you can take my advice to wash and dry your hair [then pull it up] during the very beginning stages of your labor. Then use dry shampoo to freshen up your hair in the hospital after. I only wash my hair about once a week anyways, unless I get REALLY sweaty. I’m planning on a natural labor and delivery this time, so who knows what I’ll look like after. All I know is that last time, it was nice to be able to shower, but not have to deal with washing and drying my hair at the hospital! Don’t forget a hairbrush either!
5. Chap stick // Your lips WILL get chapped while you’re in labor. Just make sure you have it. Plus, peppermint eases nausea, so the smell of Burt’s Beeswax Chap Stick may help you during the whole process!
6. Essential Oils // I actually packed my essential oil diffuser in my hospital bag and I’m SO glad I did. During labor, I had a blend of lavender, peppermint and grapefruit oils diffused into the room. The lavender was to help me relax, the peppermint helped with nausea and the grapefruit was invigorating, which gave me a boost of energy. Once the baby arrived, I kept the oils going, but increased the lavender to make my room smell good and promote relaxation. Every single person who came in my room commented on how great it smelled–once again this was my way of trying to make the hospital stay as ‘spa-like’ as possible.*Also, during labor, I would pour a few drops of peppermint onto a Kleenex and keep it near my nose. That REALLY helped with the nausea! Here are my favorites for labor, delivery and postpartum!
7. Eye Mask // You know the saying ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps…’ well, it’s probably the advice you’ll hear the most as you prepare to have your little one… But, baby will sleep during the day or night, which is why I was so glad I brought an eye mask. Also, this is an easy way to give visitors a hint that you need them to let you rest. I would just put my mask down over my eyes and everyone knew they needed to give me some quiet time. I received this silk eye mask for Christmas and it will definitely be coming with me to the hospital!
8. House Shoes or Slippers // Because no one likes to walk around a hospital barefoot… Make sure they’re pretty sturdy and can provide support for you when walking on hospital tile. You don’t want to slip in them or trip up because of them. That’s why both last time and this time, I’m opting for a moccasin with gripping on the bottoms.Just FYI… Be prepared for them to get dirty though… I peed on mine.. Twice. Gross, I know, but true. These are what I’m considering for round two:
9. Bluetooth Player // I played my favorite music during labor. We brought our little bullet Bluetooth player and had Pandora going quietly throughout the day. It was a wonderful addition to the atmosphere in the room. Also, the music that I chose was relaxing and, between the oils and the sounds, the environment in the room was very calm, exactly how I wanted it. Until push-time. That was more like a party. You can read about it here.
10. Happy Mama Nipple Butter, Bottom Spray and Bottom Balm // Let’s be honest, your… um… area goes through a lot during labor and delivery, and the Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Bottom Spray and Balm feel HEAVENLY afterwards. They’re all natural and have great healing elements. I lived on these for the first few weeks after L&D. Also, your first few days of breastfeeding aren’t very easy on your nipples, so have this nipple butter and some soothing gel pads ready to go in your hospital bag!
**NOT IN THE PHOTO, but make sure you have them:
This is what I like to call the Postpartum Care Kit, and every momma should have one in her hospital bag! You will want these after a vaginal delivery. [I can’t speak for a c-section, but I know there are plenty of awesome products out there for that as well!]
Gel Breast Pads // See #10 above.
Depends // Yes, I said Depends… like the adult diapers, Depends. They will provide disposable underwear in the hospital, but when you get home, you’ll be glad you have these. They’re actually pretty comfortable and you definitely will not want to wear your good stuff for a while. Plus, some women experience incontinence after having a baby [yeah, it’s a thing] and these are just so good for that… Just take my word for it… buy the depends. You’ll be glad you did.
Stool Softener // Start taking it as SOON as the baby is born. Your post-baby bottom will thank you!
Newborn Diapers // Not for the reason you think you need them… We would take a diaper, pull the end open like a bag of chips, fill it with ice and close it back up with the tabs. Then, I’d sit on it. This is, once again, like heaven down there! Don’t pack these… they’ll have them at the hospital!
Tucks // Take the aforementioned diaper ice pack, line it with tucks and then put the Happy Bottom Balm on top. You’ll thank me for this one day, I promise.
Ibuprofen // That’s right, baby’s out, so you can take Advil again!! Yay! [Just make sure you talk with your nurse/doctor before you take it in case they have you on a medicine that you can’t mix it with!]
Hopefully these little tidbits help make your birth experience as great as mine was! Packing your hospital bag right is essential for making your hospital stay as pleasant as possible!
Was there something I missed? Add your hospital bag must-haves by commenting below!