If you’re a new expectant parent, you might be stressing out over what to pack in your hospital bag. We all want to be prepared, but did you know that there is such a thing as over packing your hospital bag? Nobody wants to show up to the hospital while they’re in labour with a trunk full of luggage.
That is why I have put together The Minimalist’s Hospital Bag Checklist for you. It contains all of the absolute essentials and none of the nonsense.
When preparing your hospital bag checklist, keep in mind that there are two people that you are packing for (maybe 3 if you want to include a few items for your partner).
Yourself, and the baby.
It helps to think of it as two separate lists, all in one hospital bag.
Hospital Bag Checklist For Mama:
A comfortable robe (bonus if it looks good in photos)
You will essentially live in this robe during your hospital stay. You will be wearing it while you receive any hospital visitors, and perhaps even be wearing it in a few photos. It doesn’t hurt for the robe to be cute as well as cozy.
Tank tops x 2
Don’t stress about stocking up on nursing-specific tank tops. Most tanktops can easily be pulled down or up for easy access to breasts for breastfeeding.
Long, warm cardigan sweater.
This can be worn over your tank tops for a relatively put-together sort of look, while still granting plenty of easy access to your breasts (if you are breastfeeding, easy access to your breasts will basically be your #1 wardrobe concern for the next 0-36 months).
A warm cardigan sweater will be a necessity even in the summer months as hospitals tend to keep things fairly cool.
Comfortable, loose-fitting pajama pants
No matter how you delivered your body is going to be sore. Comfortable pants are important.
Warm socks x 2 pairs
You’re going to be plodding around your hospital room for the next day or two, and you’re going to want your feet to be cozy. Many hospitals also ask that patients wear socks with ‘grippy’ bottoms, to prevent slipping. Make sure that your Hospital Bag Checklist contains your most comfortable, favorite socks.
Several pairs of high waisted, full coverage, 100% cotton underwear.
Call them granny-panties if you like. These underwear accommodate your bulky postpartum pads comfortably and are an absolute must.
What would a hospital bag checklist be if it did not contain this very essential item?
A comfortable going-home outfit for yourself.
Keeping in mind that your belly will still be swollen and your body will be tender. Now is not the time to try to squeeze into your pre-pregnancy jeans!
The first shower after giving birth is life changing!
- Hair brush
- Bobby pins/hair ties
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Body & hand lotion
A small container of coconut oil.
This does triple duty as nipple cream, lip balm, and a barrier to slather onto baby’s bum to make their meconium poos easier to clean.
Extra long mobile phone charger.
Your phone is absolutely going to run low on juice after you take 1,000,000 photos of that brand new, precious babe of yours! It is helpful if the charger is extra long, so that your phone can be plugged in while you use it.
It may take up to 5 days for your milk to come in, but if you’re one of the fortunate ones whose milk comes in while still at the hospital, you will likely experience some leakage. Luckily for you, we have got you covered.
The hospital will provide you with some of these, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few extra on hand. When shopping for your own postpartum pads, I suggest getting ones that are extra long, and also have ‘wings’ (so they cover as much of those fabulous granny panties as possible). Some women also find adult diapers to be a comfortable alternative.
Did you know that Lil Helper Boosters work excellently as a reusable postpartum pad option??
All your necessary ID.
You may rush out of the house without thinking to grab your wallet from your purse. Make sure that you have photo ID, your care card, and a visa or debit card for any cafeteria or gift shop purchases. Having a little bit of cash on hand doesn’t hurt either!
An extra, reusable bag.
No matter how minimalist you try to be, between the stuff the hospital sends you home with and any gifts left by visitors, you are absolutely going to be going home with more things than you went in with. So make sure that your Hospital Bag Checklist contains an extra bag to bring is all home in.
Fortunately, babies come out of the womb with more or less everything they need to be happy (other than clothes, diapers, and milk in their bellies) so their Hospital Bag Checklist is rather short.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby:
20 newborn sized diapers.
The hospital will provide some diapers but if you have a brand or type preference you will need to bring your own.
Plan on using cloth diapers on your newborn? Awesome! But hang on a minute: I would suggest waiting until baby has passed all of their meconium before starting with cloth. Meconium is the substance that makes up baby’s first poo and it often takes several days to fully pass. It’s dark green in colour and very, very, very, sticky. It would be very hard (nearly impossible) to wash meconium out of a cloth diaper.
Expert tip: Keep that newborn babe’s bum slathered in coconut oil for the first few days. This will make the meconium much easier to wipe off as baby passes it.
2-3 easy-to-take-off outfits (sleepers, onesies with pants, etc)
The medical staff will be poking and prodding that sweet babe of yours quite a bit in the first 24 hours, so clothing that can be easily removed is essential. Keeping babe in diaper only and wrapped in a cozy blanket is also a viable option. Expect that baby will poo/pee/puke on at least one of these outfits, if not all of them.
A cozy baby blanket.
The hospital blankets are scratchy at best. Bringing a soft baby blanket for baby is not a bad idea.
The hats the hospitals provide are not very cute, and also not particularly soft. I suggest bringing one of your own. It will take up very little room in your bag.
A going home outfit.
Make sure that it is seasonally appropriate for the weather that baby will be in when they are born.
That’s it! That’s all you truly need. The good news is that if you find yourself running low on any absolute essentials, the hospital most likely has it on hand. So don’t stress!
What do you think? Are we forgetting any essentials? What did you pack in your hospital bag?