the Essentials | ONLY
- toiletries — basically bring whatever makes you most comfortable for your post-baby stay. for me it is dry shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, mini shower pouf, toothbrush, face wash.. you get the idea. I am typically in the hospital for four nights post c-section, and because I am in the hospital for a longer stay than typical, I bring my regular size bottles of toiletries. you could probably throw shampoo and conditioner along with your hairdryer in your bag if you like, but fixing washing my hair is the last on my list during that time- its hard enough to stand up straight for a shower let alone find the energy to wash my hair 🙂 but totally your preference.
- lip balm — hospitals tend to have dry air and having a couple tubes within reach is really helpful.
- hairbrush + hair ties — the topknot is my very best friend, so I want to make sure I’ve got something to hold my hair up – especially when me and the little buddy are learning to nurse and of course it is a refreshing feeling to get your hair off your neck.
- support binder/abdominal binder/belly band — shout out to my c-section mamas :: you will appreciate this after your baby is born. my OB prescribed and provided one while I was in the hospital, but it is my understanding that not all hospitals will do that – so it might be something to ask about or invest in before heading to the hospital for delivery. it helped to make it seem like not everything was going to ‘fall out’ the moment I put two feet on the ground to make the journey to the bathroom 4 steps away. I loved using the binder after my second delivery but with Brady, I had a hard time with gas being trapped and the binder made it worse. I ended up not using it as much immediately following delivery and more after I got home.
- stretchy, soft + comfy clothing — the first day of my stay (delivery day) I am not usually up for getting dressed. It wasn’t until day two that I was ready to be in my own clothing. that being said, I usually set a goal for myself to be showered and in my own clothes by lunchtime the next day. a shower post delivery makes a tremendous difference!
- pants (2-4 pair): for my fellow C-section mamas, look for pants that you can wear higher or lower than your bikini line – yoga pants with the wide, fold-over waistband are great. I recently got a pair of these wide leg pants (size up one!) to wear for post delivery. I also love their floral lounge pants, too (they run true to size)! super soft and super stretchy.. and even though they are maternity, they are really perfect for postpartum wear. I also have to mention how much I love the postpartum high waisted leggings from BLANQI and appreciate the support they offered post delivery and beyond! they are my FAVorite leggings (they run true to size!).
- bras (2): just say no to the underwire. I stopped wearing underwire bras months ago.. and if you are planning to breastfeed you’ll need to say bye-bye to that kinda support from now until the end. I have packed two tried and true nursing bras – this one and this one . I LOVE these nursing bras and have used them through every baby. they have just enough padding to be able to wear them without a nursing pad and offer awesome and seamless support.
- tops (2-4): If you’re planning on nursing, keep in mind ease of access for breastfeeding. I have worn these maternity tanks throughout every pregnancy and they are also fantastic for breastfeeding- they have great stretch and hold their shape very well so I just pull down. I wore them as undershirts every time we went anywhere. I’ve gotten a handful more for this pregnancy, and plan to wear them again postpartum for nursing. I also picked up this tank from Kindred Bravely to try. I like that it isn’t very form fitting for wearing after surgery.
- lightweight cardigan and/or sweater: I love cardigans and wear them around the house pretty much at all times- I am not a robe kind of gal, but you could bring a robe instead if that’s what you prefer! I am cold-natured, and hospitals are notorious for freezing you out. also would be great to have something to cover up with while you are walking the halls- I love the midi length of this cardigan and the pop of color of this one!
- slippers— you’ll be up and moving around, walking your room, and the hospital hallways is important for recovery (and sanity). dont forget your slippers!
as bad as you want to, he/she doesn’t need their own bag..
- beanie — the hospital usually provides one, but I had some custom made for all the babes, and again for this little boy. this is a total preference, but I just love these beanies for my teeny baby’s heads. I’m not usually one for a monogram, but they are just precious.
- swaddles — the hospital should provide these but I have packed a few I bought special for baby boy.
- onesies (1-2) — I didn’t bring any with the girls but packed a couple for Brady and decided this time I wanted to include a few of my favorite basic side snap onesies from June & January .
- take home outfit — I picked out something easy – just the sweetest little layette outfit from Solly baby (to match his beanie). this was the very first thing I bought! you could also do just a onesie and stretchy pants. keep in mind that gowns aren’t able to be used in the car seat – so leave those for home wear 🙂 don’t forget the socks to keep those teeny toes toasty!
- camera & charger
- laptop/tablet/iPad & charger
- cell phone & charger
- insurance card/ID/etc: they’ll ask for them in the mountain of paperwork you’ll be signing at check in and check out.
- boppy or other nursing pillow (if you’re breastfeeding) — I didn’t bring the Boppy the first go round, but really wished I had. when I was first learning to breastfeed I would set up mountains of pillows around me – and it still didn’t get both of us in the right position. I definitely have this ready to go!
- car seat — you don’t need this until you’re leaving, so it can just stay in the car. you can also bring your car seat cover (I love Milk Snob)- if that’s something you have preference for. winter/summer babies probably would appreciate the protection from the sun/cold.
stuff you think you need, but probably don’t
- underwear (other than what you wear in) — in the past I have included several pair of oversized cheap cotton panties that I planned to wear and toss, but, really the hospital provided mesh panties is the only way to go. I don’t usually get into real panties until I got home. I was introduced to bao bei maternity bloomers this time around and I’m excited to see what I think about them!
- newborn care items — the hospital gives you everything! My hospital is ‘baby friendly’ and does not provide a pacifier, but everything else- you name it: diapers, wipes, snot sucker, blankets, whatever you can think of. we usually come home with a TON of stuff, even a couple Halo brand swaddle sleep sacs (amazing).
- diaper bag — you don’t need any newborn care items, so you don’t need a diaper bag. as bad as you want to bring it, just leave it behind. it will get its fair share of use. I did want to mention that I’ve recently gotten a TON of questions about what diaper bag I use, and I LOVE my Fawn Design backpack diaper bag.
- pads — when I was packing my hospital bag for my very first delivery with the twins, every single blog/site I landed on told me to bring pads. the hospital will give you some that are BIG enough and absorbent enough for what you need – you cant actually get those at the store 🙂 I’m telling you, mesh panties and giant hospital pads all the way.
- breast pump (if you choose to breastfeed) — seasoned mama or not I always welcome a visit from a lactation consultant during my stay. the hospital will provide you with a pump if you ask for one, so don’t plan to bring your own.
I suppose approaching 39 weeks before packing my hospital bag isn’t the smartest idea, but I’m ready now! come on baby!