Everyone has their own take on what an expecting mom should have in her hospital bag. Sometimes you wonder if there should be that much extra space in your weekend duffel while at other times, it's almost as if you needed one of those XL suitcases or a magical Mary Poppins bag to fit it all in.
We know, the struggle is real.
That's why we decided to dedicate this post to the REAL basics of what belongs in that hospital bag, devoid of all those extra gadgets and inclusive of all those items you wish you had as you are detained to that hospital room.
As you are the one that is going to be giving birth to this baby, your body is going to be experiencing a lot - it is hard work. It's important that you stay as comfortable as possible during your hospital stay, whether than means listening to your top playlists on your ipod or having a fluffy robe to stay cozy in. Those little details are up to you, however these are the "momma" essentials that need to make it into your bag:
- Comfy PJ's
- Slip on shoes/slippers/flip flops
If you're in the last few weeks of pregnancy, we expect that you understand why slip on shoes are essential. You likely won't want to be bending over in half trying to do up your laces. Something quick for bathroom trips and getting up to see visitors is ideal.
- Nipple Cream
Breastfeeding can be hard on the nipples. However, keeping them moisturized and supple will go a long way in mitigating pain and cracked skin. Most will suggest you use lanolin, a heavy-duty industrial product used on cows, however, we love the natural ones you can get from Substance and Bamboobies. Both lanolin-free but effective, you don't have to worry about your baby getting traces of it in his or her mouth.
- Nursing Pads
Though it might take a little while for your milk to come in completely, it's best to be prepared with nursing pads which will keep your bra and clothes dry and clean. Some women go disposable, however we like the idea of reusable ones that you just throw in the wash. We have both kinds in store for moms to choose from.
- Travel-size skin regimen
You most likely will be staying at the hospital for a night or two, so it's a good idea to have your essentials with you. Pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mini sizes of your favourite cleansers, creams, shampoo and conditioner. Leave anything overly scented at home out of courtesy to others you might be sharing your room with- they could be scent-sensitive.
- Sanitary Pads
Yes, you were lucky to not have your period for a few months, however you will be needing some sanitary pads for those first few weeks after birth. Tampons are not a good option at this time, and once again, you can choose between going reusable or disposable. You've probably thought about it already, but in case you haven't - full bottomed, cotton underwear will probably be the most comfortable paired with your pads.
There's a lot of waiting during the birthing process, so pack some things to entertain you during those hours between feedings or visitors. Pack a book, download some podcasts on your phone, or download some Netflix videos to your iPad. Having your phone with you will allow you to more easily spread the good news and talk to those who can't physically visit you at the hospital.
Along with your mini entertainment suite, remember to bring the appropriate chargers. It's something we often miss while packing and then find ourselves mentally kicking ourselves about later.
- Health Card + Other documents
Your OB or midwife have probably already gotten you to register in advance with the hospital you intend to give birth at. However, it's best practice to have all of your health-related documents with you, including your health card, insurance information, and a drug list. Bring any medications you take on a regular basis with you along with their original packaging and information.
- Going Home Clothes
You probably won't want to be leaving the hospital in the pjs you just spent the last few days in. Pack yourself your favourite maternity jeans or leggings along with a nursing top and sweater for ultimate comfort and style.
Baby won't be packing it's own bag, so you'll have to bring some essentials for it as well. You'll be surprised at how much the hospital will provide at first for the little one, but remember that this is also your time to learn the basics of baby-care, so having your own tools is useful. Besides, you'll need to bring your baby home somehow!
There's no way you could be having a baby and not heard of swaddles. They are also known as "receiving blankets" and can be used in a variety of ways, from performing as a comforting "straight jacket" for baby, a light weight blanket, a large burp cloth, or even a makeshift wipe for spills. Most hospitals encourage that you bring your own in which you can take baby home in.
You'll need to have a small pack of newborn diapers with you. Even if you plan on cloth diapering later on, we suggest that for the first few weeks, at least when the baby is in the hospital, you make do with disposable ones.
You're going to need baby wipes for those first few diaper changes, so even if you decide to have a dedicated box at home, you might want something a bit more portable to bring with you to the hospital. Whether you decide to buy ready to use ones or make your own, remember to keep the scents to a minimum.
The last thing you want for your fresh newborn to experience is a diaper rash, so come prepared with a bum cream or spray. We find that a lot of moms like the Substance line we carry- as with everything else in store, it's all natural and safe for your little ones.
If you are going to be introducing a pacifier or soother to your baby, it's probably a good idea to bring it along with you to the hospital. There are a range of different types and brands on the market, so take your time to research what you are looking for. Keep in mind that your baby might like a round nipple more than an orthodontic one or vice versa, so don't go buying dozens of the same type before you are sure it's what he or she likes. We like the HEVEA natural rubber ones, but you might have a different kind in mind.
Going Home Outfit
Depending on the weather and the season during which your baby is born, you'll be needing different items to dress your baby in for the trip home. Though a onesie is a safe bet, you'll also want to consider a hat, socks, mittens, sweater, or a winter-grade snow suit. Of course, a swaddle or blanket are also part of this equation.
They will not let you and baby out of the hospital without a proper car seat. Remember to check the expiry date on your model and ensure that it is installed properly.
If you have any questions or concerns about your hospital bag, feel free to drop by one of our store locations. All the staff that work there are moms and can give you great advice on preparing for delivery day.
Otherwise, reach out to us on social media or email to ask about how to make your hospital bag as complete as can be.