I am a hardcore enneagram type 3 and lover of planners! So for me, figuring out what to pack in my hospital bag is high on my list of priorities for the third trimester. As a third time mama, I have learned a few things about what you really need to pack in your hospital bag along with what you want to pack. This is not my first rodeo when it comes to packing a hospital bag. However, this will be my first hospital birth during a pandemic which could bring some added craziness! Since I am now in the third trimester, I am excited to commence with hospital bag pack planning.
Both my babies came a little early, so I like to be ready for anything once I near the end. At the end of the day, your hospital stay ends with the the SWEETEST little baby that you have been waiting to meet since that stick turned pink. So regardless of how well packed you are, you won’t remember once you see that babe. After over packing the first time and under packing the second time, I feel like I have no choice but to hit the jackpot this time on my third try!
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Related: Third Trimester Survival Guide
Comfy clothes for MAMA
This one is crucial and I seriously underline the word comfy. While having your dream robe or matching outfit for pictures is also essential, the majority of the time you are there you want to feel as relaxed as possible. Your body just went through something arduous, and there is no reason to make it anything but ABSOLUTELY comfortable for the next few days. While the hospital gowns are available, they are not super comfy. I highly recommend picking out your own version of what comfy means to you. For me, this looks like a sports bra and sweatpants, easy nursing tops, and soft robes.
One of my favorite brands for comfort when it comes to the postpartum period is Kindred Bravely. They make maternity and postpartum wear that is practical, affordable, and most importantly super comfortable. It was easy for me to find my pieces I loved, and I felt more relaxed wearing something fitting instead of my husband’s sweatpants. I love their nursing bras and loungewear the most so I make sure to pack those for my hospital stay! I have the terry nursing bras for sleeping and also love their nursing activewear line. You can save 20% on your whole first purchase with this link so check it out to see if there is anything that is a good fit for you!
Also, YOU NEED SOCKS AND/OR FLIP FLOPS! Hospital floors are not the greatest, so plan to always have something for your feet.
Nourishment For MAMA
Hospital food stinks, and that’s just how it is. I was starving after my first child and ordered a huge hospital breakfast only to be drastically disappointed. Now I pack my own drinks and snacks so I am satisfied regardless. I pack some water bottles, tea, pretzels, and fruit normally and with the pandemic, I may sneak in a few more food items!
Going Home Outfit(s)
SO MUCH FUN! Picking out a going home outfit is one thing I love most about preparing for baby’s arrival. Since we have always been team green before our previous births, both my kids came home in the same Baby Bear onesie and hat and I love seeing it passed down between them. The first time I forced my husband to wear matching Papa Bear and Mama Bear shirts with me, and I will forever treasure leaving the hospital as a family of three. You do not have to limit yourself to one specific choice, but it is a lot of fun to have going home outfit ideas packed with you. Depending on your birth, your stay could be long or short and looking forward to bringing home baby in something you picked out just for him/her is so special. I also bring one or two of my favorite swaddle brands (we are obsessed with Aden + Anais swaddles in our house) in case I want to use something other than the hospital blanket.
Not fun or exciting, but make sure you have your phone charger. Between texts, pictures, and apps, you want to make sure you have your charger while you are there. Bring any cameras you want for photos, and any other electronic items you consider essential such as an iPad or tablet. Fun fact: (I was working remotely during my first birth and had my laptop at the hospital!. Don’t be that mama like I was!
Picture Worthy Items for Mama and Baby
If you are planning to take pictures during or near the actual birth, you will want to prepare ahead of time to ensure you feel good about your appearance. Some mamas are comfortable with their natural, labor intensive self being photographed and some mamas do not want any photos during the hospital time of herself at all. Go with whatever you are comfortable with! If you do plan on being in photos during this time and want to ensure you look back at them fondly, consider packing a delivery outfit for yourself and some beauty items. This could mean just a hairbrush or some makeup.
Since this is likely our last babe, I am investing in a cute delivery robe to wear after delivery and using my favorite dry shampoo from Primally Pure to feel fresh for pictures! I would not actually deliver in a fancy delivery robe because I prefer the comfort route, but I would like to have one for any photo opportunities and postpartum use. I also invested in a newborn swaddle set for the hospital this time around! Since we will not be allowed to have visitors or photographers, I want to take some pictures with my own new camera.
All the Hygiene
This is another one that seems obvious but I think it makes a huge difference. You will not know how you are going to feel after birth. Will you want to shower there or wait until you get home? Will you being having visitors at the hospital? Be prepared to feel however you might feel with any personal hygiene items you might want. For me this looks like my own shampoo and body wash, shower flip flops, my own deodorant, hairbrush, toothbrush/toothpaste, nightly skincare routine products, and any other miscellaneous bathroom products. Again, you might not use everything but it is nice to have your own things to freshen up instead of anything the hospital might have available. Also do not forget bathroom essentials like glasses/contact solution or any medicines you might need.
The Post Birth Body Care Essentials
The reality is, child birth can be rough for your body. It is beautiful, and results in a sweet babe. But it also involves some pain, bleeding, and many other not so great after effects. Whether you are having a c-section or vaginal delivery, there will be some bleeding and unpleasantness. The hospital provides tons of products for you including peri bottles, sprays, underwear, and pads. While I still plan to use all of those things again, I also know which things I prefer and which things I don’t. I am investing in my own underwear this time around as well as some pad brands that I prefer. I highly recommend having a nipple balm, perineal spray, and skin/scar balm for recovery!
If you have a preferred postpartum underwear brand or pad brand that you love, consider bringing some of these items with you. Again, this is also about taking care of you in the best way possible. If there is something you prefer that will make you feel more comfortable in terms of body care, make sure you bring it just in case.
Related: Postpartum Care Essentials For Mom
This one seems silly but if you have the time for some additional packing, pack some essentials for your partner! As a first time dad, my husband had no idea what to expect and was in the hospital with me with no comfort for himself. It ended up being annoying for me whenever he wanted to run and get something, or complain about his discomfort (seriously, which one of us just gave birth?)
Especially given the current pandemic, your support person may not be able to leave at all during your birth. I have packed some snack essentials for him (he has a serious soda addiction), comfortable clothes to change into, a few hygiene items for him, and any sleeping accessories he might want. The hospital we go to does a great job of making sure mama is comfortable, but we had a much better experience the second time when we came prepared with some dad items of our own.
The last thing I will add is that I would rather pack something extra to leave in my car than feel like I missed out on something. If you want your own pillow, your Boppy for breastfeeding, music, a medicine ball, or anything else that makes you feel comfortable do not hesitate to bring it! I have been fortunate to have two very enjoyable hospital stays so far. As I am gearing up for another stay as we speak, figuring out what to pack in my hospital bag helps me get my mind in the zone! What other items did you include in your bag that you found essential?
All the best,