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What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: A Light-Packer’s Guide

At 36 weeks of pregnancy, I’m feeling the itch to pack my hospital bag.  Being this is my second time doing this, my bag is going to be a little bit different than last time based on what I learned.  A lot of lists I found on the internet the first time around had me packing everything-under-the-kitchen-sink, most of it which I never even touched.  So if you’re like me and just want the much-needed basics, follow my guide.

IntoBaby’s Basic Hospital Bag

  • Maternity/loose bottoms and top for going home
  • 2 Nursing bras- I recommend Bravado!  One for the hospital, one to wear home.
  • Nursing pads- You probably won’t need many since your milk won’t come in for a few days after the baby is born.
  • Sanitary pads- The hospital will provide them, but I feel more comfortable bringing a few of my own as well.
  • Socks and underwear– A couple pair of each will do.  The hospital provides disposible underwear, which I prefer to use so mine stay clean. 
  • Shoes- Preferably a pair that can double for walking the halls and going home to lighten the packing load.
  • Toiletries/cosmetics- Travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and very basic make-up is all I bring.  Bring what is important to you.  I leave all my hair “appliances” at home.
  • Camera and charger
  • Cell Phone and charger
  • 1 Take-home outfit for baby

Very basic, right?  Well, I learned with the first baby that this was really all I ended up using.  No need to bring a fancy robe and slippers, or a change of clothes for each day you’re there.  I simply wore the hospital gowns they provided the entire time and used as much as the “freebies” they provided as possible.  Less for me to have to haul in, less to clean when I get home. 

If you’re curious what I brought the first time I packed for the hospital that we didn’t really use, read on.  You may find some of these things will work for you, even though I never used them myself.

Hospital Bag “Extras”- (That we never used)

  • Birth/Labor Plan: Just about everywhere I read said have at least 2 copies of your birth plan with you in your hospital bag.  We never used it.  We had already discussed with our doctor ahead of time plans for pain management, etc.
  • Breastfeeding pillow: We dragged the Boppy along, but didn’t need it.  The blankets and pillows on the bed did a great job during the middle of the night.
  • Breast Pump: My milk didn’t come in until a day or two after we got home from the hospital.
  • Robe and slippers:  As stated before, I opted to use the hospital gowns provided
  • Wash cloths:  We brought a few in case labor was long and hard and I needed a cool down.  The hospital had them, plus I never used them.
  • Pillow: Most sources I read said to bring your own pillow for comfort.  The hospital provided plenty of pillows so comfort was never an issue.  (Although my  husband definitely prefers to bring his own!)

With that said, light-packer or not, I am considering bringing my Nook Color (my Mother’s Day present!) which I can use to keep people updated on facebook, and read books and magazines if I need any entertainment. 

The important thing about packing your hospital bag is bring what you know will be important to you!  Each person has their own opinions as to what is essential or not, so pack as light or heavy as you need to meet your needs.  Just keep in mind that you’ll be leaving the hospital with a baby in a car seat, and probably numerous supplies given by the hospital, as well as any flowers and gifts you’ll receive.  That’s why I’m packing much lighter this time! 

It also is a good idea to have your bag packed by the time you’re full term to make sure it’s ready to go, and keep it in the car with you when you go places, or go to your doctor appointments.  You never know how fast labor will go, so it’s best to be ready! 

With that said, happy packing!

What did you pack in your  hospital bag?


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