Pregnancy comes with its own ups and downs so to have all this turmoil and uncertainty on top of it has been particularly strange to navigate. On one hand, it’s added stress and taken away control. But on the other hand, having something to look forward to and to celebrate has been a nice distraction. And having Matthew home for this experience has been a huge blessing. But with my delivery date getting closer, all of the unknowns are stacking up. But in the face of uncertainty, I’m learning to be proactive. I’m preparing the kids, having clearer communication with my doctors, and carefully packing the most efficient and useful hospital bag. Packing a good hospital bag is more important than ever because Matthew’s ability to go back and forth from the hospital will be limited and my mom won’t be able to bring anything else I might need (including my kids, which just breaks my heart). This is my third time around so I have a much better idea of what to bring to the hospital.
Weekender Bag– I have always brought a weekender bag because they’re the perfect size for the usual hospital stay. And since my husband likes to bring a roller bag, my bag will sit easily on top of his (rather than having two roller bags he has to pull). There are a lot of options out there but you want something that’s good quality with multiple pockets.
Sleep Mask- This might be the most important, especially if you’re being induced. There is always light coming from somewhere in a hospital or people barging in and any chance you have to sleep, you want to make it count. Sleep masks have also helped me with insomnia during pregnancy so they’re definitely worth it.
Camera- We have pictures taken in the hospital but I like to snap a few of my own. This time is especially important because we can’t have a photographer come.
Phone & Charger- This is obvious but I would just suggest getting an extra long charging cord. Half of the time I’m in the hospital, I’m Facetiming family members from my bed. I got a 10 foot cord for the first time a few years ago and have never looked back.
Journal– I like to jot a few thoughts down before and after the baby comes. It’s such a special time but through the delivery and newborn haze, it can be hard to remember everything later.
Long Sweater & Slippers– I have always found hospital rooms to be cold so having something cozy and soft from home is so nice. For you that might be a blanket or some other comfort item but for me, it’s always been an oversized sweater and soft slippers.
Photo Session Outfits/Going Home Outfits (for you and the baby)- This is probably my favorite thing to pack. I’ve put together baby girl’s outfit already and you just forget how small babies are! To save space, consider doing one piece outfits or even just a cute swaddle blanket with a hat/bow could work.
Toiletries– Getting dolled up and doing skincare routines aren’t normally top of mind for me in the hospital but I always make sure to bring moisturizer, deodorant, toothbrush & toothpaste, chapstick, and simple makeup for pictures.
Loose Clothes– I didn’t know until Kate Middleton had Prince George that your baby bump doesn’t just disappear after you have the baby! If you don’t want to wear the hospital gown the whole time, bring loose clothes (even your maternity clothes) that are comfortable and nursing friendly.
Nursing Supplies– If you are planning to nurse your baby, you’ll need nursing pads, nursing bras, nursing pillow, and ointment (especially important if this is your first baby. Trust me!)
Crossbody Bag– I always bring a small purse to keep inside my larger bag to hold smaller things that I want to find really easily- My I.D., insurance info, birth plan, headphones, phone, charger, etc. I’ve found it’s easier to have my husband hand me the small purse so I can get what I need rather than have him look through my whole bag.
And as far as my husband’s bag goes, he normally brings a sleep mask, change of clothes, a pillow and blanket, his computer, and snacks.
In my experience, the hospital has everything you need for the baby for the duration of your stay so I don’t bother bringing diapers, wipes, or pacifiers. But if you’re particular about a brand (I do like bringing at least one muslin swaddle blanket), then go ahead and pack those as well.
The last few weeks before the baby comes are stressful and uncomfortable but also exciting! You finally get to really prepare for this major event for which you’ve been patiently (or impatiently, in my case) waiting. Good luck to all you pregnant mamas out there!