My Hospital Bag: What I Really Needed (And What to Leave Home)

by , under Giving Birth

Now that I’ve been-there-done-that with the whole delivery (skipped labor due to a planned c-section) and hospital stay thing, I now know what is actually needed in the hospital bag.  So, for your reference, here’s my list of what you actually need and what you won’t:

What You Need

1.) Toiletries

The hospital doesn’t provide toiletries for you (though they will provide clean towels).  You will need to pack shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, tooth-brush, deodorant, lotion, Chapstick (hospitals are dry) and any other beauty supplies you might need (though you won’t have time for make-up).  The hospital will provide nursing pads and sanitary napkins (pads), so leave those at home.

2.) Camera and charger

3.) Cell phone and charger

4.) Baby Book

You’ll want to fill in all the information on your baby’s height, weight, first moments, etc. and have visitors sign it.

5.) Snacks!

All those pregnancy books and websites you’ve been reading that say to bring snacks are not lying!  You never know when the hospital will deliver food (or when you’ll be approved for real food) and you might not like it or it might not be enough to fill you.  I was starving my entire stay because the food came at such odd times and was not enough.  Also, they refused to give me food for the first two days.  I’M NOT KIDDING.

6.) Car Seat

You can’t take the baby home without it.  They will literally make you bring in the car seat, have you strap in the baby, and check to make sure you did it right before you can leave.

7.) Receiving blanket and outfit for baby to go home in.

8.) Pacifier

Of all the baby things you’d think the hospital supplies, this is not one of them.

9.) Clothes for your partner.

What To Leave Home

1.) Books, Magazines, iPads, and other entertainment

Trust me.  You won’t have time.  You will be busy as it is with all the nurses and doctors coming in every hour to check your vitals and check on the baby, taking care of your baby (yes, YOU will be required to change diapers and feed him/her during the day), and juggling the hoards of visitors who come to greet your baby.  During my hospital stay I almost never slept because I was so busy!

2.) Diapers, wipes, bath supplies, blankets/swaddlers, formula, bottles

The hospital basically provides everything you could possibly need to take care of a baby.  We were given bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, alcohol swabs (for the umbilical cord), burp cloths, lotion, blankets, beanies/hats, and even little newborn shirts.  Of course we weren’t allowed to take home the clothes and blankets, but we were allowed to take everything else that was left in our drawers!

3.) DON”T BUY a thermometer and nasal aspiration bulb!

The hospital lets you take home the nasal aspirator and thermometer they use on your baby, so no need to buy them!

4.) Nice clothes… or any clothes for that matter

Save yourself the trouble and don’t bring clothes with you.  The first few days they WILL get bloody and covered in breast milk.  My entire stay I wore my hospital gown and hospital socks.  The gown got soaked in milk (when it came in) and blood (you bleed from your vagina after birth, called lochia).  Besides, the nurses will be coming in several times a to check your abdomen (and your incision if you had a c-section) to see if your uterus is shrinking properly or not and to see how much you are bleeding.  Having a hospital gown makes those checks so much easier.

My advice?  Do as I did and wear the same clothes home that you wore to the hospital.

5.) Birth Plan

No one will have time to read it.  Just make sure you go over it with your doctor (and anesthesiologist if you are having a c-section) before you ever enter the hospital.  They’ll check with you and go over the procedures before they happen anyways.

6.) Pillows and Blankets

The hospital will provide you with plenty of these.  Yours will just get mixed up with the hospital’s and clutter the room.  Leave them home.