Friday, June 20, 2014

The minimalist hospital bag - What to pack

Packing the hospital bag is a pretty exciting milestone in pregnancy—you're getting so close to meeting baby! I wanted to bring the bare minimum but still feel adequately prepared and like I had everything I needed or wanted. And yet I still overpacked somehow! Here's my list of the things I ended up using and finding essential. The minimalist hospital bag - What to pack
Nursing Tank & Jersey Skirt  - These were a MUST for me because I absolutely despise hospital gowns. I knew I wouldn't be comfortable in one so I asked if I could wear a short stretchy skirt and nursing tank and they said OF COURSE! It was comfortable, allowed me to move freely and I felt totally normal walking the halls. Plus there's something about being in "regular" clothes that made the whole experience feel really everyday and normal and less I'm-stuck-in-a-hospital.
You'll want to be sure to check with your OB or midwives beforehand but I can't imagine it'd ever be a problem.

Black slippers - I'm not a barefoot kind of girl so I bought a pair of little black ballerina slippers for walking around during labor and wearing in bed for recovery also. I still wear them around the house everyday, I love them

Journal - I wanted to write down little snippets of what I was feeling (emotionally and psychically) during labor and the sweet first memories with your little baby. You're so tired and there are definitely things you won't remember unless you write it down. This also came in handy for keeping track of nursing times and baby poops, which I didn't expect to do but the hospital wants to know these things :)

Bike shorts - When all is said and done you'll obviously be very tender "down there" and to keep all the pads and ice packs in place I just slipped on some bike shorts over everything (even the mesh panties). It keeps it all nice and tight against you even when you're maneuvering in and out of the bed. This saved me from a lot of pad/ice pack rearranging... if you know what I mean.

Nursing dress/shirt - Getting the hang of nursing (even if the baby latches great) takes a lot of work so bring something that makes it super easy on you. This isn't the time to fiddle with holding up a t-shirt while trying to nurse.  I had a dress very similar to the one above and it was perfect. We had tons of visitors the day after Beck was born and I felt totally comfortable and presentable in the dress. The nursing tanks would be good too!

Not pictured:
Make-up - Call me vain but lots of photos are taken during this whole deal and I wanted to make myself feel as nice as I could. This was important to me but it may not be to you! I even put on waterproof eyeliner in between contractions...

Knot hat - Because the pink and blue hospital ones aren't the best. We got one of these and he not only wore it in the hospital but at home all the time too!

Swaddle Blanket - We used the hospital ones the first day but they aren't very soft or cozy so we used the one we brought, plus you'll need something to cover the baby up with when you're going home.

Footed PJ's (newborn size) - It really isn't necessary to bring multiple outfits, socks, hand mittens, ect. Beck was only in the hospital kimono style onsie and swaddled the first day and we changed him into little footed pj's the next day and took him home in that. 

There are other things you'll want there but these are totally obvious and I'm sure you don't need a list to tell you that you'll want/need them, like: Cell phone/charger, toiletries, wallet, ect

And here's what you DON'T need:

Pads - the hospital will you give you plenty and even send you home with some
Diapers and wipes - same as above
Breast pads - your milk probably won't have even come in by the time you leave the hospital (mine didn't) but even if it does the hospital has these too
Pacifier - It's usually a no-no to use one so soon if you're breastfeeding but even so, the hospital gave us one to take home
Nursing cover - Believe me, the last thing you'll care about is covering up while nursing at the hospital.
Pillows/Boppy - I didn't bring either of these and I didn't miss them. The nurses will bring you as many pillows as you want so its one less thing to pack and have to carry around with you.
Dvd's or books - I had a pretty relaxing labor but still the farthest thing from my mind was sitting in bed and watching a tv show... I can't imagine you'd want to be doing that if labor was super intense either.

I also didn't care about snacks, drinks, candles, suckers, ect.

Hope this helps and if you have a question about something I packed or didn't, ask away!


  1. Great list! I agree with everything but the pads. My hospital had terrible horrible pads. The 2nd time around I took a few slim depends and fancy pads and it was so much better!

  2. this list is on point. before I gave birth I looked up ideas of what I needed to take with me... later to find half of the stuff was very unnecessary.

  3. yes! agree! great list. i substitute flip flops for slippers, because they're easier to slide on without bending over and double as shower footwear if you'd like, and i do pack snacks but not for me - for my husband. it's sometimes hard for the partner to get away to grab food, so a few protein bars and some gum can help. i also pack advil because my husband got a raging headache during my first labor (due to him not eating/stress) and it was really difficult to get medication for HIM from the hospital. totally agree about the clothes, though - a nursing cami and a cardigan with a stretchy skirt made me feel so much more human than a hospital gown!!

  4. Just looking at this makes me want another baby... sigh...

  5. I agree (loving the bike shorts idea) except for the list of things not needed. I gave birth at a birth center and needed all of those things. I would also add a belly binder. It made everything feel so much better! Plus it helps the uterus contract down to normal size faster.

    1. Ah yes!! All of those are definitely needed if the birth facility doesn't provide them!! You'd be quite a mess without bringing those along I would imagine :)

    2. We definitely would have! They provided the mesh panties and postpartum pads, but everything else we had to bring. I'm expecting baby #2 now and will certainly be bringing bike shorts. That would have been helpful the first time.

  6. Yes, this is so good! I poured over lists like these when I was pregnant, wanting to pack everything imaginable to make the hospital feel like home... I wish they would have included a don't need list like yours. My nursing pillow stayed in the car the entire time and we didn't watch a single movie during out stay. Wasted space.

  7. Great list! But I loved having my Boppy to sit on for the ride home since it's pretty tender down below and it's nice to have some padding.

  8. haha, the skirt made me laugh... yes, perhaps if you weigh 90 pounds... :)


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