Moms-to-Be: Your Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist
This post started out as one of several mommy-to-be lists that I created for myself almost two years ago in preparation for toddler boss’s arrival. After I packed my bag, I didn’t look at the list again until a couple of weeks ago when I ran into a friend and fellow mompreneur who was preparing to have baby #3 in less than a week. She’d already had two home births, but this was going to be her first time in a hospital and she had no idea what to pack. There she was, running a business, literally up until the day before she was due to deliver, and feeling totally unprepared for such a huge moment in her personal life. Unfortunately, that often comes with the territory when you’re an entrepreneur, and especially a mompreneur.
So, when I got home, I sent her an e-mail with my list, hoping to lighten her load a bit. I’ve always said that if everyone took time to make things a little easier for the next person in line, the world would be a much better place. Little did I know that the timing would work out perfectly: I saw her on a Friday afternoon; I sent the message that night; and she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy that Sunday via emergency C-section. Needless to say, she was very appreciative and had everything she needed, thanks to the list and her sister's superb packing skills.
Here’s my list, including a few notes and items that I added knowing what I know now. And even if you’re not planning on a C-section (I was adamant about not having one until I had to have one), I still recommend packing for one, just in case. Start gathering everything you need about four weeks before your due date and make sure that your bag is packed no later than two weeks after that. Once you're all set, take it with you whenever you leave the house. If you opt to leave it in the car instead of lugging it back and forth, make sure that you take all of your valuables out. Sidenote: some idiot broke into my car and stole my briefcase while I was pregnant, so now I'm extremely paranoid about leaving anything that I need (valuable or not) in the car.
ULTIMATE HOSPITAL CHECKLIST:
- Birth Plan (I didn't end up using mine, but it's still good to plan out what you want (and don't want) and learn all of the terminology in advance). I used a template from BabyCenter.com, available here.
- Cell phone + charger
- Camera + charger/batteries
- iPod/iPad with your special baby playlist
- Toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wash, body wash/soap, hair ties/bands, comb/brush, lotion, lip balm & a little make-up if you want to look mommy fresh in pics)
- Wash cloths and/or shower poof
- Nightgowns (C-section note: get something with buttons down the front or something that you can easily slide over your head)
- Nursing bra(s) (you’ll need to get these in a size or two larger since the girls are gonna get much bigger as your milk comes in)
- Nipple cream (I didn't use this immediately, but it came in handy as soon as I got home)
- Nipple pads (same as above)
- Underwear (C-section note: I used the ones that the hospital gave me, but if you prefer to wear your own, pick up some granny panties that will fit over the area of incision)
- Comfortable and loose change of clothes to wear home
- Weather-appropriate going home outfit for the baby (make sure that you select something that won't irritate the baby's navel)
Not absolutely necessary, but nice to have:
- Comfortable pillow (with colored pillowcase to distinguish yours from the hospital cheapies)
- Light blanket
- Flip-flops/shower shoes
- Nursing pillow (if you plan to use one at home, it’s helpful to get used to it while you’re still at the hospital and easy access to lactation consultants to help you)
- Breast pump (in my case, this was necessary from the beginning, so I rented a high-powered Medela from the hospital for six months for about $200 and used my smaller one when I was in transit or away from home)
Pads/sanitary napkins (the hospital will give you the ginormous ones (see below; sorry in advance if this is TMI), but I do recommended picking up some of the over-the-counter overnighters beforehand just in case you can't handle the size of the ones they give you, which are roughly the size of a medium-sized women's shirt, as shown:-)
When you get ready to leave the hospital, be sure to ask for extras of all the goodies that you really liked. When you see how much it actually costs for you to stay in the hospital, trust me, you should be asking for a lot more! Just sayin’…
Want more great info? Check out "7 Tips for Staying Organized Before & After Your Baby Shower."
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
- Riche Holmes Grant