Your Hospital Bag: Pack This, Not That
I have 10 years of in-hospital experience working in maternal & neonatal units and I’ve seen people bring some crazy things in their hospital bags (I’m looking at you, Dad who brought his PlayStation!). 😳
Let’s start with what you DO need.
(hint: it’s not much)
There are 3 things I can add that didn’t fit in my cute little pictograph. 🙃
- Phone charger
- Sleeping eye mask (if you like these… it’s a must for my husband but they just annoy me)
- Baby’s going home outfit (the rest of the time between birth and discharge they should either be skin to skin with you or double swaddled, so they don’t really any additional clothes)
Now, on to what you DO NOT need.
(hint: you don’t need your favorite gaming console 😆)
My rationale for most items included here is not that they aren’t important or possibly needed, but that many will probably be available at your hospital… you just have to ask.
*Breast Pump - most women won’t need to start pumping in the hospital, but if you do, your hospital will have a hospital grade double electric breast pump available. This is the best choice if you need to pump early on. Also, hospital grade pumps are a “closed system” so they are perfectly safe for multiple users to share.
*Breastfeeding Pillow - these are awesome and you will def need one…. BUT, they are usually pretty awkward to use to first few days. Why? Because of that immediate postpartum belly. Since it hasn’t flattened much, most popular pillows like the boppy or my breast friend sort of sit around this belly but leave a crevice between the body and the pillow and this is where the baby will be. And since the baby gets sort of placed in this crevice, it defeats the purpose of the pillow (to support the baby’s body and keep it up at the breast).
Fold, mold, and stack hospital pillows instead! Request as many as you need!
*Nursing pads - most likely your milk won’t come in prior to discharge so you won’t be leaking. And even if this occurs, the hospital stocks them.
*Perineal pads - unless you are picky about them, your hospital will supply them and also send you home with some. Most will also stock instant cold packs for your vaginal area and/or your nurse can make some for you.
*Diapers & wipes - again, unless you are picky about this, the hospital will have all of this. Including if you need preemie or size 1 diapers. If the newborn size doesn’t seem to be fitting your baby well, just ask your nurse. (Usually your room is pre-stocked with newborn size and the nurse may just forget to get you the other size).
*Baby mittens - they are USELESS! I’ve never met a baby mitten that actually stayed on and worked well! Use baby socks with longer elastic ankle area instead.
*Nipple Shields & Pacifiers - this could be a whole separate post but suffice to say that pacifiers should be avoided for the first 2 weeks. If you absolutely need it, the hospital will have one. Nipple shields shouldn’t be used unless absolutely necessary and under the guidance of an IBCLC. So, again, if you do absolutely need it, the hospital should supply it.
For more on nipple shields, check out my 3 part video series in my "Freebies" in my On Demand Learning Center.
*Lactation cookies, supplements, teas, etc… Most women don’t need these at all! Ever! Period! There isn’t much research to back up most of these supposed supplements and a lot of their marketing is target to play into new moms’ insecurities. And even if you are one of the few women who truly need them and will benefit from them, you won’t need them the first few days postpartum. You can read more about this topic in my blog posMrs linked below titled “Beware of Fenugreek” and “Products to Help Increase Milk Supply”.
*Baby soap, lotion, and diaper creams - Either don’t bathe your newborn at all while in the hospital (the white coating they are born with call vernix, is good for their skin) or the hospital will supply baby soap. Also, newborns don’t need lotion or diaper cream.
I hope this post helps you feel better prepared to pack your hospital bag!