I initially wrote this post when I was 7 weeks from my due date (seems like an eternity ago now that I have a one year old running around) and all the recs compiled were from the thousands of mommies who follow me on @thechutneylife! I am beyond grateful that they shared their advice with me because it made for a much more comfortable hospital stay as a nervous first time mom.
Truthfully, I had a lot of moms tell me I didn’t need anything at all and that the hospital would have whatever it is I could possibly want, but personally I found my experience to be quite different. Shaan was born via an unplanned c-section and my husband and I were in the hospital for what seemed like the longest five days of our lives. The hospital didn’t have a comfy robe with pockets, a 10 ft iPhone charger or cozy slippers for me to walk around in- I brought all of these items from home and I’m so glad I packed each and every one of them. Below I’m sharing a complete list of what I packed and the items I truly found to be useful as a first time mom. I’d pack each of these again when and if baby#2 happens!
Three Pieces of Advice:
#1 Take all the free stuff home. Do not be shy, ask for more and keep storing it away in your bag (make sure you bring an extra bag or leave enough space in yours for the things you’ll take home). As much as I thought I had everything I needed, these items definitely came in use and I’m so so glad I took them home! The gauze pads & ointment (to use around the umbilical cord), diapers, and pads were some items we used almost immediately after coming home.
#2 Don’t forget about your husband! My husband stayed with me for five nights in the hospital on a very uncomfortable makeshift bed. He was glad he brought his head phones, comfy clothes, laptop and charger and toiletries. Also, don’t forget snacks!
#3 Pumps, Formula & Nursing. In hindsight, I really really wish I took my nursing pillow with me to the hospital so I wasn’t rearranging a giant pile of sheets and towels to get comfortable every time I attempted to nurse Shaan. The pillow would’ve been so much easier to use! I also packed formula incase I needed it and my pump so I could stimulate milk production quicker. This is a personal choice but it’s great to have with you and be able to utilize the assistance form hospital lactation consultants should you need guidance on using it!
Here’s What Was In My Hospital Bag:
#1 I didn’t end up having a vaginal birth but all of my mom friends told me to pack some sort of a soothing spray like this Earth Mama Perineal Spray. Hospitals usually provide dermoplast so you can always ask them too!
#2 This is one of those things that you don’t know you need until you try it. The design of this Frida Baby Fridet Mommy Washer made rinsing off my lady parts so much easier! You can fill it with warm water and a few drops of witch hazel for some soothing relief. When the nurses took my catheter out and asked me to pee (to evaluate whether they needed to re insert the catheter or not) I could not pee for the LIFE of me! I did NOT want that damn catheter put back in which is when I grabbed the Friday Baby and with the assistance of some warm water, finally was able to pee on my own! It’s a MUST HAVE.
#3 10 Ft. Iphone Charger is necessary so you can have your phone near you and don’t need to reach far! Whether your scrolling through social media to distract yourself or playing music on your phone- its super handy!
#6 Depends– The hospital does give you extra large pads and mesh underwear but these depends were so much easier to slip on and they stayed in place much better!
#7 A Dark colored Robe & Nursing Night Gown– I found these night tee shirts (size up) to be super comfy in the hospital! We had a lot of family visit so having a robe I could quickly throw on top to look presentable was helpful. A dark robe is key so you’re not constantly frantic about any stains showing and pockets is a must. If you want to go a different route, my bestie raved about these front zip gowns which although don’t look too cute, are super super comfortable in the hospital and ideal for breastfeeding and undressing often. They’d be great for post partum as well!
#8 Earth Mama Nipple butter & Mother Love were highly recommended to me and I used both religiously for fear of dried cracked nipples!
#9 Slippers – I am a “comfort” person and I need all my cozy favorites!! I’m so happy I packed these slippers because the shoes I arrive in the hospital with, didn’t fit me when I left, lol! I wore these around the room, when I took walks around the maternity ward and I’d definitely take them again! I’d also pack a pair of flip flips you don’t mind getting wet ( for the bathroom floor) so you can use them for the bathroom and when you shower.
#10 Spectra Breast Pump Although it will take a while for your milk to come in (this is different for everyone)- its a great idea to take your pump with you to the hospital so you can get comfortable using it- and have the nurses/lactation consultants assist you and you can start to stimulate milk production. My milk product tanked after a couple of weeks and I wish I had started the pumping process much sooner.
#11 Baby Clothes– I regret not packing more clothes (for some reason this didn’t cross my mind) but considering we were in the hospital for 5 days, I wish I had packed just some simple cotton body suits/onesies. Also pack a swaddle blanket, receiving blanket, hats (newborn’s need hats to keep warm), and a special coming home outfit if you want one!
#12 Toiletries for You- I was so glad I packed basics like a toothbrush, shampoo, hair ties, lip balm, lotion and a few things to look put together so I could have some decent photos with by baby boy!
#13 Camera– make sure it’s charged if you bring one!
#14 Car Seat– You don’t need to bring this with you but you do need to make sure you have it when you leave and you should be VERY comfortable using it. You’ll also have a few trips to the pediatrician in those early weeks and last thing you need is the stress of figuring out your car seat. Practice with a teddy bear or on friends baby! You can learn more about proper car seat safety here : NHTSA .
Bring snacks too, those night team feedings make you super hungry and a lot of hospitals kitchens close by a certain time. I also brought small gifts like a small candle for the nurses, they really are super helpful and provide you with your sanity the first few days and they really appreciate the gesture too!
Great list! Wanted to share some suggestions – I had a baby a year ago so it’s all very fresh in my mind. Depending on where you deliver, you really don’t need to take formula to the hospital. They should provide everything. If you’ve done a tour of the hospital, you can ask them if they don’t. My hospital gave us boxes of pre-mixed formula to take home. I would *kind* of disagree that nipple confusion isn’t a thing. Milk definitely takes a while to come but it’s important to do all the initial skin to skin and the suckling to help milk come and create a good latch. We used a small syringe to give my daughter formula because my milk took 3 days to come. This worked for us because they drink so little in the beginning. I also don’t think you need to carry your pump to the hospital – your hospital should provide a hospital-grade one which is much stronger. I couldn’t agree more with taking stuff home from the hospital – the mesh underwear is nothing but god-sent. One additional recommendation I didn’t see here is a good quality lip balm. Your lips get really dry! Pack nursing friendly clothes, particularly nursing tanks or loose clothes so you can do skin-to-skin. If you have a nursing pillow – I recommend the brestfriend for the back support – take it there because it’s so tough to learn a good hold for the baby in the initial stages. I ended up having a C-section so I still have stashes of witch hazel wipes sitting around so I guess my advice would be to amazon prime all that stuff after baby comes! My hospital provided excellent care and I honestly needed for nothing saving personal items. Good luck on this last stretch!