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  • Writer's pictureCarolina Andes

The Minimal Hospital Bag

My philosophy is to keep it simple. I see a lot of lists that say bring books and iPads for movies, and I’ve never ONCE needed any of that! I also don’t think it’s worth stressing about dressing perfectly + having a full face of makeup right after delivering. God Bless Princess Kate, but no one needs that pressure after having a baby!

So here’s my super practical and minimal must-pack list!

  • Easy to grab duffle - I love Fawn Design’s Weekender Bag!

  • Delivery gown - this will be my third delivery bringing a James Fox Co hospital gown. I actually wear it TO the hospital, and I just love how functional AND comfortable it is. Your butt isn’t hanging out, its nursing friendly, and it helps you still feel like yourself in the midst of the hospital insanity.

  • Nursing bra - bring a comfortable, soft nursing bra. My favorites are from Lively!

  • Something to wear during recovery - I've just worn my James Fox Co gown since its so functional and comfortable! With this past delivery, I was really hot (hormones are weird!) so I actually just wore a nursing bar and the mesh underwear provided by the hospital! But you may want something else. I highly recommend planning to just be dressed waist up, since you’ll be in mesh undies and pads, and checked every few hours for bleeding. If you don’t want to wear a gown, bringing a nursing tank and light robe is a great option!

  • Nipple Balm - your nipples can get sore, fast. I love Tubby Todd’s Nipple Balm since it’s all natural and safe to have on even while baby is nursing! I highly recommend registering for or treating yourself to their entire Mama Gift Set, because their hand cream and freshening cream are also great to bring to the hospital

  • Announcement Sign - we love the Etsy shop Arrow Town Designs! Whether you want their name on a sign or a simple “I’m here”, these signs are a cute way to document baby’s arrival and to use later in their nursery!

  • Favorite blanket or swaddle - Be sure to bring a favorite swaddle blanket or other blanket for that hospital picture! We’re bringing a waffle blanket and swaddle, both from Little Unicorn.

  • Going home outfit for baby - In my opinion, this does NOT need to be your favorite outfit ever for baby. This is literally just clothes to travel home in a carseat with.I recommend zip up footie pajamas or a onesie that buttons in the front (like this one) because they’re easy to put on and don’t require pulling over baby’s head! If you have a winter baby, bring a beanie too!

  • Going home outfit for mama - Again, think comfort. You just delivered a baby and do NOT want anything tight! I’ll be wearing a Dwell and Slumber gown home! You can also bring big sweats if you want to be warmer.

  • Depends - I always just wear the mesh undies and pads while I’m at the hospital so its easy for the nurses to check me, but I’ll bring one pair of Depends to wear home!

  • Toiletries - The hospital will have everything from toothbrushes to soap to giant water jugs for you. I typically just have a tinted moisturizer packed, and the rest I use what the hospital provides. You’re only recovering for 1-2 nights, so its easy to survive with less!

  • Masks - weird times, I know. Hospitals will have some to provide you, and each hospital will have its own policies (that could change week to week), so check in with your provider to know what to expect surrounding this!

  • Labor Preferences - For what it’s worth, I’ve never written a “birth plan”. When the nurses ask me, I say my plan to have a baby however we need to do it. I’m a firm believer that a plan leads to disappointments. BUT, you can have preferences. Write down how you feel about medication, birth positions, and any other post-delivery preferences for baby and yourself, and put your partner in charge of managing those preferences.

  • Phone chargers - don’t forget these! If you can order some with extra long cords, that’s a bonus!

  • For your partner - They should pack at least one change of clothes, ideally something comfortable to sleep in. My husband and I don’t dress up to be at the hospital or to leave, so he just wears his sweats home! Also, if you’re delivering during COVID, it may be a good idea to pack non-perishable snacks for your partner since family and friends can’t bring food!

  • Car seat - you need this for the hospital to let you leave with the baby! Leave it in the car the whole time, and have your partner go get it once you’re about to be discharged.

If this is your first baby, you may labor longer and want more comfort items, like a diffuser and/or essential oils. That’s up to you!

Recovery is typically 1-2 days, and during COVID they’re getting mamas out of hospitals ASAP. Everything is so fast paced, I’ve never really needed anything else in the hospital. But you know yourself, and if there’s more you want to bring, add it to your bag!

Just remember - the goal is to come out with a healthy mama and a healthy baby! Focus less on the stuff and more on getting to know your new baby!

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