Hospital Bag Must-Haves; What You Do And Don’t Need For Labor & Delivery

This is another baby related post – but bear with me…the fitness content will be coming soon : ) But, I wanted to share with you guys what I packed in my hospital bag this time around and what I wished I had brought. Since this was baby #3 for me – I already had an idea of what I would need and want but found a few new things that were helpful!

Hospital Bag Must-Haves

First of all, the hospital really does provide you everything you need. However, some of their items are great and some not the best. I think it depends on the hospital too. For my 3rd baby I delivered at Memorial Hermann here in Houston and they were great. They provide you the gown, disposable underwear, pads, band, socks and even a water bottle (I brought mine home and still use it!). But, you may want to pack your own as backups. Here is what I brought:

  • Hospital Bag. I brought a large purse and then this cute bag that’s from Calia by Carrie Underwood and it worked great since it had tons of storage and internal pockets to separate my stuff and baby stuff.
  • Snacks. Depending on what hospital you go to and your doctor – you may be allowed to eat a little during labor. During my first 2 labors/births they didn’t want me to eat anything but allowed me to have a couple of popsicles. The hospital usually provides these. This time around I even packed a gatorade (to keep me extra hydrated) and some energy gels (the ones I used to use for marathon training). You need to check with your doctor first before eating/drinking anything in case it causes problems with your labor and delivery process. I also packed a few snacks for my husband like protein bars, nuts, etc that he could eat if we were stuck in the room for a long time like with our other 2!
  • Hospital Gown. The ones the hospital gives you aren’t the best, but honestly once you are in labor you probably won’t care! I bought this kit from Frida Mama and brought it with me to the hospital. I didn’t really end up using most of it since it was geared towards vaginal delivery (with cooling pads, etc) and I had a c-section. I did love the soft hospital gown but it was waaaay too big (and I was not small by any means!). I have some nursing tanks and tees from this site and they also make gowns that look comfy.
  • Disposable Underwear. The hospital provides these for you too and I preferred these over the ones that came in the Frida kit that stuck to my skin.
  • Pads. Hospital provides but they are super huge. I used those for the first couple of days in the hospital and then switched to some slightly smaller ones.
  • Belly Band. There are a ton of these out there right now but I honestly preferred the one that they gave me at the hospital (your insurance will most likely cover it too). You don’t want a hard and constricting band. A softer, stretchy one is the best – especially if you have a c-section. I had to sit in a wheelchair every 2-3 hours to go to the nicu to feed my baby and I needed something that made me feel like I had support but that also didn’t cut off my circulation or make me uncomfortable while sitting. Here is a similar one that I ended up buying a few weeks later once the hospital one got too big.
  • Socks. You can use the ones at the hospital or buy your own. I like ones with little grippers on them. Also, you want to get ones that are a little on the big side because most likely your feet and legs will swell (especially if you have a c-section).
  • Water Bottle. I actually loved the one the hospital provided and as tacky as it was – I brought it home and still use it! It’s big and has a handle and a straw. If you have a favorite one from home you could bring that.
  • Phone Charger. Bring an extra long one that will reach the hospital bed.
  • Pack a small makeup bag with a small brush, hair tie, any makeup you want for photos and toothbrush. , Lip moisturizer is a must-have. My lips get so dry in the hospital! I love this coconut balm by Kopari.
  • Nursing Bras. Pack soft ones like these that are easy to use. I liked having the support (and some privacy) under my gown. If you plan to nurse and/or pump – it’s helpful to use the hospital’s pump during the first few days to help your milk “come in” faster. Some women bring their own pumps but I just used the hospital’s one since it’s a nice one. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the lactation consultant either!
  • Going home outfit for baby. If there is a certain pacifier you want bring that – but I actually prefer the “soothies” ones that they provide at the hospital and all 3 of my babies did too! I also just brought mine home in the cute little hospital hat and t-shirt since they looked so comfy and I knew there would be plenty of time to dress them up later but they probably wouldn’t be wearing their hospital gear again : (
  • Going home outfit for you + shoes for swollen feet. I can’t stress this enough – you will not be as small as you think you’ll be! Most likely you will be about the same size going out as you were going in (due to swelling, etc). I made the mistake of bringing cute new pants, bra and shirt with me to wear after I had my first baby and NOTHING FIT! I was so sad. I ended up wearing the baggy shirt that I wore to the hospital days before. You also want to make sure your pants and underwear fit way above your naval in case you have a c-section. Tennis shoes, boots or anything constraining are also a big no-no. Stick with slip-on shoes that allow for swollen feet.
  • Nursing Pillow (optional). I forgot my Boppy but just used some extra hospital pillows to support my arms and baby while breastfeeding.

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