The closer you get to your due date, the more exciting it is to think about finally meeting your baby. And the closer you get to meeting your baby, the more important it is to pack a hospital bag you can bring along to make yourself more comfortable during labor and after your little one arrives.
But it can be easy to over-pack and end up hauling around a giant bag that you barely touch. That’s why we asked veteran moms for only the absolute “must-have” items. This is what they told us:
- Lip Balm. More moms talked about packing lip balm than nearly any other item. And for good reason – hospital air can be incredibly dry, so having your favorite lip balm will keep your lips feeling good throughout labor and in those precious hours after delivery.
- Your Own Toiletries. Pack a small bathroom bag with your toothbrush and toothpaste, a brush and hair ties, deodorant, and travel-sized lotion, shampoo and conditioner. Some moms also recommend face wipes for a quick pick-me-up, and dry shampoo for between showers.
- Slippers. Slippers, no-skid socks, or flip flops are a lifesaver for pacing the hospital hallways during labor, and when your feet are so swollen they won’t fit into anything else.
- Glasses. Let’s be real, messing with your contact solution will be one of the last things on your priority list during this whirlwind.
- Nursing Bra. A comfortable nursing bra like our nursing sleep bra (no underwires!) is a must for some moms, while other moms prefer to go braless because of frequent nursing. Do whatever makes you comfortable.
- Nursing Pads. Save yourself from having to do laundry the minute you get home and protect your bra from leaks.
- Phone Charger. You’ll want your phone to keep you distracted during labor, to contact friends and loved ones when baby arrives, and of course for tons and tons of pictures. So a charger is absolutely essential. Some moms even recommend bringing a longer charging cord that will reach from the wall to your hospital bed. (Tip: Just remember to take it with you when you leave.)
- Snacks. Having a baby makes you hungry, and we haven’t heard anyone raving about amazing hospital food lately. Do yourself a favor and pack some snacks. We like anything that’s easy to toss in your bag with zero prep-work – like granola bars, crackers or trail mix.
- Bathrobe and Comfy Clothes. Next to that post-delivery shower, the thing that will make you feel most like yourself after giving birth are comfy clothes to recover in. Pack loose lounge pants, a nursing tank, and a cozy zip-up or bathrobe.
- Your Own Pillow. Hospitals aren’t known for their comfy pillows. And that’s why many moms recommend bringing your own favorite pillow (or two!) from home to help keep you as comfortable as possible during labor, and to support you when you start breastfeeding. Just remember to use a colored or patterned pillowcase so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital pillows.
- Lanolin. While you and your baby are learning to breastfeed in the hospital, your nipples may get sore. Lanolin can help soothe and protect them, and is completely safe for baby.
- Pads, Underwear and Diapers. The hospital will give you pads and mesh underwear while you recover from giving birth. However, some moms swear by bringing their own protection to be more comfortable. Adult diapers are a popular choice – seriously! – but other moms bring along a well-fitting pair of high-waisted underwear (you probably call them granny panties) and their favorite brand of overnight absorbency pads.
- Going Home Outfits. Pack a going home outfit for yourself and for baby. You’ll probably still be most comfortable in your maternity clothes, while your baby will need a onesie, a blanket and any cold weather gear if it’s chilly outside.
- Car Seat. Don’t forget to make sure your car seat is ready to go and that you and your partner know how to use it before you go to the hospital.
- The Nice-to-Have Items. While many moms get by with just a few of the items listed above, some moms insist on having a few more comforts with them. Most popular were cozy blankets, a tablet for watching TV or movies, and overnight stuff for your partner. Only you can be the judge of whether you think you’ll need additional items like this.
Remember to have your bag packed and either in the car or by your front door, so whenever baby decides to show up, you’ll be ready.
Did we miss any crucial must-have items? Share in the comments below.