HOSPITAL BAG, HOSPITAL TIPS & WHAT TO HAVE READY WHEN YOU RETURN HOME WITH BABY
With this being our second baby I’m taking a lot of lessons of what I actually need at the hospital from the first time around. With our first baby I definitely over-packed, which didn’t hurt by any means but, it did mean more stuff to haul into the hospital, keep track of when we moved from room to room & ultimately more to put away when we returned home with our newborn. This time I’m only bringing the essentials, what I experienced as being most needed during labor & our 3-day hospital stay & getting certain things ready at home for when we return to hopefully make the transition smoother this time around. I shared some of my experience & choices for including certain things & not including other things below along with as many helpful links as possible. I hope this helps make one less thing for us all to worry about.
I know there can be a lot of lists & blogs about what to pack, so this is my personal take on things as I approach it for our second go around & try to be simple & minimal in nature. Everything fits in my beautiful new Birdling weekender bag & it makes me so happy with all of it's organizational pockets & details. When it's go time all I have to worry about is scooping up the bag & my pillows & I'm out the door.
And of course, in true Viklund Made fashion I created a printable checklist & threw some illustrations on there because, why not? Don't want to read all the details? Scroll to the bottom to download the checklist & print it off.
I have linked as many of my preferences as possible but if you have additional questions reach out or message me on Instagram!
- wallet (including id & insurance card)
- phone & charger- I recently snagged this 6ft. charger so it can reach my bed
- pillows from home- you may want to keep them in a colored pillowcase to differentiate them from the hospital pillows
- hard candy- once admitted I wasn’t allowed to eat anything while in labor but they did allow me to suck on hard candies & ice
- snacks- for after delivery- I have dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, roasted seaweed, crackers & granola bars
- camera with charged battery
- cozy socks &/or slippers
- nursing tank
- cardigan or sweater- my faves are from Madewell
- loose maternity top- after the delivery of baby you will still look about 6mo. pregnant for loose comfy clothes are key
- maternity leggings (or joggers or sweatpants)- big fan of the Belly Bandit options
- robe- Pink Blush has amazing options, mine is a simple blush pink & I love it!
- nursing friendly pajamas
- going home outfit- loose and comfy
- water bottle- one with a straw is handy as well
*I also packed my Made by Mary necklace that has baby brother’s name engraved on it so I can add it to my neck as soon as possible after he is born!
*You may also want to bring your baby book or memory journal, & request a stamp of the baby's hands & feet to include in it. I plan to leave mine at home actually but ensure I get his hands & feet on a sheet of paper that I can later paste in. I love the Promptly Childhood History Journals if you're in the market for one.
- comfortable nursing bra- I live in the Lamaze bras that I find on Amazon, they are so simple & comfy. For whatever reason I really struggle with the clasp options because I find them challenging to do one-handed.
- nursing pillow
- nursing balm- I am using the Erbaviva Organic nursing balm this time
- nursing pads- With Buddy I used the Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads exclusively but this time I am trying Bamboobies Washable Reusable Nursing Pads & keeping a small pack of disposable ones on hand
- pump & parts- there are actually mixed opinions about this I learned. Yes hospitals generally have a hospital grade version you can use while you are there- however; I brought mine so that the lactation consultants could help me figure out how to use it. Frankly I was super intimidated by the whole process during my first pregnancy so I just threw it all in my hospital bag & had the lactation consultants show me the ropes. It was nice to learn on the pump that I would ultimately be going home with. I don’t think I’ll be taking it this time since I am already familiar but with my first baby this was one of the best things I did!
This varies person-to-person but I don’t bother with makeup (I hate taking it off) or anything else, just the things that will help me feel fresh, comfortable & clean.
- lip balm- a must for me, & my go to is the Glossier balm dot com in mint
- hand cream- also a must, I hate dry hands
- face wash
- face lotion
- hair ties & bobby pins
- hair brush
- shampoo & conditioner
- toothbrush & toothpaste
- essential oil for emotional health- I have a jasmine (which I hear is great for strengthening contractions, comfort and pain relief) & lavender (for relaxation) roller ball bottle along with this amazing Erbaviva Relax Body Oil that includes my three favorite oils- neroli, lavender & rose.
We had packed diapers & wipes last time but the hospital loads you up with them in most cases so it's totally not necessary. In fact, you get to take home all of the leftovers because they can’t use them so be sure to do so (diapers are not cheap!).
- blanket- our hospital required that we kept our baby in their swaddles for safety reasons (so they can identify hospital babies from visiting babies) but having a blanket was good for the ride home. I packed this Native Wilds Nest because it’s so versatile & can also cover the car seat
- going home outfit- the same thing was true for baby clothes, the hospital required us to keep our baby in their hats & clothing items so you only need something for the baby to leave the hospital in (if your hospital is like ours).
- car seat- this is a requirement, if you have nothing else you must have this to leave the hospital with your baby.
- gift to sibling from baby- I have heard of many people doing this so we have a big brother doll from Cuddle & Kind for Buddy to receive from little brother when he comes to visit. Little brother has the same doll but in the smaller size.
- dollar bills & coins for snack machine- I didn’t do this last time but someone suggested it & it’s actually a great idea. As a vegetarian I didn’t get the beast meal options while at the hospital so my husband had to run out for food a lot & we ordered in a lot of pizza, but the vending machines do have some handy snacks for a quick fix!
- toiletries for partner
- clothing for partner
- gifts for hospital staff- also not a requirement but I know the hospital staff are so thankful for even the simplest gesture. Last time I brought holiday candies & illustrations since Buddy was born in December. This time I’ve made lavender bath bombs (using this DIY) & little bags of Trader Joe’s cookie assortments.
HAVE READY AT HOME
I wanted to include this because it's important for me to have these things ready to go when we get home from the hospital just as much.
- extra absorbent pads- you will be bleeding for quite a while still
- ice packs- there are some great DIYs too that are very soothing
- diapers & wipes for baby
- basket for nursing items- this came after I was nursing & pumping for a few days and got so tired of hauling my things from the bed to the rocking chair to the couch, etc (& our house is teeny tiny but it still drove me bonkers). I finally grabbed a little canvas crate that I could stash my breast pump & parts in plus any other breastfeeding supplies, nipple balm, my prescription nipple ointment, breast pads, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, simple snacks for late night hunger, burp cloths, bulb syringe, night light, magazines & my iPad. This made it way easier to tote everything from my bedside to anywhere else I needed it to be since I was posted up in these different places for so long those first few weeks of nursing. It was a game changer for me!
- stool softener- people told me to have this on hand right away but I didn’t listen & I waited until I was in the hospital to order some, & then my package was lost in the mail so I was without it at home for a few days & terrified of that first bowl movement (it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated FYI). If you can, have this ready for you when you get home.
- prenatal vitamins- you will still be taking these while you breastfeed
- newborn & 3mo size washed baby clothes
- grab & go snacks- these lactation cookies, by the way, are the TITS ;)
- comfortable underwear or mesh underwear- this time I’m trying Always Discreet, Incontinence Underwear for Women because I only have so many comfy pair of underwear & I was tired of having to wash them frequently.
- breast milk storage- I use these bags & this freezer organizer & love them both
ADDITIONAL- these items are not on the checklist but I feel they are worth mentioning.
- Belly Bandit Belly Wrap- My yoga teacher is religious about women using one of these right away, I have a medium & small size (start with the larger size & then transition to the smaller size as your tummy gets back to normal)- she suggests wearing them for 12 weeks straight (except in the shower). They can be especially helpful if you have Diastasis Recti.
- carpal tunnel wrist brace- arg, I hope no one gets this but I had such bad carpal tunnel for a few months after I had Buddy. This helped me get a little relief from the discomfort.
- oils & diffuser – this is just a convenient thing to have around for emotional wellness
- extra peri bottle for each toilet- we only have one toilet but if we had an additional one I would want to make sure I had a peri bottle for each bathroom. If you don’t know what a peri bottle is it’s what you will use to clean your down there parts every time you use the restroom for a few weeks after you deliver. (I kind of love it!)
HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME AT THE HOSPITAL
This last little tidbit I just wanted to share because it was essential to me when I had Buddy & hopefully it can be helpful to you.
At the hospital you will interact with so many staff members, doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, pediatricians, etc. These folks are experts, so ask as many questions as you possibly can. Heck Pat & I even received sound advice from the cleaning staff while we were there (read Buddy’s Birth Story if you want to know more). We found that every staff member had different ideas too- so we loved learning all the things & then applying what worked for us. For example, each lactation consultant had slightly different answers to my questions (with a shared philosophy though) so it was great to ask questions & get a ton of advice & support. The same was true with the nursery staff, for example, each nurse swaddled Buddy a slightly different way, so we would ask them to show us how they did it & why- it was so helpful.
We had also asked to attend Buddy’s first bath & I am so glad we did. Not only was it helpful to learn how to bathe him but also we watched him scream his head off & turn fire red. Then we observed the nurses stay calm & collected- showing us this was completely normal. If we hadn’t seen him do that under the care of the nurses we would have gotten him home & bathed him & completely panicked thinking we were doing something wrong. This was truly one of the most helpful things we did for ourselves.
Take home all the leftovers & don’t be afraid to ask for more. This doesn’t just apply to baby items but with the pads, mesh underwear, ice packs & Dermoplast I asked for more towards the end of our stay & was able to bring home all the extras & it was so helpful (especially that Dermoplast!). I’m fairly certain that whatever you don’t take get’s trashed, so seriously- take it!
Be kind & polite to all the staff, they are there to help & serve you & your baby. We became so close to our labor & delivery nurse that we have stayed in touch & she even joined us at Buddy’s first birthday party to celebrate with us.
From taking your baby’s temperature, to using your breast pump, to swaddling, to asking the pediatrician about outings with baby the first few weeks I encourage you to ask as many questions as possible & learn as much as you can. There are no dumb questions! All new parents feel the same way- completely clueless & terrified- so trust me, they have all seen it before. Let your guard down & go for it, it will give you so much peace of mind when you are on your own at home, I promise.