When it came to my hospital bag, I poured over blog posts, Instagram stories, and talked to my friends. No matter what I heard though, I kept thinking man that’s a lot of STUFF. When it comes to travel, I really love to pack light, and I didn’t want that to change when we had our baby. Sure, we would need more… but that didn’t mean we had to pack more than enough. I also had to prepare for the possibility of a vaginal birth or a c section, since baby boy was breech (meaning we’d have a c section) but he could also turn on his own at any time (meaning canceling the c section and going all-natural). So what does one pack when they need to pack a lot but don’t want to pack too much, all at the same time? Check out my list (and affiliate links) below. You can also snag a free, editable, checklist to use HERE.
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My Hospital Bag
- Weekender Bag: Of course, it all begins with a simple (yet sturdy) hospital bag. I really love this one! I use it now for weekend trips and heading to the coffee shop to work.
- Nursing Tank Tops: I took two with me and found these were so easy for just popping a boob out for baby. I didn’t wear a bra underneath and would throw a t-shirt or comfy top over it. This may not work if you are larger chested, but it was great for me, a medium-sized momma. I like having the “tank” part cover my tummy when I pull my top shirt up… so a stretchy tank top and nursing bra would have a similar effect and coverage option.
- Pajamas: I sleep in shorts and t-shirts no matter what the temperature is and I didn’t expect that to change after giving birth – and it didn’t! So I packed 2 pairs of pajama shorts and 2 cute and comfy large t-shirts. I just pulled my t-shirt up and unhooked the nursing tank when I fed Lachlan at night. I also slept in just the nursing tank top one of the nights. I didn’t purchase a nursing bra until my milk regulated a little more and my cup size “stabilized”.
- Clothes to Wear During the Day: We had visitors arriving randomly throughout the day (since my husband works at the hospital) so I wanted to always look a little “put together”. I lived in (and still do postpartum) 2 pairs of leggings (these are MY FAVORITE by far) and 2 comfy tops; one in green (it’s much lighter and prettier in real life than online) and another in “wine red”, pictured below. These also doubled as what I wore during our Fresh 48 photos with Tula Q Photo. I just wore one of my nursing tanks underneath these tops. It made everything so easy.
- Maternity Underwear: I loved this maternity underwear during my pregnancy and I kept on wearing it after Lachlan was born. It’s comfy and continuously fit me
everytimeI wore it the month before having Lachlan AND the month after. Talk about the sisterhood of the traveling underwear. I didn’t need this immediately after having Lachlan, because mesh hospital underwear is perfect while you’re still bleeding a lot and wearing those ginormous pads (GLAMOUR), but I was glad I had these with me beforehand and then a few weeks after birth!
- Comfy Shoes/Slippers to Wear Around: I purchased these from Amazon and really loved wearing them around the hospital. Laps around the floor were much easier having something with a sole. I didn’t pack any other shoes. I wore these into the hospital and home from the hospital. And once I got home I kept wearing them around the house. I love that I could wear them outside as well. It makes checking the mail super easy.
- 2 Pillows with Colored Pillowcases: So you don’t confuse them with the hospital ones (trust me, that’s impossible). But these pillowcases are my favorite. I also have these sheets on all of our beds at home and super recommend them. They’re so affordable and soft! Leave your pillows in the car until after giving birth. It’s apparently superstition of some sorts and I am not one to mess with that! Jamie just went to the car to get them when he had a free moment after Lachlan was born.
- My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: This pillow seems to be the best for newborns. I have a boppy pillow myself but tried the Brest Friend somewhere along the way and loved how much higher Lachlan laid on top of it! I also kept this in the car until after Lachlan was born.
- Nipple Cream: Trust me, you want to stay on top of that. I loved how small this bottle is and how amazing this cream feels.
- Phone Chargers: You can never have enough of these with the charging base!
- My Makeup Bag: I really only wore a little bit of makeup for our Fresh 48 photos, but that was perfect! It helped me feel a little more “human” in the midst of zero sleep and life with a newborn.
- A Mini Bottle of Champagne: Because I strongly believe in celebrating always. If champagne isn’t your thing, maybe pack some kombucha or some yummy chocolate. Girl, treat yo self. You just delivered a human.
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Honestly, you don’t need a ton of stuff for
- Cute Swaddle and Matching Hat: Honestly, Lachlan really just hung out in his diapers, and one of the hospital swaddles all day and night, so this swaddle was only used for photos, which I would definitely do and use again!
- 2 Zip-Up Footed Onesies with Mittens: I packed one in a newborn size and another in the 0-3 size, to cover all of our bases. These are everything. They’re great for wearing home, pajamas, hanging out, etc. The zippers make diaper changes super simple. The newborn and 0-3 sizes typically have convertible mittens on the sleeves which help stop your baby from scratching themselves! Again, he was really just in his diaper and a hospital swaddle the entire time, so we wore this on our way home and that was it.
- Car Seat: This hung out in the car until we were ready for it! Make sure you properly install it at least a month before your due date. Lachlan was born at 37w4d and we did not expect that.
- SleepSack or Velcro Swaddle: Optional… I didn’t take one with us for my first pregnancy but definitely plan to for future births. It’s part of my Must-Haves for Surviving the First Month with a Newborn and would probably have saved me some stress versus the hospital swaddles.
- Toiletry Bag: I’ve had this one from Amazon for a while now and keep it fully stocked for all vacations. It’s so much easier to pack for any trip knowing I have all of our toiletries ready to go. I always have 2 of everything packed. 2 toothbrushes, a mini toothpaste, travel-sized face wash, travel razor for him, travel razor for her, shave gel, travel deodorant, bobby pins, hair ties, extra contacts, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, dry shampoo, and these small cases that I filled with
prenantals, acetaminophen, and Zantac ( helllopregnancy reflux). Pro Tip: Upon returning home from a vacation, take inventory, and restock all toiletry items immediately. That way you’ll never worry about running out or forgetting something while you’re traveling.
Optional and/or Hospital Items:
- Belly Band: After giving birth your body is getting back to some sort of “normal” and it feels so weird to lay on your side and move around. I got a belly band from the hospital and lived in that thing for the first 2 days. I also took it home with me and wore it on days I was extra sore or sensitive. From what I understand, you can ask for one if it’s not offered to you. The hospital should have them available, but maybe call ahead and check if you’re unsure, or order this one and have it ready to go.
- Snacks: My husband got us small bags of pretzels, chips, and granola bars from the hospital and they were awesome during the middle of the night feedings. It helped me stay awake and was like a little “treat” as I laid there.
- Mini Gatorades, Teas, and Juices: The hospital had lots of juices on the floor, and then my parents brought us some mini Gatorades. I drank them through the night and day to stay extra hydrated.
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I was actually in the hospital for five days – two before I gave birth and three days