Hospital Bag Essentials
When I was pregnant with Nora I swear I packed and repacked my hospital bag 1000 times because 1. That’s the type of person I am and 2. I loved looking at the little sleepers and would get so excited to meet our little babe. I think because I was induced and I knew when I would be going to the hospital I was even more prepared because I knew I had a deadline to get everything together.
I have shared this list with so many of my girlfriends and coworkers because I found I was looking at several different blogs and everyone contradicted each other. Bring your breastfeeding pillow, no don’t bother…well people what is it??? (I did by the way and didn’t use it lol). You should ask your OB who will be delivering the baby (If you’re having a hospital birth) what products they will supply since some hospitals are better than others. I had Nora at London Health Sciences Center Victoria Hospital so my comments are based on what they provided me at the time. I know everyone will have different opinions on what to bring but this was what works best for me. We were at the Hospital from December 13 to December 16 which I didn’t expect to be there that long so I’ve added a few things to my initial list that I would add/change!
For Mama’s Bag
Mama’s Hospital Bag – This is one area where I thought I was prepared for, turns out I wasn’t as prepared as I thought. Did you know that babies spit up a ton ?? LOL yah you probably did and I knew it too, but of course I only packed a few clothing options for myself, so I was covered in baby puke 90% of the time!
Some of my favourite items that I loved having in Hospital.
- Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads – Honestly if you were to forget everything else on this list these are the #1 thing you need. These saved my life and I buy them for any pregnant woman I know! lol They’re expensive and kind of hard to spot in the store, but I swear I should have bought stock in them lol I had a lonnng recovery from my labour and these were the only things helping me. Especially the first month! Go buy them now..GO I will wait…..
- Button Down Night Shirts – I had a winter baby so I went with a flannel type, but a regular cotton would be great too. You basically have your boobs out the entire hospital stay (that doesn’t change once your home). I loved the button down night shirts because you could whip your boob out but still be covered everywhere else.
- Cheap Slippers – The cheaper the better, I bought mine fully knowing that they will not be coming home with me. I just toss them in the trash since the thought of using your nice slippers to walk around the hospital grossed me out.
- Flip Flops – For the shower and for going home, my feet were soooo swollen when we headed home. All the fluids they put you on + the Pitocin I was on for my induction would have made it impossible to put on normal shoes.
- A robe – For when you need to use the Lou and don’t want to wear a shirt and you’d rather your husband not see you diaper butt. (Or if your sharing a room with another couple it might be the nice thing to do). Nothing like walking around the room with your soft belly, porn star boobs, and diaper butt with a pad from your belly button to half way up your back) Yah the robe might be a necessity lol
- Breast Pump – I used mine every day to try and get my milk production going when Nora was sleeping. I wasn’t producing any and continued to do so for almost a week after she was born. That’s right people Nora was a formula baby at the hospital and guess what?? She’s perfect, so stop reading right now if you’re not cool with that!
- High wasted undies – I only used the weeks following the bird as I loved the hospital mesh undies that they gave me. I actually took several pairs since they can be easily washed and dry quickly while in the hospital. (Your bathroom will look like a massacre happened so do not wear fancy undies, they will only go in the trash)
- High wasted Leggings – I love the Lulu high wasted leggings. It made me feel so secured. You may feel like your insides want to fall out the first few days lol this gives you some piece of mind.
- Belly Wrap – I started to use my Belly Bandit belly wrap a couple days after Nora was born. I know a lot of c-section mama’s who loved having this in the hospital too.
- Nursing Bra or Nursing tank – if you’r boobs are about to explode some added support will help.
- Wallet & Make up Bag with toiletries – Wallet for ID, Make up Bag for a little refresh . Trust me, even some concealer and mascara it will make you feel a tad like yourself. I had a lot of visitors and so many photo’s that I didn’t want to look like a mess (I just felt like it)
- Medela Nipple Shields – These were such a life saver when nursing. If your baby has a hard time latching these help so much.
- Pillow– I brought my own sleeping pillow with a bright and colourful pillow case so you don’t forget it or the hospital doesn’t take it with the linens. It was so nice to have my own pillow especially during the long labour. We wish we would have brought a pillow for Bryan since he was staying in the hospital every-night with me and had to sleep on a horrible pull out chair with no pillow.
- Lotion! – It is sooo dry in hospitals, and it’s a good reason to ask your partner to rub your legs 🙂
- Snacks – For you and your hubby after the baby. You will be starving and you probably won’t want the hospital food.
For Mama At Home After Hospital (But prepare beforehand)
Products that saved me once home from the hospital
- Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads – Of course this is still my number one. These will help you for new next few weeks post delivery.
- Earth Mama Angle Baby Nipple Butter & Dr. Newmans Nipple Cream – These are here for pretty obvious reasons. Even if you exclusively pump you’r nipples will be so sore. You will need a prescription for Dr.Newmans cream from your doctor.
- The biggest overnight pads you can find. – I loved the foam pads, your stitches won’t catch on the material like they would with regular pads. (Your welcome) and buy more than you think you’ll need.
- Witch Hazel – Well before my due date I took several overnight pads and cut them in half width wise. I poured witch hazel on them and put them in large ziplock bags and put them directly in the freezer. You will use these when your home from the hospital with the tucks pads. Pro tip – Hold one against you while your brace yourself for your first poop. It makes a HUGE difference!
For Baby at Hospital
Nora was stuck in an incubator for 16 hours since she was high risk Jaundice. She wasn’t allowed to wear anything including her diaper. We we’re only allowed to take her out for feedings so there are a few items that helped us keep her calm. The hospital also provided baby wash, a comb, diapers, and Vaseline which you will want to slather thick on your babies tush the first few days. It helps protect the bum from the black tar like poops! So if your hospital doesn’t provide those few items make sure to add them to your list.
- Baby Wipes – I loved using the Honest Brand baby wipes the first few months of Nora’s life. They’re organic and so gentle. Also great face wipes for mama in the hospital.
- Wubanub pacifier – This also had a huge part of keeping Nora calm in the incubator, we loved it until Nora was about 6 months old. Perfect for the middle of the night when it falls out of her mouth and you don’t need to go searching for sus!
- Light weight hats – For hospital to keep her warm.
- Sleepers– I loved the Jugglies & Old Navy sleepers, I loved that they have the covered mittens built in.
- Kimono onesie. I bought ours at H&M they were great so the umbilical cord wouldn’t catch.
- Burp cloths, pack lots of burps.
- Swaddles, most nurses would recommend swaddling your baby while in the hospital when not having skin on skin time.
- Socks to keep their toes warm.
- Baby Shusher – Is this a necessity? Maybe not but this helped us huge with Nora in the incubator. This would sooth her while she laid in the incubator beside our bed.
- Large Tote Bag – Forget the diaper bag, bring one large tote that will carry everything! The less you need to carry and take home the better!
When I envisioned breastfeeding I pictures a beautiful setting of staring into my babies eyes, a bonding experience that would bring us closer. A freezer filled with enough to supply her milk for the next year. I never thought it wouldn’t go as I planned and to be honest I think my breastfeeding journey was much harder than labour and delivery and my entire pregnancy combined. My milk didn’t come in for 7 days after Nora was born.
I don’t know if it was my body, or the fact that I was induced and Nora was born at 38 weeks but I was taking 29 pills a day to try and produce enough for my little babe. Fenugreek, blessed thistle, Mothers milk tea, a prescription of Domperidone, drinking enough water that I felt sick. Nothing helped. Thankfully Nora latched right after she was born and got the colostrum, but boy I wasn’t prepared for the pain of breastfeeding. I think everyone is so worried about labour that we don’t think about what comes after. When Nora first latched I started laughing uncontrollably because the pain was so bad that I wasn’t prepared. Once we got back to the room we noticed she wasn’t getting enough milk and was high risk jaundice so we had to supplement with formula in the hospital. Boy was my mom guilt at an all time high. I remember crying in the hospital bed feeling like I was failing Nora. I would sit with my breast pump on both breasts for 40 minutes every other hour without even a drop of milk. Thankfully I had Bryan who was an amazing support system for me and assure me that I was a good mum and I was doing everything I could and at the end of the day she is being fed, it doesn’t matter how it happens. About 5 days after Nora was born I went to a Special Lactation Consultant where I spent hours working with amazing women. Since I wasn’t producing enough we had to supplement with formula and Nora was comfortable with that. We used the Medela Breast shield and it helped Nora since at this point she only wanted the bottle but after a while she refused even that. So I realized that fed is best and I pumped for the next 3.5 months getting no more than 2 oz. for each breast (on a good day) and supplementing her with formula and breast milk.
Since my breastfeeding journey didn’t go as planned and I pumped for so long, I was so happy I purchased the Medela Freestyle breast pump. I also purchased the bra that you can wear with the pump and it makes the pump Hands-free! Attach the motor to your back pocket and you’re off to the races. I can only imagine what was going through Bryan’s head when I was walking around the house with this beautiful set up. You’re boobs look like a little raccoon burglar’s once your remove the pump from the bra lol.
Traveling Home for Baby
Since Nora was born in December some of these items wouldn’t be applicable for a summer baby but these are what I found useful for us!
- Baby booties for the ride home to be snugly and warm.
- A warm hat (even though she was in her car seat, babies cannot regulate their body temperature so a hat was a necessity.)
- Car Seat (for obvious reasons, The hospital will not allow you to leave without a nurse inspecting your baby installed properly in the car seat)
- Car Seat Cover, we used the JJ Cole cover seat cover as we didn’t have the OVer until Nora was older, but both would work. I liked the JJ Cole since it was thicker and seems warmer for that time of the year.
- Going Home outfit. I know this is kind of old fashioned but I loved the idea of keeping this outfit for Nora to hold onto when she’s older. Make sure to bring a couple options. Nora was 8lbs and the 0-3 months were sooo big on her she was swimming. We did have one newborn but she had a poop explosion all over before we even left the hospital.
Phones – I was in labour for 19 hours so Bryan would constantly be texting our families updates etc. Turns out they were all in the waiting room already 🙂 You definitely will want your phone to take snaps of your little babe during your time in the hospital. Make sure you bring all your chargers (and maybe a small power bar or cord since the outlet is behind you and if your in pain you won’t want to be reaching)
IPAD or Computer – We didn’t use our Ipad until after Nora was born but I am glad we brought it. We were stuck in the hospital for 3 days while Nora was sleeping in a little incubator beside out bed and this was a lifesaver. Make sure you download some movies from Netflix or Itunes before you go since WiFi is spotty at best and to watch regular TV you pay big $ at the hospital.
Camera – We brought our nice camera and I’m glad we did. Iphone take great pictures but it was nice to have our camera for special moments like Nora and her Grandparents.
Things I brought that I never used or would do differently
- I brought our diaper bag + bag for me + misc bag for baby stuff that wouldn’t fit + Bryan’s bag. I wouldn’t do that again. Save your diaper bag for your first outing with baby. You’ll want a large duffel for mama, and one for baby. The last thing you want is to be making multiple trips to the car and how are you going to get that adorable picture of your hubby carrying the baby down the hallway if he’s surrounded by bags lol.
- Breastfeeding pillow – With the mechanical hospital beds you can get into some pretty good positions for breastfeeding + all the pillows they supply your golden!
- Birth Plan – Honestly you’re winging it lol and going with whatever is best for you and your baby. My doctor told me to throw it away hahaha
I hope you found this helpful…….I know not everyone will agree with me, but this was my experience!