Wondering what to pack in your hospital bag? Who better to ask than moms who've already been through labor? Below we share the nine essentials that Circle of Moms members say will ease your visit to the hospital — and your return home with your new baby in tow.
Essentials in the toiletry bags of Circle of Moms members include: a hairbrush, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, contacts and glasses, hair elastics, makeup (there will be lots of picture taking), a razor, a hairdryer and baby nail clippers. And Brenda D. adds that “Lip balm is a must! Between the dry hospital air and the heavy panting you'll do during labor, the lips get mighty dry!"
2. Clothes for Mom
In addition to socks and slippers to protect your feet from icy hospital floors and your own nightgown to make you feel more comfortable, many moms emphasize the importance of bringing a go-home outfit that will fit. As Jill E. shares: “Make sure to have very comfy (but elastic) pants. I packed maternity pants like everyone told me to and they fell off, so my mom ran to Wal-mart and bought some capri-like sweatpants.”
“I wish I'd brought a book to read,” says Molissa A. Many other moms echo her advice, recommending books, magazines, DVDs, and an iPod to pass the time.
Snacks for you and your partner are another hospital bag essential if you prefer to avoid vending machine fare when the hospital café is closed. And for mom? Rebecca C. says she would bring “non-sweet juice or some fruit for energy,” while Ashley B. swears by hard candy: “If you are a major dry mouth sufferer like me, don't forget the lollipops or hard candy. They are my lifesavers.”
5. Baby Clothes
“I would take a few different sizes of clothes for baby,” Jodi B. wisely cautions. Larger babies may not fit in the tiniest newborn sizes, while preemies will be swimming in them!
6. Nursing and Maxi Pads
“Don't forget to pack pads,” cautions Sarah B. “I HATED the hospital's. I felt like I was wearing a diaper. I made my husband go run and buy me some normal size pads.” Jessica P. agrees, calling nursing pads and extra-heavy flow maxi pads a must: “The ones the hospital provides are ridiculous and uncomfortable.”
Are you planning to breastfeed? Catherine B. advises bringing a nursing pillow like the Boppy. Other moms like bringing their own pillow from home to make them more comfortable during labor. As Missy D. shares: “I took my own pillow and night gown AND slippers. Take everything that will make you comfortable!!”
The one item Victoria G. recommends bringing? "Earplugs! I know it sounds silly but even if you just put them in one ear (so you can hear your baby with the other ear) it drowns outs a lot of the hospital noise while you are trying to rest at different times of the day/night. It also helps block out laboring mothers who can be a bit noisy lol!"
9. Camera, Cell Phone, and Call List
Cameras and phones are essential for taking first photos and sharing news with loved ones. Many moms wisely recommend bringing a call/text/email list so you don’t forget anyone. As Amanda H. shares “Sometimes you just get so caught up in the moment you forget.” Remember to bring chargers and extra batteries, too!