I won’t lie, I’m a planner and prepper through and through. Half of the fun of going somewhere new or doing something big is the planning part of the process. With this affinity for planning comes the need for checklists and the right tools.
Motherhood has taught me how important it is to have the right tools in the right place. Motherhood has also taught me that typically, less really is more. It’s so much easier to find the right tool, if it isn’t stuck behind the 7 so-so things you didn’t really need in the first place. This type of thinking applies to the junk drawer, the endless stacks of baby clothes, and the hospital bag for baby.
There are a million baby delivery hospital bag checklists that will have you (your partner really) digging through things you don’t really need to find the 5 things you actually do. To save each of you the trouble, we’ve compiled a list of the only 5 things you actually need at the hospital and in your hospital bag for baby.
If you’re the kind of gal who needs all her stuff, this list probably isn’t for you. But, if you’re the kind of gal who wants to simplify the hospital experience, hold the drama, and bring on the joy, this checklist is for you!
Nightgown with a low cut neckline for nursing
If you plan to nurse your baby, get yourself a few nightgowns with necklines that allow for the fabric covering your breast to be pulled down or to the side. If you don’t plan to nurse, you will still want to be as close to your baby with as much skin to skin as possible. A low cut neckline will do the trick.
Nightgowns are the clear winner over a shirt because with a shirt comes pants. In my scenario, our first birth experience ended in a surprise c-section, meaning that I had a large and painful scar near my pelvis, along with the typical post baby vaginal discharge (yup, just said vaginal discharge).
Whether you have a c-section or vaginal birth, after everything that just happened down south, the last thing you’re going to want after giving birth is to wear pants of any kind.
Notepad to write baby’s nursing, pooping, & napping schedule
Huge shout out to my husband on this one. The nurses at the hospital will ask you to record baby’s nursing schedule, poops, and wet diapers. Crazy right?!? Never in my life had I been asked to track the poops of another human being.
Rather than putting the notes in an app, we opted for a small notebook that hubby could throw in his pocket. On one side of the page we recorded what time the baby nursed, on which breast, and for how long. On the other side we noted when the baby had a dirty diaper and if it was #1 or #2. This is super analog y’all, but it is great. If the nurses had a question, we handed them the notebook. Since the data didn’t live in an app, it was super easy for anyone to look at all of the baby’s activities.
We loved this method so much we added the baby’s sleeping record into the notebook. For the first few months till we recorded the day’s activities with feeding, sleeping, and diaper changes. Since our family is a huge proponent of routines, having a notebook to help find baby’s natural rhythm was really helpful.
Also, your pediatrician will likely want this information too. This notebook became part of the diaper bag and we didn’t go anywhere without it. It’s like baby’s first planner! 8:00 am eat. 8:30 am poop. 9:00 am sleep.
Phone & Charger
Duh. But seriously though, don’t forget the charger (for you or your partner).
Toiletries: Dry Shampoo, Toothbrush & Toothpaste, Deodorant, Hair Tie
Your mission, if you choose to accept it… only bring the necessities. Honestly mamma you are not likely to put on makeup, you may hardly be able to walk. Our necessities include dry shampoo that I could work into my hair just using my hands, toothbrush & toothpaste, deodorant, and a hair tie.
Confession time: I never actually took a shower in the hospital. Not after the birth of any of our 3 kids.
I had trouble walking to the window, let alone standing in a wet shower trying to reach parts that I haven’t been able to reach in 9 months. The last thing I cared about was washing my hair. Dry shampoo? Deodorant? Moist towelettes all over? 1,000 times yes. Actual soap and water, nope.
Clothes for Dad & Baby
Ladies, as grueling as this process is going to be for you, please don’t forget your partner. He will be there in a supportive role and will likely be struggling with the fact that there is very little he can do for you. This is an emotional time for our guys, watching his lady go through something so hard and not being able to fix it.
Show him some love in advance and pack a few toiletries for him (same as above minus dry shampoo) along with some snacks. In the hospital, the nurses are focused on mom and baby (rightfully so), meaning the dads have to fend for themselves with dinner delivery, a trip to the hospital cafeteria or vending machines.
To lighten your load, task someone in your family or a friend with ‘The Dad Bag’. For the birth of each of our kiddos, I appointed my mom. Her job was to ensure my husband had what he needed. I took care of the toiletries and clothes, and my mom packed his ‘Dad Bag’. She was happy to take this one because she knew that by supporting him she would be supporting me. He would be on his A-game and would be able to take on everything I needed from him.
What you don’t need
Mesh panties. Ever heard of these? Honestly they are amazing! They are these massive, huge, grandma panties the hospital provides after you give birth. The whole point of these panties is that won’t bother your lady parts since they just went to battle for your new baby. They’re also great for holding the enormous pads you absolutely will need.
From someone who has been through this 3 times, start stashing the mesh panties in your bag the minute you get to the hospital room. They’re amazing and you’re going to want some at home.
Make up of any kind
Makeup doesn’t have a huge place in my day to day life, especially not on a day when I’m going to push a baby out of me.
Real story: During the birth of our first kiddo, I decided that I was going to wear makeup, do my hair, etc. Worst choice ever. Birth is hard, labor hurts, and c sections are just as grueling. Instead of having that blissful new mom glow, my post-baby birth photo looked like I had been out all night drinking. Totally not what I was going for.
My main advice is this: be yourself. If that means make up, try to keep it light. I doubt that you’ll have much time or much care for putting on makeup while in the hospital. If you don’t usually wear much makeup, now is certainly not the time.
Side note: if the reason you want to wear makeup is because of the image you want to project for the visitors coming into the hospital… you should think twice about having those types of visitors to the hospital in the first place. Motherhood is raw and real, and folks that you feel like you have to put on a pretty face for may make better visitors when you’ve established your schedule at home.
Think twice about arriving at the hospital with anything larger than a backpack. You really won’t need anything more. Besides, it’s kind of like packing light for a trip so you can fit souvenirs for all your friends, except this time you’ll be bringing home baby!
That’s it ladies! Your checklist for a simple hospital bag for baby.