My Hospital Bag Essentials List

In the past month or so, I’ve made 3 trips to labor & delivery and yet…still have NO baby home with me. Of course that is a good thing — I still have 6-7 weeks to go. With every visit I seem to add more and more to my hospital bag packing list. What might make me comfortable, might just make you comfortable as well too. So, for your consideration, my essentials list:

  • my digital SLR – I personally am a fan of still photos to video, but it’s simply a preference. An investment in a SLR is so worth the money when it comes to capturing those shots that occur in the flash of a second. Nothing beats the speed of an SLR’s click. Although my new Kodak Zi8 is so portable…
  • chargers – for my camera, video camera and cell phone
  • long sleeve button down pajama gowns – why you ask? this is ideal for the nursing mom. you’ll still have a “gown” on, which the hospital staff will appreciate if you’re still hooked up to IV (maybe morphine after a c-section too) or monitors. The button down front will give you just enough access to your boob without giving up everything in view for those “surprise” visitors.
  • lots of shelf tank tops – this is purely a preference to nursing bras. I tried every one on the market, even feel in love with GAP’s version until I discovered how great tank tops with the built-in bras were. My favorites were the Bravado Essential Nursing Bra Tank.  If you’ve ever nursed before, I’m sure you’ve had moments where you were showing way more than you wanted to thanks to wierd positions or different types of tops you might be wearing and have to accommodate. The shelf tanks are perfect. With just enough elastic, not to be binding, they fit handily, any reusable breast pads for the occasional leakage. I found I could wear any top, lift up, pull down, or un-button fronts, nurse and often very discreetly without flashing some of my naked belly or too much of my boob.
  • usual toiletries, plus… – shampoo, condition, bar soap, lotion , toothpaste and toothbrush, lip balm – cause you can never get enough… and recently added to my list… toilet paper… sounds strange I know. One of my girlfriends asked me, “what kinda hospital are you delivering in that doesn’t have toilet paper!?” No, no, honey, they have toilet paper, just not the bum-FRIENDLY kind. It’s no charmins or cottonelle let me tell you.
  • bath towel and face cloth – because the hospital towels are “wee” tiny and I didn’t see a face cloth in sight… plus I kinda like my ghetto $1 cloths that rub your skin real good.
  • “super” maxi pads and “granny” panties – if I need to explain to you…
  • slippers and socks or non-slip socks – my preference is for the slippers and socks, but hey, some people like to track germs into their bed… I was taught the bed should be the cleanest place in the house, but that’s just me.
  • bathrobe – nothing fancy, but walking down the hall in your nightie… seems a little wierd.. unless you never want to leave your room.
  • loose fitted clothing to go home in – as much as you’d like to think you’re back to pre-pregnancy with the babe out… you’re far from it… sorry!
  • PAPERWORK! – if your OB office is as efficient as mine, you’ll have pre-registered but have a copy of it with you, your pediatrician designation form if you have one, insurance card, ID, etc.,
  • Baby Book and Health Records – you’ll want to get that first foot print, record the data and if you’re keep track of pee, poop and feedings, there’s no better place to start than from the first one.
  • Gift for Sibling – It’s also their day too! I’ve gotten lots of suggestions and one that makes sense to me is a careful introduction to the new baby. Mommy, coordinate with Daddy and make sure that you’re not holding the babe when the older sibling comes in. When he/she does, shower them with love and affection and let Daddy make the intros. Make it brief and again, shower with love…

In a separate bag for baby, I make the following suggestions:

  • skull-cap for hospital if they don’t provide
  • knit cap to leave in (for a winter baby, skull-cap for spring/summer/fall babies)
  • long sleeve onesies with hand covers (no random scrapes across their beautiful faces)
  • socks
  • going home outfit
  • blanket
  • winter babies – fleece body suit/jacket

Some non-essentials but thoughtful things include:

  • colorful pillowcase – the most photographed background item in the hospital, makes a pretty backdrop
  • pillow – for $5 at Target you can score a little more comfort than the used by thousands, flattened pillows
  • cookies or treats for the nurses – you’ll be calling on them a lot and a little… goes a long way…
  • magazines or books to read – if you’ve got the energy… super mom! I was way too pooped to look at anything. When my babe was sleeping, I slept too…

Well I’ve still got time, in theory, until I deliver. So if you’ve got any suggestions… send them my way!