I’m super excited to launch a new series of blog posts: the New Mom Survival Guide! I am by no means an expert, but I’m excited to share what I’ve learned so far. I spent almost my entire pregnancy in quarantine, desperately scouring the internet for articles and virtual resources to try to take the place of traditional prenatal education. I cobbled it together and made it work, but it was a huge source of stress and anxiety for me.
Kicking off the series is the Hospital Bag Checklist! Everyone has a different outlook on what to bring, but this is what worked for me for our circumstances.
A few notes:
🟪 Each hospital is different, so check in with yours on what they provide. Good questions to ask:
What postpartum supplies should I bring to the hospital?
What baby care supplies should I bring to the hospital?
Can my partner or support person come and go as they please? This is super helpful in case you forget something or need more of something etc
🟪 I gave birth in NYC in August of 2020. The list below reflects some pandemic-specific needs and circumstances.
🟪 I was induced, so my experience and list were based on laboring entirely at the hospital
Alright, let’s do this!
Hospital Bag Checklist: Labor & Delivery and Recovery Room Supplies
- Government Issued ID, Insurance Card, Pens for filling out forms (birth certificate etc), and an empty folder or large envelope for records and discharge instructions
- Copies of your Birth Plan – I printed out 5 copies and gave one to the new nurse at each shift change (every 12 hours). Your hospital may provide a template for this. Here is the template my birthing hospital provided as an example.
- Extra Face masks – I labored and gave birth in a surgical mask, and was happy to have a few spares to swap in. FYI: Most hospitals will not allow you to use a fabric mask.
- Chapstick! Chapstick! Chapstick! Did I mention chapstick? All the hee-hee-hooing makes your lips so dry.
- Bring something to tie your hair back–hair ties, a headband, clip etc
- Shower shoes – some labor rooms have showers if you’d like to shower as a pain management option. Have shower shoes for you and your partner (you’ll want them for recovery anyway), and a bathing suit for your partner. The hospital staff is expecting to see LOTS of you that day, but maybe not of your partner.
- Car Seat – The hospital will not let you leave without one. Since I gave birth in NYC during the pandemic (we do not have a car), we needed to bring this with us at check in. We have the Nuna Pipa and it’s great! It’s also super convenient that it can be safely secured with or without the base, so it’s an easy option for a taxi or car service. TIP: The Nordstrom Anniversary sale happens each summer and has GREAT deals on baby gear including strollers and car seats!
- Long cord phone chargers
- Toiletries and Medications – Your hospital may provide these. Good to check!
- Pillows – I brought my pillow from home and didn’t wind up using it. I also brought a travel pillow that turns into a blanket for Alex. While in recovery, he spent the night in a chair and the hospital didn’t provide anything for him, so I was glad to have these!
- Extra pillow cases – You bring your comfy pillow from home and it falls on the floor of the labor room 😱 Just throw an extra pillow case in your bag just in case. I recommend bringing pillow cases that are not white, to avoid confusion with the hospital ones if your room is refreshed.
- Towels – Hospital towels are tiny–especially when you’re donning a pregnant belly. You can bring some from home or buy some inexpensive ones you might not be sad about leaving behind. I got these and was pleasantly surprised how nice they are! I recommend bringing towels that are not white, to avoid confusion with the hospital ones if your room is refreshed.
- Entertainment – a deck of cards, iPad or laptop loaded with movies/shows, magazines etc
- Music – I carefully curated two Spotify playlists for my labor experience. One that was my zen mix and one that was upbeat and fun. Truthfully, I played neither but was happy to have them. I think I would have played them if I was laboring at home. Have fun building your own!
- Gripper Socks – Keep your tootsies cozy during labor and don’t worry about slipping if you walk around etc. Bring a few pairs so you can freshen up. I got a 3 pack and they were perfect. Also, your socks may see some things during labor 🙈 and you won’t feel bad trashing these if needed.
- Washcloth for your forehead – I didn’t think about this one ahead of time, but I sure will always recommend it. I gave birth while wearing a mask in the end of August and was HOT. I begged Alex to get me a wet compress so I could try to cool down in between pushing cycles. He returned with a wet paper towel, and I’m not going to lie to you, the smell of wet paper towel still haunts me. Just bring a washcloth with you!
- Sleep Sack – I love the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle because it’s very overwhelmed/delirious mom-friendly. Thank you velcro!
- Baby Going Home Outfit and one alternate just in case
- Mom Going Home Outfit – Since it was Summer, I opted for a loose-fitting maternity dress. Tip: Your feet may swell (yes, even more!) so pack a pair of loose-fitting shoes or sandals for going home.
- Tell your partner to pack a backpack for themselves with their essentials and layers. Hospitals get chilly!
- The hospital will likely provide everything you need for immediate postpartum and baby care (peri bottle, mesh undies, baby wipes, diapers etc) while in the hospital. I would recommend bringing a Donut Pillow for the car ride home. Also, bring an empty reusable tote bag to take home any extra supplies at discharge!
- Disinfecting wipes – We used Clorox wipes to sanitize any packaging from outside food etc purchased during our stay.
- Nursing Pajamas or a Robe – I didn’t use either of these while in the hospital, but we got lucky and didn’t have a roommate during recovery. I just stayed in my hospital gown which was plenty comfortable and had easy access. I would have used both if we were sharing the room, and did use them both once we were home. If you are not planning on breastfeeding, add in some comfy pjs and a robe in case you want a layer!
- Refreshing Items and/or Makeup – Due to the pandemic, our hospital stay was really short, and the shower was down the hall and felt scary, so I was really happy to have some easy ways to freshen up sans shower. Check out the YUNI Beauty on the Run Kit. I did bring a little makeup with me–I definitely didn’t use it 😂
- Antacid – I ate LOTS of Tums during pregnancy. If you have heartburn during your pregnancy, it may stick around after you deliver
- Gentle Laxative – I like Miralax or the hospital can also provide one
- Gentle Stool Softener – Colace was my best friend after delivery; first 💩 after delivery is mentally scarier than the delivery
- Nipple Cream – Lansinoh Lanolin worked wonders for me! I WISH I had known to bring this to the hospital–Lord knows I needed it, and you do not need to wash it off prior to nursing.
- Diaper Cream – I like Aquaphor Baby (this is also great for healing cracked nipples and you do not need to wash it off prior to nursing)
- Gifts for nurses/doctors (1 package for each day or night; shifts change every 12 hours) – This overwhelmed me so I had a little running list of doctors and nurses who really helped me and I sent them birth announcements with gifts after. Most hospitals also send a patient care survey shortly after your stay, so I submitted their names and a few anecdotes in the survey for exemplary care.
Hospital Bag Checklist: Snack Bag
A great question to ask during your hospital tour (in-person or virtual) is if the labor & delivery rooms and/or postpartum recovery rooms have refrigerators. Our L&D room had a small one which was so helpful! Our recovery room did not, but we knew that ahead of time so we could prepare.
- Reusable Water bottle – Love that this water bottle is slim, leakproof and has a straw!
- Hard Candies – I was very happy to have these during labor, and I especially love Yum Earth Hard Candies
- Bone Broth – This is the perfect energy boost for you during labor. Full of protein and nutrients and (double-check with your doctor) should be on the approved “clear liquids” list. I would recommend trying a few flavors and brands at home ahead of time, and see which one you like COLD. I tried Brodo and Pacific (both beef and chicken) and chicken was the winner for me. It tasted the least like meat and was a bit thinner than the beef broth. Alex packed umbrella straws for me which I happily stuck straight into the bone broth box 😂
- High protein snacks such as Protein Bars, Moon Cheese, or Lorissa’s Kitchen Steak Strips – These are great for your partner during labor, or postpartum for both of you!
- Dried fruit – Loaded with fiber and can help get things moving again once in recovery
- Coconut Water / Gatorade – You just worked really hard! Electrolyte-rich drinks will help you regain some strength.
- Granola bars – Nice and easy!
- Protein Powder (I like Planta Protein Powder; the Banana Maple French Toast flavor is so good and it’s gluten free, dairy free, and soy free!) – I pre-measured for three shakes, ie one scoop into a sandwich bag x 3. Great for your partner while you’re in labor, or postpartum for both of you! Don’t forget to pack a Blender Bottle and you can get water and ice at the hospital.
- Sandwiches – I made three turkey sandwiches and three PB&J (in hindsight, I should have asked the OB if it was ok to bring peanut butter into the hospital–some are extra careful about peanut allergies). Alex ate the turkey sandwiches while I was in labor–I was induced and it was a long process. Emmie was born in the early afternoon and it was after lunch service was over. My labor nurse brought me three packets of saltines….well after not really eating for 18 hours + pushing out a human, I was VERY happy to have those sandwiches with us.
Thanks for checking out my Hospital Bag Checklist! Stay tuned for more New Mom Survival Guide posts!
P.S. Meet Emmie!
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