As a mother, and a newborn photographer, I often get questions about what to pack in a hospital bag. I recently sat down and compiled a list of "needs", tweaked it, passed it along to friends, and then tweaked it again.
This hospital bag checklist will help you to bring exactly what you'll need at the hospital, hopefully without anything extra or missing.
Here's what I came up with.
Personal Toiletries: Some hospitals don't provide shower essentials or even shampoo (you can always check with them in advance). Your list of needs will be unique to you, of course, but I suggest packing makeup remover wipes (these can double as face wash, if you like), some makeup, dry shampoo, hair ties, and deodorant.
Flip Flops/Slippers/Non Slip Socks: I know hospital floors are probably technically clean, but if you're anything like me, you still don't want to be barefoot on the floor of a hospital. Bring a pair of socks or slippers for the freezing cold hospital floors, and a pair of flip flops to use as shower shoes.
Nipple Cream: Don't forget this! Begin using it before labor/delivery if possible. This one has many other uses, including as lip balm, which is definitely a "need"!
Robe: Whether it's functional, pretty, or both, you'll want to put it on.
Going Home Outfit: Keep in mind you'll want to be comfortable, and that your uterus will likely still be swollen.
Cardigan or Sweater: Again, even hospital recovery rooms can be cold!
A Couple of Comfortable Tees: Super-soft tops that are easy to nurse in are ideal. Check out this one, and this one.
Compression Leggings: Post-delivery, when you're wearing bulky pads and mesh "underwear", all the women I spoke to agreed that they liked tight leggings that made everything feel like it was at least near where it's supposed to be!
Nursing and/or Sleeping Bra: Trust me, you're going to want a sleeping bra once you begin nursing. You can definitely use a sleeping bra during the entirety of your hospital stay; you may want a nursing bra to go home in, depending on your circumstances.
Infant Nail Clippers: Your baby will be born with raptor claws! Many hospitals don't provide clippers so it can be helpful to have a set with you.
Swaddle: There are many different brands and types out there so this may involve some trial and error, but I suggest finding a blanket with a lot of stretch in it, to keep that sweet little one swaddled securely!
Going Home Outfit: It really is so much fun to change them into their first outfit. Think cozy and warm, but not too warm. For example, if your baby is born in the heat of the summer, dress them lightly plus one additional layer.
Hat: I've never heard of a hospital that doesn't provide this, but you'll like having a little hat to take your baby home in. These are simple and sweet, and there are so many options!
Snacks: If you plan to be a nursing mama, your body is going to want food all. the. time. and what the hospital provides may not be enough. Nuts, dried fruit, bars, and lactation cookies are all foods you'll be happy to have.
Camera and Extra Battery/Charger: Even if you have a birth or Fresh 48 photographer (which I highly recommend!), you'll want to take some of your own photos. Be sure you have an extra battery or the camera battery charger!
Phone Charger: Hospitals are notorious for having terrible service.
Change of Clothes/Pajamas/Toiletries for Your Partner: If your partner plans to stay with you, they'll want to have the essentials packed in a small go-bag, as well. They may also want to bring a pillow and blanket or two from home; the ones the hospitals provide sometimes aren't the best!
I'll be sharing a few postpartum essentials on the blog next month. Stay tuned!