In Our Bags: The Hospital

In Our Bags: The Hospital with Baby | The Fresh Exchange

Being nearly to our due date it seems appropriate for us to have our bags packed and ready for whenever D-day arrives and our little guy decides he is ready for the world. Little projects such as this help with the waiting game and the guessing at every single change in my body these days. Knowing we are ready is extra reassuring as I personally want to be able to focus on the process of bringing him into the world and not on whether my bag is packed. When I was prepping my bag I asked the internet world for some advice on what we needed. All of you had some AMAZING suggestions and if you are interested in seeing all of those you can check out this Instagram post and the Facebook post for other ladies suggestions. There are some great ones in there!

Now that our bags are packed I felt it would be great to share a little different view on our normal travel series, In Our Bags. This time we are taking a little different type of trip, but one that it is all its own type of adventure. So here is what we packed for our trip.

In Our Bags: The Hospital with Baby | The Fresh Exchange

Birth:
An outfit to wear if you desire: 
I plan to labor at home as long as possible before heading to the hospital. We live about 20 minutes from where we will deliver (all highway) so we figure at the typical 4-1-1 pattern we will head in. That said we are opting for a low-intervention birth and keeping things as home-like as possible. Part of this for me is not to be in a hospital gown unless at some point I decide this is what I want. I purchased a cheap black oversized tshirt dress that can be tossed if need be afterward. It is comfy and doesn’t feel medical, which was important to me. 

A Bath Sheet Towel: If you have noticed towels don’t fit too well these days so I got a large bathsheet towel that would feel comforting after spending time in the shower at the hospital and not scratchy

Rosewater Spray: Rosewater is very calming and cooling and I had a few friends suggest having this on hand especially during the end when you are transitioning into the pushing phase. I got this complection spray from Fig and Yarrow and love it. 

Robe: To wander the halls in (also for recovery as well). I picked up this one from H&M in linen. I didn’t want anything heavy or fluffy. 

Blanket: I packed a favorite blanket that either I can use or Mike can. 

Favorite Sweater: I have a sweater I have worn throughout pregnancy and I figured it could bring a lot of calm during birth so I made sure to pack it. 

Comfy bra or top: I bought a couple of these bras from Gap in black to wear. I am a pretty private person so I wanted to have these available if I felt the need to be covered. Truly I have been wearing them because they were the most comfortable/sexy feeling thing I have found during this process. I went from being a size small to a Medium/Large so I still fit in average size bras. I know that isn’t true for all women though. 

Speakers: Whether you are using a specific playlist or just want a noise machine or ocean sounds to keep you calm this is a must. We are taking a Bose speaker that works off bluetooth.

Coconut water: Every hospital and practice is different, but our’s allows light eating and drinking during birth and I am obsessed with coco water right now. It is a great way to keep energy levels up and hydrated so I have 3 large bottles prepped. 

Tea bags: Another thing you can typically have in most hospitals and practices. There is a Third Trimester Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby that is supposedly wonderful in early birthing and even afterward. Some people aren’t into herbal things though. I am a hippy about herbs so I am all about it. If you aren’t particularly willing to go that route though, you may want to consider a chamomile or lavendar based tea to relax your body and mind especially during the early parts of birth. 

Aromatherapy: I hate the smell of hospitals so having our diffuser and some favorite scents that are focused on being energizing was importnt for me. I love Doterra’s On Guard and Wild Orange, but also packed Peppermint and Lavendar

Chapstick: Don’t want chapped lips do we? I love this Rosebud Salve so I don’t think I would not have it on hand. 

Slippers/socks: I typically don’t like things on my feet, but I want to be able to walk the halls and move as much as possible during birth so I made sure to pack something to walk in. 

Birth Plan: This is something I see missed on a lot of hospital bag lists, but VERY important. Hopefully you have covered this with your midwife or doctor already but if you are still wanting to make one, I would suggest checking out Earth Mama Angel Baby’s free birth plan. Also in the book Mindful Mom to Be Lori has an awesome one as well. I kind of used both to make a bulleted list that was easy for my Midwife and nurses to reference. 

In Our Bags: The Hospital with Baby | The Fresh Exchange

Partner:
Comfy and warmer clothes: Women get hot when they are in labor typically so the room can be cold to their partner. Also overnight stays they will want something more athleisure. Mike is bringing these pants and this sweatshirt

Camera: Mike is the camera guy so he is in charge of bringing it and keeping it charged. He is bringing our Fuji and our Canon Mark III but of course your iPhone can do pretty darn well if you don’t have a camera. Good window light is about all you need. We don’t plan to have any photos taken of the experience until after he has arrived. We live with cameras all the time and we feel this is a private time and I want to remain focused so we chose a hospital that didn’t allow for camera usage during birth to keep everything private and in the moment.

Chargers, Iphones, Ipads, any electronics: He is in charge of the electronics during this time so all these things went in his bag. 

Instant Coffee: In the middle of the night he may want a kick of caffeine. Mike always has a Via shot on hand and he says he couldn’t imagine going into this without having some on him this time as well. 

Lights: We want to create a calm atmosphere so we plan to keep the lighting low and subdued. We brought a reading light to use as our alternate light source instead of the room lights. We plan to face it up toward the ceiling to create softer light in the room. 

Toiletries: Anything he may want for his stay and that keeps him feeling his best. Things like a toothbrush and toothpaste and to take a shower. 

Snacks: At least at our hospital partner meals are not included so having food to keep him sustained especially the later parts of the evening if things close. 

Car Seat: Well he is in charge of making sure it is installed and ready to bring our little guy home safely. We have the Nuna Pipa carseat and love how easy it was to install in our 2015 Subaru Forester and how chic it looks. Plus the safety ratings on it don’t hurt one little bit. 

In Our Bags: The Hospital with Baby | The Fresh Exchange

Baby:
Swaddles: You don’t have to bring these. They have them at the hospital but I wanted our own. I brought ones from Solly Baby. They are so soft and I wanted to introduce our home smells to him right away and to be very comfy in his own things as soon as possible in hopes that transition into his home is that much easier. 

Socks: He most likely will be in a diaper most of the time but he has been in my very warm body and I couldn’t bare the thought of his toes being cold. I am a classics girl and went with these basic socks from Gerber.  

Baby Book: If you plan to have one. We were given this one and it is very sweet. We figure it will be fun to write his story afterward and add in some parts of the experience. 

Hat: They give them to you at the hospital as well, but we are bringing one of our own for the ride home. We brought this one from Gap and this one from BabySoy

Winter Outfit: It most likely will be below 50 when we come home so I got him this outfit to stay warm in when we leave. If you are having a summer baby, obviously this isn’t necessary 🙂

A couple outfits in a couple sizes: We took 2 0-3 outfits and 2 newborn outfits with us. No matter how they try to guess the size of your little one (we have refrained from finding out) you just aren’t going to know until they are out, so having a few sizes for them is best. I love the basic and simple outfits from L’oved Baby. The organic cotton is so soft and they come with mits on them, which is great for those little baby nails they come out with. 

A Blanket: We brought a blanket my mom made for him so he could be wrapped up while in the hospital. We also probably will nab a few photos of him on it. 

Pacifier: This is a completely personal decision, but we are comfortable with it and our hospital doesn’t provide them so we are bringing one of our own for him. 

Diapers: They provide them sometimes at hospitals but I wanted to get started with what we will be trying at home right away so he didn’t go through too many switches so I packed a few to ease him in. We are starting dispable because we figure we have enough to learn in the first few months. We are giving Honest and Whole Foods diapers a try for him. Any other suggestions would be good. 

Bathwash: We are hoping not to be in the hospital too long and can do this at home, but just in case we brought him bath wash from Zoe Organics that we will be using regularly at home for him as well as a few wash cloths that are super soft. 

In Our Bags: The Hospital with Baby | The Fresh Exchange

Recovery:
Favorite toiletries:
I opted to spoil myself as I figure this will be a moment where I might get to really enjoy a shower for a little while since he will be his sleepiest post delivery. I thought I would spoil myself a little bit. I got this skincare kit from Fig and Yarrow on Huckyberry to give myself a little pampering. 

Snacks: Everyone says you are starving after labor so I have some favorite snacks incase that happens to be in the middle of the night or before anything is open for me to order food. I packed Kind Bars and other things that give me a lot of energy so I can hopefully get some sustinance and some sleep afterward and not be starving. 

Comfortable Pants: I have a pair of jogger type sweatpants and a pair of really soft leggings I have worn throughout pregnancy. I am not 100% sure what I will want so I brought both for pants. 

Comfy nightgowns: I packed two gowns that are henley style to make it easy for feeding but are cozy and comfy. 

Oversized Cardigan: I wanted an oversize sweater like this one or this one, I could wear that opened easily for skin-to-skin but still kept me warm. 

Larger underwear: I couldn’t bring myself to buy granny panties and I may regret that, but I bought these ones from Target which have been my favorites during pregnancy and I purchased them in a size larger than I normally wear. They are so soft, weightless, and have no hard bands anywhere. I figure they will work. I stuck to dark colors as well. 

Bottom Spray: This one has been recommended and I will accept any advice from my girlfriends about recovering this are post-delivery. 

Pads: I wanted my own. I know the hospital gives you some and I will probably use them, but the whole idea of this already is weirding me out enough. So, I did research and though I typically am an organics girl I went mainstream for these guys because everyone swore by them. They are not really thick which is nice and they whick away which is even nicer. I figure it is for a short time and then I won’t have to think about them again till the next time around.

Nipple Cream: I have this one from Zoe Organics and hear great things. 

Nursing Pillow: I have this one from Ergo so I figure we will packing it in the car and if I want it Mike can bring it in. 

Nursing Bras: I opted for this type from Target for now. I am sure I will buy more specific ones once he arrives and am home, but I figure this will be a great option for the first few days or so. 

Going Home Outfit: I most likely will wear one of the pants or tunics I packed depending on the warmth of the day and an oversized sweater. I just want something comfy. 

Shoes: You probably came in with them, but knowing myself I would forget them or something so I set the pair I would wear to the hospital next to my bag to make sure I didn’t forget them. I opted for something slip-on.

Makeup: I want to feel like myself afterward so I will probably bring my basics like mascara and a little bronzer

Your own Toilet Paper: Sounds crazy but when I did our hospital visit I saw the toilet paper and agreed this was a great idea. 

I think overall the best advice I have heard from moms is the following:

  1. Remember your little one is just entering the world. Think of how you would like to feel when experience the world for the first time and after such a crazy journey. Thus, I chose as many natural and soft things for him as well as made sure everything smelled like what his life at home would smell like. I really tried to think through this and respect that this is as much a transition for him as it is for us.
  2. Treat yourself because you just did something amazing no matter what the journey was. I bought a few things that I never would probably never treat myself too because of this and I think I will be thankful on the other side while in recovery. Give yourself gentle things to be respectful of your body.
  3. Think about your partner. Sure I am physically and emotionally bringing a child into the world, but he is going through a lot too. I wanted to make sure he is well cared for in the process and have made sure to ask him along the way the things that bring him comfort as well so he can care for me and our little one at his best.
  4. Bring an open mind. Life is about to change. A journey is about to happen and no matter what you pop in that bag with you, you are going to go through this one way or the other and it will go exactly how it is supposed to. So keeping a calm and open mind full of a willingness to surrender to the process will be the best thing you can bring with you.

I would love anything else you would suggest as I am sure other ladies would as well! I am sure I am over packing but as I am sure many of you can relate to, it can feel a little overwhelming not knowing what to really expect since you haven’t been through this before.

Excited to hear your thoughts!

Leave a comment

  1. I love that you’re prioritizing making your environment totally comfortable and familiar. I can only imagine how much of a difference it will make to have things like your diffuser and some new luxury skin care with you during such a precious time! I’ll so be referring back to this in a few years 🙂

  2. This is a great list, pretty much all the same things I took. I did an unmedicated birth and it made all the difference having my own clothes to labor in etc. The only thing I would suggest is packing lots of baby outfits. We were planning on coming home the next day but ended up staying due to the timing of a few procedures etc and our baby used the bathroom or spit up on every single thing we took! He ended up coming home in a shirt from the hospital and no pants! Also, we waited until finding out the gender until we had the baby so we had given thought to circumcision but i didn’t even think about vaseline for that if you choose to go that route! Our hospital loaded us up with a bunch which was great but just thought I would mention that as well!

  3. Can i aslo suggest a hair dryer! Not just For your head, but for… Down there! It helps with healing and feels better than toilet paper or towels. A sqUirt bottle helps ease the sting whIle you have to pee! use soft cottony maternity pads, not ones like Always unless you want your own version of diaper raSh. In the case it does happen, sudocrem has never let me down! (I’ve done this 3 times!) the luxe items for yourself are great and will give you more mental revitalization than physical! Snacks, bottleD water, magazines, and sleep while you can (Both of you!) Best Wishes! Xx

  4. GReat list, I went with everything from the hospital, but probably for a second it will be much more like your list. 😉
    Also, it might sound crazy but I loved those first days in the hospital, they are unique and will never come back! MY body was full of adrenaline and we couldn’t sleep and leave our little one ‘alone’, so we took turns 🙂 I also will never forget that moment that you go home with your little bundle. I was shaking on my feet 🙂
    I love your bag, where is it from?

  5. Just saw your instagram post so CONGRATULATIONS on a healthy baby boy! One suggestion on diapers is to see if A Dydee service is available where you live. We have been using it For two mOnths and it has been so great. You rent the diaper covers and they deliver cLean cloth insErts ever week and Take the soiled ones. Its great for baby (helps prevent dailer rash), the environment, and there’s no LAUNDRY! Enjoy these early days with your brand new baby!

  6. I love this list! One tHing we got as a gIft was a padalily cushion. I used it as an elbow prop to breastfeeD in hospital and then on my carseat handle. It was one of those “why didnt i think of that?” Items that we couLdnt live without!

  7. This is so much like my list the first time!! Except I didn’t have to pack the things the birthing unit would provide (pads, disposable undies, diapers, etc). And since it was a birthing unit the light was already minimal but I love the idea of the reading light for a hospital setting! With my second I didn’t have much time to use anything in my bag but if it had turned out to be a longer labor, the bright lights would definitely have annoyed me. The most useful things to me that first time were my labor playlists (which repeated maaaaany times, so make them long and enjoyable!) and the portable speaker, all of the snacks I’d packed (that I didn’t want at all but my husband devoured since we were there all day in contractions), and hard candies because your mouth can get really dry with all the open mouthed breathing! (Oh – and flip flops. Because public showers are not my favorite floors to be on barefoot.) Such exciting times – I hope your birth is as close to the way you want it as possible!!! Best advice I ever got from my midwives & birth coach the first time – be prepared for everything to go differently to the way you expect. That happened for me, and it was a challenge to deal with, but I had to be flexible for my daughter to come out on her own, which was really important to me. 🙂 GOOD LUCK!!

  8. So did yoU end up using eveRything? Was there anything you dodnt ise or wish you had? We arw wxpecting our baby in june and any advice would be so appreciated!!

    1. I had a really quick delivery and we did use nearly everything. I didn’t need any pants. My belly wanted nothing to do with a waistband so I would suggest only taking some loose fitting night gown type dresses. I bought a couple cotton vneck dresses fro Old Navy and Gap that were cheap if I ended up getting stuff on them such as blood or milk or spit up. Also, I full embraced the mesh undies and everything the hospital gave me for care down below. They were awesome. Also, he was much smaller than we expected so I only had one outfit that fit him so the hospital gave him a shirt to wear and swaddles. They were really great about it. I would say the New Mama Bottom Spray was a lifesaver!!!! It seriously made all the difference especially when coming home. The Motherlove Nipple Cream is a necessity. Slather it on and also consider some shields to seperate your nipples from your bra no matter how soft the fabric is they feel really nice the first few days and weeks. The other thing I am glad I brought was a nice big towel of our my own, a warm blanket, saline nasal spray (so dry in hospitals…had a bloody nose because of it), and having some really nice luxury facial care products. The nice facial care products were so nice the next day when I took shower after getting my Hep-lock out and could take a nice shower for a few minutes and feel a little normal again. My biggest suggestion though is to ask for Motrin before you even go to Postpartum though. I didn’t use pain killers during labor, but the relief of not having any further extreme discomfort while recovering was really nice and getting ahead of the cramping and discomfort of the swelling was very nice. They will offer it to you when you get to postpartum, but you can request it while you are in the final hour or so before they move you over and I am so glad I did. Another thing I didn’t expect is the first night the baby is SUPER chill and for the following 24 hours and then nearly every baby goes through a cluster feed. Our little guy went from 8 PM to 4 AM in complete discomfort and vomited a few times. It was exhausting and scary, but your nurses will help you…just don’t be suprised if it happens. It doesn’t mean they will always be that way because now he sleeps 2-3 hour stretches at night with 30-40 minute feeds inbetween at almost 2 weeks so don’t get worried. Just take it in stride and having your partner help is really good because you won’t be able to lift the baby out of the bassinet over and over again no matter the kind of delivery you have. Your body feels like it went through a trainwreck so either have nurses help or your partner because you don’t want to make recovery any harder. I hope that is helpful and good luck. I hope things go super well for you 🙂

  9. Two things. Dont OverpacK/overthink things. The hospital does provide you wih all the basics so if you do forget something, you will be fine 🙂 second, For the First few daYs those hOspital pads are definitely necessary. They are crazy thiCk so you kind of have to waddle aroUnd in them but store bought pads are likely not going to do the job. Pushing out a hUman means lotttsss of blood. Haha. The time in the hospital iS a whirlwhknd and it Flies by so So fast. Ask your nurses lots of quesTions and accept lots of help from them so you can rest, dont beat yourself uP, eaT-dRink-sleep-repeat (sEriously so imPortant to take care of yourself!) and enjoy every moment!