As a first-time mom, I spent a lot of time researching what exactly I needed to bring along with me to the hospital. Truthfully, I ended up overpacking a bit but I’ve always been one to rather be over prepared than under prepared. Now that I’ve given birth, I have a much better idea of what you actually need to bring to the hospital and what is just a waste of space in your bag. Today I’m passing that knowledge onto you and sharing some do’s and don’ts when it comes to packing your own hospital bag.
10 Do’s and Don’ts for packing your hospital birth bag
DO: A labour gown
I brought my own labour gown to the hospital and it was seriously one of my best decisions. The fabric is so much softer and more comfortable than the rough hospital gowns. Also, it was so nice to be able to walk around the hospital without my entire backside exposed like in a typical hospital gown. The labour gown I chose to wear was the butterfly gown from Pretty Pushers. I loved the simple but pretty design and the practical back zipper (that is perfect if you want to get an epidural!). My only wish was that I had brought two of the gowns along with me. Mine ended up getting very dirty during delivery, and it would have been perfect to have a second one for nursing at the hospital.
DON’T: A birth plan
I printed out copies of my birth plan to share with hospital staff but I honestly never even took the plan out of my suitcase. That being said, I did feel that creating the birth plan itself was a good exercise to get to know my options during labour. It was also great for creating discussion with my husband (who was my labour support person) so that we were both on the same page when we got to the hospital.
DO: Flip flops
Hospital floors are dirty and a pair of inexpensive flip flops are the best thing to wear when you are in labour. They are also super easy to slip on and off which is important when you are forty weeks pregnant and can’t see your feet.
DON’T: Slippers or grippy socks
I’ve heard people suggest bringing grippy socks to the hospital but I personally wouldn’t recommend it. Let’s just say birth can get a little messy and wet socks definitely wouldn’t be very comfortable. Even after giving brith I didn’t find my packed slippers useful at all. Truthfully, I was recovering in bed most of the time I was in the hospital with the exception of the occasional trip to the bathroom. But even then, I would prefer to wear sandals instead slippers or socks into the bathroom.
DO: Shower cap
Taking a nice hot shower is a great coping mechanism when your contractions start to get strong but dealing with wet hair afterwards is not so great. The last thing I wanted to worry about was blow drying my hair while I was in labour so a shower cap was the perfect solution. I had been wanting to buy one of these pretty shower caps from Shhhowercap for a while and labour was the perfect excuse. They are a little expensive, but they work much better (and are so much more chic!) than the cheap plastic throwaway ones.
DON’T: Blowdryer & hot tools
I packed both my curling iron and straightener in my hospital bag but didn’t end up using either. Honestly, I was so exhausted from my 48 hour labour that doing my hair was the last thing on my mind. Instead I rocked a messy bun or simple ponytail for the duration of my hospital stay.
DO: A cute going home outfit
Before labour, I wasn’t sure what an ideal post-delivery outfit would be so I asked for advice on my Instagram. I ended up with tons of comments from moms who gave their advice on what would be best to wear over top of those stylish post-partum mesh panties. The consensus was that a dark coloured maxi dress is the perfect garment for leaving the hospital in. Not only does it hide bulky hospital pads but it won’t put pressure on a C-section incision (if you end up having one).
DON’T: Toilet paper
I had heard that hospital toilet paper is awful and it was worth bringing a roll of the soft stuff from home (who wants scratchy paper on your tender nether regions after giving birth?!) But honestly things are so sensitive down there that you won’t be wiping anyways. Instead the hospital issued peri bottle might just become your new best friend.
DO: Baby wipes
The hospital I delivered at (St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg) only provided wash cloths for diaper changes so I’d highly recommend bringing your own baby wipes along. The wash clothes provided by the hospital weren’t very soft for using on a newborn and baby wipes were much more convenient. Also, our room had a shared bathroom, meaning if someone else was using the toilet we didn’t have access to water to use with the wash cloths.
Don’t bother bringing along your own diapers. My OB provided me with a handout saying you need to bring your own but we were provided with enough to use during our stay at the hospital. I’ve even heard rumours of some moms stocking up on hospital provided diapers to bring home.
I hope this list of do’s and don’ts helps you to pack your hospital bag for delivery! And for those of you who have given brith before, I’d love to know if you agree with my recommendations! Was there anything you regretted packing or wished you brought along? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!