Packing your hospital bag for your newborn’s arrival can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.
I recommend starting early – sometime in your second trimester when you still have energy and can slowly set aside items that you won’t need until after baby’s arrival.
At the very latest, I recommend having your bag packed by 35 weeks to ensure that it’s ready to go in case of a surprise early arrival. After all, babies tend to arrive on their own timeline!
This one is number one for a very good reason. It’s hard to predict just how long you’ll be in the hospital after baby’s arrival, so it’s important to have a quality nipple cream to help your sore breasts adjust to breastfeeding – if this is the route you choose for feeding baby.
I have tried plenty of nipple creams throughout my postpartum journeys, and my favourite might surprise you. Good, old fashioned coconut oil has been my favourite nipple cream. It’s gentle, inexpensive and doesn’t have to be washed off prior to baby feeding. All wins in my book!
If you’re not convinced that coconut oil is the right choice for you, this article has a helpful list of the best nipple creams. I’ve personally tried the first two and can attest to their quality!
In addition to good nipple cream, I also couldn’t have survived without these cooling pads for my sore breasts!
Comfortable, loose fitting clothes are a must-have for postpartum. If you’ve ever had a baby before, you know that your belly is still rather pregnant-looking even after baby has arrived. Packing loose fitting clothing is perfect for staying comfortable, whether you have a vaginal birth or c-section.
If you plan to breastfeed, pack a few nursing bras or tank tops. These were my favourite postpartum and basically all I wore for the weeks and months after baby’s arrival. Pair these tanks with a soft, warm cardigan and some cozy sweats and you’ll feel somewhat put-together and extremely comfortable. (Hot tip: nursing bras are also great for wearing during labour and can easily come off for that special skin to skin moment!)
Button-down pjs are also a must-have, since they are soft on the skin (you’ll thank me later!) and very nursing friendly. This was my favourite pair of pajamas postpartum, and even now – two years later – they’re my go to pair!
Lastly, cozy slippers or socks with grip for those slippery hospital floors are great for staying warm and moving around!
A large water bottle with a straw (so that you don’t have to move your body much to drink from it) is perfect for during labour. For myself, even talking took too much energy during my first labour, so I would hand signal for water and my husband or doula would hold it for me. Probably my favourite item for mid-labour!
Light snacks, like crackers, apple sauce, fruit or a granola bar can be a life saver during an extra long labour. You’ll need to keep your energy up!
If you’re anything like me, calming music is a must-have during a long labour. I spent many hours making the perfect playlist for my labour and was so grateful for it’s calming influence during a time when I needed to find my inner zen. Be sure to download your playlist ahead of time, and bring along a (full-charged), small portable speaker.
If you’re not up for making your own playlist, Spotify has plenty of great playlists to choose from. Just pick your genre or search “calming birthing playlist” and go from there!
And don’t forget your cell phone charger! You’ll want to be sure you have some battery left for when baby makes their debut!
Toiletries and self-care items are a must-have for feeling comfortable after a long (sweaty) labour. Here are a few suggestions (and I recommend travel-sized!):
I’ll put this one all in one, because they really don’t need too much! Here are the must-haves for baby:
There are plenty of things you can pack in your hospital bag, but honestly? You probably won’t use them. We were extra prepared for our hospital birth, only to find that we barely used half of what we brought. Be prepared, but also have someone on hand who can deliver more items if you need. The less you pack, the less you have to unpack when you get home!
Thinking of capturing your new baby once you’re settled at home? Check out this journal article to find out when the best time is to reach out to your newborn photographer.
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