What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag (and what to leave at home)
Towards the end of your pregnancy you'll need to start thinking about your hospital bag. I think its best to start packing around 35-36 weeks just in case. Here's a list of things I think you'll need, based on what I used and didn't use.
Extra long phone charger A must have when you're stuck in a hospital bed. I have this one for iPhone.
Heating pad / hot water bottle A hot water bottle on my lower back SAVED me during contractions!
Reusable water bottle with straw Both during labor and recovery, drinking from a straw is the easiest (it only requires one hand and doesn't spill)! I have this one that I still use all the time.
Toiletries Hospitals will usually supply shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, so unless you're super particular there is no need to bring these. However, do pack your face wash, moisturizer, deodorant, hair brush, and any other products you use daily!
Lip balm Lips get dry during labor! You can also use your nipple cream if you want to save room :)
Glasses if you need them If you wear contacts I highly recommend getting a pair of night and day contacts that are safe to sleep with. Labor and the first few weeks with a newborn have no night and no day, so not needing to deal with my contacts was amazing.
Hair ties / clips I love these that don't get tangled.
Slippers and/or flip flops If you're giving birth during the winter, slippers or non-slip fuzzy socks are great to walk around the hospital with. Flip flops also work, which I recommend bringing anyways for the shower!
Change of clothes Bring comfy loose clothing to wear after birth. Stick to dark-colored bottoms :) Consider nursing tanks if you plan on breastfeeding. These are my favorite lounging nursing tanks.
Sweatshirt / robe In case it gets cold in the hospital. Wraps are a great option because they are super soft, comfy, and don't have any zippers or buttons that can scratch baby.
Going home outfit for baby Something cute for all the pictures!
Nipple cream if you plan on breastfeeding This is my favorite one, it saved me during the first days and weeks of breastfeeding!
Snacks for your care team (and you) This is a great tip I got - its really nice to bring a bunch of snacks to offer the nurses and doctors that take care of you. Stick to individually wrapped snacks like Kind bars so they are hygienic and stay fresh. Snacks are also great for you and your partner and for guests that stop by to visit!
Gatorade / flavored water A lot of times you aren't allowed to eat during labor. At some point I got sick and tired of plain water, so its nice to have something flavored to drink. Check with your doctor, but as far as I remember anything clear is OK. So electrolyte drinks and flavored water work (I love Propel, all their flavors are super yummy), but juice and soda don't.
A swaddle for baby Hospital blankets are SO hard to use as swaddles! Although the nurses will do it for you as often as you need, I was grateful that I brought my own easy ones.
Going home outfit for you Some people want to dress up a bit for leaving the hospital, I personally was happy in leggings and a sweatshirt, but do what works for you!
Postpartum underwear / pads The hospital-provided ones are fine, however I preferred using disposable absorbent underwear. My mom brought me special postpartum underwear from abroad, but Depends work as well!
Your own hospital gown It will get dirty, and you will probably change it multiple times.
Your own pillow The hospital ones are fine, and you can always ask for extras. if you do bring your own, make sure to bring a distinct colored pillowcase so it doesn't get mixed up with the hospital's.
Diapers, wipes, etc for baby The hospital will provide everything you need, so no need to schlep these.
FOR YOUR PARTNER
Change of clothes
Phone charger (so you don't fight over yours)
A tip for packing: show your partner (or whoever will be with you at the hospital) where everything is in your bag, since you likely won't be the one fetching things from it during labor!
Anything I didn't mention that you think is essential? Is there something you brought and was totally unnecessary? Tell me in the comments!