I’m pretty sure when we had our first child, my hospital bag was crazy full, in fact, I think I had multiple bags. I had a folder with organized details that included my birth plan, insurance information and other forms that seem unnecessary for anyone who doesn’t have OCD. But when we checked in with luggage to have our baby girl – I felt prepared. After all, she was three days late – I had plenty of time to prepare.
Then I had our son, and another daughter, and now I’m about to have baby #4 and as I start to make my list of things I need before he comes, I can pretty much write it all down on a sticky note. Whereas with my daughter, I had a 3-page word document checklist (I’m not joking even a little bit about the 3-pages). Please tell me I’m not the only one who is this OCD about life?
Granted, there are a few things different between my first pregnancy and my fourth. I have experience, I have saved a lot of things that I’ve needed/used through my pregnancies and birth experiences. But mainly, I’ve just learned what items are essential and what items I was most likely just buying based on commercial advertisements (true story).
With our little man coming in 5 weeks I’ve already purchased most of the items I will need when he gets here. And let me tell you, my hospital bag will be much lighter this time around.
So what does baby actually need?
Hospital Bag Essentials
- Carseat – I’ve used various brands and setups through our kiddos but I have to say my absolute favorite car seat brand that I’ve come across has been Graco. They are easy to move and adjust, easy to clean, and live up to their reputation. Here is the newest one we just ordered for baby boy and once I opened it I fell even more in love with the style and design! If you watch for a sale you can usually get it for about $149.99. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat
- Carseat/nursing cover – I just got my MilkSnob and I’m SOOO happy with it – I’ve already tried it on and it is really comfortable and lightweight.
- Infant Pacifiers – I always purchase Phillips Avent pacifiers. For you new moms just a little fyi. The design of these pacifiers has a purpose. They are completely rubber and have holes around the base of the pacifier. The reason for this design is because it is possible for the infants to accidentally swallow the pacifier. If it is rubber and has holes it will still allow the baby to breathe if it gets lodged. This isn’t fun to talk or think about – but they also resemble the form a of a nipple more than other pacifiers. I give my kids a pacifier in the hospital (only this brand) and when they turn one, I cold turkey them away from them by tossing them all in the garbage. But I highly recommend this brand not just for safety reasons but also for the natural design. Good luck mommas!
- Nursing Pads & Nursing Cream – Let me just say, you will think that you can get away without these. And you probably can, but that doesn’t mean you should have to. 🙂 I stock up on this stuff ahead of time and life is so much better! I always purchase Lansinoh Lanolin.
- Nursing Bra – There are hundreds of versions of nursing bras. I don’t have one that I love more than another, because a bra can’t miraculously make nursing less painful – I know – I’ve looked for one. But make sure you have a couple packed in your hospital bag.
- Swaddling Blankets – I personally love making my own. There are tons of really cute ones you can buy (like the one I purchased in the photo) 🙂 but honestly the best swaddling blankets cost me next to nothing and require no sewing! Just go to your closest fabric store, pick out your favorite Jersey Knit and purchase it by the yard (for two blankets) or by the half yard (for a single swaddling blanket). If you want to see more selections check out the fabric selection at fabric.com.
- Baby Essentials – Make sure you’ve packed a few outfits for baby, including socks, bows, sweaters and even bibs.
- Burp Cloths – I never buy burp cloths that are listed as “burp cloths”. When it comes to nursing and the mess that usually is involved – go big. I personally LOVE using cloth diapers. I purchase a large pack of the pre-folded cloth diapers (add cute fabric or accessories if you want) and never look back. They are worth every cent.
In addition to these baby essentials you will want to make sure to pack in your hospital bag – pack plenty of comfortable clothes, your bathroom bag (yes it’s okay to pack makeup etc – you still want to feel human right?) and take snacks, any devices you want, and some reading material. Some mom’s are there for 30 hours (my last delivery) – other mom’s are in the hospital for 3 days. Just make sure you are prepared because you won’t know the length of your stay until after baby has arrived.
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Nancy is a writer and fitness trainer. She is the wife of a charming Frenchman and mother of three children, ages 7, 6 and 3.