I am someone who has to be as prepared as possible for anything, way ahead of time. My hospital bag ready was no different. From 20 weeks, I kept having to tell myself it was too early to park. Instead, while I was waiting for an appropriate time to pack my bag, I researched. And I researched a lot.
What I found with this research is that there is really no “one size fits all” standard list of things to pack in a hospital bag. Some people were fortunate in that their hospital gave them basically everything they needed, while others were given nothing except ice chips from their center.
In addition, depending on what type of birthing experience you’re hoping for, your hospital bag may be very different from someone else’s. However, this is what I personally found I needed and did not need in my bag.
What I Had & Used:
- Health Card: In Ontario, you need to provide your health card to show that you’re a Canadian citizen who is covered by OHIP. This means I don’t need to bring any insurance info as my country covers it. However, if you live in an area that charges for giving birth, remember your insurance info and photo ID.
- Button-Down PJs: Honestly, this was probably my favourite thing in my entire bag. They were comfortable, flattering, and kept me feeling modest even with me whipping out my breast every two hours.
- Toiletries: I recommend getting travel-size of everything as it’ll save space in your bag.
- Scrunchie: Specifically for labouring.
- Comfy Socks and (Full) Underwear: I love having nice comfy socks on at all times so those were a must for me. For underwear, I bought a pack from Costco that were high-waisted and extremely comfortable. These held the massive hospital pads way better.
- Pads: So, I packed pads but didn’t use many since my hospital provided much better ones. It wasn’t until I was leaving that I finally used one of my packed ones.
- Perilum Bottle: Again, provided by my hospital. I believe it’s something all hospitals provide but you may want to check with yours just in case. If not, you can buy them cheap off Amazon!
- Advil and Tylenol: You’re going to be sore, and especially sore if any complications arose, so pack some painkillers. More than likely your hospital will provide these too.
- Phone and Charger: You are going to be on your phone a lot during your stay. With texting the news to everyone and taking photos, you won’t want to forget a charger!
- Prenatal Vitamins: I had these packed as per my doctors recommendation.
Related: All Things Baby’s Hospital Bag
What I Needed:
- Towel/Face Cloth/Shower Flipflops: I was told I would only be in the hospital for roughly 24 hours or less if all things went well. This made me completely forget to pack shower stuff. Due to complications of breastfeeding, I had to stay an extra night. Thankfully, my parents lived two minutes away from the hospital and brought me what I needed for a shower.
- Lip Balm: Holy moly, I don’t know why but my lips got majorly chapped from giving birth. Again, big thanks to my parents for bringing me/giving me their chapstick.
- Food: My hospital had pretty decent food, but they only provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I am someone who needs to eat every three hours so living on their three meals alone was not great. Thankfully, the food court was open all day, but I could have used snacks for those long nights breastfeeding a baby.
- Gown for Labouring: I can’t imagine feeling good while in labour, but I think having something that I felt comfortable in such as a big t-shirt would have at least made me feel a little more human.
- Basic Makeup: Again, just something I wish I had in order to make me feel a little more human, especially for all those after-birth photos.
- Bag for Dirty Clothes: This is something that you probably do not need, but I don’t like my clean clothes touching my dirty clothes. Unfortunately, when I packed my hospital bag, I completely forgot to pack a bag for dirty clothes… oops. Again, thanks Mom!
Related: Welcome Charlotte
What I Had/Didn’t Need:
- Nursing Bra: I honestly just did not care to wear a bra after giving birth. My breasts were so engorged that restricting them at all just put me in a great deal of pain.
- Dressing Robe: I packed my robe but personally, found it too bulky to even want to bring out. If I was cold, I would just put my sweater on or pull my blankets up.
- Pillows: I brought one but found it just got in the way. I don’t really use pillows anyways, so having the thin hospital pillows to sleep with didn’t bug me at all.
- Book: I was too distracted attending to my little bundle of cuteness to pull out my book and read. If I wasn’t starring or breastfeeding, I was usually trying to sleep, not even thinking about reading.
- Slippers: In the rare moments I did leave my bed, I was fine just walking around in my shoes.
- Music: The thought, “I could really use some music right now” never entered my mind during labour or after giving birth. You may be different, every birthing experience is, but I couldn’t have cared less.
- Tummy Wrap: I’ll be straight up, I just didn’t care. While in the hospital, I think I was just too exhausted to even worry about my tummy. Once I was out, I was extremely fortunate because I bounced back too fast to even think about needing one.
- Boppy Pillow: This is totally a personal preference, but I found using a hospital pillow worked fine enough for me. I didn’t even buy a boppy pillow until Charlotte was already 8 weeks old, and I only did because I had a coupon for 80% off
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