The first time around, after not wanting a hospital birth in the least- we ended up not only being in the hospital, but staying a grand total of THREE days (three and a half, if you count my 7pm-6am labor!). Sage was having trouble feeding and losing quite a bit of weight, so we stayed an extra day to work on her latch and get in extra time with the in-hospital lactation consultants. Despite my lackluster labor bag, I packed pretty well for those first few days, and didn't feel like I was missing much- except snacks, again! No one tells you just how hungry nursing can make you, and when the limited hospital cafeteria is closed and your only option is a 24-hour Tim Horton's, well, you end up eating a lot more bagels than you ever would otherwise (definitely not ideal!).
I definitely erred on the side of minimal, with our hospital bags- I simply didn't want to have to haul or sift through multiple big bags when we are hopefully only there for a day or two. So I packed everything I plan on needing for myself and baby in one bag (save for a couple extras we'll grab before we leave, like chargers and devices) and a small extra bag for healthy snacks, as well. Our practice actually gave us a hospital bag packing list to use, which I used as a reference, and I've added a couple extras that I thought I could have used last time, as well. Here's the rest of what we packed for our couple night hospital stay with our second baby girl:
No matter what way you end up giving birth, after birth ain't easy. So my biggest goal with packing things for myself, was, beyond the essentials- just keeping myself as comfortable as possible so I can be the best mama I can be those first couple of nights.
If you've had a baby before, you know that things don't feel all that great down-there after giving birth, and for me, a hot shower and some simple comfort measures (not to mention some mild painkillers, let's be real) were exactly what I needed. I packed a toiletry bag for myself and baby with the essentials:
toothbrush + toothpaste
body wash + shampoo
face wash + face wipes when I just wanta refresh
deodorant wipes (EO is my favorite brand)
a little makeup to make me feel alive (mascara, tinted moisturizer, concealer, blush)
olive oil- for baby's bottom. those first meconium poops are no joke, lather that baby's bum up with some EVOO right away and make life SO much easier on yourself!
baby nail clippers- the hospital doesn't provide these, and babies are often born with talons!
Postpartum Care Necessities
Aside from my toiletry bag, I created a little bag with some postpartum mama essentials- Depends, because I prefer them SO much more than those icky mesh underwear and giant pads they give you for post-birth bleeding (thankful I had a friend give me a pack of these-- you really only need them the first couple of days, so keep that gift going, mama!), Nipple Cream (Earth Mama Angel Baby is my fave) and some nursing pads, just in case my milk comes in early.
Most hospitals will provide you with basic postpartum after-care items, like a peri rinse bottle, pain-relieving spray and witch hazel pads (as well as ibuprofen or other pain killers, as needed) so I left those items at home and decided to just use what the hospital provided. But I did bring some comfort items the hospital doesn't provide:
Homeopathic arnica. Arnica is excellent for naturally reducing inflammation and pain relief, so I have both tabs (for internal) and a cream (to rub on my belly, to aid with afterbirth pains)
AfterEase by WishGarden herbs. As a first time mama, after pains weren't a big deal for me- but I know for second babies on, these can be a real pain (literally) for mama post-delivery, as the uterus rapidly shrinks closer to it's normal size. I've heard great things about these herbal drops, so I'm giving them a shot.
Natural Calm Magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, so it helps with post-birth muscle aches, but it also helps everything, ahem, loosen up. And because constipation tends to be a big worry for mamas who have just given birth (though I don't remember it being an issue for me last time-- I could have blocked it out!), it can't hurt to have a little help in that area.
A couple packs of prenatal vitamins. Even though these aren't my preferred brand, the sample packs are convenient. They're natural and important to be taking while baby is nursing. I'll also add my probiotics and baby's (refrigerated) before we go.
Mama needs clothes! Well, mama wants clothes, at least. The hospital is always happy to provide those ever-so-glamorous hospital gowns (with the attractive open back) but I prefer to be comfy in my own clothes, so I made sure to pack enough for a couple day stay.
Here's what I packed:
2 comfy nightgowns. Way cozier than the hospital gown, and easy to nurse in. I also had a handmade lightweight robe made to cover up and add a bit more warmth- it's going in the bag last though because I'm still waiting for it to come in the mail (I had a special one made for big sister, too).
2 nursing sleep bras. One of the nightgowns has a built-in bra, but it never hurts to have a spare.
1 comfy outfit to lounge in (sweatpants and a nursing tank). I will also pack my favorite cardigan, which I wear all the time, last minute, because I know hospitals can be frigid.
A pair of cozy socks (for in the bed, in case my feet get cold).
Slippers for walking around + old flip flops for the shower
1 going-home outfit: postpartum leggings, nursing tank and a nursing top (and a pair of black postpartum undies, just in case I want to wear them instead of the Depends)
Can't forget about baby! Though baby doesn't need much in the hospital, and really all she needs to come home is a car seat (properly installed) I made sure to have some essentials for her.
2 swaddle blankets. These are great lightweight layering blankets, that I think are just softer than the typical hospital receiving blankets.
A few diapers (just in case)-- I know the hospital supplies diapers, but it's nice to have a few of our favorites (Honest Co) if we need them, and I do prefer nontoxic wipes for her tiny booty.
A nursing cover- though the swaddles can double in this way when we have guests, I packed my cute Copper Pearl nursing/carseat cover for nursing and going home.
A pacifier + clip. This one is a maybe-- if she does well with nursing right away, we'll probably offer her the paci. If she struggles, we'll wait a week or two until nursing is well underway. I'm not overly concerned about nipple confusion, but I do want her to have the best start with nursing possible.
A couple burp cloths- I prefer simple organic cloth prefold diapers. They work well and we'll have them on hand if we need them.
1 soft organic kimono top (newborn). Newborns aren't exactly used to clothes, so I liked that we eased Sage in with a kimono top, dipe and warm blankets.
1 preemie outfit and one Newborn outfit- I want her to have something cozy to wear when we have visitors and she is likely being passed around. Since we know we have small babies (Sage was under 6 pounds and this baby is measuring small, as well) I packed one of Sage's first preemie outfits just in case as well as one of my favorite L'oved baby sleepers.
1 teeny tiny hat. Way cuter than the ones the hospital gives, my friend makes adorable handmade hats, so we packed one to keep her nice and snug in the cold hospital. We also packed a bow for those first pictures, because how cute is that?!
1 going home outfit: the same one Sage wore! Though it was gigantic on Sage, so it will be fun to see the difference between our two little ones!
Last but not least... Snacks
I packed a handful of snacks to keep me (and my husband) going in those first couple of days following birth. Though I'm sure we will have family bring us food, I know i'll be grateful for some of my favorite healthy grab-and-go staples.
Bone broth protein + cashew milk. I plan on drinking this in the morning as part of my breakfast. Birth is traumatic- and with the uterus healing from birth and the placenta's detachment, as well as the birth canal and perineum area which usually require some healing. Protein, ESPECIALLY collagen-rich protein, is essential for tissue repair. I also packed some collagen packets to toss into tea as well for an added collagen boost.
Kale chips, sea salt almonds, and sea salt chocolate bar. Forget the sweets- ALL I wanted post-birth with Sage was salty snacks! You lose a lot of minerals while sweaty and bleeding, and as long as it's real sea or himalayan salt, salt provides a hefty dose of minerals, replenishing some of those stores after birth.
Meat sticks (a whole bunch more than is pictured here!) for myself and my husband for quick protein
Bulletproof bars. Healthy fats are essential for breastfeeding- so these will be awesome to make sure I'm getting in a good dose of the good stuff.
Milkmaid tea-- I loved this tea postpartum last time to start encouraging milk production, so I made sure to pack some to have a couple times a day this time around, as well.
So what do you think? Overpacker or did I totally miss stuff? Share if you have suggestions!!