15 essentials to store in your hospital bag, according to new moms
Getting ready to give birth is both terrifying and exhilarating. There is so much that you don’t have on your hands: when exactly do contractions start? Or how many hours of pushing – two or ten! – before the baby came out? With so much uncertainty, it’s nice to have control over the little things, like what you put in your hospital bag. These familiar items make you feel safe and can play a key role in helping during labor and postpartum.
Whether you’re having a vaginal or cesarean birth, you’re going to be spending at least a night or two in the hospital or birthing center, and you can make it more enjoyable by surrounding yourself with sideburns that make you feel good. While the days after childbirth are a dizzying blur and sleepless, these little comforts make a huge difference.
Experts recommend getting your hospital bag ready around 35 weeks, in case your little one decides to make an early appearance. In addition to the practical stuff (baby’s get-home outfit, ID, wallet, toothbrush, copies of your birth plan, phone and charger), bring along items that will uplift you physically and mentally during your recovery . To help inspire your luggage, we asked new moms for the essentials they included in their hospital bag. Read ahead of the goods that pampered them and kept them sane and strong during labor, postpartum and beyond.
Comfortable clothes and accessories
A perfectly organized hospital kit
Too busy to pack? Hatch will take care of it for you: this well-organized set includes all the comfy basics that deserve a place in your hospital bag. “The light dress [makes] it is much easier to take care of me there which [happens] quite often the next day â, says Melissa Duren Conner, partner at Jennifer Bett Communications and future mother of three. âThe robe just made me feel so comfy and moreâ put together. âAnd although I prefer hospital socks for childbirth, the next day you want to feel again and the ones in the Hatch box are Italian made and the most comfortable.
A multitasking bandana
For those who can’t stand the sight of needles, take the advice that Lauren Levinson, editorial director of Verywell Family, received from her doctor. âI was worried about having an IV in my arm for so long,â says Levinson, who received an epidural. âSo my gynecologist suggested that I wrap a bandana or scarf around the IV so I don’t have to look at it. It really helped me. Later, you can roll the bandana into a headband to hold back sweaty hair after labor, suggests Levinson, who is expecting baby number two.
The most comfortable dress you’ll never want to take off
Levinson gave birth in New York in December when temperatures were freezing cold, and Naked Cashmere’s oversized cashmere cardigan became the MVP of her hospital wardrobe. âI slept in it and wore it to some of the Baby 101 classes offered by my hospital,â she says. For those giving birth in warmer seasons or climates, nothing beats a light silk dress like at Helena Quinn gorgeous floral options.
Indoor slippers that can relieve swollen feet
Be warned: The shoes you wear in the hospital may not be right for you when you leave, so have something versatile on hand. âMy feet became more swollen from the intravenous drugs than from the pregnancy,â says Levinson. “I was happy to have a pair of comfortable sheepskin slides on hand which can also be worn outdoors thanks to a sturdy sole.”
A breezy romper you’ll live in
Whether they’re in the hospital or caring for a newborn at home, new moms need lightweight outfits. Director of Public Relations at Citizens of Humanity Jessica camacho lived in Lunya’s Cool romper during her pregnancy with her son last year, in the hospital and in the postpartum period. âThe very high quality breathable fabric will last, which is well worth it,â she says.
A stylish underwear set that’s also comfortable
Tight bras are terrible, but especially after childbirth. âARQ’s matching bra and underwear set is the perfect centerpiece for any new mom who wants comfort during her body transitions,â says Camacho. “It also made me feel like I was coordinated at a time when everything else in life seemed a bit of a mess.”
Rubber slippers to make walks and showers more enjoyable
Even the cleanest hospitals are, well, hospitals, so you wouldn’t want to walk around in bare feet. For those essential walks and trips to the bathroom, rubber slippers are perfect. “I swear by Havaianas and wear mine at home everyday”, says Allison Bouis, Brand Partnerships and Event Manager at Shopbop, who is waiting for her first. “I find them to be more slip-resistant than non-slip socks and relieve all of my lower back pain, and I can shower with them while in the hospital.”
Comfortable sleepwear and bedding
Plush pillows for a home feel
Take the time to upgrade your hospital bed, as you will be spending most of your day there. âI always bring my own pillow. Nothing is more comforting when you are at work than feeling your own home and knowing that you are connected to your place of safety, âsays Duren Conner. “I highly recommend it to first-time moms who don’t know what to expect when they step into the labor and delivery room.”
Chic pajamas that play double duty
Functional (and chic!) Clothing is essential for feeling great throughout the process. âMy all-time favorite nightgown is perfect for pre and postpartum,â says Bouis. âHe’s incredibly soft and I love that he has breastfeeding buttons.
Soft towels for a luxurious feel
âThe first shower after giving birth is a next level, but it can suck quickly when you grab that hard, rough hospital towel,â says Duren Conner. Her tip: make it a more spa experience by packing your own towels. âParachute is my favorite linen brand. Their classic Turkish cotton towels are fluffy and dry quickly.
A sleep mask that fights wrinkles
Rest is so important to new moms, even if it means trying to sleep in a busy, bright hospital. âDon’t expect your bedroom to have blackout curtains,â says Levinson. When she gives birth again in December, Levinson plans to bring the Dr. Harris Silk Sleep Mask. âIt has strategically placed silicon dots that help your facial muscles relax,â she explains. âNot only is it soothing, it also prevents wrinkles. This is obviously not a problem during birth, but it is not a bad advantage!
Beauty and personal care favorites
A hydrating face mist for a scented lift
As you would with any trip, try to pack your regular skincare routine. âSticking to your routine contributes to your sanity while having one of the craziest experiences of your life,â says Duren Conner, who particularly enjoys spraying a face mist during work. âIt’s really nice, because you probably don’t get out of bed often,â she says. “This True Botanicals Nutritive Mist is perfect for when I need a quick refresh.”
An essential beauty solution
Quick beauty fixes like dry shampoo are a lifesaver. âThis is probably the biggest effort I will put into my appearance for the foreseeable future,â says Bouis of spraying her locks with Living Proof Perfect Hair Day. “This one smells so good that I also consider it a perfume.”
Beautifully scented hair care to wow the senses
Nothing beats the first shower after childbirth. To make it even more soothing, Camacho brought her favorite Nature.Lab Tokyo smooth shampoo and conditioner to the hospital. âI love the light and refreshing scent of Yuzu,â she says.
A stylish reusable water bottle
There is so much single use waste in hospitals, help reduce it by bringing your own bottle. “I go everywhere with my reusable water bottle so I can avoid wasting cups or plastic bottles during my hospital stay.” said Bouis.