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What to pack in your Hospital bag | Huntsville, Alabama Newborn Photographer

First & foremost, I think it’s important to point out that what you pack in your hospital bag depends on what is important to YOU! This is simply a guide to help you narrow down your list & get some advice from a Mama who has been there! I want all of my clients to feel prepared to welcome their sweet bundle of joy & feel as comfortable as possible during your hospital stay. 

Let’s start out with WHEN to pack your bag! To avoid scrambling + anxiety just in case your baby decides to come a few weeks early, I recommend having your bag packed & ready to go out the door before you are 35 weeks pregnant. That way when you start going to your weekly appointments at 36 weeks you have peace of mind in case your OB tells you it’s time OR your baby decides to come in the middle of night. Whatever the situation may be- you will be ready! 

FIRST, make sure that the car seat is installed! This is an absolute must + they won’t let you leave the hospital without it. I also recommend having the car seat installed before 35 weeks pregnant. You never know when baby will want to make their grand entrance!

Now, we can start adding to your bag! 

  • Toiletries: Don’t leave these behind! This includes your hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, toothbrush & toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, chapstick, face wash, hair ties, dry shampoo, etc. Don’t forget your glasses/contacts if you wear them. (Any toiletry item essential to you- pack it!). I went and bought travel size items at Target just so I didn’t take up as much room in my bag. 
  • COMFY Clothes: The baggier, the better! The last thing I wanted while wearing mesh underwear, pads & ice packs were tight clothes. I packed a robe, a soft, button-up pajama set (perfect for breastfeeding), a pair of baggy shorts (in-case I got hot in pants) & then a going home outfit for myself- a t-shirt & baggy joggers! Yes, glamorous, I know! Also, if you’re breastfeeding, don’t forget to pack a couple of nursing bras. If you’re not breastfeeding, a couple of sports bras will do! 
  • Slippers & Socks: The hospital will give you some of those beautiful, bright non-skid socks but I packed a pair of my own + then don’t forget the comfy house-shoes or slippers! 
  • Bath Towel: This is not essential, as the hospital will provide towels, but if you’re looking to feel more at home + really enjoy that first shower, I packed one of my bath towels from home.
  • Adult Diapers: Yes, buy the Depends! This is not an essential item either- the hospital will provide you with all of the postpartum recovery essentials you need. I discovered that instead of wearing mesh underwear and maxi pads, I could just wear the Depends, and it made me feel like I was cutting down on all the things I was having to change every few hours. You just change your Depends and add an ice pack if needed! Forget the maxi pads that shift around + are more prone to leaking. Talk about a game changer! 
  • Breastfeeding Essentials: Nipple cream + breast pads. Some people prefer the washable breast pads because they are a little more comfortable than the disposable ones. Totally your preference! Don’t forget your Boppy pillow either! 
  • Extra-long phone charger, a portable fan, a reusable water bottle, snacks & drinks (save money from the vending machine & bring a few of your favorites instead). Some people also love to have their own blanket. This just depends on how much space you want to take up in your bag!
  • C-Section Mama’s: Pack some underwear or Depends with a high-waisted band so it’s not irritating your incision site. Loose + comfortable clothing that doesn’t rub against your incision is also a must! Don’t forget your Boppy pillow- this will keep baby away from your incision during feeding. 

Now, you will also need a hospital bag for baby! I just packed everything in their little diaper bag + I found that backpack diaper bags are my favorite! I got a great one from Target with lots of pockets + a wide mouth (easier to find everything + roomier). 

  • Baby Outfits: I packed 2-3 outfits- some even recommend packing a couple of newborn sizes and a couple of 0–3 month sizes (never know how much baby will weigh!). I prefer zipper footies or gowns for newborns- the clothes with tons of buttons every diaper change (especially late at night) drove me crazy! That is totally your preference though! Don’t forget the special going-home outfit and the hats (or bows) to match! 
  • Socks + Mittens: If your zipper footies don’t have the sewn-in mittens make sure to bring a pair so baby doesn’t scratch their face! Also, if baby is wearing a gown, bring a pair of socks or two to keep their little feet warm! 
  • Swaddles + Burp Cloths: Your baby has been cuddled up + warm in your belly for the last 9 months so make sure to pack a swaddle or two to mimic that feeling they have been used to for so long! They also make for great photo ops in the hospital to announce their arrival. 1-2 burp cloths will be plenty! 
  • A hospital door hanger + any signs for announcement photos: This isn’t a basic but many Mom’s love to have these for photo opportunities. They make sweet, little wooden plates now where you can have baby’s name, or a cute saying etched into it. Also, don’t forget to pack the sharpie marker to write baby’s information on the door hanger!
  • A shusher or portable sound machine: This isn’t an essential either, but baby has been used to the whooshing sounds in your belly for the past 9 months! Not to mention, the sounds of the hospital, day and night, while you’re trying to get some much needed zzz’s, can get pretty frustrating. So, this helps Mama and baby! You can get a Shusher or portable sound machine at Target.
  • Don’t worry about packing the diapers + wipes – the hospital will have PLENTY! If you are formula feeding the hospital will have bottles and send you home with a few sample bottles as well. 

Finally, Dad will need a few basics too! We had enough room to just pack Dad’s stuff into my bag. We thought the less we had to take the better! He will just need a change of clothes, toiletries, a phone charger + any entertainment he wants to bring! We packed our iPad as well. Dad can, of course, run home if need be but it was nice to have some things on hand! 

We tried to pack as minimal as possible but it’s still nice to have things that make you feel at home & any comfort items you may need that the hospital doesn’t provide. I hope this helps you feel more prepared to pack that bag and be ready to welcome your sweet baby! Ready, set, GO! 

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