Learning from Baby #1
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I watched a few youtube videos and went through a list in a book or a magazine about what to pack for my hospital bag. I think I used everything I packed with baby #1, but there were a few things I left out.
Be Prepared – Baby Can Come Early!
Initially, I wrote this blog post after packing my baby bag, but then surprise! Baby came 5 weeks early! So, good thing my bag was already packed! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND packing your baby bag early! I think my bag was packed since the start of the third trimester. Some may think that’s too early, but I can assure you it’s not!
How I Packed Differently with Baby #2
The biggest thing I left out of my hospital bag last time was my breast pump and everything that goes along with breastfeeding. The hospital will let you borrow a hospital grade breast pump, but since I was more familiar with my own, I felt more comfortable bringing mine. Even if you’re a first time mom, I suggest bringing your own breast pump so you can get acquainted with how to use it. The lactation consultant can help you. The first time I had a baby, I was very ill-prepared in this area and there was a huge learning curve with pumping. I think that’s the case with everyone, but if I brought my own pump and at least a nursing bra, I would have felt a little more when I left the hospital.
I think the average hospital stay is 2-3 days, but we ended up staying 4-5 when I had baby #1 because she had jaundice. Knowing this, I went ahead and packed 5 days worth of clothes to be safe. With all of the hospital restrictions related to Covid, I wasn’t sure if my husband would be able to come and go, so I went ahead and packed enough clothes to be on the safe side.
Hospital Bag Packing List
Pajamas (5) – As for pajamas, I just wanted to wear something soft and comfy, with easy access for nursing. Here are some of my favorite pajamas I packed.
Nordstrom Lingerie Sleep Shirt – I love this sleep shirt because it’s super smooth and comfy. It’s great material. After years of having it, it still hasn’t piled. A sleep shirt is convenient because you don’t have to worry about it dragging on the floor like with pants.
Shimera pajamas – These pajamas are very similar to the Nordstrom Lingerie pajamas in terms of comfort and texture, but they are more reasonably priced. However, the quality is also not as good. After having these a few years, they have piled a bit, but they still feel amazing! I like them because the print is handy for covering up all of the inevitable milk spills if you’re nursing! You think I’m joking, but in those early breastfeeding days, I seriously felt like a leaky cow. There was milk everywhere and I felt like a total slob! Having cute and comfy pajamas that hide the milk helped me feel just a little more put together!
Target pajamas – I just bought these and threw them in my hospital bag, so I can’t say how they hold up quite yet, but they’re super soft and lightweight, which is promising! Bought it in black to help cover up the milk spills, and cropped so that the pants don’t drag on the hospital floor.
Robe – One of my close friends gifted me this super cute Posh Peanut robe. She also gave me the matching look for baby. Last time, I brought a Nordstrom robe, which was super comfy, but it was a cream color and totally washed me out in pictures! I’m just being real, hospital lighting is the worst! I still wear it around the house, and the length is convenient, but a cute matching robe doesn’t hurt!
Underwear – Last time, I bought some of those period undies that absorb blood. At the end of the day, I ended up using the mesh underwear the hospital provides. Now that I’ve learned my lesson, I still packed underwear, but I didn’t go out and buy anything special. If anything, I just grabbed whatever I had in my drawer in the off chance I want to wear it, but I’m okay with it getting ruined.
Nursing bras – Super helpful since I was nursing and pumping every 2-3 hours after baby was born. Last pregnancy, I used these Hofish bras. They were fine – did the job. No complaints except for the fact that the padding would move or come out whenever I washed them. This time around, I ordered some nursing bras from Target and love them. Super convenient and comfortable. Best of all, the padding doesn’t move around.
Compression socks – After giving birth, my feet swelled up. I think it’s pretty common. You have to keep your feet elevated and compression socks help with circulation. I’ve also worn compression socks during my pregnancy because sometimes my feet swell up, or my feet and legs just feel tired. These are handy for both during pregnancy and postpartum. My sister who is a nurse gave these to me and they are legit! Compared to another pair I own, the other ones were almost like normal socks! These are tight but offer great support!
Outfit to wear home – I don’t remember what I packed last time, but it didn’t matter because my husband accidentally took it home. I literally walked out of the hospital in my pajamas! This time around, I packed two outfits. I packed leggings and a flowy shirt, but this was stupid because I literally could not squeeze myself into the leggings (they were by Blanqi and literally felt like compression socks but for your whole body)! I also packed a maxi dress. Lots of bloggers will tell you to wear something cute, but you know what…just wear something you can put on!
Flip flops – for walking around the hospital and shower shoes. I bought these plush and machine washable slippers for my friend to bring to the hospital, but since I’m on Baby Step #2 of the Dave Ramsey plan, I bought myself 2 for 1 – slippers I can wear around the hospital and in the shower. But, I did get an upgrade from my $2 flip flops because comfort is king postpartum!
Swaddles for baby – I have two Copper Pearl swaddles from the first baby and absolutely loved them. They are super stretchy, so it was easy to pull taut to wrap a little baby burrito.
Matching mom/baby look – This goes with the robe from Posh Peanut. I’ll be honest, I think it’s so cute when baby and mommy match, but I never got this photo because baby went straight to the NICU. But, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared if it’s something you want!
Baby clothes – This is one I didn’t really think about the first time around, except to bring baby home, so I just packed one outfit for baby. But because baby #2 was in the NICU, I ended up having to bring several pieces of clothing from home.
I have a few Kyte Baby items and they are so incredibly soft and smooth! A lot of people buy it because it works well when baby has eczema. I didn’t have any issues with Hope, but I figured it would be nice to get baby one new outfit! I bought this in a bee print, but it sold out. I also like this hummingbird pattern.
Breast Pump – I use Spectra.
Pumpin Pals Flanges – these are my ride or die pumping accessory. I’ll have to write more on that later, but these are a game changer!
Nipple cream – I like both Earth Mama and Lansinoh.
Bottles – these are the bottles I brought because they worked well with Baby #1. However, they didn’t work well with Baby #2, so I ended up buying Avent Phillips Natural bottles. After a few weeks of those, I made the switch to Dr. Brown bottles. According to the nurse in the NICU, both the Avent and Dr. Brown bottles are really popular, and since I had a premie, I decided to go with what they think worked. The Como Tomo bottles weren’t working well because baby was exerting too much energy trying to get the milk.
Toiletries – last time, I didn’t care to pack make-up or anything fancy, and honestly, I didn’t have the capacity to get dolled up after labor! This time, I went ahead and packed some make-up just to have, and I threw in any samples I had lying around the house for my toiletries since they’re travel size. To my surprise, I used this Caudalie Vinosource Sorbet Moisturizer for a few days and actually saw a difference in my skin!! It helped with redness and evened out my skin tone! Also, I did end up washing my hair and putting on makeup! My birth experience was so different from the first child. I just felt so much better and put on makeup, not because I needed to, but just for fun to make myself feel better, because why not?
Postpartum Care at Home
After labor and delivery last time, I was completely unprepared for what I would need. When you’re at the hospital, they provide everything – mesh undies, giant pads, ice packs, Tucks, hydrocortisone, and meds. But, when you go home, you probably don’t already have those things. Personally, I didn’t! My husband and parents had to run out and get all of those things. That may seem easy enough, but I remember leaving the hospital so overwhelmed. I just pushed a baby out of my body. I was in pain and severely sleep deprived. So this time around, I went ahead and bought all the things I would need for after care. But then, surprise surprise, I didn’t need them! What people say is true, every labor and delivery is different. Last time, my recovery was a lot slower, and I went through multiple packages of the aftercare products listed below. This time around, I didn’t need anything extra! I just used what the hospital provided. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to be overprepared, and I think it really helped me feel good about labor and delivery this time around.
You Don’t Actually Need to Bring Anything to the Hospital
Lastly, I want to note that you don’t actually NEED anything. Everything you will need, the hospital will provide. Even a change of clothes you won’t really need because you can wear the clothe you had on you going in (assuming your water didn’t break while you were wearing them)! I know there are so many posts about what you need in your hospital bag. Don’t feel like you aren’t prepared because you don’t have these things. In my personal experience, packing the bag just made me feel MORE prepared and it helped me get ready not just physically, but mentally and emotionally.