I am in disbelief (denial?) that my due date is now less than 4 weeks away! All of the second time moms I know have reminded me “baby number two comes quickly, be prepared!” (a friend recently reported that their friends delivered baby #2 in an Uber in midtown Manhattan while stuck in rush hour traffic – omg!), so packing my bag for the hospital is one of the first things I am checking off my list this week. I went back and referenced all the emails I sent to friends following Wyatt’s delivery to pull together my master hospital bag checklist for mom and baby, and I hope it’s a helpful reference for you too!
- Toiletries: The usuals (shampoo/conditioner, face wash, moisturizer, toothbrush/toothpaste). My most essential item: Living Proof Dry Shampoo. I brought my makeup bag and travel hair dryer but did not get around to getting dolled up due to my arm being completely mangled (see above) and, well, generally not caring at all about that after childbirth!
- Electronics: Cell phone/charger, camera/charger, iPad/computer/charger if you’d like some entertainment other than the hospital TV (you could have many idle hours before baby’s arrival, though in my case I was sleeping!)
- Towels (3): 1 for you, 1 for husband, 1 extra for the ride to the hospital if needed
- Pillows (2): 1 for you, 1 for husband. I found the hospital stuff was adequate but a pillow from home was nice to have.
- Cute robe or pajamas: so you can look semi-decent for post-delivery pictures. I love these Cosabella Bella Pajama Sets and that’s what I’ll be packing this time around. I gave this Plum Pretty Sugar robe to my maid of honor for our wedding and I think it would be adorable for this purpose too and something I’d use again.
- Comfortable outfits (2): Bring some comfortable, loose-fitting clothing/sweats that you can wear post-delivery and going home. Keep in mind you’ll be recovering from a significant medical event – don’t bring anything fancy! I have these loose, lightweight Gap joggers in every color and will be bringing them with me again.
- Nursing bra (2): your milk may not come in until close to when you go home from the hospital, but these are helpful to have on hand as you’ll likely be trying to nurse often. I recommend some of my favorites here. I would give it a few weeks to let your post-partum body adjust before you go crazy buying nursing gear – your needs (and size) will probably change over the next few months.
- Nipple shield: I had never heard of such a thing before baby, and was shocked to learn that probably half of friends used them at some point while learning to breastfeed. They can be an absolute lifesaver and for less than $10, so worth it to have on hand in case! (More tips on nursing here). Your hospital is likely to sell these as well, but in case you deliver on a weekend, when they’re closed, etc., I recommend having them on hand.
- Peri Bottle: This thing is great and way better than the crappy one our hospital provided: FridaBaby Momwasher.
- Footwear: Flip flops for showering in the hospital and slippers or socks for walking around.
- Snacks!: Tom went out to get us most meals while we were in the hospital, but it was nice to have some healthy snacks on hand (Spindrift sparkling water, Skinny Pop popcorn, Kind Bars, etc).
- Before you go: Take as much of the disposable underwear and pads the hospital provides as possible! They will definitely come in handy over the coming weeks.
- Swaddle: The nurses will swaddle your baby and can teach you how, but I find that a velcro swaddle is the way to go for parent convenience/sanity. These are my two favorites: 1) Halo Sleepsack Swaddle (comes in a million colors/fabrics, I like this plush velvet-y version for a cozy option) and 2) SwaddleMe Original Swaddle (also comes in a million colors/fabrics; they also sell lots of packs of 2-3). I generally don’t think you need more than 2 swaddles per size – Newborn, Small, Medium, Large – as you don’t need a different swaddle for every night. They shouldn’t get very dirty with pajamas underneath!
- Baby Nail Clippers: our little baby was born with talons, and the nurses wouldn’t cut their nails for us (at least at our hospital). I use this one which I find works well, though you have to be super careful not to nick their delicate baby skin.
- Pacifiers: I like MAM Pacifiers for newborns – the large round green ones the hospital gives you are enormous, and I find babies have no idea what to do with them and they will fall out over and over (note: these are very similar to what is attached to Wubbanubs, which are so cute but I also don’t love for young babies for the same reason).
- Pajamas/outfits for baby (3-4 top/bottom sets or onesies): My friend recently introduced me to Kyte Baby, a lovely line of organic baby gear made of the softest bamboo fabric. If I didn’t have a million hand-me-down outfits from Wyatt that were worn one time, I’d be buying these sweet footie pajamas and onesies for baby #2. Make sure to pack something for going home that can be worn in a car seat (i.e., should have legs, not a swaddle or bundler).
- Car Seat (a lot to say here! My baby gear recommendations are all discussed here)
- I highly recommend getting this installed in your car well in advance of your hospital trip. Newborn car seats are generally pretty simple to install, for experienced parents, but the first time around can be extremely stressful. Do yourself a favor and knock this out so you don’t have to worry about it.
- Here are instructional videos for the two infant car seats that almost all of my friends have: Uppa Baby Mesa Infant Car Seat (video here) or the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat (video here). Note that these videos are for installation using the LATCH system with the car seat base that comes with your infant car seat, which is the most secure way to install the car seat and should be an option in most new-ish vehicles. Here is an article all about LATCH if you have no idea what this system is and want to confirm if your vehicle is compatible.
- If LATCH is not an option in your car, or you’re not sure what vehicle you’ll be heading home in (e.g., Uber), the alternative is to install the seat using the lap belt. That is fine too, but make sure you read your manual, watch an instructional video, and do a few test drives before embarking on your hospital trip. Again, it is not too difficult, but it’s also not something you want to learn on the fly with your precious cargo in tow.
- Finally, note that some car seats require an insert for a newborn (the seats I mentioned above come with this insert), so you’ll want to be sure you have that with you and the seat adjusted for a newborn.
I’ll revisit this post-baby #2 and update if I’ve forgotten anything. Best of luck mamas, you’ve got this!