If you are pregnant and scrolling through Pinterest while you prep for birth and postpartum care, you most definitely have come across the long lists of what you should pack in your hospital bag.
Some of the lists are so long that they feel like you’re packing for a three-night stay somewhere out-of-state or country!
Is it all that necessary?!
I remember myself as I packed my own hospital bag the first time around.
I followed a few lists to the T, and still managed to miss some very important items that I actually needed!
Now, this post won’t cover what you should or shouldn’t pack in your hospital bag.
I feel that every mom’s needs are so different, you can’t really create a one-size-fits-all list.
Some moms will add to it, while others will remove from it.
And, the internet is saturated with enough lists that adding mine, one that will be pretty similar to the rest, I feel won’t really add a whole lot of extra value (though, I do have a minimalist list that I incorporated in a previous blog post -> HERE, if you’re really interested in mine).
- Related Post: Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Labor
Now, a list of important items that moms usually forget to pack will be extremely beneficial to any expecting momma because, let’s face it, once we do pack our bags we want to know if we missed anything!
Well, these items are definitely overlooked, unknown, or not talked about, but having them will not only help you be ready for the unexpected in labor and delivery but they will also assure your comfort throughout the process.
Only you will be thinking about you once your baby is born.. you’ll find out exactly what I mean, so for now just take me word for it.
Oh, and although hospitals carry a bulk of post-birth essentials in house, all included in your fees, these particular items are usually not included nor readily available there, though they should be!).
If you want to truly pack consciously, you really do want to consider this list of important postpartum items usually left out of the hospital bag!
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1. Adult Diapers!
You’ve heard about maternity pads, padsicles, and mesh underwear, but most pregnant mommas rarely run across the idea that women’s adult diapers/incontinence disposable underwear can actually be pretty useful postpartum.
Actually, I’ll admit that I read a list where adult diapers were actually listed as a hospital bag must-have, but most do not include this postpartum ‘luxury’ item.
And I will add, most hospitals do not carry these either!
Adult diapers literally replace the need for the pads, the padsicles, and the mesh underwear.
They are the mesh panty plus the pad, though not as appealing because they’re diapers (though mesh undies aren’t something to rave about either).
However, they are more leak proof since they stay put, which is amazing seeing that you will be gushing blood for at least the first days to weeks and you definitely don’t want to be leaking everywhere nor be worried about it while you heal.
And, if you want to add the effect of the padsicle, just put in a maternity ice pack with some witch Hazel swabs and you’re good to go.
Less mess and much more comfortable.
Plus, the ones that have been coming out recently don’t even look all that bad!
The Depend brand has a Silhouette Disposable Underwear line that comes in black and I absolutely loved using them postpartum!
I personally feel like they should be offered to moms at the hospital instead of the maternity pads and mesh underwear!
2. Belly Band
The belly band is another important item most moms forget to pack in their hospital bags.
Now I know for certain that most expecting moms purchase a belly band prior to birth, however, they don’t always make it into the hospital bag.
They definitely should, though!
You will need that belly band immediately after you deliver your baby.
Your uterus starts contracting back to its original size right after you deliver, and so your abs and the rest of your internal organs will need the extra support.
You will feel the looseness in your abdomen every time you get up immediately post-birth, so it really helps to wear the belly band.
Most hospitals have them available, but you don’t want to rely on this.
There are many brands out there, but I specifically went with this three-in-one postpartum belt and I found it the most helpful versus the corset shapers that I had on-hand.
You want to be able to adjust the tightness in those early stages versus having to fit into a ‘mold’, your body will be more different than you think so you will need the adjustability.
- Related Post: 16 Tips for a Faster Postpartum Recovery
3. Donut Pillow
This is the most underrated postpartum essential out there.
I was never told I would need to buy a butt pillow for postpartum, and I sure didn’t read any lists with it on there (though, a lot of recent hospital bag lists do include this forgotten essential).
Most women don’t think it necessary, considering some can cost a pretty penny, but it is an essential that should not be overlooked.
Birth is a traumatic event for your body to go through, and allowing your body to properly heal is absolutely essential to a complete recovery.
So, it isn’t just about sitting comfortably, though this too is super valuable when you’re as uncomfortable as is, it’s also about allowing your body to heal without contributing to any more damage down there.
My all-time favorite is the Bümmaa Original Postpartum Pillow (and I tried them all!).
They are a pretty recent company that just made way to Amazon (hence the low number of reviews), but, unlike competitors, they take a memory foam approach to the typical postpartum donut to offer the most comfortable seat to recovering mommas.
I don’t like the inflatable rubber donuts nor the super stiff shaped foam donuts, they do not contour to your body’s natural sitting form like the memory foam and they’re not even close on the comfort level.
At the same time, the pillow doesn’t flatten, so it lasts you well beyond your first postpartum (mine still works amazing after three years!).
A little bit of background, I struggled with sitting postpartum.
I honestly didn’t think too much of the pain because it felt like that was just something I had to deal with.
However, the second night with my newborn was BRUTAL.
My little girl was cluster feeding every hour, and that meant that I had to sit up every hour throughout each half-hour session.
My lower back and bottom were killing me and by dawn, I couldn’t take it anymore, I literally burst into tears when explaining it to my friend, who happened to stop by and check on me.
She recommended the butt pillow, and I’m not even exaggerating when I say that when I sat down there was no more pain.
I could sit down and breastfeed and not have to “power” through with the little energy that I already had left!
That is why I make sure to tell EVERY expecting mom about this must-have.
Sure, your body might recovery differently and not every pillow works with every person, but so far, all the mommas I’ve recommended it to swear by it!
It’s not only for the perineum, but it’s also for the back contractions (the main issue for me), so it’s not just for vaginal births, it’s helpful with cesarean births as well.
So, if you haven’t considered purchasing this must-have, definitely reconsider.
You’ll need it for the bumpy ride home (and beyond!)!
Your tush and v’jay will thank you later!
4. Lip Balm
Why is lip balm on this list, you might ask?
Well, momma, every experienced momma will tell you that your lips can get super dry during labor.
The dry air of the labor and delivery room combined with all that mouth breathing can chap up your kissers quick!
You will already be uncomfortable during and after birth, avoid the additional discomfort by packing a good lip moisturizer.
Seriously a simple yet often forgotten hospital bag must have!
I didn’t actually have the luxury of using this HATCH dual lip and nipple balm, but boy do I wish I discovered it sooner!
It combines two important postpartum essentials in one, so you will definitely not miss this one in your bag for breastfeeding!
5. Non-Slip Flip Flops
Sure we are told to bring slip-ons or comfy shoes, but flip flops?
Well, they won’t let you in the hospital showers without them!
At least they didn’t let me in there without flip flops.
It’s all legalities, and flip-flops make it less likely you might slip and fall in the shower.
Regardless of the reason, you will want to pack them (or just sandals that are non-slip and can get wet) into your bag if you do want to use the shower to help with the labor pains (a hot shower helps manage labor pains) and if you want to clean up and take a shower before heading home.
Just make sure they are specified ‘non-slip’ (like these pink flip-flop CROCS)!
Something you definitely don’t think of when prepping your hospital bag!
Oh, and make sure your partner has swim shorts as well as flip flops or else they won’t let them in the shower with you either!
This is if you’re using the shower as natural pain management as you’ll want them in there massaging your back simultaneously!
- Related Post: Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Labor
6. Hair Ties and Headbands
Hair ties to get all that hair out of the way!
The last thing you want during the already sweaty and tense ordeal that is labor is for your sticky hair getting everywhere, touching everything, and being pulled by everyone.
Bring a good amount of hair ties, just in case some break, so that you can secure your hair throughout labor.
It seems like an obvious labor necessity, especially if you have long hair, but you’d be surprised how many mommas forget to pack these in their hospital bag!
Oh, and don’t forget the headbands!
If you have a lot of baby hairs or layers, you’ll want to keep them out of your face with a good headband (this one has 14+ styling options!) as well!
7. Dry Shampoo
I’m sure I don’t have to explain what this is for, but it definitely earns itself on the list because it is forgotten.
Everyone packs the shampoo and conditioner, but not all pack the dry shampoo.
Dry shampoo is good to have in case your labor ends up lasting several hours to days or if you don’t end up taking a shower before heading home from the hospital.
Labor is both unpredictable and sweaty.. very sweaty.
So, your just washed head will most likely accumulate a lot of oil residue by the time it’s all over.
Now even once you’re done, not all are ready for a shower immediately after birth, though all probably gladly want one.
Hospitals are uncomfortable and cold and add the fact that your entire body is experiencing a significant amount of novel pain and physical stimuli, so it’s understandable if some mommas would rather wait until they’re home to douse their bodies in water.
Even if you’re planning on taking a shower at the hospital, pack the dry shampoo.
It’ll still be very useful!
8. Extension Cord OR Extra Long Charger
Ok, this might not be an absolute must-have item for all, but if you are the least amount concerned that you will need your phone (multiple phones) or iPad or laptop to be nearby and charged during and after birth, then packing this (I’m specifically talking about the extention cord; an extra long charger is granted) might not seem too crazy.
You really never know where a charging outlet will be in your hospital room, near your bed or not, that’s why I say just in case!
Your phone will be a great tool for postpartum care, especially.
You could download apps that will help you keep track of baby’s diapers and feedings; so much better than writing it all down.
You could download apps on your phone to play white noise; very helpful when you’re trying to help your newborn sleep!
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Plus, you’ll be using good ol’ Google a whole lot!
Better keep that thing running and charged for all your search needs.
- Related Post: My Top 5 Useful Apps for First Time Moms
If you don’t have an extra long charger, this popular one is 10ft long and extremely durable!
For the extention cord, it all depends on how many electronics you will be bringing with yourself and whether or not you really think you will need or be able to use them.
Birth, like I said, is very unpredictable.
If you are bringing more than a phone with you, then an extention cord is something worth considering!
No matter which list you follow to pack your hospital bag, you’re bound to miss something.
But you definitely don’t want to miss packing these important items!
They’re overlooked often because we underestimate their incredible convenience and aid.
I learned the hard way now after two.
I wish I had come across a list like this the first time around!
I didn’t have any of these with me when I went into labor with my first, and I came in with an enormous suitcase!!
These items (especially the postpartum pillow!), would have helped me avoid a lot of unnecessary stressors postpartum.
That’s my goal with all the articles I write.
I want my experiences (good and bad) to have a positive impact on the mommas that come after me, my daughter at the top of that list!
Only recently has motherhood grown in transparency, and I’m thankful to be a part of that movement.
I really hope this post gave you some sort of insight to what’s to expect and what is useful for you to pack with you in your hospital bag.
And if I missed something that is usually missed (oh the irony!), please let me know in the comment section below!
I’d appreciate it and so would the hundreds of thousands of mommas that read these posts!
Other Similar Popular Articles To Check Out:
- Body-Shock: 11 Things No One Tells You About Your Post-Delivery Body
- Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Labor
- Breastfeeding Survival Guide: 12 Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding
- The Ultimate List Of Postpartum Kits You’ll Actually Need
- 16 Tips for a Faster Postpartum Recovery
- 30 Newborn Tips, Tricks, Hacks for the First 30 Days
- 8 Things I Wish I Knew About Newborns
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