13 Hospital Bag Must-Haves for Expecting Moms
Gearing up for your delivery date is both exciting and, understandably, a little nerve-wracking. As an expecting mom, you’ve likely scoured Pinterest boards, mom forums, and plenty of other sources to prepare for the big day, and found that the options are endless!
Luckily, we’ve gathered all of the must-have supplies you should pack in your delivery bag to make your hospital stay a little easier.
The most important item on the list for moms who plan to pump is the breast pump itself. Before you purchase one, check with your insurance to see if you qualify for a free one. Not sure how to get started with pumping? Not to worry! The Lactation Consultant at your hospital will be happy to help you get started and they may have a pump for you to try at the hospital. There are also many fantastic resources available online to guide you.
Massaging your breasts as you nurse or pump helps ensure you get as much milk out as possible. It also helps with improving letdown and reducing the time you spend nursing or pumping. Of course, you could massage your breasts with your hands, but many new moms find that this becomes time-consuming, tiring, and sometimes even awkward. The LaVie lactation massager makes massaging the breast easier. Especially when your milk comes in for the first time.
Plus, using a massager can lower the risk of mastitis caused by clogged ducts, while also emptying your breasts more efficiently. The LaVie Warming Lactation Massager is the top lactation tool choice among many expecting moms. Not only does it vibrate gently, but it also comes with two different warmth settings. There’s also no need to heat anything up in the microwave, which is an especially convenient feature when you’re in the hospital.
Whether you plan to breastfeed most of the time or you’ll be pumping regularly, be sure to include a silicone pump milk collector in your bag. You can use it on the breast opposite to the one your baby is nursing, or any time you need to alleviate engorgement.
The silicone pump has no cords or batteries — simply attach it to your breast and start collecting milk. It’s super easy to use and will only take up a small amount of space in your hospital bag.
Nursing and Pumping Bra
One of the first things new mamas notice is that traditional bras aren’t exactly nursing-friendly. This means you’ll definitely want to pack a nursing bra to use right after delivery. Their convenient design makes it easy to breastfeed your baby at any time without discomfort and their stretch fabric makes it easy to slip your breast out without hassle.
If you want to be able to pump as well, you might consider a pumping bra. The Pump Strap compression pumping bra is an excellent choice.
This innovative bra allows for hand-free pumping, giving you some extra moments to relax (because you deserve it mama!) or tend to your newborn. You can change the tightness to control the flow of milk, and wear it alone or over top of your nursing bra.
For women with flat or inverted nipples or those who have experienced challenges breastfeeding a previous baby, a nipple shield is a helpful short-term solution. Nipple shields work by increasing skin contact with your baby’s mouth to facilitate latching. Like many of the items on this list, a lactation consultation will be useful for helping you learn how to use a nipple-shield correctly.
With that said, if you have no reason to believe that you’ll need a nipple shield, you can go without. Besides, if you do experience latching difficulties unexpectedly, you’ll likely be able to purchase a nipple shield at the hospital.
A nursing pillow provides a soft surface for your baby’s head while you breastfeed or while bottle feeding after pumping. Of course, new moms benefit, too: it helps to minimize back, neck, and shoulder strain caused by holding your baby. Your nursing pillow will be your best friend for the first few months when your baby is feeding multiple times a day, sometimes for long periods of time.
If you have a C-section, a nursing pillow is even more important. The nursing pillow will keep your baby away from your abdomen, even when you just want to hold your baby between feedings.
One of the most common breastfeeding issues many moms encounter is cracked or bleeding nipples—sometimes even both!
You can avoid, or at the very least, minimize discomfort by applying a soothing and moisturizing balm to your nipples. This will soothe them from any irritation caused by the constant suckling from your baby and will keep them protected against further injury. If the discomfort becomes too much to bear even with the nipple balm, remember that it’s fine to pump exclusively until you feel better.
The hospital will have blankets for your baby, but many moms prefer to use their own swaddle blankets. Muslin swaddle blankets are a great option because not only do they come in a variety of prints, they’re breathable, and super soft— perfect for your newborn!
The anticipation of meeting your new baby can make it easy to forget to pack essentials that are just for you. If you’ll be giving birth outside of your home, you’ll want to pack some things that will make your stay as comfortable as possible.
You’ll need toothpaste, a toothbrush, a hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, face wash, lotion, and anything else you use on a daily basis. Wherever possible, pack travel-sized versions to save space.
Sitz Bath Spray
Another toiletry you may have forgotten to pack for yourself is a sitz bath spray.
This popular postpartum product promotes healing and provides relief from perineal and vaginal discomfort.
It provides some of the benefits of a traditional sitz bath, but is convenient enough to use while still in the hospital. This particular sitz bath spray is made with organic, cruelty-free ingredients like witch hazel and lavender essential oil, that have soothing, healing, and anti-microbial properties.
To use, simply spray on your vagina and perineum. You can apply the spray for relief as often as you want, and you can even spray it on your postpartum pads for added relief.
Whether or not you experience significant tearing during childbirth, you’ll be so glad to have postpartum essential on-hand. No need for all the acrobatics on the toilet—it’s ergonomic design and long, narrow neck make it so much easier for you to maneuver your way around your nether regions.
Even the tiniest micro-tear at the opening of your vagina can have you tearing up during your first postpartum pee. A peri-bottle makes takes the sting out of going to the bathroom, promotes healing, and is also a great way to freshen up without having to hop into the shower.
Keep your nice underwear at home. Regardless of how you give birth, you will experience postpartum bleeding that is heaviest in the days following the birth of your baby. Postpartum underwear are breathable, and they’re also c-section friendly as they don’t have an elastic waist band that puts pressure on your incision.
The last thing you’d need is to find yourself without a phone charger when you want to reach family and friends, take photos of your newborn, and announce the birth of your little one on social media. It’s a good idea to purchase a spare phone charger that you can keep in your hospital bag. That way, you’ll have a backup just in case you forget your regular one.
With all of these supplies packed in your hospital bag, you’ll be well-prepared for the birth of your baby, and for the start of your breastfeeding and/or pumping journey. You can start stocking up on everything you’ll need as early as you like and that way, if that sweet babe arrives sooner than anticipated, you'll already be well prepared.You've got this! Enjoy the journey, mama!