|Nightgown or pajamas
|Find out if your hospital requires you to wear one of their gowns. If not, you may prefer to bring a gown or pajamas from home. If you are planning to nurse, be sure to bring pajamas that open down the front (you don’t want to be lifting up a long gown to breastfeed). Pack a pair of pajamas or a gown that you don’t mind soiling for right after birth (lochia may ruin this set) or just plan to wear a hospital gown until your bleeding has subsided. It’s a good idea to bring at least three gowns or pairs of pjs in case you have a longer stay than anticipated—you won’t want to send hubby home to do laundry!
|Slippers and socks
|Hospitals are notoriously chilly, so plan ahead to keep your tootsies warm. Bring slippers or socks for walking around your room or down the hall.
|Most moms find themselves walking the halls in a nightgown and robe at some point during their stays. This may be a fun time to splurge a little on something nice you won’t mind wearing in public.
|Nursing bra, pads, and tops
|These are especially wonderful for breastfeeding moms, but the bras are not a bad idea even if you don’t plan on nursing. Nursing bras give you extra protection and support.
|You may want to wear the mesh underwear provided by the hospital since lochia can sometimes be rather heavy after delivery and pads often do leak. Or you may be more comfortable in some soft, old undies from home. Either way, it’s best to be prepared and bring a few pair with you, just in case. Comfort is key post birth!
|The hospital will likely provide napkins for you, but you may want to bring your favorite brand. You’ll need comfortable, highly absorbent napkins with plenty of coverage for your underwear.
|Don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, and a hair brush. You may even wish to bring some lotion and shampoo and conditioner. Lip balm is a good thing to add to your bag also; all that heavy breathing during labor and delivery can dry your lips.
|The going-home outfit
|Moms-to-be, it’s time for a reality check! Put aside those hopes of wearing your favorite pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital and opt for something loose fitting and comfortable. You will probably still look pregnant (it takes time for most women’s bodies to shrink back to pre-pregnancy size), and if you have a C-section you will appreciate something loose at your waist. You’ll also want flat, comfortable shoes.
|Most moms bring something special for their little ones to wear on their first outings into the world. Be sure to consider the weather when you choose an outfit for your newborn. If it’s cold outside, you’ll need to bundle baby! And be sure to bring a cap for your baby’s head (although they usually give you a cute one at the hospital).
|Time to start toting the bag! Bring a few diapers and some gentle wipes. The bag will also be handy to carry home all the extras you get at the hospital such as literature, thermometer, and a bulb syringe.
|This is a must. Your baby won’t be allowed to ride home without a car seat!