My Hospital Bag Packing List

(Updated March 29, 2021. Scroll down to see which items I actually used from my hospital bag!)

 

Preparing for my first child meant that I was putting together my hospital bag packing list over the course of a couple months, and I started actually packing a solid month and a half before my due date. (I think I have already established that I'm pretty Type A!) I had my carry-on size rolling suitcase organized and ready to go.


Thinking back, I feel like I packed a lot of things I ended up not using, and when it was time to come home, I crammed a lot of the hospital supplies in my suitcase. (Also, after five days in the hospital, we definitely needed the rolling cart to haul all our stuff down to the car...things accumulated quickly, especially with my husband making trips back and forth to the house.)

 


 

After reading a blog post from The Lafayette Mom, I realized I should start working on my hospital bag packing list for this time around. The list Amanda wrote out was very helpful in giving me ideas for practical items I wouldn't have thought to pack otherwise. I've tried to pare down what I will bring, and focus on what I remember actually using or needing during my last stay. However, my plan of bringing a smaller duffel bag didn't pan out, and I'm back to the same rolling suitcase I used two and a half years ago.


 

Because Ariana stayed in NICU for her first two days, I started pumping while in the hospital and accumulated quite a collection of pump supplies. When she was around a month old, I discovered the Haakaa pump and wished I'd had one from the beginning. I kept it in storage and cleaned and sterilized it recently, plus I received a brand new second one as a gift. (This is how much I love this item.) My new one comes with a lid, so that's the one I ended up packing in my bag. Ready to nurse smarter and waste less milk from the get-go!


My reusable coffee mug, water cup and straw are coming along again with the intention to reduce some waste in our hospital room. I purposely packed a huge cup for water to help ensure I drink enough. 


One thing to note: my bag and packing list covers me and the baby. Last time, I kept on my husband for weeks to pack his bag, and I think he finally shoved a few things in a backpack a few days before our scheduled induction. This time around, he packs when he packs. :)


Update!

It's been almost six weeks since I had my baby, and I'm finally getting around to updating my packing list to share what I actually used. I still overpacked, but our hospital stay was much different from our first time around. Instead of unexpectedly being in the hospital for five days, we ended up only being there for one night. Because we were able to go home a night sooner than we expected, I didn't need a lot of things I would have used otherwise (for example, I ended up not taking a shower in the hospital, so I didn't need my shampoo and conditioner.) 


I've bolded all of the items I used at some point in our stay (approximately 10 hours in our labor and delivery room and about 24 hours in our recovery room). Hopefully this may help if you are prepping your own hospital bag!


My 2021 hospital bag packing list

  • Onesies, nightgowns, mittens, pacifier and going-home outfit for Bébé (We used one nightgown and she wore a onesie home, rather than the special onesie pictured above that was way too big for her.)
  • Swaddle sleep sack (we borrowed one from the hospital for Ariana but it was huge, so this time I wanted to bring our own in the newborn size.) (VERY glad I brought this!)
  • Button down pajamas, robe, slippers, grippy socks (I only used one nightgown after changing out of the hospital gown. The slippers were one of my most-used items! Bring some with a hard sole that can be easily disinfected after you leave.)
  • Nursing bra/tank top and nursing pads
  • Outfit for me to wear home (I wore the same pants home that I wore to the hospital, but wore a different shirt. It was not what I would call an "outfit", ha.)
  • Extra masks and a mask chain (I'm relieved that I don't have to labor in a mask, but we will need to wear them when anyone comes into our labor/delivery and recovery rooms, so the mask chain will be handy.) (I actually only needed to use the mask when going into the hospital, being transferred to our recovery room, and on the wheelchair ride down to the car. I never took the mask chain out of my case.)
  • Toiletries for me (shampoo/conditioner, toothbrush/toothpaste, contact lens solution/case, facial wipes, lotion, makeup)
  • Chapstick (I absolutely bought a tube just to pack in my bag.) (I used the one that I always have in my purse, but I DID use it a lot - so make sure you have at least one tube. I kept mine on my tray table during labor!)
  • Postnatal vitamins
  • Haakaa pump and small pump bottles to store any extra milk (cleaned and sterilized)
  • Sound machine (if you don't already have one, save a white noise playlist or download an app on your phone. I've also downloaded my favorite sleep music track from Headspace.) (I used my phone!)
  • Small Bluetooth speaker and charger (not a necessity, but I love to have music playing and I did make a Spotify mix for labor.) (Loved having the speaker and listening to my playlist. I had it going during delivery but couldn't tell you which song was playing when my baby was born!)
  • Stainless steel coffee mug with lid, water cup with lid and straw (The hospital gave me a large reusable cup that I used for water and Powerade. I am actually still using my hospital cup at home to help make sure I drink enough water.)
  • Phone charger and extension cord

 

Things on my packing list the first time around that I'm not bringing this time

  • Flat iron and blow dryer
  • Boppy pillow
  • My own pump (I think we did bring it last time, but used one of the hospital's pumps instead.)
  • Our own blankets (I did bring my own pillow last time and was glad for it, but I'm not sure I'll bother with it this time.)
  • Snacks (This time, I'll probably just send my husband out on snack runs, or that'll be something I throw in the car last-minute.) (After I published this blog post, my husband told me he wanted to make sure we packed snacks, so we had a separate bag for them. We didn't eat a lot of the snacks, but it was nice to have.)
  • Birth plan (I'd already spoken with my doctor about the major things, and like everyone says, things don't go according to plan. The piece of paper never left my suitcase, ha.)
  • Framed photos for the room
  • DSLR camera (Another thing we did use, but that I'm not bothering with this time. I may still change my mind though!)


With just a couple remaining items that I'm still using every day, the hospital bag is packed and ready to go whenever Bébé is!

Comparing my pregnancies

I've always heard how different pregnancies can be, especially going from your first baby to your second. It's definitely been true around here, and in general, this pregnancy has been harder on me. 


 

Symptoms

I've definitely grown faster and showed earlier this time, although I've learned to embrace it.  

 

My first trimester morning sickness was much more consistent this time, and I've noticed more third trimester reflux. I feel like I've had more aches and pains, especially in my lower back, but that's probably a combination of it not being my first pregnancy and me not exercising as regularly.


I didn't have any many cravings this time. I remember my cravings for peanut M&Ms and Icees last time, but I think especially during my first trimester this time, I had more aversions to food. 


I've said for a few weeks now that Ariana was my karate kicker, and this baby has been more gentle for the most part. She's been moving A LOT the past couple weeks, but I find it's more rolls than kicks.


I also feel like I have had more intense Braxton Hicks contractions this time around, although I can't remember if I had them and didn't know it last time, or I didn't have them as much. They are known to be more common in subsequent pregnancies. 


I wrote a blog post a few months back on my headspace throughout this pregnancy, and I think getting those thoughts out helped me tremendously!


Pandemic

I mean, first things first. Obviously the pandemic has changed the pregnancy experience for thousands of women. It was strange to spend so much of my pregnancy working at home, and with so few people seeing me on a regular basis and my growing bump. (That's one thing about video meetings - that webcam can hide a lot, ha!) It was peaceful in a way, yet isolating in a way. 


I'm grateful that my husband was able to join for both of our scheduled ultrasounds during the pandemic, although it take take some extra effort. When it was time to schedule my first ultrasound, I chose to have it done at the hospital. When I realized they weren't allowing any guests at the time, I called my doctor, and she was able to refer me to another facility that was allowing one guest. I was so grateful that we were both able to see our baby for the first time and get the comforting news that everything was looking normal and healthy.

 

Hurricanes

I remember that Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina the weekend Ariana was born in 2018, but thankfully, we didn't go through any major storms in Louisiana that year. 


This year, we got the brunt of hurricane season and I experienced Hurricane Laura while 13 weeks pregnant and Hurricane Delta while 20 weeks pregnant. I got a great 20 week workout helping to clean up the fallen tree branches in our yard after Delta, although being without power was not pleasant for any of us. 

 

Keeping it all in perspective, I'm grateful that our home wasn't damaged, that Ariana and I could spend the night at a relative's who had power, and that our power was restored after two days (and our Internet after a week - I have never been so grateful for hotspots!) So many people had it so much worse than us -- whether they were pregnant, new parents or not.

 

Announcement

Having a miscarriage makes it hard to want to share a pregnancy announcement early. When we announced our pregnancy for Ariana back in 2018, I was so excited to share our news publicly once we had passed the first trimester. 


This time, I think I was nearing 22 or 23 weeks before posting anything online, ha. From simply not seeing that many people, there was also always something going on that made me want to wait. It felt weird to post a pregnancy announcement when everyone was preoccupied with hurricanes. Then with National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in October, I wanted to be sensitive to everyone grieving their own losses.


In a way, waiting that long to announce anything made it seem like the first half of my pregnancy lasted forever, while the second half has flown by.

 

Exercise

When I was pregnant with Ariana, I scaled down my yoga practice but still went every week, and went swimming often that summer.


Since she's been born, I've never gotten back into a steady exercise/gym routine. And combined with the pandemic, I had not been working out much at all. At least during the spring, I was getting lots of neighborhood walks in. And with a very active toddler, I haven't been able to stay very still in general.

 

It's honestly taken me until my third trimester to get my butt to the gym, with a mask, on a regular basis. And I'm so, so glad I'm doing it. Even just the handful of swimming afternoons at the heated indoor pool and the few yoga classes I've attended have done so much to make me feel better physically and mentally.


Exercising while pregnant isn't about fitness goals for me, but rather focusing on feeling better mentally and physically. Yoga really helps with all of the aches and pains of pregnancy, and swimming is the best for decompressing, especially when I feel extra puffy.

 

Preparation

Oh, how overeager and Type A I was when preparing for Ariana. I remember how hard I worked to have the nursery complete before she was born. I started packing my hospital bag a month and a half before my due date. I curated a hospital playlist over the course of a couple months (and I don't think I listened to half of it in the hospital.) I eagerly read the weekly updates in my pregnancy apps. I always had questions ready for my OB appointments. I made sure we had a maternity photo shoot, lol.


This time, I feel like I've been going with the flow a little more. I remember enough from last time that I don't have as many questions. The nursery is basically staying the same (Ariana will move into a big girl room later this year, so we're making updates a little at a time.) I've refined my hospital bag packing list, but have only packed the baby's clothes so far.


It also helps that we saved so many items to use for a second baby, so our needs list is pretty minimal. We've been collecting some hand-me-downs to take care of what we didn't save.


And I'm pretty sure any maternity shoot this time around will be getting my husband to take a few more photos in the backyard, ha.

 

Names

I have said it for three years now. I find it so hard to choose girl names. I was about six months pregnant when we chose the name Ariana, and then chose her middle name about a month later.


I am now nearing 35 weeks pregnant, and we still have not settled on a first name for the baby. And no, I do not plan to wait until we meet her to pick a name, ha. Yes, I am putting pressure on myself by telling myself I need to just pick something in the next week or so. We've narrowed it down to about four or five contenders, and just need to sit down and make a decision already.

What I Look Forward to Doing Differently for Baby #2

Since giving birth to Ariana and especially since getting pregnant earlier this year, I've been keeping a mental list of the valuable things I've learned when it comes to taking care of both newborns and myself in that postpartum phase. There are a few things that I'm looking forward to doing differently this time around, even though obviously, some things are out of my control.

 


 

Labor and delivery

Before giving birth to Ariana, I was of course aware that birth plans do not always go according to plan. With guidance from my doctor, we planned for me to be induced two days after my due date. After Ariana was born, she spent a few days in the NICU. It was a comparatively very short and minor stay compared to so many babies (and my heart goes out to all NICU babies and parents!), but it was certainly something that was hard on us. It wasn't something we anticipated dealing with, and I remember feeling so clueless the entire time about what was going on, even though the nurses and staff were wonderful.


One of the biggest things I hope for this time around is a smoother and shorter labor and delivery experience, and most of all, to have our baby in the recovery room with us (and to go home after two days!)


 

More baby-wearing!

I purchased a Solly Baby wrap before Ariana was born and even practiced using it with a teddy bear. When she was an infant, I honestly didn't use it as much as I thought I would - mostly just for neighborhood walks.

 

Now that I'm somewhat more familiar with what maternity leave will be like, I'm looking forward to using it a lot more, especially so I can multitask and do things around the house, or take both girls for walks around the neighborhood.

 

Getting out more

Once I returned to work after maternity leave last time, I looked back and wished I had gotten out a little more, rather than honestly being 'quarantined' much of the time at home. My first time raising a newborn was certainly challenging, and the schedule was unlike anything I was used to. And of course, we wanted to protect our newborn from flu and RSV and all those fun things.

 

While I wasn't dreaming of going on road trips or anything big if I ever had a second child, I was looking forward to visiting family and friends more or even going for short drives just to get out of the house.


I'm not sure exactly what Spring 2021 will look like with COVID, so I might end up staying at home as much as I did for my first maternity leave and a large portion of 2020 (I still consider the 8 weeks of the stay at home order my maternity leave with an 18-month old.) But that doesn't mean I can't plan to get my butt out of the house for more walks, backyard time and fresh air. Ariana loves to play outside and since the time will spring forward, I can picture lots of playtime in the backyard for her while the baby and me hang out on a blanket! There might even be some backyard tent camping in our future. 



Easier nursing experience

First, I want to say there is nothing wrong with formula feeding! We started supplementing with formula when Ariana was two months, and she has always been happy and healthy. It was hard on me to take that step initially, although I know it was the right one. I still nursed and pumped until she was around nine months, and we kept a reserve stash of frozen milk that lasted until she turned 1.

 

I hope to not stress as much about breastfeeding this time around, but I also hope my production and supply will be better. (Look, I'm still cheap and formula is NOT cheap.) I've done a lot of reading and research in the past year and a half, and have some techniques and other tricks saved.

 

I also plan to switch pump brands from Medela to Spectra. I used the Medela Pump In Style last time (and ohhh how I did not love that thing), and am planning to get a Spectra S1. I've heard from so many moms that it has better output compared to Medela. I also like that there are adapter pieces you can buy so that you can still use Medela bottles to pump, especially since I have a container full of Medela bottles.

 

I'm also looking forward to using glass bottles for feedings. A friend passed down her collection to me, making them both secondhand and plastic-free!


Baby food

I loved making baby food for Ariana with a hand-me-down Baby Bullet. I've since passed it along to another mom friend, and I plan to get an all-in-one baby food steamer and blender. I knew right away that it would be much easier in general to do everything with one appliance. It also helps that our rice cooker and steamer kicked the bucket during quarantine earlier this year and we haven't replaced it. (Stove rice FTW!)

 

Better self care

I saw a pelvic floor therapy specialist last time around 10 weeks postpartum, and it really, really helped. Especially with this being my second baby, I want to be proactive in getting pelvic floor therapy during my postpartum recovery.

 

I took a postnatal vitamin for the first couple months after Ariana was born, and this time, I'm planning to take some for a lot longer. After diligently taking prenatal vitamins for nearly 9 months, it just makes sense to keep giving myself vital nutrients in the postpartum phase. Bonus if they do help with milk production!


I'm also hopeful that I'll be able to ride the postpartum waves better throughout this baby's infancy. I first saw a therapist who specializes in postnatal counseling when Ariana was around 8 months, and since then, it has made a world of difference for me. I've continued my therapy throughout this pregnancy, and am relieved that I have this support in my corner as I head into that postpartum phase. I think it will help even in ways I haven't yet anticipated.



A very 2020 pregnancy

Sometimes, it feels like you've had the world's longest pregnancy, and sometimes it feels like you blink and you're already 25 weeks along.

 

This has certainly felt like the strangest time to be pregnant, and lately, I've been feeling a lot of anxiety about how much of it has passed by already.

 

In addition to working from home and navigating life with a toddler, I spent half of the summer waiting to reach that first trimester milestone. Especially before that first doctor visit, it felt like just sitting on my hands and waiting. 

 

Once we made it past 13 weeks, I thought I would breathe easier...and then I still did not. There were so many things making our "normal" life even less normal, and there were a lot of things taking my attention away from enjoying my pregnancy. These hormones are definitely no joke, along with home projects, busy work lives, etc.

 

Once we made it to the 20 week anatomy scan, I finally felt like I could relax a little more, although even in these past few weeks, I have realized I don't think I have actually stopped to simply enjoy this period of life, this pregnancy.

 

  

 

This is my last pregnancy, and I certainly WANT to remember all of the good things about it, separate from all of the craziness happening around us. But it's been a real struggle.


The other day, I was sitting and thinking about that struggle (and feeling extremely guilty about it) when I felt the baby moving and kicking. It was like she was reminding me to just take a step back and be more present and grateful.


 

Baby girl,

I am so grateful for you. I love feeling you kick and move around. I'm happy you're safe where you are, and I look forward to the day we can hold you in our arms. (During our 20-week ultrasound, when the doctor showed us a 3D image of her face, I immediately said, "Oh I cannot wait to snuggle you!")

 

I can't wait to choose what your name will be. I know the right name will come to us, and we'll know it's meant for you. 


I'm so curious about who you will resemble. Will you look like Ariana at all? Will you have as much hair as she did?

 

I'm curious how your personality will shape up and in which ways you'll be the same or different from Ariana.

 

I'm excited for Ariana to meet you. She's been practicing these past few months, and is so sweet to her dolls - helping to feed them, brush their teeth and put them down for naps.

 

I'm excited for you to meet your big sister. She's just incredible. I have one brother and my husband has two brothers, so getting to have a firsthand look at this sister bond is extremely special to me. 


I'm looking forward to all of the snuggles and special newborn moments. I'm ready to use my Solly baby wrap a lot more this time around!

 

I haven't exercised as much during this pregnancy like I did last time, but I plan to get on some sort of routine in these final few months. With busy schedules, I realized recently that prioritizing exercise is most important for my mental health, but it's also time dedicated to just me and you. In a way, these are our first Mom and Baby Sis dates. Let's go swimming and do some yoga together!

 

Please keep sending me your sweet reminders to slow down and stop worrying so much. You are certainly a reminder that things fall into place as they are meant to be.


We are all excited for you to join and complete our family, sweet baby girl. 

 

Love, 

Mama
 

Social Media Distancing

Over the summer, I was feeling the weight of anxiety over current events and changes closer to home. I had been working from home for a few months already, COVID was experiencing a resurgence, negativity was running rampant, and I was very newly pregnant and extremely anxious about making it through my first trimester.

There was one morning where I held my phone in my hand, looked at my social media apps, and thought to myself, "Nope." 

It was time to take a break.


 

But, as someone who works in the social media realm every day, it can be hard to feel like I'm able to disconnect for awhile. When it's your job, you're actually unable to hit that Deactivate button on Facebook, because then you don't have a way to access and manage what you're responsible for.

Over the summer, I listed out the ways I found to take a social media break for a few weeks, while still maintaining all the control I need to do my job effectively. I never ended up publishing my list, but I think now is another extremely relevant time for those who might be in the same situation.


How to disconnect while still managing business social media accounts

  • On your computer, bookmark the Facebook Business Manager and access your pages and notifications through it. If you don't have Business Manager set up, look into setting it up. This became my main method of managing pages during my break period.
  • Connect your business Instagram to your Facebook page to manage messages and activity. 
  • You can also use Facebook's Creator Studio to create and schedule posts for Facebook and Instagram. This can be accessed through the Business Manager as well. 
  • Use a third-party scheduling tool like Buffer, Later or Hootsuite for your content creation. Each of these do have free versions if you're an entrepreneur or only have a few social media accounts.
  • If you need to review posts other businesses or rely on sharing others' content, bookmark your Facebook page's news feed. (And since it's extremely difficult to find your page's feed, use this link, filling in your page's name: https://www.facebook.com/YOURPAGENAME/news_feed/)
  • If Facebook Groups are part of your work, bookmark their direct URLs. I created a folder in my browser's bookmarks bar for all of my company's groups, and it has proven extremely helpful in many ways.
  • Install the Business Suite app on your phone.
  • Log out of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or LinkedIn on your phone.
  • If you don't want to fully log out of your apps, turn off all of their notifications through your phone settings.


It's always important to take a break from social media when it feels too overwhelming, and sometimes that feeling is even stronger for social media managers. Hopefully this will help give you that break while still doing your job!

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