Hi there! I'm Kara Layne. Wife to the Bearded Gent and mother of five, blogger, and serial entrepreneur with a love for old fashioned ways and making things beautiful. I hope you feel the comforts of home and the joy that comes from simple living.
In the past, I have always found myself hesitant in sharing any advice when it comes to motherhood, babies and raising kids. We have all seen how vicious and competitive faceless people on the internet can make things and I have always tried to keep to myself away from subjects that are hot button ones. Not because of lack of conviction, but more to save myself the drama and negativity. However, with age comes a degree of no longer caring what others think or say and with this baby being our fifth, I figure I must be doing something right considering our other four kids are doing wonderful and are still alive (wink!). I also know that motherhood is a learn-on-the-job type of thing and there is not a book or someone else’s previous experience that can prepare you for any of it. Each of us and each of our babes are completely different and what works for one may not work for another. So with that being said and because I have gotten so many fantastic questions and messages throughout this pregnancy, I have jumped into the world of sharing more within this area and as always, I hope you find something valuable or helpful as you are walking the road through motherhood. Today I wanted to share what I pack in my hospital bag for me and baby.
First off, there are two bags I pack. The first is a weekender bag for both me and my husband (I love this one). The second is my diaper bag for all things Baby. Neither are extremely large and give us just enough space for what we are needing for a 24 hour stay. Obviously this is different for everyone depending on how you are delivering (vaginal vs. c-section) as well as the care you and Baby need following delivery. We always keep our fingers crossed for 24 hours and I am out of there to be back home and mothering all of my cubs together.
Let’s start with the weekender bag for me and the hubby. The goal is to bring enough to have what you need and to create a comfortable stay, but not to pack the entire house. In the beginning and as first-time moms, we tend to think we need much more than we do. However, after doing this four times already, I feel like I have gotten it just right for what is really needed. I’ll share with you what I pack that works for me followed by a few suggestions and ideas of things that you might find helpful…
comfortable loungewear following delivery(I always pair lounge pants/pajama bottoms with a tank top. This helps with having your arms available for anything that might be monitored still like blood pressure, IV, etc)
going-home outfit(Now, this is where I differ a little bit – okay, probably a lot) – from the usual advice you may get to wear lounge pants or pajama bottoms to be as comfortable as possible. Yes, your body has gone through a lot and you want to be relaxed, but I always felt the need for a little more support to keep things from feeling like they are shifting around. After a vaginal delivery, you are still bleeding and wearing a lot when you leave the hospital. I like to pack a pair of maternity jeans to make sure nothing is too tight, but makes me feel like things are being held together and in place along with a tank top and comfy cardigan)
sandals(I make sure to wear a pair of flip flops to and from the hospital and that way I can use them while in the hospital as well. I actually do not care for socks on my feet at all, but I hate the idea of walking around bare foot so flip flops make it easy to slip my feet into to use the restroom or move around and then get back into bed without any fuss)
underwear(Following delivery and after getting situated, the hospital will provide you with mesh underwear. However, they are extremely large and loose and always made me feel more uncomfortable. A lot has happened to your lower extremities following a vaginal delivery and I found myself wanting something that gave me a little more support to feel like things are being held in place while still recovering and wearing an extremely large pad is never fun when you are used to things like tampons. Because of the situation and all that you are layering while recovering, I absolutely love the boy short type of underwear and swear by these ones. Nothing bleeds through onto your clothes because of the extra coverage and these ones are seamless and SO comfortable. I actually sport these for weeks following delivery. For those of you moms who may be going through a c-section, these are low-rise and the top can easily be folded down further if needed in order to avoid your incision area.)
change of clothes for Dad
loungewear for Dad
my iPhone and charger
my laptop and charger(I love having it with me for when Baby is napping or when Dad and I want to watch a movie)
my DSLR and charger(I simply put one formatted memory card in and that is plenty of room for pictures without me feeling the need to lug more equipment)
toiletries (I pack body soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, makeup wipes, hairbrush, hair ties, dry shampoo, deodorant, chapstick and a few makeup essentials as well as similar items of my husband’s.)
snacks(You will work up an appetite from delivery and sometimes the cafeteria is not open when you find yourself snack-ish. I pack mini-bags of my favorite popcorn and some granola bars)
two pillows from home – one for me and one for the hubby (I don’t sleep much while in the hospital – both from not being in my own bed and never letting Baby out of my sight or to be taken to the nursery so having my own pillow has been a lifesaver in previous years!)
wallet with all essentials(Cash, credit cards, photo ID, insurance card, etc)
A few suggestions and ideas that I don’t use myself, but I know other moms find them helpful and a good fit for them…
Comfy socks or slippers
Blanket from home
Now for the diaper bag and all things Baby. I absolutely swear by this diaper bag that I have featured and talked about before, but I just recently found out that it has been discontinued at Baby Cubby so you can search for it here and see if you can score it somewhere if you are needing a great one.
When it comes to everything Baby needs, the hospital really does come through for you. You will be given so many things and everything is provided to you from onesies and blankets to diapers and wipes. Even formula if you won’t be breastfeeding or waiting for your milk to come in. So if you find yourself at the hospital without these things, have no fear. They have your back.
As a fifth time mom, however, I definitely have my ride or die items that I love having on hand from the get-go for Baby. Here’s what I pack…
going-home outfit(I pack 2 to 3 choices for two reasons – the first being that you don’t know the exact size of your baby and having a newborn option as well as a 0-3 month option is a great thing to make sure nothing is too tight. Also, anything can happen when changing Baby. And knowing this one is a boy and their aim is known to be random and sporadic, it’s nice to have that extra outfit in case one gets dirty!)
burp rags(I am doing a new weekly series on Instagram stories called “Mom Tip Monday” and I just spoke about my obsession and love for using these Gerber cloth diapers as burp rags. It’s a tip passed down from my mother with my very first babe and I swear by them!)
swaddling blanket(Another personal preference, but I cannot stand the thick cotton type of baby blankets because they don’t make swaddling easy. And here in Arizona, it’s still too warm for heavier blankets. When Aden and Anais came out back in 2006 or 2007, I never looked back. Their blankets are muslin cotton, breathable, so soft and stretch really well when you need them to. Not to mention, their designs are kind of beautiful! I picked up this pack and this pack for this little one coming, but you can also find them at Target, Nordstroms and on Amazon.)
diapers and wipes(I pack just a few to handle leaving the hospital and getting home, but again, from experience and trying out brands my ride or die forever and always will be the Target brand diapers and the Target brand sensitive baby wipes. I promise, these will all be coming to Instagram stories over the coming weeks so I can share more, but I find them awesome.)
pacifier(Not every one of my babies took them, but it helps to calm fussiness at times as well as make sure you aren’t over-feeding. Sometimes babies just want to suck, but don’t necessarily need to eat again. This is where I find pacifiers extremely helpful and my favorite is the Philips Avent Soothies)
installed car seat(You must have a car seat installed in order to take Baby home and I believe if it’s your first baby, the hospital will want to check it out before you take off. It’s been 11 years since for me so the rules may have changed on that one. If you are unsure of the installation or want to make sure you did it correctly, you can visit your local fire station or search your zip code here to find out where you can go local to you for help.)
So there you have it! What I pack in my hospital bag for me and Baby. Everything I take to get through the hospital stay and make it comfortable until we are back home with the res of our brood. I think the most important thing to remember is that you will be taken care of no matter what. If one blanket isn’t enough at night, you ask your nursing staff for a second one straight out of the dryer and you will be plenty warm. If you have questions, your nurses are there to help you and guide you through the first day together.
And another piece of advice especially if this is your first time… don’t feel obligated to have the waiting room packed with family and friends. No one knows how they will react after having a baby and what they will be going through and sometimes it can be overwhelming. I was extremely young when we had our first and just figured that is what you do. So everyone knew when and where we were being induced and before they even finished stitching me and cleaning things up, I had people banging on the door to see the baby. Love them dearly, but I had no time to myself with Baby and Dad. While it is so special to be able to share Baby with family and friends, we could have had the same special moments at home or even the next day in the hospital. In my older age and after doing this several times, I have come to know what I need to be comfortable and make it a good experience. My husband felt the same way I did and is extremely supportive in how we handle it now which is: we text the news and pictures to family and friends and then, depending on how I am feeling or what we are dealing with, we decide if family and friends will come visit at the hospital or wait until we are home and ready for visitors. Your feelings as a new mother are what matter most. Do not let others dictate that. And don’t let someone else’s feelings or fear of their reaction dictate the situation.
I hope you found it helpful as you plan out your hospital stay and if you have any questions or even suggestions for other moms who might be reading, feel free to comment below!