For a minimalist take on the hospital bag grab my handy checklist and personal tips to keep packing to just what you need!
This post was done in collaboration with some awesome blogging friends! Be sure to check out the links to their ‘minimalism with kids’ inspired posts at the end of this page.
Download And Print
You can download the free PDF and print the checklist HERE (no email required!)
If you have heard that most moms over pack their hospital bag, its not a lie! Packing a minimalist hospital bag was the last thing on my mind with baby number one. I’ll be the first to shamefully admit that I packed 2 suitcases, a diaper bag, a tote bag, plus a Boppy and regular pillow with my first baby. It looked like we were headed to a week long vacation and I’m sure the nurses were laughing hysterically on the inside. I don’t think I opened the tote bag once during my stay and I sure didn’t put my son in 5 different outfits.
When it came time to pack for my second child, I had a general idea of what I really needed. I think I did pretty well sticking to the basics but there’s a few things I would have done differently.
Although it’s tempting, I promise you’ll be just fine without bringing your entire wardrobe. Just remember, whatever you pack has to eventually be unpacked. Speaking from experience, unpacking is the last thing on my mind when taking care of a newborn. To keep a minimalist hospital bag you’ll want to only take the bare essentials and anything else you “can’t live without.”
Labor & Delivery
When arriving at the hospital the nurses will ask you to slip on a gown. I know some moms prefer to bring their own but personally it wasn’t important to me so I just wore what was available. The only other items I would recommend while in the delivery room is a hair tie, a cell phone, extra long charger, and a camera. Most of my downtime was spent focusing on managing pain and relaxation techniques but it was nice to be able to browse through Facebook to keep my mind busy and take a few photos!
Something I desperately needed with my first delivery was a portable fan! I was SO miserably hot and my saint of a husband fanned me with a folder for hours. I decided to purchase a portable fan for my second delivery but ended up not needing it. Go figure! In the future though, I will for sure be packing that fan just in case I have another more painful labor.
Don’t forget to bring along your wallet and insurance card as well as prenatal vitamins or other medicines you would normally take!
Next, lets talk about mesh underwear! If you haven’t heard of this yet then you are in for a surprise. Imagine the largest piece of mesh you have ever seen in the shape of underwear. It gets better too! If you thought that sounded ridiculous just wait until you see what goes inside 😉 I’ve heard of moms who hate mesh underwear and others (like myself) who don’t mind it at all.
On night one I prefer to stay in the hospital gown and mesh underwear. There’s no worry about staining my own clothing and it makes breastfeeding easily accessible! I’ve noticed the room tends to stay on the chilly side so instead of bringing my own blanket, I just asked my nurse for extra.
After resting a bit I like to ditch the hospital attire and take a nice shower. Toiletries are a must have in the hospital bag, although I simply stick to the basics of soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a hair brush. Don’t forget to bring some flip flops for the shower too!
I like to lounge around the 2nd day in a pair of comfy pajamas (button up for breastfeeding ease), high rise underwear and a good set of socks! I packed a robe to throw on in case of visitors.
As far as pads go you may be fine with what the hospital provides but personally, I hated them! They are probably the cheapest made pad I’ve ever put on and never stayed in place. For this reason I was thankful to have brought my own!
For clothing, the only “nice” outfit I brought along was a maxi dress to come home in. It opened in the front for breastfeeding and was incredibly stretchy! I wanted to be prepared in case I needed a c-section and didn’t want anything rubbing against the incision. For shoes, I wore the same flip flops I arrived to the hospital in.
After having my first baby I did struggle a bit learning to breastfeed. We eventually got the hang of it, but looking back there’s a few things I could have done to make it easier. First off, just skip the nursing bras all together during your hospital stay. Skin to skin is so crucial when learning to breastfeed and it’s a pain to remove your bra and shirt every time baby needs to nurse (which is a lot). I did include one nursing bra on the checklist to come home in.
Should you bring breast pads or not? Maybe…
With my first baby I brought along a huge pack of breast pads thinking I’d be pouring with milk. Reality is though, milk comes in 3-5 days postpartum so chances are you won’t be leaking much during the hospital stay. I made the mistake of not bringing any along with my 2nd baby thinking that I wouldn’t leak. Wrong! I was a mess. Colostrum on me, the baby, and the bed! For this reason, I did include them on the minimalist hospital bag checklist because it was not fun being without breast pads!
Sore nipples are common in the early days of breastfeeding. You may or may not need it, but nipple cream can be helpful in healing and soothing the pain. I’ve found that most hospitals supply this (mine included) so I left it off the checklist.
Bringing along a Boppy Pillow is something I thought may not be a necessity and almost left if off the checklist. Ultimately, I did leave it because looking back it was incredibly useful when I was learning to breastfeed. I tried using pillows a time or two but found myself reaching for the Boppy mostly because of its awesome support.
First thing’s first, you 100% have to bring a car seat! It would probably be a good idea to have it installed as you approach your due date so it’s already taken care of.
Second, your baby cannot stay naked the whole time so you’ll need clothing. The hospital I deliver at supplies long sleeve white shirts and hats so that’s what we keep our babies in. They also supply blankets to swaddle but I’ve never been good at it. That’s why I included velcro swaddle blankets on the checklist because there’s no guess work to it. Simple!
You’ll probably want to bring a nicer outfit for pictures that can also double as a going home outfit.
Things like pacifiers, diapers and wipes are totally optional. You may be against pacifiers but we use them and MAM’s have always been a hit with our babies. For diapers, if you have a preference to brand or use cloth then bring those along too!
What’s In Your Minimalist Hospital Bag?
Did I miss anything? What is your “must haves” for the diaper bag?
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