Packing for the hospital can be tricky. Especially if it's your very first baby, how are you supposed to know what you will need? For today's After the Bump series, I'm breaking down how to pack for the hospital so you make sure you have the things you really need, and don't over pack a bunch of things you won't use.

First lets talk about timing.  When should you have your bag packed? I think a good rule of thumb is to grab your bag and start gathering a few things together 2 weeks before your due date. There are a lot of items that you use on an everyday basis that you wont be able to pack away that early. Just keep a mental note of where those items are (ie: put them away in the right place each time you use them) so you won't be stressed trying to remember where everything is when you do go to add them.

Hospital Bag: An a overnight duffle bag like this one is perfect. And a rolling cary-on suitcase works great too. You won't need a ton of things, so don't do too big. I always have Garrett pack a separate bag for his items, just so I can keep my bag close by me if I can't get up and walk to it when I need something from it.

Electronics: So SO important! You (or most likely your husband or family member in the room) will be taking hundreds of pictures. And having every moment captured is such a treasure.  I recommend bringing:

phone charger
portable phone charger: You never know what your battery life will be when you leave for the hospital, and a few times my phone charger cord didn't reach to my hospital bed, so this might come in handy.
lap top / charger: You might need to clear off pictures from your phone/camera, and it is smart to back up your hospital pictures as soon as possible. You can never be too careful since these are pictures/videos you can never replace!
camera: I upgraded my DSLR to this one and my lens to this one a few months before I had Eli. In my opinion, if you like photography and are in the market for a nice camera, take the plunge and do it before the baby is here. You will want as many amazing quality pictures of them as possible. To me its the only way I can hang on to those first fleeting moments of my yummy newborn babies.
camera battery/battery charger: Make sure it's fully charged.
back up camera battery: It might sound anal, but we used ours and I was so glad to have it charged and ready to go.
memory card: If your DSLR takes video, make sure your card is large enough to store plenty of video and pictures. Mine is 32 GB.
tripod: This is especially handy if you don't have someone there to film or take pictures during the birth. Garrett just set up my iPhone on the tripod with this phone attachment and turned on the video, so he could focus on the baby.

Loungewear: You will most likely wear a hospital gown the first day or so in the hospital, so don't worry too much about clothing. But there are a few extras that you should pack.

robe: When you do get up and move around, a robe is handy to throw on, since the hospital down is pretty 'revealing' in the back ;) 
sleeping/nursing bra: You will be nursing. A lot. And you will have your boobs out a lot. But when visitors come, its really nice to have a soft comfy sleeping/nursing bra to wear. These are also so great to wear to bed when your milk comes in. You will get so big and engorged and no bra can be painful. Also, no need to bring underwear. The hospital will get you all suited up in the world most gigantic mesh panties. And you will never feel less sexy in your entire life. 
socks: You never know how cold your room will be, so these come in handy. The hospital gave me a pair after having Eli, but I wore mine while I was in labor, so I'm glad I brought them. 
postpartum band: GET THIS. Get this get this. This is super helpful to getting your body back to normal after having a baby. I start wearing mine in the hospital as soon as I can. For about 6 weeks after having a baby, your bones are still pretty pliable after widening with pregnancy. This band helps pull your hips/ribs/stomach back together. I just velcro mine as tight as I could and I wore it as much a I could stand (including while sleeping). Sometimes the additional back support was nice as well.

sentimental item: I wore my kids initial necklace when I had my last 2 babies and I loved having that little sentimental object to make the experience even more special.
hair tie


chapstick: They will give you some in the hospital, but I liked having my favorite next to my bed.
makeup: It's always nice to feel a little put together when people come to visit. Before my two older boys came to meet Eli, I used the mirror I packed and did my makeup. I felt refreshed and more myself.
makeup removing pads: These were so nice to have on hand when I was tired and ready to sleep, but my epidural hadn't quite worn off so I couldn't get up to go wash my face.
face wash/lotion
dry shampoo: I couldn't shower for the first day and a half, so this helped me freshen up!
magazines/books: Each experience is different, but chances are you will do a lot of waiting. Waiting to progress, waiting for the anesthesiologist, etc. Bring a few things to read to pass the time.
snacks: I stuffed my face the entire ride to the hospital, because you can't eat once you get into the labor and delivery room till after you've had the baby. I was STARVING after having Eli and the cafeteria there was closed. I was so glad I had something to eat to hold me over.

slippers: Sure bests walking around your hospital room barefoot. Mine are from here.
comfy top / lounge pants: After I finally got a shower, it felt so good to get into normal clothes. Make sure they are soft and loose. These pants look super soft and comfy, and I wore this top.You will be sore and have those trusty mesh pantie/diapers on, so tight leggings wouldn't work.

coming home outfit for baby: Such a fun thing to pack! A long sleeved onesie with hand protectors, leggings, a beanie, and socks or crib moccasins worked great for Eli. And don't forget a soft blanket!

coming home outfit for Mom: This can be a bit tricky. Don't bring your skinny jeans. I always opt for maxi dresses like this one (and it's nursing friendly!). They aren't form fitting and are comfortable to wear.
nursing bra: I have this one and it works great.

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