What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag -- keepcalmandsoldieron.comSo your due date is rapidly approaching, and you’re nesting like crazy. Your to-do list is a mile long. The house just can’t get clean enough. The infant carseat has been in the car since 36 weeks. I get it. I’ve been there. Twice. It’s time to pack your hospital bag A.K.A. your go-bag A.K.A. all the creature comforts of home you’re going to want/need during your (hopefully short) stay in the hospital. Here’s what I’m bringing with me for the birth of baby number two (just click the links to see my preferences)…

The Bag:
Inside Birdling Bag Weekender My sister and mother gifted me this gorgeous bag from Birdling Bags. The Weekender Bag is large enough to fit all of my and my baby’s needs for our hospital stay. It even zips closed with the Boppy pillow resting on top inside! The canvas fabric is thick, durable and water-resistant. The leather handles and zipper are top-notch quality. The nylon, compartmentalized interior wipes clean easily and feeds my inner-OCD for a perfectly neat and organized satchel. The Weekender is the perfect multi-purpose bag — great for hospital stays, great for weekends away, great as an airplane carry-on — plus, it’s made in the USA! So what if I’m swooning…

The Baby:

  • (2) Burp Cloths — Even newborns spit up. Be prepared. More about why I love this product here.
  • MAM Newborn Pacifiers — When we were in the hospital, a nurse told me that my baby had a “strong urge to suck,” even directly after being nursed. After one of many trips out of our room for a checkup with said nurse, Nurse Saves-the-Day (as I affectionately call her) brought us back an extremely content, swaddled baby with this pacifier in her mouth. We haven’t looked back. More about why I love this product here.
  • Hat — Gotta keep those newborn noggins warm! I picked up ours, a knit pumpkin cap, from a local crafter. There are tons of adorable knit caps on Etsy to choose from.
  • Mittens — Newborn nails are sharp. Protect that perfect newborn skin, if it’s the last thing you do! More about why I love this product here.
  • Socks — What’s cuter: baby toes or babies wearing socks that look like shoes? If you’ve gotta cover them up, this is the way to do it. More about why I love this product here.
  • (2) Side Snap T-shirts — Your baby will more than likely spend all their time at the hospital in just a t-shirt and a blanket. More about why I love this product here.
  • (3) PJs — You might be inclined to actually dress your baby. If so, I recommend some cozy, loose-fitting, zip-up jammies. More about why I love this product here.
  • (1) Fancy Outfit — If it floats your boat, you might want to bring home baby in an outfit to be remembered (and passed down). I suggest bringing something in sizes Newborn and 0-3, just to be on the safe side.
  • Diapers + Wipes — Even though the hospital usually provides these, it can’t hurt to bring your own along. Some hospitals only provide Size One diapers, so think about bringing a few Newborns and Size Ones with you. Also, where I delivered Madeline, they didn’t provide actual baby wipes; they gave us these weird cloths that they wanted us to wet at the sink before using. WAY too high maintenance for these first time parents, which is why I suggest bringing your own wipes in. More about why I love these products here.
  • Vaseline — I read that if you slather Vaseline on your baby’s bottom before their have their first BM, it will make cleaning up the meconium super simple. Worth a shot!
  • Butt Paste — Madeline got a horrible diaper rash on her second day on this Earth. The only thing that brought it down was butt paste. More about why I love this product here.
  • Thin Blankie — If you’re not into the hospital baby blankets (which are usually pretty awesome — we may or may not have apprehended two from the hospital on our way home with Madeline), bring your own thin blanket for swaddling. More about why I love this product here.
  • Brush — Should your baby be well-endowed with a head of hair, you’re going to want to make sure he’s looking camera-ready. More about why I love this product here.
  • Nail Clipper — See above re: the talons your baby is born with. If you’re brave enough to clip them, you’ll be glad you brought this along. More about why I love this product here.
  • Baby Book — Write things down as you they happen (even in the hospital), because you’ll never remember otherwise. Also, if you have a nice nurse, you can get your newborn’s footprints stamped right into her book for posterity! Madeline has an out of print Vera Bradley baby book and baby number two has an awesome science-themed book from The Nerdy Baby Lady.

The Mom:

  • Birth Plan — Having it with you is one thing. Following it is another…
  • Socks — Hospitals are cold, and nothing’s worse than frozen feet.
  • Granny Panties — After you give birth, things will be a wreck down there. You’ll be glad you left your thongs at home when you slip into a pair of your most sexy granny panties postpartum. Although the mesh underpants the hospital provides are nice, too (really)!
  • Overnight Pads — Your hospital might be high speed and provide you with things like ice packs for your undies and huge double-stacked maxi-pads after you give birth. But they might not be. Throw in a few overnight pads, just in case.
  • Nursing Bra — After giving birth, things are going to change up top. You’re going to want the support of a good nursing bra — one with easy access if you’re attempting to breast feed. More about why I love this product here.
  • Nursing Shirt — Having a nursing shirt that either has a built-in bra or clips directly onto your nursing bra will save you from all sorts of self-consciousness about your postpartum stomach when nursing. Invest.
  • Maternity Zip-Up Sweatshirt — I say maternity, because, unless you are a freak of nature, you’re still going to look about six months pregnant after giving birth and hospitals are cold.
  • Sweats or Yoga Pants — Comfort is key. Always.
  • Flip Flops — You can wear them to walk around, you can wear them in the shower and, if you’re anything like me, they’ll be the only thing you can wear on your scarily swollen feet.
  • Pillows — BYO pillows. Hospital pillows are a joke. I wouldn’t have survived without my tempurpedic bed buddy. Just don’t forget to wash the pillow case when you get home, and you’ll be good to go.
  • Boppy — Learning how to nurse is hard. Having a Boppy to help hold your baby while you juggle your breasts will make it a little easier. More on why I love this product here.
  • Nursing Cover — Unless you’re comfortable with everyone and their mom seeing your first attempts at breastfeeding, you’re going to want to have a cover with you. People pop by unexpectedly all time when you’re in the hospital. Be prepared to cover up. You can score yourself a free Udder Cover (a $34.95 value – just pay the cost of shipping) using this unique coupon code: 66E8D0 (*offer only valid for the first ten people to use the code).
  • Nipple Cream — Pick your poison, there are tons to choose from. I used lanolin with my first baby. It worked well to protect and heal, but because it was so messy I’m going to try Honest Company’s and Earth Mama Angel Baby’s this time around.
  • Breast pads — Because the lanolin plus leaked milk made for a nasty pad (kind of like a dirty diaper), I preferred the disposable breast pads. Pack a bunch, in case your milk comes in while you’re still at the hospital.
  • Snacks — Can’t have too many snacks, for your husband during labor and for you after you pop your baby out. Trail mix, Luna Bars and candy will be my go-to.
  • Ditty Bag — The Birdling Weekender Bag comes with an adorable “Dirty Birdie” ditty bag for dirty laundry. I’ll be taking this with me to keep my soiled/hospital-infected garments separate from the rest.

The Toiletries:

  • Gum/Mints/Cough Drops — For during labor, when you need something in your mouth besides ice chips.
  • Chapstick — For during labor, when you’re feeling a little dehydrated and need to soothe your chapped lips.
  • Hair Tie/Clip — For during labor, when you’re a hot mess and need to get your hair out of your face while you push.
  • Face Wipes — For during and after labor, when you want to cool off and freshen up.
  • Makeup — There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look as good as you can, and if you’re anything like me it won’t be very good, after giving birth. There will be tons of photos documenting this sobering version of yourself. So bring your concealer, your eyeliner, your mascara — whatever makes you feel more like yourself.
  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste — Bring disposable/travel sizes of this. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not bring home my hospital hygiene kit.
  • Sample-sized Shampoo/Conditioner/Body Wash — If you hoard toiletries from fancy hotels, as I do, now is the time to break them out. I’ll be bringing L’Occitane with me, that my sister brought back from her recent stay at the Four Seasons. Treat yo self.
  • Washcloth — You’re going to want to gently wash every part of you after giving birth. Make it a soft cloth.
  • Hair Brush/Dryer/Straightener/Moroccan Oil — I will be bringing all of this, because as with my philosophy on make-up, I want to look and feel as good as possible about myself after giving birth. I deserve to feel like a somewhat put-together person, even if I am an otherwise hot mess of hormones, breast milk and bodily fluids.
  • Prenatal Vitamins/Rx Meds — If you prefer your own brand of prenatals or have existing prescriptions, bring them along in case the hospital isn’t able to provide these for you.

The Electronics:

  • Camera
  • Video Camera
  • Phone
  • Laptop/iPad
  • Bose Portable Speaker
  • Chargers

Bonus — The Car:

  • Towel — In case your water breaks or has already broken, you’ll want to sit on this to protect your seat.
  • Infant Carseat — Pre-install this bad boy, if you haven’t already. Can’t take the baby home without one!
  • Big Sibling Gift — Have this ready to bring inside when older siblings come to visit the baby for the first time.

Did I leave anything out? What are you making sure to pack in your hospital bag?

Cheat Sheet: How I Wrote My Perfect Birth Plan

Cheat Sheet- How I Wrote My Perfect Birth PlanBirth plans. The best laid plans…

When I thought about laboring and delivering Madeline, my first-born, I felt confident that it would be on my terms, and that I would be able to be super-woman. Neither of those sentiments were true. I wanted to labor at home as long as possible; I was induced and labored all 19 hours in the hospital. I wanted the freedom to move around at will, trying different positions, etc.; the moment the contractions started, all I wanted to do was lay down. I wanted to try for a drug-free birth; I didn’t dilate at all after 12 grueling hours of labor with Cervidil. The nurses offered narcotics instead of an epidural when they saw how much pain I was in; I accepted — twice — and felt completely drugged, nauseated and NOT free of pain. After a few hours of Pitocin, I had only dilated to two centimeters; I elected for an epidural. I wanted to be allowed to eat and drink at will while in labor; I vomited up my delicious, undigested hospital dinner from the night before, and in an attempt to save me from aspirating (since I was paralyzed and couldn’t do more than turn my head), my husband threw me onto my side and unknowingly dislodged my epidural. After a few more hours of what I’ll call natural labor, it was discovered that my epidural was pooling under the tape on my back A.K.A. not going into my spine; I had a second epidural.

After the second, blessed epidural, my memories of labor are a LOT more pleasant. My brow unfurrowed, I said a few apologies to my nurses and I was able to relax for about an hour. In that hour I went from three to ten centimeters and was ready to push. Three pushes, a natural tear, some stitches and a baby later it was all over. NOTHING went according to the plan. In fact, Andrew and I shared quite a good laugh when I pulled up a copy of my birth plan for Madeline this week.

I can say this, though — I learned A LOT from my first labor and delivery. Most importantly, I learned that you need to be your own advocate and to be an advocate for your new baby, and the only way to even attempt that, in my opinion, is to go in with a plan.

So here it is…my highly-amended, one-page plan for the birth of baby number two three (*post has been updated as of 11/9/16, after the birth of Margaret). And I submit this to you with the full understanding that I may be crumpling up the page it is printed on and using it to wipe my brow during hour two of labor…


  • I would like to be offered an epidural early and often. With an effective epidural placed, I have in two past births dilated from 3 to 9.5/10 centimeters in the following hour. In the event my epidural is not 100% effective, I would like the option to have it replaced. I would also like to be well-versed on how the bolus works.
  • I would like to be given intravenous anti-nausea medication with my epidural. I do not want to throw up!!
  • I do not want my epidural turned down before or during pushing unless we have discussed it first.
  • As long as the baby and I are healthy, I prefer to have no time limits on pushing.


  • My delivery is planned as vaginal.
  • If a C-Section is thought medically necessary, I would like to make sure all other options have been exhausted.

After Delivery:

  • As long as my baby is healthy, please allow her to remain attached to the umbilical cord until it stops pulsating before clamping.
  • As long as my baby is healthy, I would like my baby placed immediately onto a blanket on my abdomen with a warm blanket over her.
  • I would like to hold my baby after she is wiped clean of vernix and amniotic fluid. She need not be swaddled, just wrapped loosely, so that skin to skin contact and an attempt at breastfeeding may be achieved.

Newborn Procedures:

  • Please delay all essential medical exams and procedures (i.e. bathing) on my baby until after our initial bonding/breastfeeding period.
  • My intention is to exclusively breastfeed.
  • I would like to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible for recommendations and guidance. In the first 24 hours, I would like my baby screened for both tongue AND lip ties and for corrective measures to be offered if either is found.
  • If my baby’s health is in jeopardy, I would like to breastfeed or express my milk for her, to have as much bodily contact with her as possible and for my husband to remain with her at all times.

Did you end up going all-natural or epidural? Vaginal delivery or scheduled/emergency C-section? What are your suggestions for the perfect birth plan?

#1 Parents In The Pumpkin Patch

Mommy Daddy and Maddie at Gross Farms Last weekend, we ventured out into the pumpkin patch on a rather fall-like Sunday. We were on the hunt for some pumpkin pies (as Madeline calls them — better known to the rest of the world as pumpkins). We decided that at 36 weeks pregnant, it wouldn’t be that fun for us to drive the two hours up to Hillridge Farms for a repeat of last year’s festivities (wonderful though they were), so we stayed local and headed to Gross Farms. Along with the rest of central North Carolina. The farm was packed full of families clinging onto what little we have in the way of autumn weather and festivities down here in the South.

We waited for about 15 minutes in line for some pumpkin flavored ice cream and then snagged a wagon and headed into the patch.

Let me tell you, pumpkin patching with a two year old is much different than pumpkin patching with a one year old. Gone are the days of adorably posed shots and sweet smiles. This year Madeline was all about pulling the wagon herself — “MY do it!” She even yelled at a few passers by who apparently threatened her — “NO tata, girl! Dis is MY wagon!” Girl’s dad looked at Andrew and me and said, “Really!?!” At that point I looked over at Andy wide-eyed and then proceeded to “discipline” my child. “Madeline that little girl doesn’t want your wagon and there is no reason to yell at her. Please be respectful and kind.” Madeline responded with a look of incredulity (how could I not understand all the unspoken fighting words girl had spit at her and that she was just defending what was rightfully hers!), turned on her heel and pulled her wagon away while muttering “no” under her breath. Super fun. #1 parents in the pumpkin patch.

As our time at the farm wore on, the South began to rear it’s ugly head and everyone started sweating at the suddenly sky-high temperatures. Not to be dissuaded, I forced my sweet family into taking some obligatory photos — “These will probably be our last photos as a family of three!!!” And though there was tons of push back and even more sweating, I’m glad I insisted.

This year, we brought home one huge orange pumpkin for carving, a weird squat pumpkin, a white small pumpkin and some gourds. We also brought home some of my most favorite memories of our final days as parents of just one little punkin. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us at the pumpkin patch next year!

Pumpkin Pie

Wagon Full of Pumpkins

Night Night Sleepy

Two Little Pumpkins

36 Weeks Pregnant


Daddy and Maddie in the pumpkin patch

Mommy and Madeline in the pumpkin patch

The Wilhelms at Gross Farms