Packing the Perfect Sustainable Hospital Bag
Do you know what I’m guilty of? Overpacking. Every vacation or work trip, I wait until the last minute then throw everything I could possibly “need” into my suitcase. The reality? I use 25% of its contents and am left to lug the rest for the remainder of my trip.
Imagine that same frenetic person packing for the hospital stay for her firstborn. Yep, that was me. I carried over this same habit when packing my hospital bag for my first pregnancy with Adalynn. This time I packed weeks in advance, but with overzealous determination. I could only hope that I’d expertly navigate the bag at the hospital, just like Mary Poppins, magically conjuring the perfect item for the moment.
Because, you know what’s worse than overpacking? Overpacking the WRONG things. Take it from my experience as a once first-time mama. I packed tons of "comfy" tops and dresses, but, let's be honest, I never left my room. I also didn’t anticipate how essential QUICK feeding access would be. What I really needed were a couple of feeding-friendly tops that seamlessly allowed for quick breastfeeding access, and plenty of skin-to-skin snuggles.
Candice & Baby Adalynn
As a second-time mama, I had enough wisdom to realize I only needed a few well-thought out items for myself and my newborn. As I packed this time around, I paused to identify what I wish I'd had during my first delivery. Yes, you’ll need the essentials like a swaddle blanket for your baby, a feeding-friendly bra for yourself, and trust me you’ll need nipple cream, too. But I also recommend packing a few less utilitarian things. Because the reality is you’re in a foreign hospital environment, your body is transforming in ways no one (let me say that again, no one!) could have prepared you for, and you’re about to become responsible for a new life. When giving birth to Adalynn, I knew how life-altering and joyful this moment would be but what I didn’t anticipate was the innate desire to simultaneously feel like myself.
Candice & Baby Ellery
Having items like my comfy feeding-friendly clothing (forget the scratchy hospital gown), my iPad loaded with favorite episodes of “Grace & Frankie” and my own toiletries helped me feel more at home when delivering my second baby, Ellery.
As first time parents, we have no idea what we are really about to embark on, and that includes what to expect during the hospital stay! So based on my experiences, I’ve broken down what I’ve learned to be the essentials for the optimal hospital bag and, as always, everything I include has the added bonus of being eco-friendly. Check out the list below curated just for you mama’s - don't worry we've created a downloadable list that you can print or keep handy on your smartphone.
What to pack for Mama:
1) Comfy, feeding-friendly tops. We are partial to the Of an Origin Everywhere Wrap Top and Everywhere Wrap Tank Top. Both tops give you super fast feeding access, and unsnap for skin-to-skin time. Each features several feeding-friendly styling options, chic enough for the hospital newborn photos.
2) Lounge pants: trust me, you will need these. Whether you have a natural birth or C-section, you will want some buttery soft lounge pants. We are partial to our Of an Origin Everywhere Jogger made from pima cotton blend french terry.
3) Nursing or feeding-friendly bra. We love naturally-derived materials like from bamboo, modal, or organic cotton. Personally, I prefer the comfortable cross-front style nursing bras. I invested in several bras with clip feeding exposure and found them to be cumbersome. You can even use soft wireless bras that you can easily pull down for feedings.
4) Washable Breastmilk Pads. We love the super soft, super absorbent bamboo/cotton blend pads. The reusable pads are much softer than disposable, and an eco-friendly option.
5) Natural Petroleum-free nipple cream. We love Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. This formula is safe to keep on while nursing, and it’s non-sticky buttery soft texture is great for your cuticles, hands, lips, and you can even use it as ointment for baby.
6) Comfy feeding-friendly pjs. With my first baby, I stayed in my hospital gown the entire time, and didn’t feel like myself at all. With baby #2, I brought my own cozy pjs and I felt so much more at home.
7) Make-up, toiletries. I’ve heard mixed opinions, but personally having a little bit of makeup for our newborn photo session and my toiletries from home helped me feel a little more like myself.
8) Slippers or slip-on shoes. This make moving around the hospital room way easier, and make for a cleaner alternative to the disposable socks the hospital provides.
9) Laptop or iPad for watching something. Our TV didn’t work in our room, so my husband and I watched episodes of The Office, and I started Grace & Frankie on Netflix.
10) All the chargers: phone, laptop, and/or iPad chargers.
What to pack for Baby:
1) Two to three outfits. We love kimono-style tops and separate bottoms with footies. Kimono tops help keep your baby's umbilical cord open to the air and prevent chafing. Monica + Andy and Gerber make some adorable Organic cotton kimonos tops and matching bottoms that make for perfect outfits and pjs for those newborn days.
2) Newborn nail file or fine grit emery board for filing those (super sharp) little baby fingernails.
3) Organic cotton newborn hat & swaddle blanket set. The hospital provides both, but for those newborn photos and to wrap your baby in something special. We love Monica + Andy for their coordinated hat and blanket sets.
4) Organic cotton socks, I love the terry socks from Gerber.
You've got this mama!
Mama to Adalynn & Ellery
CEO, Of an Origin