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Hospital Bag Do’s & Don’ts

Another topic I was planning to blog about before Leo decided to make his debut, was what to pack in the bag that I was bringing to the hospital. I had heard so many suggestions from friends and family as well as some of you on Facebook and Instagram but I needed to do some research of my own!! Justin and I went through lists and started packing bags FAR in advance!!! The last thing I wanted to do was be unprepared or wishing that I had brought something else (I always like to be ready for anything)!! My worst nightmare was to be stuck at the hospital with a dead phone and nothing to bring Leo home in … or home safely!!! I learnt A LOT along the way about what to pack and what to leave behind … but more importantly realized that you make do with what you have!! BUT for those of you that still have time to prepare for the hospital follow along below and find out exactly what I packed … what I actually used AND what I could have left at home!!! …

Dooney and Boorke large tote - hospital bag

Starting this post off by sharing with you the tote bag that I used to bring everything to the hospital in. I have also been using it as a diaper bag now with this tote savvy inside which I will go into further detail about in my diaper bag specific post coming soon!!

Now for my list of must have’s to pack:

1. Robe: There was no way I was going to be in one of those massive blue tie up hospital gowns, I wanted something comfortable and easy to get on and off but also something that looked nice!! What!?!? A girl can’t look good after giving birth?!?!  This Sweetheart Robe from Plum Pretty Sugar was perfect!!

2. Pillows From Home: Although the hospital had plenty of pillows to offer, they are never quite as comfy as the ones from home. After giving birth you are laying around for a long time and your butt and back can get pretty sore (not to mention your lady parts!!) so we ended up laying the pillows under my butt and back for that extra bit of comfort.

3. A Massive Water Bottle or Two: I was so thirsty the entire time and all the hospital had to offer was those tiny plastic cups of water or juice boxes that I would crush in one gulp. And it wasn’t only me … Justin was JUST as thirsty but didn’t want to leave me in the room to go find water. So this is one of those items that we didn’t bring but wish we had!!

4. Rose Floral Toner Spritz: I had this FRESH Rose Floral Toner beside me at all times and spritzed my face whenever I felt I needed a refreshing boost or before guests would come to visit. Made from rose water, it smells AMAZING and has a calming effect … perfect for the delivery room!!

5. Make-up Bag & Toiletries: I was lucky enough to be able to have a shower at the hospital before our visitors showed up and that was one of the best things I could have done!! Having that shower really woke me up and gave me that boost of energy I needed before the family started piling in! I hydrated my skin with some facial cream and put on a bit of blush and felt so much better!! I also loved having these little disposable toothbrushes for when I was too exhausted to get out of bed.

6. Lip Balm: DO NOT FORGET LIP BALM!! That’s all I have to say here …

7. Scrunchie: I was SO glad I had my scrunchie!! It kept my hair out of the way when needed and didn’t leave a kink in my hair when I wanted it down. Love my scrunchies!!!

8. Anti-Puffiness Soothing Eye Patches: I was pushing so hard that my face and particularly under my eyes swelled up. I had some of these Soothing Eye Patches at home and was glad I brought them because they really helped bring the puffiness down.

9. Nipple Balm: You will definitely need this. I used the Medela Lanolin cream but I’ve also heard the Zoe Organics Nipple Balm is amazing!

10. Padsicles: Yes, you read that right … and yes … I did my research!! Padsicles are basically a pad loaded with witch hazel, aloe vera and other healing agents that are put into the freezer and later used to help soothe your lady parts and help speed up recovery time. I made my own with witch hazel and aloe vera gel and they really do work!! Just be sure to use 100% aloe vera, not the diluted stuff!!!

11. Flipflops or Slippers: Slippers would be nice but I brought flip flops. You can shower in them and I didn’t mind them being on the floor of the hospital.

12. Camera: This is an absolute must to capture these forever precious moments. You want more then just iphone photos!!!

13. Cell phone charger: We were in the hospital for two nights and with all the guests wanting to come visit, don’t forget to bring your phone chargers!

14. Going Home Outfit: For my going home outfit, I knew I was going to want something comfortable, but also something cute! I brought a stretchy cotton swing dress, sandals, and a hat. Perfect for pics but also comfy for the ride home.

Jillian Harris In Hospital with New Born Baby Leo
Now for the baby’s needs!! …

1. Car Seat: With Leo coming 2 weeks early we didn’t actually have our car seat dock hooked up, but luckily there was time the next day for Justin to strap everything in while Leo and I were visiting with family. Even if you can’t be fully prepared, try to at least get the car seat setup before being discharged from the hospital. The last thing you want to be doing is waiting in the parking lot with a sore vagina and a new born baby in your arms!! We went with the Peg Perego 4-35

2. Swaddle Blankets: It doesn’t hurt to bring a few these, but keep in mind the hospital will also have some. I love the Lulujo bamboo swaddle blankets as well as these Aden + Anais Cotton Muslin Blankets. Side note: If you can steal a couple extras from the hospital, do it! They are so soft and worn in, I snagged a couple for Leo!!

3. Baby’s Going Home Outfit: Leo wore his Aden + Anais Muslin Kimono Onesie which I love for its breathability, as well as my favourite grey striped knotted hat from VONBON.

Jillian Harris Baby Leo
Now here is a list of things I brought but could have done without …

1. Stool Softeners: This is a MUST! For some reason after you give birth your poop gets really hard. (Sorry if I get too graphic here!) But it’s true…and after you just spent hours pushing a baby out…there is no way you are going to be pushing anything else out down there! LOL!! We had packed some stool softeners in our bag, but if you forget them, not to worry! The hospital will have some for you!!

2. Nursing bra: Your milk doesn’t come in until approx. three days later, so you most likely won’t need to use a nursing bra at the hospital. I was basically naked, covered in sheets or in my robe the entire time. It’s funny how after giving birth, you don’t really care who see’s your boobs. Am I right?!?!

3. Underwear: I was told so many times to bring your own extra large comfy (but cute) underwear, but let me tell you … I listened to those suggestions and took a dedicated trip to Victoria Secret, bought some extra large, full bum, ‘cute’ underwear and didn’t use a single pair. The hospital underwear they gave me was the most comfortable underwear I think I’ve put on and I’ll be totally honest … I’m thinking about going back and asking for some more!!! LOL!!

4. Music: Every birthing experience is different and having music might definitely be something you want but for me … music was the last thing on my mind!!

5. Tummy Wrap: A tummy wrap definitely wasn’t something I felt I needed in the hospital bag and I think I was too exhausted to even care. Although, as soon as I got home I felt eager to recover and get my body back in shape, so I am using one now. This could be nice to have in case you need a c-section though.

6. Diapers: We did bring the diaper bag (mainly because Justin was so excited to use his Tactical Dad Diaper Bag) but we didn’t use it once. Once again the hospital had diapers so we saved ours.

Click on all any of my hospital bag essentials below to shop them directly!

All in all, we realized that the hospital will have basically everything you NEED … but what’s the fun in that?!?! It is those luxury items that make you feel more comfortable and at home that you really need to pack. I hope my advice comes in handy for all you expecting Mama’s out there!! I would love to answer any questions you guys have for me in the comments below!! Now off to feed my little lion!!



Leave a Reply

  1. So awesome Jill!!! I love your honesty!
    When are or are you, going to write about your birth story?
    I can’t believe you went in to labor right after being in the water with Kaitlyn!!!

    Congrats again! I love following your snaps!
    Enjoy all these previous day’s xoxo

  2. I’m about to have my second child in November and seriously all I remember from my first is the AMAZING hospital underwear (I washed them and wore them for a week or two after!) the padsicles, pillows and nipple cream – all ESSENTIAL.

    So happy for you and your family! I’m excited to experience it all over again soon 🙂

  3. First off, little Leo is so precious. Congrats again! It is so crazy how every hospital delivery is different. Kelowna born and raised but live in the US and when I delivered, they give you a nice water jug with straw and lid that you can take home later. It was really handy for nursing because you can never get enough water. KGH should invest. 😉 I want to hear more about your tummy wrap. Might need to invest for the second one.

    1. I second that! I gave birth outside of North America. NOTHING was provided (i.e. no diapers, towels, underwear, etc.) They even expected us to bring towels, baby wash, etc. for the baby. My recommendation is to check with your local hospital (or friends) rather than the internet checklists!

  4. Oh my gosh, I just adore reading this and all of your blog posts. I am expecting my third and loved reading what worked for you. I kind of want to treat myself to a robe this go around. (Why didn’t I think of that before) And the hospital undies!!! (all the praise hands) So happy for your sweet family. Leo is precious.

  5. Padsicles. Genius. After having two babies and remembering vividly packing witch hazel pads and gels down there, I’m mystified over this one and how amazing it seems.

  6. Thanks for including the water bottle suggestion! This is an item that is left off most other lists I’ve seen and I’ve made a note to include it. Definitely going to bring a face mist and cotton robe as well, those simple pleasures make all the difference!

    Congrats Jill, Leo is SO precious. You must be so over the moon, enjoy all those newborn days and keep these beautiful mama posts coming our way!

  7. Hmmmm- a WHITE robe?? Are my friends lying to me when they tell me I will be bleeding everywhere (sorry for the graphic description) and that I should bring darker colored comfy items that I wont mind ruining??

  8. You’re lucky that your hospital provided you w diapers. The chepo hospital I gave birth at supplied us w only 2 diapers, so baby daddy had to run out to buy some. Also, the same cheapo hospital didn’t supply me w underwear.

  9. I love that you ordered the tactical baby diaper bag my friend owns the company and it makes me happy to see more Canadians use!!

  10. I had condom ice packs for down there too. Hee hee! Helped! I also want to know what belly wrap you went with?

  11. This is great! Made me laugh. So candid and sweet!
    I also just gave birth and packed way too much stuff (especially the ‘cute’ underwear that went unused) I completely agree with your list! ??

  12. I’ll be having my third in December – and the best thing that was ever suggested were those tucks ‘roid pads – they contain witch hazel. The nurse that gave me padsicles graciously included those as a soothing layer over top – I stock up before my due date!

    Congrats fellow Peace River girl, he is gorgeous!

  13. Congrats on your new little love! You are going to be such a wonderful mum!
    I am wondering what size you bought in your robe? I am so happy to have stumbled upon that website, they have gorgeous pieces.

  14. Hi Jill, thanks so much for sharing! Some really great tips I plan to use for baby #2! Although I’m not sure about a white robe given all a woman is going through post-birth it would likely be ruined in minutes. Also – I opted for vegan nipple butter (bought at snugglebugz) given Lanolin and where it derives from. I also found that a touch if coconut oil works just as well! All the best to you guys! xo

  15. I honestly don’t believe you can pack “too much” in your hospital bag. I ended up with an emergency cesarian so automatically had to stay longer than expected, then your bab ended up in NICU for a week and I stayed in the hospital with her during that time. I had to send my husband home multiple times to bring things back to the hospital for me that I never imagined I would have needed, including multiple changes of clothes, my breast pump (I was still in the hospital when my milk came in), additional changes of clothes for my baby, a book, ipod, etc. etc. etc. Luckily we are 15 minutes from where I delivered, but if we lived further away my hubby would have been big time annoyed with the number of times I sent him home to retrieve things for me!! My advice would be to have multiple bags that you throw in the car when you’re ready to go. Bring the “basics” bag with you into the hospital, but have all the extra gear in the car just in case you stay longer than expected!

  16. Hi Jillian! Would you mind sharing which postpartum belly wrap you are using? I have been doing a bit of research but am having a hard time deciding which one to use. Any advice?! Thank you & best wishes!

  17. I wasn’t aware of tummy wraps when I had kids. Mine are now 6 and almost 3. Does anyone know if I’d get any benefit at this point, this late? I’m definitely not where I need to be! Which is best to use if so? Please and thank you!!

  18. Bring some cute headbands for baby girl!! If the Hospital takes newborn photos, you may want to bring a cute outfit for her to wear. I have 4 girls and 10 beautiful grandkiddos. You may want to bring a nail file for her nails so she doesn’t scratch her sweet face.

  19. So helpful, actually i am due in 2 weeks now and already packed my bags after researching for days about what to take or not to hospital and i am glad i am in line with items you hv mentioned. And i have already got the car seat set up and already put my bags in trunk … so basically i just need to sit in car and i am good to go. ?

  20. Would love to see what you bought for your baby girl to come home from the hospital in! Please share all the great ideas you received 🙂

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