Many years ago, my husband shared with me that as a very young child he had believed that babies were born- with hats! In every media depicted birth, you always see the fresh baby with a tiny beanie on their head. Right from the get go, they're always seen sporting their new accessory. And so when it was time to pack for our first birth, it became an inside joke between the two of us- don't add a hat to your hospital bag packing list- babies come with hats!
But what *should* you pack be on your hospital bag packing list? I believe in prepared minimalism, and haven’t found a list that suited me, so I’m sharing mine for you! This list is based off the birth packing list I made for my first baby, and is customized for the experience you may have in our Winnipeg hospitals.
We know that when it comes to birth, plans can always change, but most people seem to prefer a short hospital stay- and a short hospital bag packing list! Be reassured that anything you need is just a short car ride away. And if you have a longer than expected stay, your support person may just welcome the fresh air on the drive home to gather supplies! Here’s what I couldn’t have lived without during that first day.
For myself in my hospital bag, it was all about comfort. At both Women’s Hospital and St Boniface, you may have the option to labor in water, and working through contractions in the shower can be heavenly, so I made sure to bring a bathing suit. I didn’t want to wear a hospital gown, so for my hospital packing list, I added a comfortable outfit to labor in- a bra top and a loose flowy skirt. The only unneeded “extra” that I packed and would do so again is fancy shampoo/conditioner and soap. The hospital supplies some, but after all the hard work of labor, it was glorious to grab my yummy smelling Aveda products and freshen up in the shower.
Since babies come on their own time, and weight guesses are notoriously inaccurate, I recommend having two different sizes of clothing available- just in case! With my third baby I put aside a couple newborn outfits. It provided comic relief later when I pulled out the teeny outfits and held them up to my 41+ week 10lb10.5oz babe, but wasn't very helpful for dressing him! For your hospital bag packing list, I recommend only a couple onesies and sleepers. It sounds basic, but skin to skin is wonderful and I prefer to just snuggle up with that fresh babe smell. We only dressed our daughter once it was time to go home.
Our Winnipeg hospitals supply the basics- wash cloths, diapers, receiving blankets, so leave them off your hospital bag packing list. I do bring a muslin for snuggling up with baby afterwards. Bonus that it looks beautiful in photos! I also brought our favourite blanket for the ride home. I distinctly remember snuggling with the blanket on the ride to the hospital, thinking how in just a few short hours, I would be snuggling with our babe instead.
We choose to delay the first newborn bath, and avoid hats on babies, so keep it light and don't bring any fancy baby washes or pretty hats. I see a lot of hospital bag packing lists suggest bringing items like nail clippers and burp cloths. Most of these you truly won’t need during that first night. Pack light, and don’t give yourself too many ‘tasks’ in those early hours. Focus on meeting your new baby, I promise their nails can wait.
There’s many other items you can add to your hospital bag list. And if you will feel better to bring them- do it. In the end, you being able to relax is the goal. In my experience though- most of it stays in the bag. The hospital provides the basics. Your doula and support partner will have their hands and words at the ready- willing and able to help you rock your birth. All you need is your confidence and trust in your body!
Click below for a copy of Embrace Birth Service's FREE Hospital Bag Packing List printable. This Winnipeg doula has you covered!