When preparing for the birth of your baby, one of the more confusing things to do is pack your hospital bag. What the heck do you need to bring??? Is it like camping or more like a stay at a resort?
I can remember packing my hospital bag with my first baby…or, er, should I say “hospital 50-lbs roller luggage bag.” I took everything but the kitchen sink. I had no idea what to expect or what I would need so I just took it all!
That was good in theory. My poor husband lugging that thing around from the triage room then to the labor and delivery room then to the mother and baby room and then back to the car along with all the stuff we acquired while at the hospital.
It was a slight overkill BUT I was grateful for several items and it was a good trial and error test to see what you really need when having a baby.
With my second, I was much more practiced and took a duffle bag with only what I knew I would want/need.
So learn from my mistake and follow this well-tested list of what to pack for the hospital when having a baby!
What to Pack for the Hospital When Having a Baby:
Items You WILL Need:
Socks and/or Slippers – I liked wearing my own socks versus the ones the hospital provided. They were more comfortable. I recommend socks for delivery (ones you don’t care if they get messy and need to be thrown away) and a pair of slippers for walking around your room. You don’t want to be barefoot!
- Several Changes of Clothes – I always stick to comfy PJs with a robe. With my first I wore the hospital gown most of the time but with my second I changed almost right away and felt much better! Putting on your own clothes after a nice shower is the best! I have a pair of Every Grey PJ’s which are the absolute softest, most comfortable set I own! It comes with a matching baby gown too. So cute! Check them out. Click here to see the different color they have.
- Extra Underwear – Things can be a little, ahem, messy after delivery so you will want some extra underoos. The hospital will likely provide you these huge, disposable, mesh panties but I did not find them that comfortable to wear past the first few hours. Did I mention they are huge? Because they are HUGE!
- Nursing Bras – Bring a few comfortable nursing bras. You will feel much better with a bra on, trust me. Cake Lingerie’s Cotton Candy and Bravado Body Silk Seamless are two great choices for comfy nursing bras. I secretly still wear mine to bed even though I’m not nursing at the moment…But shhh.
- Pads – I am going to be real with you, the hospital will provide you some heavy-duty pads and if you like shoving what is equivalent to an entire roll of paper towels into your underpants and waddling around like that, then you will love the hospital pads. If that horrifies you, then might I offer an alternative? I suggest grabbing a pack of Always Infinity Overnight pads. They work great and have the wings for extra protection which is something the hospital ones don’t have.
Toiletries – Be sure you bring the essentials like a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, hair ties, makeup (I need it to cover the dark circles under my eyes!). I also found the hospital soap and shampoo to be awful. I couldn’t even comb my hair out it was so bad. So now I bring my own. I typically like to grab a preassembled travel kit filled with travel sized stuff so I don’t need to worry about tossing it when leaving the hospital or lugging around huge bottles of shampoo. Women on the Go makes a perfect travel kit with everything you need. You can check that out here. That’s the one I like to get.
- Camera – This one should be obvious but it’s a must-not-forget item! If you need a recommendation on a camera, I have the Canon VIXIA HF R700. We bought it a few days before my first son was born. Great camera at a very AFFORDABLE price and not too geeky.
- Cell Phone Charger – After the birth everyone and their mother will be texting you so be sure you have your charger!
- Insurance Info, Hospital Forms, Birth Plan – Make sure you have all your stuff with you. I would suggest keeping it in your bag or purse. If you pre-registered at your hospital, then they should have all your paperwork but just in case, bring it with you. And if you have a specific birth plan and took the time to write it down, then bring that too.
- Glasses/Contacts – I actually forgot mine and even though I am not Mr. Magoo, I did feel a little blind without them. Definitely, make sure they make it in the bag!
Some Optional Items:
- Pillow – I can’t sleep without my own pillow. It’s like my pillow is the only one in the entire world that does not cause my neck to be contorted to one side when I wake up. I loved having my own but this is certainly not a must have item for everyone so take it or leave it.
Nursing Pillow – There are certain nursing items I found helpful in having. By far the most useful was my nursing pillow. Trying to prop pillows up all over the place while learning to breastfeed was not the business! If you plan to breastfeed, I suggest bringing your nursing pillow. Click here to see my favorite!
- Breast Pump – If you are planning to give breastfeeding a go, then I would leave the breast pump at home. It’s best to nurse around the clock and establish good latch before attempting the pump. But some moms know they will be pumping straight away so if that is the case, then bring it along with all the attachments. Sarah Wells makes some amazing Pump Bags that will fit all you need and then some if you still need a Pump Bag to lug all that around.
- Bath Towel – This is not something I ever brought as I made do with the hospital towels just fine but many moms that I know found the hospital towels tiny and thin. It was recommended to me several times to bring my own. I am not picky with towels so this was a leave at home for me but you may feel much different.
Items to Bring for Baby:
- Car Seat – Most hospitals will have you put your baby in the car seat before leaving your room and you will carry baby out in it. I typically had my husband get the car seat out of the car right before we left the hospital since it served no purpose in the room other than taking up space.
- Coming Home Outfit – I typically like to bring a few outfits for my baby. You can keep them in the little shirt the hospital gives you but I liked having them dressed. The best clothing items for the hospital (and just for newborns in general) are the newborn gowns. No snaps, zippers, buttons or other contraptions to deal with. Easy peasy. Pick up a few! Have a cute outfit or some PJs ready to go home in, though.
- Blanket – Bring a warm blanket for going home. The hospital will have some blankets to swaddle your baby while you are there but you will need to bring one for the trip home.
Congratulations on your little bundle of joy and I hope you found this list helpful! Have any items you found helpful during your hospital stay? Leave a comment below and let us know!