If you’re expecting a baby and are going to give birth in a hospital, you’ll need to pack a hospital bag with essentials for mom and baby. At 36 weeks I finally finished packing mine (aside from the few things that I can’t pack until it is time to go). I posted a photo as I started packing on Instagram and many of you requested a full list. So here’s my complete list, linked up to what specifically I’m packing in my hospital bag for me and baby 3:
First, I thought I would share my bag. I use the Weekender from Birdling Bags and it is the perfect size, is compartmentalized into three sections (which is perfect for dividing things up for labor, postpartum for me, and comfort items, snacks, and baby. I love love love this bag. Aside from this bag, I put my nursing pillow and throw blanket inside the case of my bed pillow and that is all I really need for my stay. Now for what’s in the bag:
- ID AND INSURANCE INFO which you’ll need when checking in.
- PHONE AND CHARGER (I’d also recommend buying and bringing an extra long cordbecause sometimes you can’t reach where you need to charge your phone without one, and you don’t want to have to get up to get your dying phone after you have had a baby)
- CAMERA (if bringing something other than your camera phone)
- DELIVERY GOWN: I’ve brought my own delivery gown to the hospital and worn the same one for both of my other babies, and plan to wear it again the third time around (yes, the exact same gown has survived two births no problem!) While this isn’t essential — the hospital does provide one to you — it does feel nice to have your own that is cute and yours.
- NURSING PAJAMAS, ROBE, NURSING TANKS: Similar to bringing your own delivery gown, bringing some soft and comfy nursing pajamas or a nursing gown and a luxurious robe will make you feel human again after you have a baby. I’ll be packing my James Fox Co Gown (which would make a great delivery gown or is also perfect for after), my Belabumbum nursing pajamas, my Doie Lounge Robe (this robe is so soft and feels so nice you guys!), and some leggings and a nursing tank and cardigan to wear home (remember, you’ll still likely look and feel at least 5 months pregnant — don’t think you’ll be walking out in pre-pregnancy jeans!)
- WARM SOCKS OR SLIPPERS: I tend to get hot so I prefer to have slippers I can slip on to walk around the room and slip off when I get back in bed, but others get super cold in the hospital and love to have warm socks. I pack both, just in case.
- NURSING SUPPLIES: The only thing I’ve ever used or needed in the hospital is my nursing pillow and nipple balm. I also throw in a couple sets of Bamboobies nursing pads (my favorite ones), just in case but my milk doesn’t come in immediately or heavy so I have never needed them at the hospital, and a couple of nursing bras (my favorite is this Cake Lingerie nursing bra). Some women bring their own pump as well, but I’ve never used mine at the hospital (they have some and usually you can borrow one if you need it). But in case you’re wondering, this pump has gotten me through both babies and still has plenty of life left for baby 3.
- HOMECOMING OUTFIT FOR BABY, plus any special blanket or hat you want baby to wear at the hospital or on the way home. I’m hoping to take a personalized hat and swaddle from Boco Baby (like I did with Calvin), and am packing some pants and a side snap tee from June & January, and a blanket and bonnet from Petite Soul (more for taking photos and less out of necessity). Shirts are better than onesies those first few weeks due to the cord stump. But the hospital does provide shirts, blankets, diapers, and even a hat so you don’t need to pack enough to dress him or her for your entire stay.
- SNACKS, CANDY, GUM, SPRITE: I pack some special treats for myself, some snacks, some Oat Mama lactation bars, gum, and a 1 liter of Sprite in case I get nauseous during labor (they won’t give you anything but ice chips before you deliver and I am not recommending you disregard medical advice, but sneaking a couple sips of Sprite saved me during both of my labors, so I pack some.)
- COMFORTS OF HOME: These aren’t necessary but might make you feel more comfortable during your stay (I didn’t pack them with my first and did with my second, and loved having them the second time around): Your own throw blanket (this is my favorite) and bed pillow (make sure your pillow case is distinctive so they don’t take it if they come in to clean your linens), speakers to play music if you like, and anything else that will make you as comfortable as possible.
- EXTRA (EMPTY) BAGS: You leave the hospital with a lot of stuff. Diapers, bulb syringes, thermometers, some side snap shirts, mesh underwear, etc. etc. etc. Extra empty bags come in handy to haul your stuff home.
- CASH AND CHANGE FOR VENDING MACHINES
- FLIP FLOPS (for the shower)
- FACE WIPES: These feel so good to clean up with after labor and to refresh without having to get out of bed, or if you can’t get out of bed.
- CHAPSTICK OR LIP BALM: A must! This one from Zoe Organics is my absolute favorite ever.
- ESSENTIAL OILS: Clary Calm roller, Serenity to diffuse. And I like this diffuser. (this is my first time taking oils to the hospital but I’ve been a convert since Calvin was born and I started using them regularly and I’m excited to incorporate them this time around)
- PHOTOS OF OTHER CHILDREN: If you have other kids, it’s nice to have a photo or two of them with you.
- TOILETRIES: That first shower after you deliver feels like such a treat. Pack travel sizes of your favorite shampoo, conditioner, face wash, etc. Don’t forget a toothbrush and toothpaste, a hair brush, and deodorant. Also, hand lotion and lip balm are musts for me because I get so dried out after labor (I actually pack The Cream from Zoe Organics because you can use it on your hands, your face, pretty much anywhere you’re really dry). I also packed some tinted moisturizer and mascara so I could throw on a tiny bit of makeup, but I wouldn’t pack your full arsenal of beauty tools — maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t bother with fixing myself up much while in the hospital.
- WHITE NOISE: I would add a white noise app to your phone so you can drown out the hospital noise when you are ready to get some rest. My room was next to the nurses’ station last time and it was constant noise and activity ?
- INFANT CAR SEAT: You’ll need one of these properly installed for the hospital to release you (and they do escort you out and check)
- SOLLY BABY WRAP: Because I love it so much, I’m throwing my Solly wrap into my bag. It is nice for a little walk around the halls for bed cuddles when your arms are tired.
Oh, and there is a mini bottle of champagne in there as well, because champagne is always a good idea ? A couple other random thoughts: if you have other children who will be coming to meet the new sibling, bring a small wrapped gift to each one from the new baby. Also, I didn’t include baby or memory book because my hospital does not do footprints or handprints for you, but if yours does you might want to throw one of those in your bag as well.
I mentioned a lot of stuff, so I thought it might be helpful to name a few things you don’t need to pack for the hospital (in my experience and opinion):
- medicine: the hospital will give you whatever you need on a schedule and keep track of any doses
- diapers or wipes, unless you want to use something specific
- baby grooming things (the hospital has and provides you with these)
- underwear or sanitary pads: the hospital gives you mesh underwear (some women don’t like these but I actually love them those first few days, plus you don’t want to ruin your own underwear) and sanitary pads, so save your own for when you’re back home. You might want to pack one pair of your own underwear but I wear the mesh ones for days (they’ll even send you home with some!)
- entertainment items: I took an iPad and a book last time and didn’t touch either one. If you do have time and feel like doing more than zoning out to your hospital television while cuddling your newborn, you can always just use your smart phone.
- you don’t need a ton of clothes for yourself. Your gown, a set of pjs, and something to wear home is plenty.
- I don’t pack a bag for my husband. He’s on his own to pack for himself, and now that we have kids he is only there for labor/delivery anyways. After that he stays at home with our other children and visits when he can.
- pain relieving spray or ice packs are also provided by the hospital
I hope some of you find this helpful. Is there anything you pack for the hospital that I left off my list or anything I listed as unnecessary that you’ve found you needed? What is your number one essential for the hospital?
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