The stork is about to arrive and you’re unsure what to pack in your hospital bag for you and baby. This guide shares all the must haves, nice to haves, and items not necessary during your stay.
Congrats, mama, on the soon-to-be arrival of your little one!! This is a time full of many emotions, but the stress of packing your hospital bag for you and baby doesn’t have to be one of them.
I’ve given birth to 2 children within 21 months and have successfully packed my hospital bag each time.
I’ve learned what works.
So I’ve compiled a list of the hospital bag essentials (and a few extra comforts), along with what is NOT necessary, to help you too.
Most moms are in the hospital around 1-2 days (assuming no complications for you or baby). I was out 2 days after my c-sections, so I’ve based my items on this time frame. You may need to tweak this list based on your preferences or circumstances.
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Hospital Bag Essentials
- Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat, Orion
- Infanteenie Beenie pink grosgrain bow on a pink and white stripe baby girl newborn hospital hat
- Skip Hop Messenger Diaper Bag With Matching Changing Pad, Duo Signature, Chevron
- Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo Twin Pack, 14 Ounce
- UTTU Sandwich Pillow, Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow
- AmazonBasics Lightning to USB A Cable, Apple MFi Certified, White, 6 Feet /1.8 Meters, 2-Pack
- BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer
- USB Wall Charger, Charger Adapter
- Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream, 100% Natural Lanolin Cream for Breastfeeding, 1.41 oz Tube
- Wet Brush 2 Piece Original Detangler Hair Brush, Pink and Purple
- Travel Kit for Woman on the Go
- Personalized Big Brother Gift Newborn New Baby Hospital Gift
- Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch (32GB, Wi-Fi, Gold)
- Lamaze Womens 3 Pack Maternity Overnight Nursing Wide Band Shoulder Straps Bra
- aden + anais Silky Soft Swaddle Baby Blanket, Viscose Bamboo Muslin, Large 47 X 47 inch, 3 Pack, Indigo, Blue
- Roll over image to zoom in Apple iPhone 6s Plus a1687 16GB CDMA Unlocked (Certified Refurbished)
- Women’s Letty Flip Flop Sandal – Xhilaration™
- BLUETIME Women Robe Soft Kimono Robes Cotton Bathrobe Sleepwear Loungewear Short
Must Have Hospital Bag Items:
Sometimes the hospital room gets chilly. In addition, you will want a little privacy while nursing (if you nurse) with the parade of hospital staff in and out of your room all day (and night), while walking around the floor of hospital, and while taking a walk (I was encouraged to do so after the c-section the very next day).
All Items On My ‘Last Minute List’ (see below)
Travel Sized Toiletries:
I recommend packing toiletries like a toothbrush/toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, chapstick, pack of tissues, hand cream, hand sanitizer (which is great for when you can’t or don’t want to get out of bed to wash your hands). Travel-sized items are small and easy to pack, and I packed these ahead of time.
Folder From Birthing Class Or Pediatrician & Ob/Gyn Info:
Important info you might need to reference, and a good place to store all of the paperwork you’ll be given during your hospital stay.
I used a cheap pair from Target that I could throw away. They were my shower shoes.
Going Home Outfit for Mom:
I recommend wearing something comfy and not constricting (especially if you have a c-section).
I also used slip-on shoes or flip flops so as to eliminate bending over to tie shoestrings.
The hospital provides mesh underwear, but do pack a comfortable pair of panties if you don’t care for mesh ones.
Not that you will be getting much sleep! But I did this the second time and wish I had done it the first.
Hospital pillows aren’t that comfy, and I was able to rest more comfortably with my own; it also doubled as a cushion to cover my belly and buffer the bumps on the way home after having a c-section.
Going Home Outfit for Baby:
This was my favorite part of packing my hospital bag; I washed the baby’s clothes and blankets right before packing my bag; this was the first I washed “my baby’s clothes” and everything felt so real and exciting!
I recommend something comfortable like a onesie or sleeper. I’d avoid bulky constricting clothing like pants since baby will still have part of the umbilical cord attached (might be sensitive) and will traveling home in a car seat.
Swaddle blankets or heavier blankets depending on the weather are great for covering baby in the hospital or in the car. These are my favorite ones.
You’ll need a car seat installed to take baby home from the hospital (we had this installed ahead of time). This is the carseat we chose and have loved it.
Sign up now for a Hospital Bag Checklist to help you back your hospital bag!
Nice to Have Hospital Bag Items:
You could leave your hair wet if you shower; I liked drying mine the day I was discharged.
(I threw in one extra pair): I wore a nightgown that had some buttons in the front to make nursing easier; I didn’t want pajama pants because of the c-section.
Computer or Ipad
To look a little refreshed in any pics (we used the hospital photographer).
Shampoo/Conditioner & Bodywash
check this one out if you need a recommendation for a good one.
(if you wear glasses you can just wear those, unless you really want contacts-it’s ok, I did too!)
Hats are usually provided for you at hospital, but if you have any special ones, you may want to bring them. This one is my favorite bay hat. I also got two other hats from the same company and loved them all.
Assorted Candies For Your Nurses:
I kept a plastic bucket in my room full of candy and offered them to each of my nurses–this was a great way of showing appreciation for all the great nursing care and also allowed the nurses on each shift to be able to have some.
If you decide to nurse you may want one when you’re discharged from the hospital.
Your milk may not be in yet. But if you’ve started nursing and your breasts are sore, a comfortable nursing bra is important. I used some like these that were super comfortable.
If you’re nursing, the lactation specialist can come around and provide this; however, the second time around I brought my own so I didn’t have to wait or have them paged.
I had this bag packed the first time around, which included a tennis ball massager, massage lotion and other items used to help during labor (we took a class that gave us ideas ahead of time).
I also included gum, hair ties, hand sanitizer, and a few snacks like apples, almonds, granola bar for my labor coach in case they couldn’t slip out of the room or if food services were closed.
Lastly I included any music/music devices that might help during labor. I ended up having a scheduled c-section the second time so it wasn’t needed then.
Our son was too young to really understand, but I think this is a cute idea to give the siblings a small gift when they visit the new baby for the first time. It’s a great way to make them feel special at a time when everyone is making a big fuss over the new arrival!
Items Not Necessary for your hospital bag:
They give you grip socks in the hospital. I didn’t want to use my own slippers which would be walking all over the hospital floor–to me that’s gross. And you can toss the grip socks when discharged.
Both hospitals where I delivered provided white socks and white shirts for baby and wrapped them in swaddle blankets also provided by hospital.
I brought a few changes of cute clothes anyway because I was too excited to wait until baby came home. I also did this because we had pictures taken in the hospital (a service offered in many hospitals).
The hospital can usually provide you with some if needed; often times milk doesn’t come in for a few days anyway so these probably won’t be needed until you arrive home.
Pads or Underwear:
The hospital provides these for either way you deliver. They give you what I call a hospital birthing “goodie bag.” In it you find things like oversized pads, mesh underwear, and a clear squeeze bottle for rinsing in the shower.
This isn’t necessary if you can fit all of baby’s items in your bag. I wanted to minimize the number of bags we hauled in and out of the hospital.
Diapers, wipes, extra formula, and basically anything baby needs until you get home is likely provided by the hospital.
If you haven’t picked a diaper bag yet, this diaper bag is the one I’ve used with both of my kids and love all the storage compartments.
I packed my bag a few weeks before I was due. Since it was far in advance, I packed as many things into the bag as I could ahead of time.
I also had a list that I kept of last-minute items to add to the bag. This was in case my water broke or in case I needed to hustle to the hospital quickly.
Last Minute List for packing your hospital bag
I didn’t want to have to scramble and grab stuff in a panic and forget something important. We lived right next to the hospital the first time; however, some people need to travel quite a distance to the hospital.
It would be a great inconvenience to have to go back for something you missed. What a great feeling having my hospital bag packed early. While many things are out of your control during this time, it’s calming to get this task accomplished.
Every hospital is different. So it’s good to check or call your doctor or specific facility ahead of time. They can address questions or concerns you have.
Now you can sit back, relax (or try to!) and wait for your little bundle of joy to arrive. Rest easy knowing you’ve packed everything you need for your hospital stay.
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