Expecting a new baby and wondering what to pack in your hospital bag? No worries, I got you! I’ve been through this a few times, ready to go for my third soon, and I’ve learned a lot from my experiences. Definitely get your bag set up around week 36 / 37. You just never know when baby will make their debut. And please note that I breastfed my babies so there are items not listed here that you may need if you plan on formula feeding.
With my first delivery I ended up staying at the hospital for 2 days for recovery. Things were a little complex and they wanted to monitor my pain level. I won’t go into details, but let’s put it this way: I was uncomfortable. In my second delivery I was out before 24 hours were up. It was that smooth. Between both stays I’ve got enough knowledge on what I brought that I used vs what I didn’t need vs what I wish I had brought and I’d like to impart that wisdom on you. I know, real original. There’s an abundance of posts like this. Well, what I’ve noticed from most of those lists is that I’d pick and choose some of the items mentioned and definitely not give a s**t about a lot of them. At the end of the day(s) it becomes one (or more) extra things to lug back out to the car while you’re already sore and tired and just want to get home to your comfort zone. Why make it worse?
So here we are, the lists. I’m going to split this into 3 sections. Things for baby, things for labouring mom, and things for support partner.
Here’s the thing about baby, they spend most of their time at the hospital nearly naked and some of the necessities during your stay will be supplied by the hospital. That’s not to say you don’t bring backups, but you might be okay to leave that whole box of diapers and 6 changes of clothes at home.
- 2-3 burp cloths (you can also use these in a pinch as extra swaddling gear in case the hospital doesn’t supply swaddles – mine always did though)
- A small container of Vaseline (those first few poops from baby are like tar and if you put a little of this on their tush cleanup will go much easier)
- 10 – 20 Newborn and Size 1 diapers (you’re not going to know how big baby is so be prepared)
- 1 pack of diaper wipes
- A hat (it’s a cold, cold world for baby)
- A sterilized soother (maybe you’re not pro-soother but you might want that option just in case)
- Going-home outfits. You’ll want 1 newborn and 1 in 0-3 months because again, you don’t know how big baby will be. PRO TIP: Choose outfits with little feet and flip down hand covers. This way you don’t need to struggle with baby socks / booties or scratch mittens to keep them from mauling their perfect little face
- A cute photo prop (only if you want! because you can’t go back to the hospital the next day to try to get that photo for the ‘gram if you missed that first opportunity). My wooden disc baby announcement was gifted by The Bundle Box and made by Friday Design Co.
Ah yes, you too will spend a decent amount of time nearly nude. However, there are things to bring that will make you feel more comfortable.
- A soft jersey cotton hospital / nursing gown. The hospital may or may not let you birth in this but even just wearing it afterwards will be so nice
- A headband. I like using House of Koopslie headbands because you have the option to wear it really wide or thinner and they are super comfortable, anti-bacterial and moisture wicking
- A scrunchie or hair elastic
- A hairbrush / comb
- A toothbrush and travel toothpaste
- A comfortable nursing bra. Do not torture yourself by wearing one with an underwire – there’s no one to impress where you are. In fact, you might not even end up wearing one at all.
- 1-2 nursing tank tops
- 1 light robe / sweater to cover up
- 1 pair of cozy socks
- 1 pair of maternity leggings or a loose fitting maternity dress to go home in. Do not try to be a hero and get into anything uncomfortable like jeans. Just don’t. Seriously.
- Nipple cream – I cannot stress this enough. If you’re thinking of breastfeeding – get it in advance so you can care for them before something bad happens.
- Nipple shield – Okay y’all this is the tits. Sometimes breastfeeding just isn’t working, and you want to keep going but you and baby really just aren’t having a good go at it. So let me share with you a little known secret – Nipple shields. Pop one of these on for your sessions until you get comfortable / a good routine going and then you can stop using it.
- Nursing pads – Some of us leak, some of us don’t. Sometimes it happens right away or a few weeks in. Just be prepared.
- Phone charger
- Lip balm. This is as close to makeup as you’ll need / have the energy to put on. Don’t bother lugging out the Caboodle.
- Travel shampoo and conditioner
- Travel body wash / soap (unscented – or even better use one meant for baby)
- Big Undies
- Big pads – don’t ask, just trust.
- A water bottle because afterwards and for the near future you are gonna be THIRSTY
There’s not too much they need to bring but a few items are key.
- Snacks. They’re in it for the long haul with you once labour begins (especially in COVID19 times where they aren’t allowed to return if they leave your room) and sustenance will keep them from complaining, which will keep you from wanting to rip their head off. Everyone is happy.
- Phone charger (if their phone is a different make than yours)
- Headphones (in case they want to watch something on their phone but mom and baby are resting… not to use to ignore you.)
So, did I miss something that you’d pack? Tell me in the comments below.
Also be sure to check out my other postpartum post which features items to take care of yourself (and your bits) and baby those first weeks after delivery.