Packing a hospital bag is exciting, but can be a little overwhelming. Where to start? Think of it like packing for a weekend vacation, plus bringing along a few extra items. A large tote bag or small suitcase works fine. I like to use a carry-on suitcase with wheels, because it’s more convenient for my husband to help support me and easily wheel it behind him instead of having to also carry a heavy bag. Pack your bag about 3 weeks from your due date, and you’ll be ready when those first few contractions start.
If the hospital allows it, snacks are nice to keep on hand to munch on during labor, to keep your energy up while waiting for baby. Your partner might want some too. After delivery, food is essential. I am always starving after all that hard work and depending on the time of day, the cafeteria might be closed. Keep a few substantial protein-filled snacks on hand.
- Birth plan: Keep a few extra copies of your birth plan in your bag for nurses and doctors, especially in case of a shift change.
- Birth Affirmations: words, quotes or phrases you’ve written down to encourage and empower you throughout labor.
My first two deliveries were so unexpected we only had flip phone photos. So sad! Keep these electronics on hand and accessible, because anything can happen!
- Phones and chargers
- Ear phones if you plan on listening to a playlist or birth affirmations (wireless noise cancelling ones can be worth the investment)
- Portable speaker
- Laptop and charger
- Camera, extra memory card, and extra battery charger
Clothes to bring to hospital birth
- Robe: Hospital gowns are nice to wear the first day or so, as you are leaking and bleeding, and getting used to postpartum recovery. You don’t have to worry about getting your own nice clothes dirty. However, it’s nice to slip on a robe if you need to walk to the bathroom or around the halls, since they are not too modest in the back. This one is short and SO soft!
- Sleeping/nursing bra: Although your milk will most likely come in in about 3-4 days, your breasts can still feel tender and engorged, especially as you are nursing often. It sometimes feels nice to have some support rather than nothing at all. Make sure you bring something soft, breathable, and comfortable.
- Socks: Hospitals can be cold, and it’s also nice to have some cozy socks to help you feel more at home.
- Slippers: Merely a comfort item for walking around the room and for trips to the bathroom.
- PostPartum Band: I have heard people swear by these, as they help support your weakened core muscles after birth and help you get back to pre pregnancy size sooner. It also can help with diastasis recti (the separation of abdominal muscles during pregnancy) as it encourages the core muscles to come back together.
- Loungewear: Comfortable, loose pants are best. Maternity leggings are a great option too.
- Sweater: Hospitals can get cold and you generally don’t have control of the temperature. This one is SO comfy, nursing friendly and comes in tons of colors.
- Large, comfortable underwear you don’t mind getting bloody
- Your own hospital gown (optional): Advantages—you feel cute, you know it is clean and fresh. Disadvantages—you might get blood or bodily fluids on it. This is a great option!
- Coming home outfit for mama: choose something extremely comfortable. Stay away from tights or skinny jeans, especially since you’ll be wearing large pads and underwear. Stick to a simple nursing-friendly maxi dress or lounge pants.
Toiletries for Hospital Birth
- Hair supplies: It’s so nice to get that first shower after delivery. If you can, skip the hair washing and use some dry shampoo to save time.
- Hair tie or clips
- Lotion or moisturizer
- Makeup: You will be basking in the glow of meeting your baby and women look like goddesses after giving birth! If you feel comfortable with some makeup on, by all means pack your favorite items!
- Hand mirror: In case you want to have someone hold it so you can watch as your baby is being born!
- Make-up removing wipes: These are golden to keep on hand when you want a fresh face but are holding the baby, nursing, or just too dang tired to get up.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Nipple cream: some hospitals provide this, but if you have a brand you prefer, or your own for home, bring some to apply. We love this nipple balm and this lanolin option.
- Cold gel packs: These can really help in those first few days when your nipples feel raw and sore as they are getting accustomed to breastfeeding. They also help with engorgement.
- iPad for watching Netflix if you end up waiting around a lot
- Nursing pillow: You may stack a few pillows on top of each other to assist in nursing, but if you’d rather bring a boppy or my breast friend, feel free.
- Wipes: many hospitals these days do not have wipes available, either because they irritate baby’s skin or because they are trying to cut costs. I’ve heard both reasons. Bring some unscented and sensitive skin brands just in case.
- Binky: hospitals tend to use soothies and if your baby doesn’t like them that could be frustrating. I like this one and this one for newborns far more than soothies.
- Coming home outfit: Bring two in case the baby has a blowout. Make sure they are comfy and soft and have the hand covers to keep him from scratching himself. I love these gowns. Include socks (or stay-on booties) and beanies to keep him nice and warm.
- Blankets: bring a swaddling blanket so you can practice swaddling with the nurses, and a medium weight blanket to spread on him in the car seat for the ride home.
This post was written by Austyn Smith.