If you’re reading this now, it’s probably crunch time! You’re getting to that point in pregnancy where you’re thinking, sh*t’s getting real.
It definitely is! You’re about to have that little baby in your arms so soon and I’m sure there are still a million things on your to-do list.
I am currently getting ready to pack a hospital bag myself for baby number 2! So I’m going through my list of what was necessary to have for my first birth, as well as things that I could have done without.
I’ll share with you some must-haves, optional items, and things you should just leave at home.
5 Tips for Packing Your Hospital Bag
Follow these tips and you’ll be well-prepared for your hospital or birthing center stay.
1. Think of what you’ll need through each stage of your hospital stay
When you’re packing your hospital delivery bag, make sure you’re thinking about labor, delivery, AND postpartum. Some women tend to forget about one of those stages and you need different items for all of it.
For labor and delivery, you’ll need all of the items that will help you birth whether you’ve decided on a natural delivery (non-medicated) or getting an epidural.
For postpartum, it’s all about comfort for mama and what you’ll need to feed and clothe the baby. Although the hospital will provide a lot of items for your recovery and many medical-related products, you still want to be prepared.
2. Get it done early
Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your hospital bag because you never know when nature is going to call. You don’t want to be frantically throwing items into a bag while you’re having contractions.
Keep your bag in the car by at least 36 weeks (just in case). There are a lot of overwhelming stresses that have to do with pregnancy and childbirth so get this out of the way early so it’s not one of them.
For my first baby, I went into labor 6 days early and I was 2 weeks early with my second! I’m glad I was prepared early on, so that was one less thing I had to worry about while frantically being hit with early labor pains!
3. Bring a rolling suitcase
If you have a rolling suitcase, bring that in case you end up heading there by yourself and can’t carry a heavy bag.
That’s exactly what happened to me when my water broke at home and my husband was over 2 hours away! I drove myself (safely, because I wasn’t in any pain) to the hospital and checked in with just my suitcase and a prayer.
The nurses did have a little chuckle at my huge rolling suitcase like I was checking into the Four Seasons for a week, but I knew I was ready!
Don’t try to cram everything into a little duffel bag because it just won’t fit all of your needs.
4. Better to be overprepared than underprepared
I’ve read so many blog posts of women saying that there are so many ‘necessities’ that you end up not needing. I think that it’s better to have everything you may need, rather than missing one item that you wish you had.
I know it may seem a little crazy to bring a whole suitcase, but you will be spending 2 or 3 nights there. You never know what you could need.
You’re packing before the baby comes so it’s not an inconvenience to throw a few extra items into your bag when you’re unsure. The worst that will happen is that you’ll be unpacking when your newborn is at home.
5. Don’t forget about packing for your partner and baby
If your partner will be staying there with you for 2-3 days, he will need most of the same items that you will.
So, pack him a small separate bag or stuff his belongings in yours if there is room. Of course, he could always go home if you live close by, but it’s just better to be prepared.
I didn’t want my husband leaving my side after the baby was born- not even for 30 minutes!
Also, I’m sure you’ve already thought about what your baby will be wearing those days – #allthenewbornphotos. The hospital will have most supplies for the
Related Post: Essentials for your Postpartum Recovery Kit
Items to pack in your hospital delivery bag
Like I stated before, I’m an
Here is a list of my absolute necessities, as well as some optional things too.
For mom (18 Items):
For you AND your partner. This w
Hospital food is not very appetizing and you will be starving, especially if you can’t eat for many hours during labor. Pack a few non-perishable snacks of choice (granola bars, crackers, goldfish) in-between meals or as a replacement.
There are typically vending machines and a cafeteria, but at least you know that you’ll have something you will enjoy.
If you’re there for 2-3 days,
2. Hair Ties or Headbands
Anything that is best to hold your hair back during childbirth.
Labor is hard work and you can burn up to 50,000 calories during childbirth! Make sure your hair is out of your way because you will get sweaty.
3. Small, Portable Fan
You will probably get really hot and this may help cool you off during labor. This clip-on mini fan can affix itself to most surfaces and can also be used as a stroller fan once
Use the hospital gown during labor and delivery because you don’t want to get your nice robes messy. You WILL get messy during childbirth from all of the bodily fluids during this process.
Once you’re all showered and clean, put on a comfortable robe and feel free to live in that throughout your whole hospital stay (and the first week home too)!
Robes are the easiest and most convenient garment to wear for nursing your baby and during the postpartum period.
You won’t want anything tight around your belly because you will probably be sore.
It’s nice to get a pretty floral one for photo ops, but anything you have will do. Pink Blush Maternity has a large selection of robes and they’re beautiful quality.
5. Flip Flops or Slippers
Whichever you are comfortable walking the halls with. Waterproof flip-flops are also great for the shower.
6. Socks and a Sweater
They usually keep the hospital rooms cold, so once you’re finally in relaxation mode, bring some items to keep you warm.
7. Nursing Bras & Nursing Tank Tops
For easy accessibility to your breasts while you’re nursing (which you will be doing a lot of in the hospital). I love this Kindred Bravely Nursing Bra, the material is so soft and comfy for sleeping and everyday wear.
The Gilligan & O Malley Nursing Bras from Target are also great for when you need a nursing bra to wear with work clothes (or anything besides your lounge clothes around the house). They also don’t have underwire wish is a plus!
Nursing tanks are great to wear under other garments and are very convenient when you’re nursing.
8. Comfortable underwear that you don’t mind ruining
The hospital will give you mesh underwear for immediately after delivery and you will probably want to wear those for a day or 2. After the soreness subsides a bit, you’ll want to get back in real underwear.
These briefs are so soft and comfy- you won’t even want to take them off.
Related Post: 35 Truths About Childbirth that Every Mom Should Hear
9. Nursing Pillow
My Breast Friend is my favorite nursing pillow, by far! It straps right under your breasts so you can maintain proper posture and not hurt your back while nursing).
It makes the transition to breastfeeding a lot easier with the added support from a sturdy pillow. You’ll need this from when you start nursing in the hospital to get you and your baby in a comfortable position during
10. Nursing Aids
Pack anything you have to help with sore and cracked nipples.
Check out my other post on Postpartum Survival Kit for more ideas of things to stock up on for post-delivery issues.
11. Phone Charger
The essentials- shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, hair brush/comb, makeup bag.
Pack these for you AND your partner. If your partner is planning on staying with you, remember he will need to shower and freshen up as well.
13. Bathing towel
That first shower after birth is nothing like you can ever imagine! Washing all the sweat and fluids off of you is
However, when you’re finished, the hospital towels are rough and
14. Hair dryer, curling iron, hair straightener
It might be the furthest thing from your mind after you deliver, but if you’re the type of person who wants to look nice for visitors and photos, don’t forget these valuables.
Most hospitals aren’t like hotels and are not equipped with hairdryers if you plan to make yourself look presentable.
15. Pillow & blanket
Hospital beds are not comfortable whatsoever so if you can bring your own pillow & blanket from home that you feel comfortable with- do that.
Also, remember your partner! If he is sleeping there on the uncomfortable chair/couches, bring some for him, as well.
16. Comfortable/lounging clothes for going home in
Remember you will still look 6 months pregnant when you go home from the hospital, so pack things to wear that are not tight around your belly or hips. Here are some great ideas for postpartum clothing items to pack after delivery.
17. Extra plastic bag for dirty laundry
18. Extra bag for supplies you will take from the hospital
1. Newborn &
3 month onesies and zip-up one piece sleepers
The hospital will have little shirts for the baby and they really just need to wear that and a diaper and be wrapped in a blanket. However, If you’d like to make your baby more comfortable (and look better for photos), bring your own.
Both sizes should be good in case you have a very large baby, but most will fit into newborn clothes for at least the first few days.
I love these
2. Coming home outfit
Depending on the season, dress your baby appropriately. Even newborns should be dressed as you would be dressed so don’t over or under bundle them.
Most hospitals will not provide these so make sure you have one on hand if needed.
Again, the hospital has blankets, but for your own photo ops, bring your own. Seasonally, muslin is good for warmer months and nice cozy warm blankets for cooler months.
5. Mittens & Hats
Their nails will be sharp from day one so bring a pair of mittens so they don’t scratch themselves.
I love the velcro swaddles by SwaddleMe. They really keep the baby in tight so they can’t break free.
Items that the hospital will supply (so take as much as you can)
Everything else you may need, the hospital should provide. Don’t lug all this extra stuff there and take as much of it home with you as you can!
For baby: Diapers, bottles & formula (if you need), wipes, onesies/shirts, blankets, bathing stuff, burp cloths
For you: Pain relievers, stool softeners, vaginal and hemorrhoidal creams, mattress pads, mesh underwear, Tucks pads, maxi pads, sitz bath, spray bottles –
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