Preparing to have a baby is such an exciting time, but the preparation for a new baby can also be very stressful. One of the things I really stressed about during my first pregnancy was what to pack in my hospital bag for labor and delivery.
Figuring out what I needed to bring with me was really intimidating. I had no clue what the hospital would provide, what a baby actually needed or what I would need during labor and postpartum.
So of course, I brought everything and I ended up not using most of it.
UPDATE: I’VE CREATED A FREE PRINTABLE CHECKLIST SO YOU CAN EASILY KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU NEED TO PACK. LINK IS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.
What you really need to have with you is mostly based on personal preference but there are definitely basics that all women should pack in their maternity hospital bag.
I’m going to start this list off with the basic hospital bag necessities and then I will expand the list for all the extras that you might want there, but don’t necessarily have to have.
Essential Items for Mom
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- Wallet: Don’t forget to bring your ID and insurance card with you.
- Lip Balm: I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty addicted to lip balm. I need one in my car, in the kitchen and next to my bed. I could not survive a hospital stay without some. Your lips will get dry, so make sure to pack a tube. This is my favorite because I love peppermint!
- Hair Ties: I can’t stand having my hair in my face. I can’t imagine giving birth with my hair down.
- Phone and charger
- Snacks: Because you can’t eat during labor, you are going to be very hungry when you get to the recovery room. Chances are the cafeteria will be closed already or you just don’t want cafeteria food. Make sure to have some of your favorite crackers and granola bars packed.
- Slippers with hard soles: You don’t want to be walking around the hospital in your bare feet. My go-to slippers are my UGGS. They have hard soles that will support your feet and they last a long time.
- Loungewear for going home: To save on space I just wore the same thing going home that I did going in.
- Granny Panties: If you don’t normally wear big undies, you need to buy a pack before you go into labor. This will definitely help you be more comfortable and help keep your giant pad in place. You will typically be given mesh undies in the hospital but you’ll want your granny panties to go home in.
- A comfortable Sleep Nursing Bra: Your milk most likely won’t come in until after you’re already home, but you should still bring a nursing bra with you. You’ll need the support plus it really helps with sensitive nipples if you’re nursing. The feeling of the nightgown brushing over my sore nipples sucked. I brought the bra with me my second time around and it made such a huge difference. The Medela Nursing Bra for Sleep was my favorite.
- Basic Toiletries: Face wash, brush, and toothbrush/toothpaste.
- Deodorant: You will be surprised at how much you sweat-you’ll be glad you brought this.
Newborn Essentials for the Hospital Stay
You will not need to bring much for the baby. The hospital will provide you with diapers, wipes, a onesie, a hat, blankets, and formula if you need it. But there are still a few essentials you’ll need to pack.
- Going home outfit: I always just preferred to keep it easy and super comfortable for baby and just bring a onesie and PJs. These pajamas from Carter’s are my favorite.
- Pacifier: If you plan to use one I recommend bringing your own. A lot of hospitals do not believe in them for the first month, so you will not be provided with one. This was a big shock to me when my first was born and I spent a very uncomfortable night with him using my boob as comfort. **Unsolicited advice: don’t let the nurses intimidate you into not using one. If you want to use it stand your ground. It’s your choice, not theirs.
- A Boppy: I didn’t bring this with me the first time I gave birth, but you better believe I took it with me the next two times! This will make holding and feeding your baby so much more comfortable.
- Infant Seat: You won’t be able to leave the hospital without one. I found it easiest to get the base properly installed when I was about 38 weeks. That way it was taken care of and I didn’t have to worry about my husband attempting to do it.
Extras you May Want to Bring with You
- Make-up, a hairdryer, and hair straightener: I brought all these items my first time and never used them. After that, I kept it simple. But if you feel like you’ll want to do your makeup and hair, definitely bring it with you.
- Toiletries for a shower: If your hospital room has a shower, you may want to take one. I never felt well enough or cared enough to take one while I was there, but a lot of women want to. I’d also bring a pair of cheap flip flops for the shower just to be safe:)
- Ipad: This is actually something that is great for your partner while you’re in labor. Make sure to load movies onto it before you go to the hospital so you don’t have to rely on hospital WIFI. You can also use this for your stay to help pass the time. Hospitals usually don’t have very many TV stations to choose from.
- Your own nightgown: You need to make sure it’s still accessible enough for the nurses who will be checking on you constantly, and easy for nursing. I would recommend a button-down gown or a nursing nightgown like this one.
- Your own blanket: If you’re worried about being comfortable or cold bring your own blanket.
- A White Noise Machine: Hospitals can be loud places, so this could be really helpful so you can get some sleep.
- A Robe: If you plan on walking around at all, you may want to bring your robe. It would also be nice to keep you warm in bed.
- A custom shirt for baby: Custom shirts are so sweet and look adorable in pictures. The one pictured below is from my favorite Etsy seller! She’s easy to work with, plus if you don’t see exactly what you want, just send her a message and she’ll do her best to accommodate you.
- A cute hat or bow for baby to wear. You will be provided the basic hat in the hospital, but you may want something cuter for pics.
- A special blanket for baby: You may want to use your own swaddling blankets or just have them with you for pictures.
While you’re packing your maternity bag for the hospital, it’s important to really think about the item and if you’re really going to use it. You don’t want to pack a bunch of stuff that you aren’t going to use. Unpacking and putting away a bunch of stuff you didn’t even use isn’t any fun.
I hope this mom and baby hospital bag checklist has been helpful for you! Congratulations and good luck!
P.S. If you are preparing for your little one’s arrival, I highly recommend all new moms to be prepare freezer meals for those days you’re too tired to cook.