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Ever wonder how to pack your hospital bag for delivery? Or WHAT to pack in your hospital bag for delivery? I just finished packing my hospital bag for the 4th time and after 3 hospital deliveries, I feel pretty good about my ultimate hospital bag checklist!
I’ve had a c-section delivery and then 2 VBAC deliveries, so my hospital stays have ranged from 2-5 days. This list is MOSTLY for vaginal deliveries but every single thing on the list you’ll want as a c-section momma, too.
What to Pack In Your Hospital Bag
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This is my hospital bag must-pack list for moms and babies – I’ve thought of ALLTHETHINGS to make your hospital stay for delivery more comfortable and a little more like home.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Mom
Delivery Gown – ok, this is not a MUST but I’m packing this one this time… it’s way softer than the hospital gowns, has snaps up the back for easy access for hospital staff, and snaps in the front for nursing. The price is great and the fabric is awesome – I bought the dark grey because only dark colors should be allowed during delivery ;). I’m actually excited to wear it!
Fuzzy Socks – my temp is always up & down during labor & post-delivery… having some soft fuzzy socks can help. Plus, you never know if your feet will be too swollen for shoes (it happens!). This pack of 6 is a great deal.
Slide-On Slippers – just in case your feet are super swollen post-delivery, it’s nice to have a slide on slipper without a back so they’ll still (mostly) fit. These are an inexpensive but comfy option.
Slide-On Flip Flops – for the shower situation, if you aren’t into bare feet in any shower that isn’t your own. These are inexpensive with good reviews!
Robe – doesn’t matter how baby exits your body, there are constant checks from doctors and nurses while you’re in the hospital, so a robe with easy access makes it easy for checks. This one has great reviews at a great price.
Comfy Cardigan – for pics and looking decent when there’s family around. This is a great find for a great price and I love a good stretchy modal fabric!
Great Nursing-Friendly PJS – I was super excited to find these! I’ve worn this brand in non-maternity for the past year and the quality rivals Nordstrom but for less than half the price. And these are meant for nursing with a great postpartum waistband.
Going Home Outfit – you’ll want something loose and comfy for going home in. A maxi dress works great in the summer but this time around, I’m packing some comfy leggings with a big tunic to cover my huge pad diaper ;).
Black Leggings / Dark PJ Pants – trust me, you want to wear something dark on the bottom. I’m packing these leggings – they have no compression, just super soft and feel like you’re wearing nothing. You’ll want a tunic top, too.
Tunic Tops – pack a couple blousy, soft, comfy tunics to cover the bump – you’ll still have one 🙂 – and your butt… if you’re wearing leggings, you won’t be walking out in anything seamless :). I’m planning on wearing this tunic to the hospital to deliver, too – maternity-friendly but not maternity. This is another nursing-friendly tunic I have waiting for me postpartum!
Nursing Bras – with my first, I waited to buy nursing bras at the hospital because I wasn’t sure how big my chest would be and I HATED what I got – I personally love these for nursing because they’re comfy, easy to nurse in, and only $20.
Breast Pads – even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, you will leak. Seriously, your breasts will leak colostrum and/or milk and you’ll want these to soak it up before your clothes get all milky. These are the best if you want reusable and these are my favorite if you’re going disposable.
Nipple Cream – if you have a brand you prefer, pack it! The hospital might not have your brand of choice. I used to prefer the Medela lanolin but after Emmy, I discovered APNO – all-purpose nipple ointment. It’s prescription-only but it works INCREDIBLY well because it contains a mix of an antibacterial, an antifungal, and an anti-inflammatory. I’ll be requesting an rX this time around.
Earplugs and/or Eye Mask – with my last baby, we were right by the nurses’ station and it was LOUD all.night.long. You really do need your sleep after having a baby, so try to make it happen, even if it means wearing earplugs or wearing an eye mask. Trust me, the nurses will wake you when the baby needs to be fed.
Heating Pad – there are some – ahem – aches and pains associated with labor. Your hospital probably won’t have a heating pad for you but it would be SO nice to have one for anything that hurts. Of course, ask your doctor before you use anything postpartum :).
Hospital Bag Toiletries List
Toilet Paper – this is the BEST recommendation on this list… trust. Bring a roll or two of the softest, plushest, thickest, most amazing toilet paper you can find. Your bottom half will thank you – hospital TP is not top-of-the-line.
Toothpaste/Toothbrush – obvs!
Travel Sized Shampoo/Conditioner – good to bring your own
Towel from Home – in my experience, the hospital towels aren’t quite home-quality… small & slightly scratchy. BYOT for more shower comfort.
Chapstick / Lip Mask – hospital air = mega dry so pack whatever kind of lip moisturizer you usually use. I recently discovered this and it’s wild how well it works to hydrate.
Lotion and/or Coconut Oil – the dry hospital air = dry skin. You don’t want to be itchy and dry so pack some good moisturizer :).
Deodorant – another ‘duh’ but you’ll want to be fresh AF postpartum. I have made the switch to this natural deodorant – seems especially important while pregnant and nursing – this is my fave.
Hair Goodies – elastics and/or bobby pins, whatever you need to feel comfortable & beautiful.
Vision Stuff – glasses are a good idea, even if you almost always wear contacts.
Hair Straightener / Curling Iron – another ‘optional’ addition here but if you’re doing in-hospital pics, you might want to have whatever you use at home on-hand. Double-check that your hospital has blow dryers or pack a travel-sized :).
Practical + Comfort Stuff
Important Documents – nothing sucks worse than filling out paperwork while you’re having an intense contraction… so do yourself a favor and bring a printed copy of your license, insurance info, and pediatrician’s contact info. Also, be sure to preregister online if your hospital has that option.
Snacks – no need to bring the whole pantry but some decent snack food will save you from a 2 am ‘I’m freaking starving’ situation or being at the mercy of a vending machine (bring some cash/change for that, too). You also don’t know what time of day you’ll actually deliver, so if you have a brand new baby in the middle of the night, the cafeteria or room service likely won’t be an option. Ideas: almonds, pretzels, granola bars, bananas, jerky, etc.
Your Own Pillow – I actually went back & forth on this because I have brought my fave pillow to the hospital during a birth and had it RUINED during delivery – I have no idea how but it wasn’t coming home. BUT bring a good pillow, just don’t have it in bed with you til AFTER delivery. The hospital pillows just aren’t that comfy and you need all the comfort & rest you can get. This is my absolute favorite pillow at home.
Good Blanket – same logic as above… just don’t have it near you until POST delivery. It’s just nice to have some of the comforts of home while you’re in an unfamiliar space after a major life/body transition. This is one of my go-to blankets at home – super inexpensive, soft, and lightweight but cozy.
Water Bottle with a Straw Lid – one that WILL NOT LEAK. Our hospital gives you ginormous handle mugs with a straw but if they tip, they leak. It’s nice to have something that can lay in bed next to you so you don’t even have to sit up to take a drink. This is my go-to bottle with this straw top – they’re sold separately but you gotta get both ;).
Sound Machine – trust me, if you get a room near the nurses station or the elevator, you’ll want some ambient noise to block it out. You also don’t want to hear your neighbor in labor. Bring a sound machine – this is my favorite brand for baby.
LONG phone charger – you don’t get to pick where your bed is in proximity to an outlet so pack a LONG phone charger so you can have your phone on-hand… if you want it ;). But leave it across the room if you don’t!
“Real” Camera – if you have one, now’s the time to bust it out. With an extra battery and/or the charger.
Empty Reusable Bag(s) – bringing one of these… aka my favorite bags of all time. Great for bringing home any gifts you get @ the hospital, dirty clothes, whatever :).
Waterproof Pad – honestly, a decent idea to have a waterproof pad on-hand for the last couple weeks of pregnancy because you never know if/when your water will break. Mine has NEVER broken on its own, but the movies really prep you for a show ;). Keep one of these in the car and put one down on the way to the hospital to prevent any major cleanups. Bonus is that you can use them when babe is a little bigger.
Big Brother/Big Sister Gifts – one of the little tricks we’ve tried with each baby is to give the older siblings a gift ‘from the baby’. My older kids LOVE the gifts ‘the baby’ have given them and it makes the transition just a little bit easier.
Hospital Photo Outfits for Siblings – if you have older children and want pics in the hospital, it’s sometimes easiest to have the siblings’ clothes packed and at the hospital, so that Grandma or whoever is taking care of the kids while you’re in the hospital, there’s no pressure on grabbing the right outfit.
Photo Props – if you’re planning on doing pics in the hospital, bring anything you want shot – heirloom blankets, a special hat, booties, etc.
What to Leave at Home
Laptop – as someone who works from home, I could easily try to take my laptop to catch up on emails or whatever. skip it (if you can) – you’ll be connected via your phone. Worst case, you can always have someone run it up to the hospital if you really want it.
Gifts for Nurses – don’t get me wrong… I 100% get the nurses a gift as a group and then also get something special for any nurses that stand out AFTER the stay is over so I actually know what they will like 🙂 Just a little more personal!
What to Pack in Your Bag for BABY
Foolproof Swaddle – the nurses are EXPERTS at swaddling. I am not. These are my favorite foolproof swaddles – zippers for the win. You only need one OR you can skip it if you just want to have the nurses swaddle while you’re at the hospital. this one has great reviews, too.
Going-Home Outfit – I’ve personally never done anything fancy for a going-home outfit but pack it if you want it!
Footed One-Piece PJ Sleepers – I personally LOVE putting new babies in zippered, EASY, footed one-piece sleepers. I discovered that they make the footed sleepers with REVERSE ZIPS and my mind is blown. Instead of zipping from neck to foot (and having to remove the baby’s arms during diaper changes), they zip from the foot up to the neck, so no taking baby out of his/her clothing during changes. No snaps, no socks to kick off, no pulling babe’s entire body out for a change. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Going Home Blanket – all of my babies have all been wrapped in the same zebra muslin blanket leaving the hospital – it’s one of my favorite ‘sibling traditions’. This set of 4 is gorgeous and neutral so you can use them for bringing home every baby from the hospital.
Newborn Hat – I’m not the biggest fan of the hospital hats but brand new babies need a hat to regulate their body temps so I bring my own. TONS of options out there – these packs of 3 are darling, have amazing reviews, and come in every imaginable color combo.
Infant Car Seat & Base – obviously an essential ;). our hospital makes you show the car seat before you’re allowed to leave… pro tip: don’t bring in the pumpkin seat when you walk in to get admitted (it’s just another bulky, heavy thing to deal with while you’re in labor) – have someone/your significant other bring it in AFTER baby is born and before you go home. It is a good idea to have the base installed before you head to the hospital.
What to Leave at Home
Baby Mittens – NEVER used them, never will – most onesies and sleepers have foldover sleeves which cannot fall off.
Baby Gowns – I’ve literally never used one – I definitely prefer footed sleepers.
Tons of Outfits for Baby – changing a brand new baby’s clothes a million is not easy! They’re still so curled up, it’s tough to change their clothes. No need to pack their whole closet.
Diapers and Wipes – double check your own hospital but mine provides diapers and wipes – and you get to take home what you don’t use, so plan on going home with a few extra goodies ;).