Mom life

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag


I am a chronic over-packer. Whenever I leave the house for a night, I want to make sure that I have everything I might conceivably need in case of any possible occurrence. If I leave the house for one weekend, it looks like I’ve packed enough to last me a week. So you can imagine that when I packed my hospital bag, it looked like I was preparing for the apocalypse. It was so bad that the night guards actually laughed at my husband who was left to bring everything up to the hospital room on his own, while I was bouncing through my contractions on an exercise ball.

I seriously brought ALL this stuff to the hospital.

Now that I’ve actually been through labor, here is what and how I would pack my hospital bag. I would suggest creating a list of items that you can’t pack until just before you leave, like your toiletries, and putting the list in your bag. That way, in the midst of labor, you or you husband can easily check-off the last-minute items without forgetting anything. You will want your things to be well organized, so you can easily instruct people where to find them. It’s going to be your husband getting everything out for you.

Keep in mind that I had a natural labor and am a breastfeeding mother. If you plan to bottle feed, have a c-section, etc, your hospital bag may look a little different.

In an easily accessible folder:

  • Birth plan
  • ID & insurance card
  • Pediatrician info
  • Any documents you may need regarding birth certificates, allergies, medications, etc.
  • List of people for husband to contact about labor/baby’s arrival

In a small bag, for use during labor:

  • Snacks
  • Gatorade (I went through two six-packs.)
  • Objects you want to help ease labor – hot rice sock, massage tool, oil diffuser, etc
  • Focal point – encouraging messages, sonogram picture, baby’s booties, etc.
  • Sports type nursing bra to wear throughout labor
  • Lip balm (Buy lip balm that won’t roll away when you set it down.)
  • Headband/bobby pins, or anything to keep your hair back

In a suitcase, for after labor:

  • Nipple cream
  • Breast pads
  • Nursing bra (You want a clean fresh bra to change in to after labor.)
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing cover (If you feel comfortable nursing in front of visitors or kicking people out of your room when you need to nurse, that would be my first suggestion, but if not, bring a nursing cover.)
  • Breast pump and accessories (This is so you can make sure you have the correct size shields and review how to properly use the pump with the lactation consultant.)
  • Knee-length, jersey knit bathrobe (This is all you’ll be wearing until you leave the hospital. Trust me, you’re not going to be up and walking around when family is visiting. You want something with instant access to your boobs and abdomen. I also preferred mine knee length so when I had to waddle to the bathroom, I wasn’t exposed to the world.)
  • Nursing cami (This is only if you don’t feel comfortable wearing only a bra underneath your bathrobe.)
  • Maxi dress or maxi skirt and top, to wear when you leave the hospital
  • Socks (Notice I did not list underwear.)
  • Flip flops for the shower
  • Belly band (Vanity? Maybe. But after nine months of changing your center of gravity and learning to breath with a human invading your lungs, this helps you feel more “together.” You’ll understand when you stand up for the first time after labor.)
  • Towel
  • Toiletries
  • Hair brush
  • Headband (So you can rock that wet hair and messy bun.)
  • Lotion
  • Basic makeup (I’m talking mascara-and-tinted-lip-balm level basic.)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Pillows (Hospital pillows are the worst.)

In the same suitcase, for Husband:

  • Change of clothes
  • Sweatpants & sweatshirt
  • Slippers
  • Socks and underwear
  • Swimsuit (We used a tub during my labor. You don’t need this otherwise.)
  • Towel
  • Camera and charger
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Flip flops
  • Toiletries

In your suitcase, for baby (or pack it in that new diaper bag I know you’ve been dying to use)

  • Coming home outfit
  • Hat/headband, for all those baby pictures you’ll be taking
  • Car seat
  • Car seat cover (Only if you are having a winter baby.)
  • Nail file/nail clippers
  • Baby lotion

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