When I was pregnant with my oldest and started approaching the time when I needed to start packing my hospital bag, I read every list and article I could find so that I had the perfectly packed bag! Actually, I had three… one for labor and delivery, one for after labor and delivery, and one for baby (it was just the diaper bag). It was my first time and everything I read made it seem like you just had to pack all these items. Well, I’m here to tell you, you don’t. At least I didn’t need it all.
I ended up needing an emergency C-section so I was in the hospital for a total of 4 days, 3 nights and I did not need every item that’s on most hospital bag checklists. It’s too much stuff and just makes your hospital room cluttered.
Now that I’m packing my hospital bag for baby #2, I have a much better idea of what I actually want and need.
I will say, I think a lot of these items are dependent on what the hospital provides for you. The hospital I delivered at provided me with things like pads, those lovely mesh panties, baby hats (we received two), diapers and wipes, baby blanket, baby top, etc. I would highly suggest checking with your hospital about what they will provide so that you can skip those items. I’d also ask if it’s something you could maybe opt out of if it saves you money. Some hospitals will let you bring your own diapers and wipes and then not charge you for theirs, but others won’t do that. Every little bit helps!
So here’s my hospital bag checklist.
Mommy’s Laboring Bag:
- Clothing of your choice
- Bathrobe – This is a must in my opinion. Not only will it cover up your backside while walking around, it will also make you feel more at home.
- Something for your feet. My choice; cheap flip flops –
- Unlike my slippers, these can easily be washed then tossed out once you go home. Or kept if you want to keep them. If you want slippers, socks, or flip flops, it’s totally up to you. I brought all three items (and extra socks), but next time I’m only bringing flip flops and maybe slippers for after delivery.
- I skipped purchasing my own birthing robe because quite honestly I didn’t want to spend money on a piece of clothing that would get messy and I’d probably never wear again. I had no problem wearing the hospital gowns. Although, I did always ask for a regular hospital gown instead of the nursing-friendly ones because I always felt exposed and uncomfortable. I just unbuttoned the shoulder part of the regular gown and was totally fine.
- Nursing bra – Wear this to the hospital. It will help you feel covered up and not so naked. Also, once the baby is born, you’re not just hanging out for all to see. I will also mention that your nipples are going to be very tender and maybe even a little sore while you and baby learn how to breastfeed, so having a nursing bra between you and whatever you’re wearing will be most comfortable.
- Underwear – You’ll most likely be rockin’ the mesh panties with the mattress-sized pads at least for the duration of your hospital stay, but if you want to bring your own panties, feel free. I brought my own undies and pads and never used them. Actually, I may have worn actual underwear the last day I was in the hospital… Can’t remember to be honest. I am packing some in my bag this time around, too, though.
- Chapstick – Your lips and mouth get dry.
- Hair accessories – Hair ties, clips, bobby pins, hairbrush, etc. You don’t want your hair in your face. You want it out of the way.
- Toiletries – The norm; toothbrush, toothpaste, any shampoos/conditioners, body wash, etc.
- Eyeglasses, contacts, etc. – Make sure this is all packed in your labor bag if you need them. Don’t forget the eyeglass/contacts cases and contact solution!
- Face wash – Seriously, you’re gonna wanna wash your face! I’m packing those little face towelettes this time around, though, because the first night in the hospital I couldn’t get out of bed.
- Something to keep you entertained – A book, music, etc. Something to help pass the time and take your mind off the contractions. I listened to Christian teachings on YouTube from our pastor. My daughter loved hearing our pastor peach even in the womb so it was calming for both of us.
- Wallet/ID and insurance card – Unless your hospital does pre-admission and you don’t go into labor before then, you’ll need ID and your insurance card. I brought my wallet with ID and insurance card and never needed it since I had done the pre-admission appointment prior to going into labor.
- Electronics – Camera, phone, video camera, etc.
- Don’t forget batteries and/or chargers!
- Pillow – I personally did not bring my own pillow from home, but you may want to bring yours.
- Cash and change – I packed a zip-lock bag of cash and change just in case hubby needed to run to the cafe or vending machine. We didn’t end up using this either.
- Snacks – I packed a couple little snacks for my hubby (I wasn’t allowed to eat anything solid once I was admitted). For future births, I think I’ll pack more snacks for after the baby is born so that we have stuff laying around the room. Our family always offered to bring us food, and my mother-in-law packed us some snacks like cookies and bananas and brought them to us when she came to the hospital. And I know we could have asked any one of our family members to bring something and they would have done it. We are very blessed with amazing family who all live nearby!
- Whatever else you want – Some women want to bring a birthing ball, essential oils, lotions, etc. I didn’t. It’s your birth so think about the things you may want with you and for the birth of your child.
- Clothing – Even though the hospital I delivered at provided blankets and little tops, we put baby in little footed sleepers we bought.
- Footed sleeper with mittens – For real, this is my favorite piece of baby clothing! Footies so baby’s feet stay warm and built in mittens that won’t fall off your baby’s hands. I would say bring 4-6 little outfits of some kind so that no matter how long your stay, you’ll be covered. We ended up having an unplanned C-section, so our stay was two days longer than we anticipated.
- Swaddling blanket or sleep sack – Our hospital provided us with a sleep sack and we ended up using it more than blankets or the sleep sacks we brought. Our hospital gives us a Halo sleepsack and they were my favorite swaddle/sleepsack!
- Hats – Once again, our hospital provided us with two hats; the standard hat they give all babies, but then we also got to pick out a special little hat that volunteers make for all the babies.
- Going home outfit – Even though we didn’t know the gender of our baby beforehand, we went out and bought one outfit for a girl and one for a boy to take with us to the hospital so that we could put baby in a cute, special little outfit to go home in. We returned the one we didn’t use. We’re planning on doing the same with this baby, too.
- Diapers and wipes – Our hospital also provided diapers and wipes, but if you want to bring your own, you’re obviously more than welcome to do so.
- Boppy pillow – I packed the boppy and it stayed in the car the entire time. I personally didn’t breastfeed with a boppy much, though.
- Car seat – You’re probably laughing at me right now thinking, “duh! Who would forget the car seat?!” Well, I know people who have forgotten the car seat in a mad dash to the hospital. Although, I’d encourage you to just leave it in your car.
- Baby book – I did not pack this item, but didn’t really need to.
Mommy’s bag for after labor and delivery:
- Clothing – I personally ended up staying in the hospital gown and hospital socks the hospital provided the entire time I was in the hospital. I really didn’t mind. I had packed nursing tanks, nursing sleepwear, sweatpants, casual wear, sweater/cardigan, etc., but never wore any of it. I literally stayed in the hospital gowns and a nursing bra the entire time. I will pack these items this time around, too, though, because I’m hoping to have a VBAC.
- Going home outfit – I packed a couple different outfit choices just in case I didn’t feel good in one, or it was too hot/cold for one, etc. I’d encourage you to pack either very loose clothing, or maternity clothes because you’ll still look about 5 months pregnant. Plus, you’ll wanna be comfy. I thought for sure I’d curl my hair, wear the cutest outfit… Nope! Just leave that to Kate Middleton. I opted for a comfy loose top and lounge pants. Also, if you have a C-section, you’ll want pants that are really loose so they do not rub against the incision.
- Nursing bras – You’ll probably want to pack extra bras.
- Breastfeeding stuff – Nipple creams, nursing pads, etc.
- Sanitary items – Our hospital provided pads and mesh panties for me, but you may want to bring your own. I packed ’em and never used them until I got home from the hospital. You may even opt for adult diapers if you prefer.
- Bathrobe – You may want to think about bringing a second bathrobe just in case the first one gets dirty during labor.
- Makeup and hair tools – I used my makeup, but never bothered to do my hair. When I showered – and what a glorious thing that was – I washed my hair and just put it in a braid.
Well, I think that about sums it up! Keep in mind, I did have a C-section, so had I delivered vaginally, I may have a slightly different list. Also, if you live near the hospital, you can always send hubby or someone else to run out and get something you may have forgotten or needed.
Let me know if you’d like to know what specific items/brands I bought and loved! I’d be happy to share with you 🙂