The List: Hospital Bag Essentials

As you come to the realization that labor and delivery are imminently in your future, relax those nerves by packing a fabulous bag for the hospital. Besides packing the essentials that you will need for the hospital, think about what makes you comfortable at home and take into consideration a few luxuries to make this time even more special for you and your growing family. If you are a person who likes to be organized and prepared, this list is for you!

For Mama

Labor Bag (tote bag that can double as your purse)

  • In a double pocket folder, put all of the following documents: Picture IDs for you and your partner, Insurance Card, Completed Hospital Registration Forms and a Birth Plan (if you have one)
  • Phone and charger- use for distractions: music, movies, and pictures
  • Slippers- hospital floors are frigid for those midnight hall walks
  • Lip balm- your lips may get dry during labor
  • Facial wipes- refresh your face throughout labor and after delivery
  • Snacks- if your hospital has a fridge/freezer for your use, pack popsicles or Jell-O, otherwise stick with the ice chips and hard candies
  • Pillow- having your pillow can make the world of difference during labor, delivery, and recovery (if you have a white pillow case, ensure it has some distinguishing design, so it doesn’t get mistaken for one belonging to the hospital)

Hospital Bag- (either large duffel or small wheelie suitcase)

  • Sleepwear 2-3 sets- nightgown with nursing top, maternity pajamas with nursing top from a maternity store or pajama bottoms with a nursing tank (think black for all of the above- you may not stain anything, but you rather save face and have black)
  • Robe- a lightweight black cotton or jersey robe that will look nice over pajamas if you have visitors and make you feel more comfortable
  • Nursing Bra and Nursing Tanks- you will need at least one nursing bra and a few nursing tanks (they make breastfeeding every two hours much easier)
  • Going Home Outfit- I hate to be the bearer of bad news but pack something that you loved wearing around your 6th month of pregnancy (it’s a blow to your ego when the outfit you spent hours mulling over doesn’t fit, and you go home in pajamas or the clothes you came in)
  • Socks- bring a couple of pairs of warm socks as hospitals are cold
  • Underwear- bring twice as much as you think you may need. Pack only briefs or maternity underwear (the underwear will need to be big enough to fit the pads you will most likely be wearing)
  • Flip Flops- use in shower or to wear if your feet are swollen
  • Toiletries- toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face moisturizer, and body lotion
  • Optional Toiletries- dry shampoo, hair dryer, straightener, curler, makeup, toilet paper (the hospital t.p. is noticeably rough), bath towel (can be thin and non-absorbing)
  • Postpartum Necessities- comfortable pads and incontinence underwear (Always Infinity Super and Regular pads & Depend Silhouette are great!)
  • Postpartum Luxuries- Bottom Spray and Nipple Butter from Earth Mama Angel Baby are a natural way to soothe the soreness from perineal stitches, hemorrhoids and aching nipples

For Partner: (duffle bag filled with essentials and the family’s tech)

  • 2-3 Changes of Clothes- think layers and a hoodie in case it’s cold
  • Sleepwear
  • Toiletries
  • Slippers: you want company when walking the halls
  • Tech: phone and charger, camera with charger and extra battery, laptop or tablet with chargers (tech can be great for streaming music, Netflix or video chats with out-of-town parents once your baby comes)
  • Pillow- if it’s in a white pillowcase, make sure it has a design distinguishing it from the hospital pillows
  • Small bills for vending machine
  • Snacks- you may get hungry during labor and in between meals

For Baby: (put into your large duffle or small wheelie suitcase)

  • Safety-Approved Car seat with base already installed if driving home (many local police stations or baby stores will hold car seat installation days)
  • Onesies in NB and 0-3 Months- you never know how big baby will be
  • Going Home Outfit in NB and 0-3 Months- make sure weather appropriate
  • Mittens- put on baby’s hands for scratching as her nails are sharp (wish someone told me this as my son went home with scratches on his face and socks on his hands- we ordered via Amazon from hospital bed)
  • Hats
  • Blanket for departure

Leave at Home:

  • Watch or Bracelets- you most likely will need to take them off for IVs and ID bracelets, and then you are worried where they are or if they will be lost
  • Your skinny jeans- as depressing as this is to hear, you will most likely be the same size as you were at six months pregnant, give or take a month or two