My hospital bag for labor (what I brought vs. what I needed)

When I was packing for the hospital, I did some research online, in books, and turned to some friends for advice.

For the most part, it was a very helpful exercise, but I also ended up bringing a lot of things that I didn’t need.  And I definitely heard comments about it from my dear husband as we were rushing out the door. 😉

Despite the fact that my bag was practically bursting at the seams, there were still one or two things that I wished I had with me.

 

What I brought

Clothing

Slippers
Warm socks
Bath robe
Sneakers (I wore these to the hospital.)
Night shirt
Flannel pajama bottoms
T-shirt
Coming home outfit
Several pairs of “grandma” underwear from Wal-mart
Clothes for MT (since he stayed at the hospital with me)

 

Toiletries

Shampoo & conditioner sample pack
Dry shampoo
Comb
Hair dryer
Hair ties/headband
Bobby pins
Vaseline
Face wash and moisturizer
Makeup (mascara, tinted moisturizer, and blush)
Cocoa butter
Loofah
Travel sized body wash
Deodorant
Travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste
Sanitary napkins

 

Food/snacks/beverages

Larabars
KIND bars
Hard candy
Gluten-free yogurt-covered pretzels for MT
Wine/bottle opener

 

Baby items

Coming home outfit (which came with a hat)
Receiving blanket

 

Entertainment

DVD (Father of the Bride Part II)
Kindle
Laptop
iPhone
iPad (for the hubby)
Book on baby care
iPhone charger
Laptop charger

 

Miscellaneous

Hospital binder (per my doctor’s instructions)
Birth plan (two copies)
Heating pad
Michael’s baby book
Hand sanitizer

 

Looking back, I definitely could have packed more lightly, but since it was my first time having a baby, I didn’t really know what I’d need ahead of time.

Here’s the same list again, but the things that weren’t necessary are crossed off along with an explanation of why I needed/didn’t need certain things.

 

What I needed

Clothing

Slippers (The socks were more than enough)
Warm socks
Bath robe (It was too hot to wear one, and it would have gotten ruined anyway with the residual bleeding)
Sneakers
Night shirt (So glad that I packed this!)
Flannel pajama bottoms
Over-sized t-shirt
Coming home outfit
Several pairs of “grandma” underwear from Wal-mart (Didn’t need these until I got home because the hospital provided some.)
Clothes for MT (since he stayed at the hospital with me)

 

Toiletries

Shampoo & conditioner sample pack (I never washed my hair.  I just threw it up in a bun and called it a day.)
Dry shampoo (very useful)
Comb
Hair dryer
Hair ties/headband
Bobby pins
Vaseline
Face wash and moisturizer
Makeup (mascara, tinted moisturizer, and blush)
Cocoa butter
Loofah (There were wash cloths in my bathroom.)
Travel sized body wash (I used my own, but the hospital provided soap.)
Deodorant
Travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste
Sanitary napkins (The hospital provides an endless supply.)

 

Food/snacks/beverages

Larabars (I was cool with the hospital food and never needed my own snacks.)
KIND bars (same as above)
Hard candy (These were so great to have handy because my throat got super dry.)
Gluten-free yogurt-covered pretzels for MT
Wine/bottle opener (an obvious necessity ;))

 

Baby items

Coming home outfit (which came with a hat)
Receiving blanket

(We obviously had a car seat too.)

 

Entertainment

DVD (Father of the Bride Part II) (Between visitors, constant check-ins from hospital staff, trying to get some sleep, and taking care of a newborn for the first time, watching a movie was not on my radar.)
Kindle
Laptop
iPhone
Book on baby care (I consulted with my doctor and nurses instead being that I had 24-hour access to them.)
iPhone charger
Laptop charger

 

Miscellaneous

Hospital binder (The nurses at my OB’s office insisted that I’d need this, but all it did was take up valuable real estate in my suitcase.)
Birth plan (Very useful)
Heating pad
Michael’s baby book   (The nurses gave me a paper with his footprints and some other keepsakes.  I just added them to the book when I got home.)
Hand sanitizer (This was great to have since it wasn’t always so easy to get out of bed to wash my hands.)

 

What I could have used

An extra little bag for all of the diapers and sanitary supplies the hospital gives you to take home
Pacifiers

 

If you’re an expectant mother, I hope that this list was helpful to you.  I’m curious to hear if other moms have anything to add to the list as well, so feel free to chime in! 🙂  Oh and if you liked this post, be sure to visit my spin-off mommy blog The Mini Skirt!

Happy Wednesday!

erin

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36 Comments

  1. You were prepared, which is better than not being prepared. What a great list – thanks for sharing! I remember bringing my nephew home and besides him and mama there was a haul of products to get to the car – at least his car seat was already installed. Happy Hump Day:)

  2. Jenni

    i also took my breast feeding pillow and my camera!! this time i will take my dslr camera and my ipad. also comfort things like a favorite blanket.

    • Great additions! We were on the fence about the DSLR, but we ended up just using our phones to take pictures. My dad came with his good camera and took lots of nice photos for us. iPads are great. My husband would have been bored to tears without his!

  3. I’m curious to know why a wine/ bottle opener…. I didn’t know we could drink after baby in hospital? Lol ill turn 21 during pregnancy so that would be nice if it was allowed!

    • Haha. We were allowed to drink wine! 🙂 I didn’t breastfeed though, so that made things easier. I also have quite a few friends who popped open a bottle after labor as well. After 9 months alcohol free, I could only handle a tiny bit though! Congrats on your pregnancy! 🙂

  4. I’m a first time mom, due in January – thank you so much for the follow up on what you actually used compared to what you brought! I’m normally an over-packer so I’m dreading putting together my hospital bag!

  5. I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant so this was EXTREMELY helpful because I felt like I was overpacking like crazy! This definitely made me rethink most things in my bags! Thanks so much!

  6. One thing I have already put in my bag for baby number 2 is chapstick/lip balm. My lips were so dry the whole time I was in the hospital with number 1. I also forgot to pack the little mittens for my baby. I sent my mom out to get some because his nails were like razor blades. Those, too, are already in number two’s diaper bag.

  7. Stephanie

    I came across your list on Pinterest. I am due at the end of November and have been dreading packing my hospital bag because I tend to overpack (my reasoning for over packing is that it’s better to have it and not need it then to need it and not have it). Your list is very helpful!

    • Packing for the hospital can be SO overwhelming. I’m really glad that you found this list to be helpful though, and congratulations on almost being a mama. So exciting! 🙂

  8. Christin

    Great list! I would say for me a must was my own pillow. The hospital ones are the absolute worst.

  9. This is a great list! My babies aren’t babies anymore! My girls are 6 1/2 and 4, but I remember I brought a couple baby blankets and receiving blankets, which were great for on the baby over the car seat (my oldest was born in the middle of January) and the receiving blankets were great rolled up in between my babies and the sides of the carseat. They were both so tiny, it made them more secure.

  10. I just went through my list from when I delivered my twins and crossed out a bunch of stuff! This is great though. I also firmly believe in making sure you have a camera besides just your phone! I am expecting number 3! I am also so glad I brought 2 going home outfits a piece for my kids, we were minutes from leaving when I realized my little guy was soaked through his outfit, turns out the nurse didn’t “position” him correctly. lol. He needed a change before we even got out! I go crazy looking at hospital lists that require a suitcase!

  11. I could not stress the hairties enough! I thought I had one in my purse for #1 and I didn’t. I have naturally curly hair which I straightened before getting to the hospital but from laying in bed, getting sweaty, etc. it got all matted. My sister is a nurse and fashioned a rubberband from a rubber glove. I looked like a hideous mess!! Thanks for the list. Due with #2 in a couple weeks and forgot what are essentials 🙂

  12. I would also add extra baby socks or those mitts for their hands. My son clawed his face terribly, to the point that I sent my husband out to the store to find either the mitts or socks we could use to cover his hands.

  13. Brittany

    The hospital I delivered my son at had a mini kitchen on the Maternity floor and my husband could get any snacks or meals he wanted from it! We found that really helpful, not sure how many hospitals do that. I also brought my boppy pillow and found that really helpful when feeding my son.

  14. brittney

    Thank you this is perfect, I am due feb.17th with my third. My kids are 6&5 so I feel like I forgot everything so this helps a lot. I will just be adding my My Breast feeding pillow 🙂

  15. I have a questions regarding the items you didn’t need because the hospital provided them – –
    When you were given an itemized bill, were you charged for these items? ie. Sanitary napkins, grandma underwear?

    Thanks!

  16. I am currently packing my hospital bag for my second child. After my first experience I would add just a couple of items… I am packing a nursing pillow (I had a C-Section last time and this would have helped with the nursing), Nipple shields – unopened unless you need them (I struggled with nursing the first day/night, the nurses sent my hubby to get me one and it was what my daughter and I needed to nurse) and lastly Lanolin cream.

  17. I loooooove your list! I definitely overpacked my first time too:)!
    Next time I ll leave the huge inflatable birthing position ball and bring my own pillow and warm
    Blanket- I froze in my hospital bed:). Thank you!

  18. Lauren Long

    I’m an over-packer, but surprisingly, I did not over pack with my first. Here’s what I took:
    My own lightweight disposable delivery gown, slippers, a short lightweight cotton robe for easy breastfeeding access (I wore this all day, didn’t have a problem with the bleeding), hair ties, breast pads, travel size nipple cream, and an outfit for going home. I also took my breastfeeding pillow, a small lightweight blanket for my own comfort, and travel size toiletries for showering. For the baby I brought my own diapers (which I didn’t need because the hospital provided the same brand) and an outfit for coming home. My husband brought enough shirts and boxers for three days with one pair of shorts, and the most comfortable shoes he owned. We both had our phones and wallets. Everything I took fit into two medium size bags, and it was perfect! Plus, because I did a drug free delivery I also had a host of massage tools, hot and cold packs, a washcloth, and honey sticks. I felt as though I had everything I really needed and nothing that was unnecessary. It was perfect!

  19. Michelle

    This is a great list! What I wished the first time was some thank you cards… I was up a lot during the night with both kids after having them. With my daughter she was the second so I brought cards and she wanted me to hold her so I held her in one arm and wrote thank you cards to the nurses in the other. I had SO much adrenaline it was nice to have something to give back to the nurses I thought went the extra mile. I also would add to BRING YOUR OWN PILLOW… if you are particular like me. I liked having that so my husband could us my hospital pillow (and his) while he slept on the couch. AND GUM for the guests… last thing I wanted was to smell stinky breath from visitors. LOL

    • I had baby #2 in April and had my husband bring thank you cards to the hospital for me to fill out. I was so glad that I did!

  20. For nursing Mom’s I would add: Soothies, nipple cream (especially if you can’t use lanolin), Mother’s Milk tea and your nursing pillow. And my husband needed an eye mask, because we were required to leave a light on so the nurses could check on the baby at night. It was positioned away from me and baby, but not poor hubby. I was so glad a friend warned us about that.

  21. I took a roll of good toilet paper!

    • That is actually a great idea! The toilet paper at the hospital is rough and Lord knows we need something soft down there after what we’ve been through. LOL.

  22. This will be my first baby but my sister has been an excellent coach(she just had her third). A few things I wouldn’t have thought about and haven’t seen on any of these is Tylenol(bring your own bc it takes forever for the nurses to get orders and then to get out of the medicine cabinet, and you can be charged way too much), those flushable wipes for the bathroom, and vitamin e oil-can be used for lotion, chapstick, moisturizer, antiitch cream, and massage oil, as well as conditioner if you do end up taking a shower

  23. I am currently now five weeks and expecting in may I love planning ahead and I have everything I need written down and I just enjoy thinking about my little sunni

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