What to Bring to the Hospital for You and Baby

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I took all of the classes, read all the books, and made sure everything was set up well before the final weeks of my pregnancy.

My second baby was a different story. With a toddler at home, I was lucky I found time to eat, let alone plan for my next baby. I still remember my husband sitting across from a very pregnant me saying, “Shouldn’t we … buy things?”

All this to say that, if you’re getting ready to have a baby, you will need a list of what to bring to the hospital because you’re either doing it for the first time or your mind is complete mush.

I will preface this list by saying that every pregnancy and delivery is different, therefore requiring different things. Every woman is also different. I have friends who made sure they had full make-up and hair styling accessories for after delivery. Me … not so much.

Pre-Labor Items

This is the waiting phase, when you are anxious for things to get started, but you’re instead pacing like a caged animal. Some women skip this phase altogether (I had friends who practically birthed their children in the car), but many are not.

hair elastics
You’ll want to be able to tie your hair back during labor!

For this boring, non-eating time period, make sure you have:

  • Comfortable clothes, such as a sports bra, socks or slippers
  • Chap stick
  • Water bottle
  • Light snacks if you are permitted to eat
  • Hair brush and elastic hairbands
  • Phone and charger

Best Hospital Bag Essentials

During Labor Items

tennis balls in socks
Some women find relief when massaged with tennis balls stuffed into socks.

This will depend a lot on your labor plan and your temperament. It was suggested to me to bring an iPod and speaker to listen to while I was in labor. Turns out, I preferred no music or TV while in labor. Take your own expectations into consideration when choosing what to bring.

  • iPod and speakers
  • Items to help with labor pains, such as tennis balls and a sock to put them in
  • Books
  • Tablet
  • Computer
  • Camera with charger and/or batteries, and memory card

After I went all out packing for my first delivery, I went for a minimalist approach for my subsequent deliveries. I simply found I was too excited to read or watch TV and the labor aids I used, such as a balance ball, were provided by the hospital.

Post-Labor Items

I consider these the most important items you will bring. You have just delivered a baby and are more than likely feeling pretty gross. You probably haven’t showered in awhile, and delivering a baby brings with it a lot of blood, sweat, and tears … literally.

hair dryer
If you want to primp in the hospital, by all means do it.

Do not skimp on these items. If you think there’s a chance you will want to curl your hair after you have your baby, by all means, bring your curling iron. The greatest thing after having your baby is getting clean and feeling like yourself again!

  • Breastfeeding-friendly clothes, such as nursing tank tops or nightgowns, and a zip-up hoodie. If you think a bra will help you feel more comfortable, go with a bra. I, personally, prefer pajama-type clothes. Even if you don’t decide to breastfeed, clothes that easily access your boobs are a plus.
  • Yoga pants. Bring more than one pair, but you may not wear them until you leave the hospital. You get checked a lot after you have a baby, so wearing pants can actually get in the way.
  • Shampoo and conditioner (leave-in if you prefer), hair brush, elastic hairbands, hair dryer, any other hair accessories you think you’ll be up to using post-baby. After my first baby, the greatest feeling ever was blow drying my hair and feeling brand-speaking new holding my squishy baby.
  • Deodorant, moisturizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, make-up
  • Your own pillows
  • Medications you take
  • Snacks and gum

Baby Items

infant car seat
Don’t forget that you’ll be bringing home a baby!

Oh, that’s right! You’ll be bringing a baby home! I’m not sure if I was more clueless preparing to bring home my first baby or my third. At least with my first, I reviewed extensive lists to jog my memory. With my third, I nearly forgot to pack socks and a hat in the middle of winter.

  • Breastfeeding pillow
  • Going-home outfit (hat, undershirt, socks/booties, pants)
  • Blanket
  • Car seat – it’s also a good idea to install the car seat base ahead of time and have the hospital make sure you’ve done it correctly.

Items to Forget

There are many important items the hospital will more than likely have for you, so packing them is a waste.

  • Underwear and pads. The hospital will have that mesh underwear for you and diaper-like pads. You’ll actually want to take some home from the hospital instead of the other way around.
  • Lanolin cream for nipples if you’re breastfeeding
  • Formula for baby
  • Diapers for baby
  • Undershirts for baby

There you have it! My list of essentials when packing your hospital bag. Did I forget anything?



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