What’s In My Hospital Bag + Download The Checklist
As a first-time mom I had no idea what to pack in my hospital bag for the big day. I dredged the internet and social media looking for the right resource. Every woman is different, so the process reminded me of Goldie Locks And The Three Bears: this one is too short, this one is too long…but none of them were just right. I wanted a checklist that included everything essential with a few “just in case” items. I didn’t want anything excessive so that I could pack as light as possible.
Needless to say, the first time I gave birth I overpacked because I was too afraid of forgetting something. Then I left out things I later would wish I had (never underestimate the power of a good pillow and your own blanket). Now that I have a second hospital birth experience, I wanted to put together my idea of the perfect hospital bag checklist with just the right amount of things to get you through and not too much fluff. The last thing you want to worry about is lugging around a big suitcase full of things you’ll never touch.
I used the Fawn Design Hospital Bag Travel Bundle and can’t say enough great things about it! It has so many convenient pockets to keep everything organized and comes with two matching cosmetic bags. Use code “LOLORUSSELLBLOG” for 15% Off!
My absolutely favorite recommendation is the Storq Birth to Baby Hospital Box! It provides high quality staples for your hospital stay and postpartum life: nightgown, robe, eye mask, scrunchie, socks, and milestone cards for baby pictures. While the latter isn’t a necessity for the hospital, it will be nice to have when you get home! They also have a Newborn Baby Bundle that includes a crossover onesie, socks, swaddle blanket, hat, and bunny toy.
Below is a detailed list for mom, birth partner, labor & delivery and some miscellaneous items for when you’re ready to pack your hospital bag. I’ve also included an email link to download a quick and easy checklist!
*HOT TIP* pack your bag once you hit the third trimester. No one wants to be worrying about whether or not to pack regular underwear at 1am right as a contraction hits…like I did the second time around! 😂 I obviously did a great job following my own advice with Courtland’s birth.
What To Pack For Mom:
- Pack one of everything (i.e. pajamas, nursing bra, going home outfit) to keep your bag light. If there are extenuating circumstances and you find that you’ll be staying at the hospital longer than expected, have a back-up plan in mind in case you need more clothes (e.g. sending your birth partner back to your home, calling a friend, etc).
- Pajamas: I preferred a nightgown after birth because the idea of wearing pants sounded like torture! I really love my Angel Maternity nightgown and the Storq nightgown that is included in their Birth To Baby Hospital Box. For a pant and top set, I recommend this one from Target or this bamboo set from Kindred Bravely. Use code LOLO15 for 15% off for first time customers at KindredBravely.com.
- Nursing or Pumping bra: I didn’t wear a bra the entire time I was there because I was nursing often and honestly I wanted to be as comfortable as possible. However, if you’re pumping you’ll want a hands-free bra and if you’re breastfeeding you’ll want a nursing bra for going home. I highly recommend the Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Nursing & Pumping Bra so you have flexibility to do both! Use code LOLO15 for 15% off for first time customers at KindredBravely.com.
- Essential toiletries: keep it as simple as possible! I suggest face wash, moisturizer, deodorant, mini shampoo & conditioner (or just take dry shampoo and wash your hair when you get home), toothpaste and toothbrush. I see people pack their entire 5 step skincare routine and 3 different lip balms, hand creams, etc. While that’s wonderful for some, I was too tired to care. You’re only going to be there a few days. Save yourself the space in your bag and just bring the necessities that you can’t live without.
- Shower Shoes: I opted for a shower shoe that I didn’t have to worry about taking home like these flip flops. I used them once then tossed them in the trash before we left! I know that sounds wasteful, but shoe germs gross me out and this was an easy solution. However, another idea is to get a pair of slides like these, wipe them off with a spare towel, store them in a wet bag then wash when you get home!
- Bring your own pillow and blanket. It’s worth it. I left mine behind the first time and it didn’t matter how many hospital pillows I had it just couldn’t get comfortable, plus there’s nothing cozy about the sheets. This time it was at the top of my list and made a huge improvement in my sleep! Make sure to put a colorful or distinctive pillowcase on it so you don’t accidentally leave it behind. For a blanket I swear by this Barefoot Dreams throw blanket that we use at home, but this is a great alternative option under $50. If you want to get really cozy grab this pair of socks, too!
- Robe: I wore the robe over my hospital gown during the initial stages of labor to stay comfortable and warm. It also gave me some modesty for walks up and down the hallway. During my induction with Courtland, I took it off when we decided to break my water, but I used it during recovery over my pajamas.
- Electrolyte Packets: birth is a marathon, not a sprint. Electrolytes will help you stay hydrated and support recovery. I love the LMNT packets because they’re convenient, no artificial ingredients and have the sodium you need to replenish your body.
- Adult Diapers or Frida Underwear: Some women love the mesh underwear from the hospital. I hated them! As a plus size woman I just didn’t feel like they helped at all. They weren’t supportive, were difficult to put on with the giant pad and I just never felt comfortable in them. I suggest bringing adult diapers because they are SUPER convenient (no fussing with a giant pad) or the Frida Mom Disposable Underwear – they’re far superior! I wore both of these once I got home, too.
What To Pack For Birth Partner:
- Similar to Mom, bring pajamas or comfortable loungewear and basic toiletries.
- Keep things easy by packing your own snacks and drinks. This way you don’t have to worry about finding a vending machine or running to the cafeteria unless absolutely necessary.
- Your sleeping accommodations will be scarce, so absolutely make sure to pack a blanket and pillow (or two!) to help make you more comfortable.
- Depending on how labor and birth goes you may want some entertainment. Bring a book or make sure to download some of your favorite movies on your phone or iPad just in case the WiFi isn’t great.
Notes For Labor & Delivery:
- I took the Positive Birth Co. course, so I wanted to create a tranquil environment to labor in which is why I included twinkle lights and flameless candles on the checklist. These are totally optional, but I will say they did create a lovely atmosphere!
- The essential oils and diffuser were a must have! The nurses enjoyed the “spa effect” as much as I did. Every little bit of soothing effect you can have on your space helps.
- Create two playlists: one to soothe you during labor and one to pump you up for delivery. I also had a playlist of affirmations and meditations I had practiced during my pregnancy to calm my anxiety. This became especially helpful when things went a little sideways. Can’t recommend this enough!
- Stress Balls or Combs: If it aligns with your birth plan, make sure to pack your pain relief tools! My goal was to labor as long as possible without medication, so I used stress balls and combs to help me work through contractions. I also found some great labor position pocket flipbook and printable flashcards on Etsy in case you’re not working with a doula. They’re helpful for birth prep and during labor, so pack them in your toolkit!
Notes For Baby:
- The hospital provides diapers, wipes, swaddle and hat. If you’re particular about the wipes or diapers you use (we prefer Hello Bello and their unscented SLS free wipes!) then I suggest packing them with you. Otherwise, they have you covered on all the basics.
- Outside of a going home outfit, a sleep-and-play or onesie might add extra comfort for baby, but isn’t necessarily required. Nurses are in-and-out taking vitals on both mom and baby, so we kept our kiddos in diapers and swaddles majority of our stay. If you do choose to take something I highly recommend the Bonsie skin-so-skin onesie! It makes skin-to-skin easy with it’s Velcro top, is ridiculously soft and easy for diaper changes, too.
- I didn’t include this on the list, but if you have trouble swaddling with the small flannel swaddles at the hospital (we did) I highly recommend bringing this large swaddle or using a Velcro swaddle. It makes things easier!
Notes For Miscellaneous Items:
- Whether you need a distraction from labor or want some entertainment while you recover a laptop is highly recommended so you can stream to your heart’s desire! I watched baking shows to help stay calm haha.
- Bring headphones or earbuds in case you want to listen to music, a podcast or affirmations without disturbing your partner or for extra focus during labor.
- Eye mask: this is really helpful because during the day it can be tough to make the hospital room dark for naps. I love the one that is included in the Storq Birth To Baby Bundle (with a matching scrunchie!), but this silk eye mask is another great option for $9.99!
- Don’t forget the phone/device chargers!!! You’ll need extra long ones, too, if you need them to reach the hospital bed because outlets are scarce and usually inconveniently located.