When I was pregnant with little W, I wanted to be prepared in time for that special day he arrives. One of the things I made sure to have done a couple months before his due date was the hospital bag in case he showed early. Looking back, I definitely found myself packing heavy on things I didn’t even use.
This is why I want to share with you what I would pack again so you can do it right the first time. The key is to pack as light as possible and keep all your items in no more than 2 bags.
I suggest a wheeled medium size suitcase, and a weekender bag because after you leave the labor room your husband and/or nurses will be the ones carrying the bags to the mother-baby suite for you.
I was able to fit most of my things in the suitcase, and packed the weekender bag with dad and baby items. It was kinda tight once we headed home, but I learned now to bring only the things I would use again for the next baby.
While pregnant with W, my birth plan was as natural as it gets in a hospital setting. I had a large labor room for pacing, with a birthing ball and whirlpool tub. If you seek a natural birthing experience, my list will accommodate for those items that really helped me.
*During your hospital birth tour, discuss their after-birth care strategies for mom. I say this because I did not inquire and went ahead and packed underwear and pads that I didn’t need. No one told me that the hospital supplied EVERYTHING you need after birth which is kind of a no-brainer.
Make sure to grab extra mesh underwear, new thing of spray (Dermoplast), squirt bottle, and pads for postpartum care. Take home all the items the hospital supplies for baby home including: opened diapers, wipes, pacifiers, nose sucker syringe, and diaper cream! They cannot use them again if anything is opened. They will toss what is left when discharged, so be sure to swipe it all up.
I did however plan ahead and make postpartum diy soothing pads (courtesy of Pretty Providence) which were AWESOME! Definitely do it again for next baby. I used these once the hospital spray was depleted and still needed comfort.
Here’s my printable Baby Hospital Bag Checklist to pack your hospital bag the right way the first time!
- comfy robe, and gown. I’m kinda picky when it comes to textures, so I opted for my own soft gown to wear during labor instead of the hospital gown (but I hear their not so bad). I wanted something stretchy enough to move with me and breathable material as well (not too warm).
- Maternity bathing suit tank top if you plan to use the tub.
- 3 nursing tanks (sign up for the target baby registry and get a free welcome kit with $50 worth of coupons and samples). Included when I signed up were coupons for nursing tanks and bras! Also, check the clearance rack for nursing tanks! I wore a nursing tank each day in the hospital and just covered up with my robe if it got chilly.
- 2 pair of your favorite extra loose sweatpants. I packed some stretchy drawstring pajama pants that would be easy for me to manage if I had a c-section.
- Slippers! I used warm slippers before, during and after labor.
- 2 pair of warm socks. I packed like 4 pairs with W thinking I would wear them everyday plus an extra pair just in case, but I ended up not wearing them as much with my slippers.
- Going home outfit for me was my maternity leggings and comfortable tunic. Because I still looked 5-6 months pregnant, I made sure to wear my favorite pants at the time. I wore my moccasins to the hospital and out as well, but really any kind of slip on shoe would be beneficial.
- Toilette Bag stuffed with necessities. Brush, little bag that includes travel-size (shampoo & conditioner, bodywash, toothbrush,toothpaste, and deodorant), ponytails, headband, bobby-pins, dry shampoo, face-wipes, contact case & solution, glasses, and small makeup bag.
- Snacks. If your planning a natural medication free birth your allowed to bring snacks, but talk with the physician first. I packed a zip-locked bag with some quick snacks (applesauce pouches, trail mix) that I could see myself wanting during labor for nourishment. I still ended up having a natural birth starting in the middle of the night but they went ahead and attached an IV in case they needed to induce me in the morning, so snacks were out of the picture at that point. Don’t worry about packing a water bottle because you will get that wonderful hospital pitcher filled with ice cold water at your demand.
- Bobby pillow. Must for breastfeeding moms! I forgot to pack this with W, and had to stack pillows under my arm each feeding.
Bring your own underwear from home, I packed some with W, but for some odd reason I really loved the hospital mesh underwear they supplied!
Lanolin cream. I didn’t use the cream until after a few feedings into it at home, plus I found out that the hospital had some if you needed it, so no need to pack the cream.
Nursing pads. I went ahead and packed with W, but while in the hospital my milk didn’t leak everywhere. Some women leak sooner and more than others. It was a good thing to pack and they don’t take up much room. Plus, I’m sure if I needed them and didn’t bring any, the hospital would have something.
If you plan to get professional pictures by using a family photographer or the hospital photographer, pack the outfit you would like to wear.
Birthing ball. If your hospital doesn’t supply this and you would like to bring one to help open your hips and move around during labor, pack one.
The hospital supplies EVERYTHING for baby! I over-packed with W, because I learned the hard way not to bring his diaper bag and more to the hospital. I brought so many things for him to the hospital, like diapers, wipes, 2-3 blankets, swaddles, hats, socks, shoes, mittens… you name it I brought it. Totally didn’t need all that stuff. Here’s what I will pack next time for baby, and will be saving so much more space in our bags…
- 2-3 outfits. Bring clothes that are functional more than anything. Think about skin-to skin, and diaper changes when choosing outfits. Little baby footie jammies are the best choice, plus they are too cute in my opinion. This also saves on bringing newborn socks.
- 1 swaddle or swaddling blanket of choice. I preferred bringing my own swaddling blanket over using the hospital’s but its purely personal, because like I mentioned they will supply one for you. I liked having my own because I wanted my newborn to smell like home when we were skin to skin. Your newborn will spend most of his/her time swaddled up. The hospital did send home their own zip up/cross velcro swaddle with me, but it was way to large for W to wear in the hospital. Once he became 9lbs, he fit inside real well and it was a good swaddle in my opinion. I saved it for next baby!
- Have that infant car seat ready in the car, with the base already secured in. It was comforting having the nurse walk out with you when your discharged to inspect the seat is installed properly.
Be sure to read my post on where you can find FREE BABY STUFF!
If you plan to take pictures in the hospital, pack what you would like baby in. Crochet items are adorable and swaddling blankets are great for pictures.
Newborn hats. It is up you if you want your newborn wearing a hat from home to match their outfit. I personally packed hats, but like I mentioned the hospital has hats for your little one and they are just as fine. I saved W’s hospital hat, and bracelet for memory purposes.
Mittens. Again, I packed these with W afraid he would scratch his face but didn’t even use them. Since I was planning on breastfeeding, I had to learn his hunger cues, which meant paying attention when he moved his hands to his mouth. I learned this was crucial when nursing.
Diaper bag. Having a diaper bag prepared is essential but not needed in the hospital bag. Its good to have ready and can be left in the car. Diaper bag must-haves: 2 extra outfits, diaper cream, wipes, diapers, changing pad, receiving blanket, burp cloth, pacifier, and a nursing cover.
- 2-3 change of clothes, socks & boxer briefs.
- Toiletries. Make sure he brings the deodorant, toothbrush, and comb for sure. Hubby & I share a toiletry bag together. We like it because it hangs on the door and folds up neat to fit in our luggage.
- Change for the vending machines and/or some of his fav snacks. I went ahead and packed some trail mix for both of us, but it turned out the labor & delivery floor had a snack area. My husband was thrilled that they had coffee, pop, water bottles, and various snack items around the corner of our room!
- Pillow from home.
Blanket from home to make it little more comfortable for him during the hospital stay. My husband didn’t mind the heated blankets they handed out, but we made a good choice in bringing his pillow.
- Cell phone changers
- Laptop or tablet & charging station/cords
We wanted our 6 year old daughter to feel just as special while coming to visit her new baby brother. During the whole pregnancy, we involved her with all things baby, and talked highly about being a BIG sister. We read several books including The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby. We thought it would be special to have her make a gift for him when arrived (took her to Build A Bear and created a memorable keepsake).
We made a big sister kit for her once she came to visit him. She was welcomed with a small backpack filled with fun goodies! Inside she found as stuffed animal clip-on, books, candy, frozen themed notepad, and different kinds of pens-one was color changing. (many items were found at the Dollar Tree & Target ) She wore her “I’m a Big Sister” t-shirt grandma made her and she was one excited little girl!
This seemed to really help the transition process of no only being the only child.
- Essential Oils. Check with your care provider before using essential oils. There are many different kinds of oils that are useful during labor. If you plan to use them for comfort measures check out east tennessee doula for her list of oils safe for labor.
- Electric heating pad
- Tennis ball in socks, or something that your husband uses to help massage your back.
- Music. I made 2 playlists depending on my mood during active labor. I had an upbeat selection as well as light music. It really helped having the music as background noise in between contractions. Next time I plan to make a third playlist because there were times I wanted to listen to soothing instrumental sounds without words.
Feel free to listen to some of my songs from my “Light Prego Playlist” for some Ideas!