When we went to the hospital to have our first baby, you bet I was prepared. I had my hospital bag packed at least three months in advance of my induction, and I had spent a whole lot of time finding the perfect outfits for both myself and my baby to wear home. With this baby due in less than three months, I am hoping to at least have a bag packed before I go into labor. With a 1- year-old and a full-time job, we will see if it actually gets done!
Here are the things that I would say are necessities for any mom’s hospital bag.
Comfortable clothes and multiple pairs of underwear – I am not saying that you need to look like a total slob while staying at and leaving the hospital, but you are going to want to be comfortable, no matter what type of birth you have. Also, depending on the type of birth you have, you may be at the hospital for multiple days; I don’t know about you, but I did not enjoy wearing hospital gowns. I would suggest bringing a couple of pairs of sweats/leggings, nursing bra, and some t-shirts/sweatshirts depending on the weather. If you want to not have to pull your shirt up to nurse while you are at the hospital, make sure that your tops are nursing friendly. You might want to also bring a pair of your favorite jammies to make you comfortable. Also, bring a few pairs of those ugly underwear unless you want to use the ones provided by the hospital (which are totally fine).
Socks/Slippers/Shower shoes – If you are a germaphobe like I am, you are going to want to have something on your feet at all times while in the hospital. I chose socks/slippers that I did not take home with me after my hospital stay; they were comfortable for the time I wore them and were easily disposed of when I left. I also brought a very cheap pair of flip flops to wear in the hospital shower, because I definitely was not going barefoot in there.
Toiletries that you use every day – You are going to want to be as comfortable and “in your element” as possible while staying in the hospital, so it would be wise to bring travel-sized bottles of your normal shampoo/conditioner/face wash/moisturizer so that you can feel a little more like yourself in the hospital. I would also highly suggest bringing things like hair ties, chapstick, and maybe a few makeup essentials like mascara if you are looking to get a little bit more “done up” for pictures after birth. You DO NOT need to bring pads or anything of that nature, as the hospital will provide these.
Something for baby to wear home – We brought two pairs of footed pajamas and a few onsies for our little guy, because we were not sure how long we would be staying in the hospital. You will want that cute little outfit for your guy/gal to wear home, but it would be wise to just bring a couple extra things if you end up being in the hospital for a few days. We didn’t bring any mittens or hats with us, but depending on the weather where you live, you may want to bring these things. You DO NOT need to bring diapers/wipes, as these will be provided by the hospital, and blankets are generally provided by them as well.
Car seat for baby – This one is pretty self-explanatory. You cannot take baby home without having an approved infant car seat or convertible car seat that is rated for your baby’s weight. Some hospitals do not let babies go home in convertible car seats, however, so be aware of your hospital’s policy before buying.
Chargers/cords/technology/entertainment – You will want to remember your phone and phone charger for both yourself and partner. Also, if you plan on taking pictures with a camera, you will need that and the charging cord/batteries. You may also want to bring an iPad/laptop/iPod for music or entertainment, depending on how long you will be in labor and how long you will be in the hospital. We had a lot of time at the beginning of my induction, so having some technology to distract us was nice. We also played quite a few card games while in labor, so maybe pack a set of those too.
Stuff for dad – You will want to make sure that your partner has all of their necessities as well, such as clothing and toiletries prepared for a 3-day stay (C-section mamas are required to stay this long). You will also want to maybe pack some snacks for your partner, depending on how much food your hospital provides for the partners of mothers (ours only provided my husband one meal the entire time we were there at no charge).
Extras – These are things that you may want, depending on your preference. Your own pillow/pillowcase may be nice, as the hospital ones are generally very flat and uncomfortable. You may also want to bring things like nursing pads/nipple cream, but I found that I didn’t use these things at all while in the hospital considering I very rarely wore my nursing bra to begin with. Also, you can bring a copy of your birth plan if you weren’t able to attach it with your hospital registration; however, birth does not always go as planned, so be prepared to make deviations to your set plan as needed throughout your stay. If you want anything special for during your birth process, you can also include that in this category!
Do you have other items to add to the checklist? Let me know in the comments below!
Print out a hospital bag checklist here.
I’m Phoenix. I am a full-time nurse, wife, and mother to a beautiful 1-year-old little boy. We are expecting baby number two very soon, and we are excited for the challenge that two under 2 will bring. I am passionate about helping moms create a more frugal lifestyle while still enjoying life and motherhood to the fullest. Please check out more stories at www.crazythingcalledmom.com.