What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Long Cell Phone Charging Cord
Depending on how many hours you are in labor, you may be passing the time on your phone watching Netflix or scrolling social media. And even if you have a quick labor, you’ll be using a lot of your phone’s battery taking photos and videos of your new little one! So, a long cell phone charging cord (at least 10 feet) is a great item to pack so you can charge your phone no matter where the hospital outlets may be. Don’t forget, you’ll also want to pack a USB wall charger, preferably one with two USB ports.
External Battery Pack
Along with a long cell phone charging cord, consider packing an external battery pack. This is great for those middle-of-the-night hours when your phone is dying or when you literally cannot get out of bed to plug in your phone. The battery pack charge should last you most of your hospital stay, if not all, and you won’t have to worry if your room outlets are limited. Plus, the size of these is so compact now; what will it hurt throwing it in your bag “just in case?”
Pillow + Blanket
Yes, the hospital will provide a pillow and sheets, but sometimes having a few comfort items from home will make a huge difference in your sleep and relaxation. There’s nothing better than laying your head on your OWN pillow at night, especially when sleep-deprived. A soft, cozy blanket from home is also super handy when the hospital room gets chilly. These are the “last minute” items you can grab on the way out and carry in your arms as you check-in.
Custom Mask + Sanitizing Wipes
Depending on the hospital requirements and updated COVID protocols, you may be required to bring or wear a mask during most of your hospital stay. Just because you have to wear a mask doesn’t mean you can’t look cute for your labor and delivery photos. Consider purchasing a customized mask off Etsy or from a local parent who does vinyl or embroidery near you!
While hospitals are definitely making sure to go above and beyond when cleaning, feel free to pack some sanitizing wipes to set your mind at ease. You can find some great travel-sized versions, and these will also come in handy after quick middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
Disposable Always Discreet Underwear, or Depends
Your hospital will supply you with lots of disposable mesh underwear (be sure to ask for extras before you leave), but having some of your own is beneficial. A favorite among moms is Always Discreet Underwear. These come in different sizes and options and tend to be a little higher quality than the ones the hospital gives out for free. If you can’t find the Always Discrete Underwear, Depends are also a solid choice. These are great to have on hand to use even before you go to the hospital (your water could break at home); they keep you from worrying about ruining your clothes or your car upholstery on the way to the hospital.
Snacks + Water Bottle/Thermos
Not every hospital is the same, and some have limited hours for their kitchen to deliver meals. If you or your partner get the 2 am hunger calling, having some of your favorite snacks with you will be a lifesaver. Consider packing granola, trail mix, nuts, protein bars, and other “healthier” snacks that are breastfeeding-friendly (if you choose to feed this way).
Packing your own water bottle or thermos is also great to have so you can stay hydrated and not deal with different hospital cups or containers. Plus, if you pack your own Bodyarmor or coconut waters with you, you can pour them over hospital ice in a thermos.
Perineal Spray Spray, Tucks Pads, and Frida Pads
None of these items are “essential,” but will they help make your postpartum experience a little better? Absolutely. You’ll want to look for a perineal spray that contains Witch Hazel. A favorite is by Earth Mama, and bonus, you can use it as a facial toner too!
Tucks Pads are sometimes provided by your hospital but pack some medicated cooling ones just in case. You can clean “down there” with them, and also, the cooling formula helps soothe. They’ll also come in handy for a few months after birth if you have the dreaded postpartum hemorrhoids.
If you don’t pack anything else for your postpartum recovery, please consider packing Frida Mom Instant Ice Maxi Pads. These highly absorbent pads can fit right in your mesh/disposable undies, and they have instant first-aid ice packs built-in. It’s truly a miracle "padsicle" that your lower body will be so thankful for.
Comfortable Nursing Sleep Dress + Robe + Slippers
Yes, you may want to pack one “cute” outfit for photos/going home, but the rest of the time in the hospital, you will want to wear the most comfortable dress or robe possible. Look for a sleep dress that is also a nursing dress if you plan to breastfeed because you will feel like you are topless more hours a day than you’re not. Not only will you wear this in the hospital, but it’ll also be great to wear at home for those first few months (and beyond - let’s be real...most of us are still wearing maternity clothes - no shame). If you’re not planning to breastfeed, we still recommend looking for a comfortable nightgown to wear since your abdomen area will be recovering.
A robe is another great option to have. You can throw it on quickly when you decide to shower (as much as it may hurt and you may want to stay in bed, try showering sooner rather than later because it will honestly refresh you mentally), and it’s a great alternative to the hospital gowns.
Go on and pack some easy slide-on slippers in your bag because walking around barefoot on the cold hospital floor is a no-go. You’ll want to make sure your slippers are easy to put on because you won’t want to do any bending down trying to squeeze your foot into something.
This is for the mommas who plan on breastfeeding. Nipple cream, nipple cream, nipple cream. Bonus points: you can use it as chapstick for your dry lips that tend to happen in the hospital. Some lactation consultants will provide samples, but you’ll need it at home anyways if you plan to breastfeed.
Optional (Pump): If you plan on pumping breastmilk, you can always bring your pump to the hospital so a lactation consultant can provide guidance on how to use it.
Optional (Bottles, Formula, and Dish Soap): If you plan on formula feeding, consider bringing the bottles you plan on using along with the formula. While the hospital will supply ready-made formula with attachable nipples, you can bring your own that way your little one will be accustomed to what you will be using at home. Make sure to bring some dish soap too (travel size if you can), so you can clean the bottles and nipples.
Just like spending the night anywhere, you’ll want to make sure you pack your toiletries. If you have a chance, get travel-sized versions of all your essentials (contact case, contact solution, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo, etc.) and an extra toothbrush and hairbrush so you won’t worry about forgetting something the day of. If there’s one makeup item (such as mascara) that you can’t live without, be sure to pack that item along. Oh - and don’t forget lip balm since it can be dry in a hospital setting. While you most likely won’t do a full-face of makeup, sometimes a little something will help you feel revitalized again.
Don’t stress too much about what to pack for your new little family member because the hospital will provide nearly all the essentials: diapers, wipes, formula, and more. However, here are some items that you may want to bring along.
Swaddling not only helps your little one feel more secure by replicating the womb, it also helps them sleep better because it helps prevent their startle reflex that often wakes babies. So, if you’re not familiar with how to swaddle, be sure to bring a few velcro swaddles along so your new little one sleeps safe and sound. Velcro swaddles help make feedings and diaper changes much easier, especially for first-time parents. Some even have a zipper at the bottom for quick diaper changes.
If you plan on doing a hospital social post announcing your child’s birth with a sign, don’t forget to pack it in your bag. There are lots of cute options now on Pinterest and Etsy, from letterboards to wooden plaques!
Portable Sound Machine
The world will be an overwhelming place for your newborn, so white noise will help calm your baby and help them sleep. Pack a portable sound machine that you can attach to the hospital bassinet; that way, your little one can sleep soundly even if the nurses or doctors have to move them about. A portable sound machine will also come in handy when traveling in the future!
Going Home Outfit
The hospital will provide diapers, swaddle blankets, hats, and even some clothes. But one outfit you may want to bring is the “going home outfit.” While not necessary, it’s definitely something to consider as a keepsake so you can look back (and cry) at how little your child was on the day you finally brought them home from the hospital.
Boppy or Nursing Pillow
This one can fall under both you and your baby, but pack a nursing pillow to make life easier for you and your baby for breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding. Your back will thank you.
If you haven’t already done so, make sure your car seat is properly installed a month before your due date. Make sure to follow both your car and car seat manufacturer guidelines when installing. Some hospitals no longer have CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) staff, so if you want to have your car seat checked, make sure you search for a certified CPST. More helpful car seat resources are Facebook Groups and Michelle with Safe in the Seat on Instagram.
Printer Friendly ChecklistClick here to download a printer-friendly version of this checklist so you can get started on packing!
We hope this list of items to pack in your hospital bag will help you prepare for one of the most special days of your life. For those of you who have recently had a baby, is there anything we left off? Comment below!