The hospital bag is such a hot topic of convo on Instagram and Pinterest among new and expecting moms. I'm sure our own mothers find this comical as they likely packed a toothbrush and a robe. But having what you need or like at the hospital can provide for a better few days following birth. I am a minimalist when it comes to packing hospital bags, but this is after having three goes at it. Do remember that if you have a C-section your stay will be considerably longer than that of a vaginal birth, so perhaps packing more on the clothes front for you, your partner & baby is a good idea. Secondly, I typically remind moms that partners and family members can always bring extra things that you find you need or want after birth. Obviously with Covid this has changed. As long as you and your partner do not test positive for Covid upon entering the hospital your one chosen person should be allowed to still go in and out, but do check with your particular hospital guidelines beforehand.
What Not to Pack
A Ton of Cute Baby Outfits: You need 1 cute outfit to take your baby home in and then just onesies. Your baby will be in a onesie and a swaddle for almost all of his/her time in the hospital. Save your outfits for home. I promise you will not need them in the hospital because you will not have the time or energy to change him/her into them between sleeping, eating and changing his, and your, diapers.
Diapers/Wipes: Unless you have a stiff preference of diaper in the first couple days, do not bring any of this with you. And trust me, no diaper is going to make or break your child’s health in the first dew days of life. Do yourself a favor and use the hospital Pampers/Huggies diapers and wipes while you are there. You will go through a lot and it’s just not worth it to lug your own.
Breastfeeding pillow: The hospital will provide you with as many pillows as you need to give you support when feeding your baby, and then you don’t have to lug that big pillow to a generally dirty hospital. Just leave it at home and look forward to utilizing it when you’re home with baby.
Jewelry: You never know when you may have to leave the room with your baby so do not bring valuables to the hospital other than your wedding rings perhaps.
Formula: Unless you know you plan to formula feed from the get go and have already determined the formula you want to use, do not bring formula or bottles to the hospital. It’s very unnecessary. They have formula and bottles if things don’t go as planned.
Breastpump: You will not be pumping at the hospital unless absolutely necessary and if so the hospital has great pumps you can use.
Water/waterbottle: The hospital will give you the greatest and biggest water bottle you’ve ever known and you will take it home with you and use it until your child goes to college.
Underwear: You will not be using this again for quite some time.
What TO pack:
Bringing Baby Home Outfit: A bringing baby home outfit in preemie, newborn and 0-3 months. All my babies were different weights and lengths at birth. My first was born at exactly 41 weeks and was 6lbs and didn’t fit in any newborn clothes. I had to amazon myself a couple preemie outfits to get through the first week or two. But they grow fast, so DO NOT invest in preemie outfits, albeit one, until you have your baby. Most will not need them. Neither of my other two did.
Swaddles and Hats: The hospital will provide you with as many clean swaddle blankets as you need, but I think it’s also nice to have 1 or 2 of your own that are cute and soft. They will also suggest keeping a hat on the baby often during the first couple weeks, so if you want to have anything beyond the standard, yet ceremonious hospital provided hat, then bring your own.
Slippers, Robe & Nightgown/Loose Pajamas: You will be wearing mesh underwear and a planet sized pad, and you will most likely leak out of both, so bring a few change of clothes if you don’t want to end up in a hospital gown after your delivery. Don’t go nuts, but bring a few. And remember, your husband can always bring a couple additional ones if you find you need them. Do bring some cheap slippers, or ones you can wash/throw away when you get home. You can also use the hospital’s socks, but I think having something to slip on by the side of the bed on your way to the bathroom is super nice and convenient. A robe is also nice to have if you want to stroll the halls or have visitors in. This way you do not feel like you have to put on real clothes, or risk exposing your half-naked, diapered self.
Snacks: You will be hungry and will want to have some bars and nuts and other snacks you enjoy on hand for the days following birth.
A Nursing Bra or Two: I preferred just buying the nightgowns that have the nursing bras in them. This was great for the hospital and for home. Nursing camisoles with shorts and sweatpants are also great.
Toiletries: I personally didn’t wash my hair at the hospital because I was only there 48 hours and I always wash it before I go in to deliver while I’m laboring at home, but a decent body soap will go a long way. Bring whatever else you usually use throughout the day, such as moisturizer, hair brush, toothpaste and toothbrush, etc. I brought my makeup, but I’m a weirdo. A lot of people like to bring their own towel but I didn’t find this necessary. Know thyself. It’s certainly not luxurious to shower in a hospital bathroom, with or without your own toiletries, so I’m not sure having them is necessarily worth the extra luggage.
Pacifier: There are differing opinions on whether to use pacifiers and when to introduce them. I waited the recommended 2 weeks with my first, and then put it in my second baby’s mouth the day she was born. Neither caused nipple confusion and both are “decently” well adjusted and functioning children. Do buy a few different styled pacifiers because baby’s tend to have preferences on nipple shape and size.
Partner’s Stuff: They will not need much as I would recommend they return home to shower the next day and refresh if you are not too far from the hospital, and covid restrictions allow. Maybe a toothbrush and phone charger. Seriously. That’s all.
Insurance & ID card, phone charger: ‘nuff said.
Carseat: Very important as you obviously can’t leave the hospital without it. However, you do not need to bring this in with you when you walk in the door in labor. Leave it in the car until you are ready to leave and your partner can bring it in. You will have to change rooms after delivery and it only crowds the space unnecessarily.
Your Going Home Clothes: Whether an outfit or a mumu, just makes sure you have something to wear as they wheel you out the door. And yes, you will be wheeled. It’s hospital policy. I’ve attempted to walk each time and I have been overruled in each instance.
Relaxation Accessories: Don’t overdo it, but a little lavender oil and a portable speaker for some relaxing music can go along way, particularly if you try to do it au natural. Most doctors recommend this as well, as they appreciate when you stay as calm as possible.
Everyone is difference, but try not to pack too much into a pretty small space for those first few days, but also try to make it comfortable for you and your partner.