What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for the Birth of Baby
First order of business was finding a worthy suitcase! I tried a tote bag, and I would have had to take several. A suitcase was just easier and grab and go when it was time. I didn’t own a suitcase, or know anyone I could borrow one from, so I had to purchase one! I found a great deal at TJ Maxx and we have used the suitcase for vacation every year since!
Make sure you pack before labor. I have tried to pack while having contractions, a bit of a false alarm, and it was not fun. Also, it’s important that someone else knows where the suitcase is so that they can grab it if you can’t.
Bathing is going to happen.
Before going to the hospital, I did not want to use their shower. I thought, perhaps, I could wait until I got home. Not the case.
Some Moms like to shower while in labor, I took a shower shortly after and knew I would need personal care products. Working in healthcare, I am aware of the toiletries given out at hospitals. Every patient gets the same plastic pink basin, soap, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and several other items that you would only want to use in absolute desperation. Taking items that I use every day at home with me is a huge comfort. After going through the birth process it’s so nice to have small comforts from home in an uncomfortable hospital room. My actual suitcase below.
Zipper bags are pictured here to hold items and prevent spillage onto my clothes. After delivery and rest time, our hospital has showers right in the maternity rooms. They have horrible wooden benches that no Mom would want to sit on after delivering a baby! Ouch. Plan, be prepared, be happy.
Do you really need beauty products?
Remember, these will be the first photos of you with your baby, take what you need to look as presentable as you desire. Go all out glam, or all natural ‘I just had a baby’. I have done both!
Unless you plan on staying in a hospital gown for your whole visit, you will want to take some pajamas and other clothing items with you. I was allowed to change into my own clothes within hours after delivery.
What’s in my suitcase:
1. Q-tips. If you like to dry your ears after a shower you’ll need to take your own q-tips.
2. Face wash
3. Contact lens case and solution/glasses and case
4. Face/eye lotion
6. Baby wash (unless you want to use the J & J that may be provided at your hospital) I’m taking baby Dr. Bronner’s Baby Castile soap
7. Moisturizer for baby, I have coconut oil (can also double as nipple cream)
8. Makeup bag (see below)
9. Body lotion for Mama
10. Soap and/or body wash for Mama, I’m taking my Earth Mama Angel Baby Grapefruit Ginger Wash.
11. Toothbrush and toothpaste
12. Hair ties and clips if needed
13. Shampoo and Conditioner
14. Hair styling tool
15. Hair product; I’m taking Yes to Carrots anti-frizz cream16. Nursing pajamas
17. Nursing bras; shop for and try on nursing bras towards the end of pregnancy to get the best fit. I’m taking the Essential Embrace by Bravado.
18. Underwear (the hospital provided gigantic pads and a mesh pair of underwear for over them)
19. Socks (keep feet warm when sleeping)
20. Flip flops for the shower/slippers
21. Outfit to wear home, including shoes!
22. Outfits for baby, if you can find ones with the hand-covers built in great! Don’t forget hats.
23. Hand covers to prevent his/her little face from being scratched (if they’re not already on your NB outfits)
24. SwaddleMes and blankets, and or baby carrier
26. Temperature appropriate outfit for baby to wear home
27. Cloth diapers if you plan on starting in the hospital
28. Carseat! (You actually can’t leave without this one)
29. Electronics; cell phone, computer, ipad, video camera. Any device you will need to document your little one and share! Plus their chargers. Don’t forget the chargers.
30. Pillow/blanket from home, many hospital rooms don’t have temperatures you can individually adjust.
32. Supplies for your spouse or birth partner
33. Gifts/bonding items for other siblings.
34. Baby Carrier! In lieu of carrying baby around in the hospital, if you plan on being on foot you may want to bring your wrap or soft structured carrier along too.
Not only do you not want to step on a hospital shower floor with bare feet, but flip flops can double as slippers too. In Pennsylvania finding flip flops in November is a feat! I was thrilled to learn that Old Navy carries a selection of flip flops year round!! They were even 2/$5. Bring comfortable clothes, keep in mind that it will take awhile for your baby bump to go down, so maternity items will still probably fit well.
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, a nursing pillow is one item that you will put to use right away. Getting baby in a good position and level with your breast will help to ensure a proper latch and comfortable position for Mama and baby. In the early days/weeks I learned that it was common for baby to nurse for long periods of time, and was normal and healthy. My first pillow didn’t get baby high enough and I was hunched over nursing resulting in a sore back. I liked this fantastic Breastfeeding pillow from Born Free and all the different positioning options for the first few weeks, and I’m also a big fan of the Gia pillow which is more narrow and worked better for me as baby got bigger.
Something for baby to wear
At our local hospital, every baby is given the same pink and blue blanket with matching hat, white thermal t-shirt, and pampers disposable diaper. If you want to help others identify your baby in the nursery, or dress him/her up for photos, or just to put the items you lovingly choose in the months preceding birth…then you need to pack for baby too!! I took some small outfits, swaddlers, baby hats and a going home outfit.
If you’re getting ready to welcome a little one into your family, Congratulations! I hope my packing experience has sparked some thought and helped you on your way. If your hospital doesn’t have you on file, you may need insurance cards, paperwork, birth plan, drivers license or ID. Pr-registering has been a wonderful option for us. It has allowed us to head straight for the maternity ward and go to our room, bypassing the registration desk! Can you think of anything I forgot?