It's almost time for your due date, so it's a good idea to start packing your hospital bag now. A hospital bag will help you feel more organized and prepared for the big day. What should you include?
It took me 10.5 weeks to finally write this post, as life with a newborn is quite chaotic. However, I wanted to share which hospital bag essentials were useful for me. As a new mom, I definitely overpacked, but the items listed below were must-haves!
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
It is recommended to prepare your hospital bag, including toiletries and phone chargers, by 35 weeks and keep it in your car. During my first pregnancy, my son Mason, was born 3 weeks early, and although we had the bag in the car, I did not have toiletries, makeup or phone chargers ready for our hospital stay.
Fortunately, our friends brought us the items we missed the morning after the delivery. It's crucial to have essentials such as a toothbrush and phone charger.
What Type of Bag to Bring
I recommend using a suitcase instead of a duffle bag. Since you'll have a lot to carry, having a carry on size suitcase with wheels is easier. We used a medium-sized suitcase and my LV Neverfull tote, and also brought a small tote bag filled with food, bottles, and other items that our friend brought. Mac could roll the suitcase, while I carried Mason in a wheelchair (as required by the hospital).
Here's a checklist of essential items for mom, dad, and baby.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
I recommend bringing the items listed below during your first 48 hours with your baby, as they were very helpful for me. There are a mix of recovery items and personal items on this list to help make your delivery and hospital stay after more comfortable.
If you have a birth plan, print and bring a few copies: one for your chart, some for your delivery nurses, and perhaps another to tape up in your hospital room. It’s a good idea to highlight some key points for quick reference.
Insurance card: Make sure you have one for mom and baby.
MomWasher & Perineal Care
I am really impressed with this MomWasher that all of you recommended. Even though some people suggested not to bring it as the hospital provides one, I found it way better than the water bottles they provide.
The bottle is designed at an angle to make it easier to spray. It is beneficial when peeing after delivery. Simply fill the bottle with lukewarm water and spray while peeing to dilute urine and prevent burning.
- Witch hazel healing foam - this foam is for pain relief of perineal pain, tearing and can also be used for hemorrhoids
- Dermoplast - many of your recommended this as an additional pain relief spray. Many nurses suggest spraying on pads and not directly on your nether regions.
- Tucks cooling pads - similar to the padsicles but smaller. Many of you with tearing recommended these.
These cooling pads are similar to the padsicles but smaller. I did use them for a few days, and they added some additional cooling and soothing in those more painful first few days. Luckily, my hospital provided these, and I brought a full tub home with me.
If you want to know how to make padsicles, here is tutorial you can watch. I did find them helpful the first few days, and I preferred them over the hospital version, which you had to break to activate. I found the hospital version too bulky and uncomfortable on tender nether regions.
If you don’t want to make your own a friend gifted me these ice postpartum pads from Friday Mom
Comfortable clothes are essential, and that includes robes! I brought multiple robes, and these were so essential.
I wore one during delivery itself and another during recovery, back and forth to NICU and around our room. Highly recommend that you bring 2-3 robes. I love this labor gown as an alternative to the scratchy hospital gown and this robe for postpartum recovery.
I am SO glad I brought lightweight ribbed PJ dress to sleep in. Everything else I packed was thick and cozy, but I was SO hot and sweating constantly.
I would definitely have swapped all my thicker PJs for lightweight options. I picked up these satin PJs in two colors from Target, and I am obsessed.
Comfortable Shoes and Slippers
Like the robes, these were essential for walking around the room and the hospital. I stayed in slip PJs, robes, comfy socks, and slippers for all our visits to newborn screenings and going back and forth to the NICU for the first 10 hours.
The hospital will generally give you those grippy socks, but I appreciated bringing my own fun socks.
I was so happy someone recommended bringing an old pair of slippers because I just threw them out when we left (I didn't want to bring home the germs).
Someone suggested bringing a colored pillowcase to differentiate from the hospital pillows, which was so smart. Also, my night sweats after delivery in the hospital bed were INSANE, and having my silk pillowcase was so cooling and comforting. Some women even like to bring their own pillow which is also a great idea.
Hair & Sweating
Adult Diaper / Underwear
So many people tried to talk me out of bringing these, saying I could just use the mesh underwear the hospital gives you, but I am so glad I didn't listen.
Always Discreet Underwear is the best!!! They are higher-waisted and soft, with holding pads, padsicles, cooling pads, and the like in place.
With the mesh underwear, everything slides around. I wore these for about a week; they are the best thing ever. They also look seamless under clothes as you transition back to the real world but still need to ice your lady parts haha.
Whatever you bring to wear home, avoid tight garments. You won't want to be squeezing in those tight leggings or skinny jeans 24-48 hours postpartum.
For my first pregnancy, I wore my old black Joggers and a soft pink pullover to go home as it was wintertime. During my second pregnancy, I know I wanted comfy clothes but something more lightweight so I brought this adorable two piece lounge set and a flowy dress.
Toiletries & Makeup
Remember to pack these essential items: a hairbrush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, extra hair ties, and face wipes.
Babylist parents recommend bringing face wipes in case you cannot shower immediately. Also, don't forget to bring extra contacts, contact solution, and/or glasses if you wear them. I brought this face wash, this sulfate free mini body wash, and mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner.
I highly recommend you pack all the toiletries and makeup you normally use for a low-key day. You’ll have time to shower and freshen up in the maternity or postpartum ward after delivery. Particularly if you have a long labor you will want to shower during recovery.
I burst blood vessels during delivery, and my eyelids were left covered in little red dots. It made me feel a little better to do my brows and throw on a little concealer before we headed home.
If you plan on breastfeeding, I highly recommend packing different types of nipple cream: lanolin and something else with essential oils. You can use both in combination. I hear it can really helps soothe the pain during those first few days of breastfeeding.You may also want to bring a nursing pillow.
I literally used these for EVERYTHING! Hygienic wipes are great for wiping up milk during feedings, cleaning bottles, baby items, and wiping down tables and chairs.
These are also a favorite for breastfeeding mothers and absolutely essential for leaky milk. I highly recommend you bring multiple pairs of disposable breast pads with you.
I recommend you bring an outfit for the baby to go home in and ensure you have a car seat ready. Don't forget to dress them in something comfortable as they often go from hot to cold temperatures. Pro tip: bring a few change of clothes options because spit-up and milk stains will be your new norm.
It's also important to remember that even if your hospital bag is bursting, it'll be worth every ounce and reason to use a roomy bag.
By being prepared, you can ensure that your stay in the hospital will be a bit more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your partner.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Dad
Cash and Coins
You never know what you may need cash for. Sometimes you just want a snack out of the vending machines at 3am!
Long Charging Chords
Hospital beds are often far from electrical outlets, and having a fully charged cell phone is essential for taking pictures of your new baby and video chatting with friends and family who are excited to see the new addition to your family. So don't forget a pair of long charging chords!
At the last minute, a friend recommended that we bring a sleeping bag, and I had luckily thrown it in the car weeks prior. It's a great option for your partner as they'll sleep on a couch, making it semi-comfortable.
Snacks & Beverages
Bring small, healthy snacks like granola bars, nuts, or trail mix that require no refrigeration. This way you can have something to eat in between meals. Also, bring your favorite hot and cold beverages for you and your partner.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
I definitely overpacked for my first on Mason, but who was I to know what I would need? The other thing to remember is that every single baby is unique and what works for one baby may not work for you. I am overpacking again for my second birth and I don't feel guilty at all.
You have no idea what size your baby will be, and I am SO glad I brought a variety of sizes. Everyone encouraged me to bring larger sizes, thinking he would be larger, but I am SO glad I brought a few newborn onesies since he was only 6lbs 5oz.
In the first few days babies sleep almost non-stop, but you will definitely be taking lots of pictures to document baby’s arrival.
I am so glad I brought photo props and had fun taking tons of photos in those first few hours and days. Now I can reflect on those memories and had images printed for my first son’s nursery.
We brought 2 cozy blankets, perfect for all the snuggles, skin-to-skin moments, and the ride home. One of the blankets was homemade, and the other is my absolute favorite from Amazon.
For my second son I got another chenille uber soft baby blanket in a new pattern because we used them so much the first time around.
Newborns may be tiny, but their nails are sharp. I brought a couple of mittens to protect him from himself, and they worked great. You can also use baby socks if you don't want to spend money on mittens.
While we didn't use our sound machine until we got home, we swear by these, so I had to highlight them. At the hospital, I played soothing music on Spotify throughout delivery and once Mason was born.
If you are not into music or have a fussy baby, this sound machine will be a lifesaver!
Honestly, those are the only things we needed aside from our carseat. I brought bottles, formula, pacifiers, swaddles, and more, but we used everything the hospital gave us instead. When you become a parent, sometimes your ideal plans go out the window, and survival mode begins.
Using the premixed formula, their bottles, diapers, swaddles, burp cloths, and even the pacifiers, the NICU gave him was so much easier.
That being said, as a new mom, I wholeheartedly say pack what you WANT not what you will need. Those last few weeks of pregnancy are HARD, and I know it brought me comfort to pack a million things and feel like I was prepared.
There is no downside to overpacking. The items will just sit in your suitcase, and that's OK. Just make sure you leave room for all the diapers, wipes, pads, extra formula, etc the hospital will send you home with!
These are just some hospital bag essentials for what to pack in a hospital bag for mom and dad. Don't forget to add headphones, books, journals, or anything else to make your stay more comfortable.
Packing a hospital bag can be an overwhelming task, however, with these tips and checklists, you will have everything you need for the big day. Pack items that are comfortable and lightweight, as well as essentials like lip balm and hygienic wipes. Don't forget to grab items for Dad and Baby too!