What’s in Your Hospital Bag?


What's in Your Hospital Bag

What a weird question.  But a question those of us who recently had a baby know is quite important.  And yes, mama-to-be, it is a question you need to start considering.  Probably right now.  Lucky for you, I’ve compiled the following list of items you may want to consider packing in your hospital bag (by week 37!), your partner’s hospital bag, and your baby’s hospital bag.

First things first.  I was induced and ended up with a c-section, so all-in-all I spent five nights in the hospital.  I didn’t know that going in, however I still managed to pack a small, carry-on size roller suitcase, a very large tote, and our gigantic Ju-Ju-Be diaper bag.  I had never stayed in a hospital before, and while I was incredibly lucky with the accommodations and fantastic nurses, I wanted to feel as comfortable and homey as possible.  I also wanted to ensure that our stay was as serene and relaxing as possible, all the way from laboring to recovery.  You’ll see these needs and wants of mine reflected in the list below, but of course, we all have our own needs and wants, so I’ve included a space on the printable for you to jot down your own homey or relaxing items you’d like to have with you.

Mama’s Hospital Bag

If your hospital has separate labor and delivery (L&D) and recovery rooms, you’ll want some items for L&D, but not all.  I’ve indicated my suggestions for L&D with a triple asterisk (***).  Leave all the remaining items in your car and have your partner or other family/friend bring them up to your recovery room after you are moved.  L&D rooms can get crowded, so it’s not a good idea to have too much extra in the space.

  • Toiletries:  Use as many travel sized items as possible.
    • Toothbrush/Toothpaste
    • Shampoo/Conditioner
    • Body wash or soap
    • Face and body lotion
    • Contact solution/Contacts/Lens case
    • Glasses/Glasses case
    • Deodorant
    • Face wash
    • Face wipes***
    • Razor (less for your legs, more for your underarms)
    • Headband***
    • Dry shampoo
    • Brush
    • Hair ties***
    • Light makeup (I took CC cream, mascara, and powder because I knew we would have photos taken in the hospital)
    • Maxi-pads (biggest you can get, you don’t need too many as the hospital should supply them)
    • Vitamins and medications***
  • Clothing:  You’ll have the option of wearing your own clothes or a hospital gown.  My plan was to change into a cute little size small nightgown I brought, however, giving birth amazingly does not melt away 55 lbs. of “baby weight,” so I stuck with a nursing bra and the hospital gown, usually with a robe over it all.  The choice is yours, just remember the nurses will need easy access to your private areas, your incision if applicable, and your boobs should be hanging out at all times.  Not really, but make sure they are easy to get to.
    • 3-4 Nursing bras
    • Slippers***
    • Fuzzy socks***
    • Going home outfit (early maternity clothes)
    • Underwear (full-bottomed cotton underwear, 1-2 sizes larger than normal size)
    • Flip-flops*** (for shower, in L&D you may be soothed by a shower while laboring)
    • 1-2 nursing tanks
    • Long, dark robe*** (you want one big enough so you can wear it while in labor if you want to walk around the halls, dark so it’s not see-through)
    • Belly binder, if using one
    • Laundry bag
  • Nursing
    • Nursing pads
    • Lanolin cream
    • Nipple gel pads (ask the nurses if they’ll refrigerate them for you)
    • Nursing pillow
  • Comfort and Ambiance
    • iPhone speaker*** (music is very soothing! I had Adele radio going through Pandora most of our time in the hospital, even in L&D)
    • Oil-diffuser*** (choose a scent that calms you, again we used ours throughout our time in L&D and recovery)
    • Towel from home***
    • Pillow from home***
    • Blanket from home*** (They almost rolled me into the OR with mine!  Luckily the anesthesiologist pulled it off and threw it to my husband as we were rolling down the hall)
    • Sleep mask*** (great for L&D if induced, a must-have for recovery)
  • Notebook and pen*** (lots of info comes your way!)
  • Paperwork folder**
  • Wallet
  • Phone and charger***
  • Tablet and charger***

Baby Hospital Bag

We packed the baby’s items in the diaper bag.

  • Pajamas/Sleep sacks (3, at least one NB size and one 3 month size)
  • Baby blanket
  • Receiving blanket
  • Swaddle
  • Burp cloths
  • Hats
  • Going home outfit
  • Outfit for pictures if being done in the hospital
  • Mittens
  • Socks
  • Pacifier (Your hospital may or may not have a lot to say about this, but you are the parent, and maybe you won’t even use it, but you might be glad you brought it along)
  • Baby nail file
  • Wipes
  • Diapers (the hospital will provide wipes and diapers, and you be sure to take any leftovers home, you paid for it after all, but you should have some in your diaper bag JIC)

Partner Hospital Bag

Your second-hand man or woman has the luxury of being able to pop home, so he/she doesn’t need as much as you do.  We used a duffle bag for my husband’s items.

  • 2 changes of clothes
  • Pillow & blanket
  • Tablet/Book
  • PJs/Loungewear
  • Hoodie sweatshirt (my husband insisted I add this…I guess we all love a good hoodie right?)
  • Slippers
  • Flip-flops
  • Sneakers and socks
  • Wallet
  • Phone and charger (make sure there’s lots of space for pictures!!!)

That’s it!  Of course, don’t forget to have baby’s car seat installed and ready to go.  I’d have most, if not all of these items packed and waiting by week 37, you just never know!  If you’d like a hard copy to help you organize, please print off my Hospital Bag Checklist.  It includes all of the above lists, as well as space to add your own, personal items.  Also, check out my article on baby item must haves, also with a handy-dandy printable!  Here’s the link to Baby Items Checklist: What You Actually Need For Baby’s First Homecoming.

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Elisabeth, a native of southwest Ohio, has recently moved back to her home state after 3.5 years in Dallas, TX, y’all. After having their son in early 2015, Elisabeth and her husband knew it was time to make the bittersweet decision to leave Dallas and head back home. Although neither Elisabeth nor her husband are originally from Columbus, it immediately felt comfortable and welcoming, home at last. Elisabeth is mama to a darling, wacky, and scrumptious one-year-old boy, Baby Bean, and married for over four years to the man who stole her heart with a smile junior year in college. Before embarking on her life-long dream of being a stay at home mom, Elisabeth attended law school in Cleveland and then promptly decided to become a real estate agent in Dallas. Elisabeth loves making lists of all kinds, squeezing into skinny jeans whenever possible, and truly believes nothing tastes better than that first cup of morning coffee (with lots of cream). Her favorite things include Cadbury Eggs, Christmas decorations, hotel room service, and watching Baby Bean grow and change each and every day, even if that means toddlerdom is upon her! Elisabeth is passionate about parenting, and loves to learn about the many different types of parents, child-rearing, and how individual families approach various, every day challenges. She hopes her stories can help others see a new perspective, understand that no matter what, they aren’t alone, bring forth a little bit of inspiration, and ultimately help other parents through this nutty job we’ve bestowed upon ourselves.