I unexpectedly ended up in the hospital last weekend with early contractions. Luckily, my daughter decided to stay put (at least for now), but her near early arrival prompted me to hurry up and get my hospital bag packed.
For my first pregnancy, I packed my hospital bag based on this The Bump list. A fairly comprehensive list, I felt mostly prepared, but there were a few items we were missing.
The ideas in this Baby Center article, includes a few things that would have made my first hospital stay even better. Specifically, I’m referring to items for my husband. He packed a bag with a laptop, camera, phone chargers and all other technology must-haves, but he didn’t bring a change of clothes or any toiletries, which would have come in handy since my son was born at 4am. I’ll know better this time around.
Below is my list of the items I think are most important to pack in your hospital bag and examples of the types of items I will be bringing with me.
Maternity Hospital Bag Check List
Robe – After you deliver, you will want to get out of that scratchy hospital robe ASAP. They aren’t comfortable, they aren’t cute, and I get tired of flashing nurses and my husband constantly (not to mention the draft!). A soft robe is a great transition piece–low maintenance and still allows easy access for breastfeeding, skin-to-skin time, and bathroom runs.
Pajama Bottoms – If you need to stay in the hospital a bit longer, it is nice to have pajama pants. If you are expecting visitors or if you get cold easily, an extra layer of coverage is great.
Grippy socks – I received a pair of these socks from a Fitness Magazine blogger event I attended. They are not just great for barre classes, but they are perfect for the hospital. They have grip on the bottom for bathroom trips or in case you need to pace up and down the halls to get the labor moving. The socks are warm and cute, seriously a must-have for the hospital.
Nursing Cami – I would suggest bringing two. These are great layering pieces and most have built-in bras so you don’t have to worry about layering with nursing bras. They work great for easy nursing and unbutton for skin-to-skin time.
Jeans – For you going home outfit, you will need a comfortable and easy outfit. Despite visions of skinny jeans, you will still need your maternity pants for at least a couple more weeks. Plus, maternity jeans are comfortable, so enjoy them for the time being.
Cardigan – In case your want some cute going home pictures, why not look a little more put together by throwing a cardigan over your nursing cami? Cardigans will still allow easy access for breastfeeding but look nicer than a hoodie or sweatshirt.
Shoes – Ballet flats like these are part of my everyday essentials, especially when I want to dress casually, but still look nice.
Undergarments – You will want to bring a couple pairs of maternity underwear and a nursing bra.
These are the things I felt like I needed at my hospital, as they don’t really provide much in the line of toiletries except for towels (if you are expecting a soft/plush towel, you may want to bring your own) and maxi pads.
Makeup – I didn’t wear makeup the first time I was in the hospital, but given the many visitors and pictures taken during your hospital stay, you might want to bring a few makeup items. There is no need to be all made up at the hospital, so keep it simple. I will bring mascara, spot concealer, blush and lip balm.
Cell Phone and Charger – Don’t forget a charger! You will want to call your family and closest friends during your labor or soon after your baby arrives.
Computer or iPad – During my first labor and delivery, I had about 5 hours of downtime while I was waiting to dilate further, so I had time to send out some last-minute work emails and wrap up a few other things. We also used the computer to listen to music and watch a couple TV shows on HBO-Go.
Camera and Charger – You are going to want to capture those first precious moments, so a camera is a given, but don’t forget your charger. Sure, phone pics are OK, but camera pics are better.
Snacks – I had no complaints about the hospital food during my first pregnancy, but there were times I wish I had a snack. Also, snacks come in handy so your husband or significant other doesn’t have to leave during an important time to try and find something to eat.
Soft Toilet Paper – I came across this hilarious Scary Mommy packing list, and her suggestion to bring a roll of nice, soft toilet paper is genius. The hospital toilet paper is very low quality, dry and scratchy, which feels like sand paper after you give birth. Do yourself a favor and bring a couple rolls of soft toilet paper.
Cash and Change – In case your spouse or family members want an escape from the room during one of the many checks, or if you get hungry for a snack, having some change or cash on hand is most helpful.
Car Seat – This may seem obvious, but if you didn’t install your car seat early, in the rush of getting to the hospital, many parents forget this necessary item. My hospital would not allow us to leave until they inspected our car to ensure we had a proper car seat. I’m not certain all hospitals do these checks, but try to remember to install your car seat a few weeks before your due date or make sure to grab it before you head out the door to the hospital.
Going Home Outfit – Make sure to bring a newborn and a 0-3 size. When we got Rocco dressed to go home, he was drowning in his outfit because he was only 6 pounds. We actually needed a preemie size, since he was so tall and thin.
Hat – My hospital provided hats for Rocco, but this version is certainly cuter for going-home pictures.
Blanket – A warm and soft blanket can come in handy during skin to skin time while you are still in the hospital and when you carry your baby down to the car. Even though the hospital provided me with a lot of blankets, it’s nice to have an ultra soft version and a little piece of home.
I don’t need to bring many items for the baby because my hospital provides a plethora of diapers, swaddling blankets, and hats. They also provide maxi pads and other products and medications to help with my recovery.
Certainly, you could bring more of your own personal items for yourself and baby. I only plan to be in the hospital for 1 to 2 nights, so I don’t want to overdo it on the packing.
In closing, I hope this list helps you feel prepared and less stressed for your hospital stay. Please download, print and share my list with the expectant moms you know. Best of luck with your labor and delivery!