What do you actually need in your hospital bag?
Do you need a box of diapers? Do you need to bring a breast pump and your nursing supplies? Not knowing what to expect can lead to over packing or underpacking. We are here to help you figure out the essentials and we even provide you with a list of what not to bring and why--some of the answers might surprise you!
First, let’s begin with,
What Not To Bring
If you know what you don’t need, it will make it easier to pack what you do need.
Diapers and Wipes
Don’t drag a whole box of newborn diapers to the hospital as they will provide you with enough for your stay. Baby care items are part of the hospital costs you are already paying so take advantage of the "freebies!"
Again, your hospital fee includes most care items you will need. Don’t bring formula as they will have enough to get you through for the first few days.
Other items the hospital will provide you are period pads, mesh panties, pain medicine (like Tylenol and numbing spray), chucks pads, and hygiene products. This is included in your hospital bill, so stock up on them when you leave!
The hospital should have a hospital-grade breast pump you can borrow to get your milk flowing or if your baby needs pumped milk because of an emergency.
Clothing And Personal Items
When packing clothing, remember to pack dark-colored comfy clothes. You don’t want to deal with a leak onto your favorite white satin pajama bottoms! Also, keep in mind that hospitals are cold, so plan accordingly.
Robe, slippers, and nightshirts
that button in the front (for easy breastfeeding and skin-to-skin time.) The nurses will come in often to check on the amount of your bleeding to see if it’s normal and to check for infections. Pants might get in the way or be annoying, so a long nightshirt is often your most convenient bet. Pack slippers with a good grip so you don’t slip on the tile floor, (plus they keep your feet comfy and off the dirty floor!)
because hospitals are cold.
because hospitals are cold.
You are not the first person to clean up postpartum in the hospital shower. In fact, many women labor in the hospital shower. While hospital staff does everything they can to sterilize the floors, it’s better to be safe and not go barefoot during your stay.
If you plan on nursing, having a nursing pillow that goes around your abdomen is a super helpful tool to get you started on the right footing.
Sweats, Yoga Pants, Or Joggers
Make sure to pack matching, nursing-friendly tops, too!
You will be in the hospital anywhere from 1-4 days depending on your situation and the wellness of the baby. Always plan to stay longer than anticipated and pack three or four different pants and shirts just in case.
While most hospitals provide you with mesh panties, a girl should never go anywhere without a pair or five.
Going Home Outfit
There is nothing like that moment when you get to leave the hospital and take your baby home! Packing a cute going home outfit can make the day feel more memorable and special.
For obvious reasons.
If your phone does not take good pictures, bring your camera along or borrow one to get some special shots of the baby that you will treasure forever.
It’s always good to bring a few food items when you have a stay at the hospital. Part of your hospital fee includes meals, but it does not include snacks. Even though nurses are happy to bring you a drink, they often have a lot to do and you might be kept waiting a while. Most hospitals have a cafeteria where you can purchase snacks, pastries, drinks, and coffee, but it is cheaper, healthier, and easier to bring your own.
Having a baby requires a lot of water. Many women complain about swelling after birth, but you can ward off unwanted swelling by hydrating properly. Good hydration will also support your milk coming in, as well! Gatorade, Liquid IV dry packs, or coconut water are all great items to bring to the hospital. Try to avoid high sugar drinks like soda and juice if at all possible.
Snack Bars, Dry Fruit, Granola, Nuts
These are all great, healthy options to munch on between meals!
Women for centuries have coveted chocolate even more than our male counterparts. Some experts say that dark chocolate fights the “baby-blues,” and we know there is some sort of hormonal link between chocolate and our feminine biology. So don’t feel guilty, pack some chocolate! You earned it!
A pro-tip is to purchase travel-size toiletries for your hospital stay instead of lugging full-sized items like shampoo and body wash. If your bag is getting heavy, try replacing your bottles with travel-sized ones.
Mascara/must-have makeup. (You will want to look cute for photos or visitors, so packing a few cosmetics is a good idea. Mascara and lip gloss alone can take your postpartum look to a whole new level!)
Contacts and Cleaner
Towel and Wash Cloth From Home (for sanitary reasons.)
Dirty Laundry Bag (the hospital probably won’t do your personal laundry for you.)
Pre-Natal Vitamins (your body still needs nourishment as it recovers.)
Nipple Cream (If you plan on breastfeeding, this is a must!)
You can’t forget the baby! Here are the few things you will need to pack for the little one. Remember that the nurses will check on your baby often and you will have to change diapers regularly so packing cute, complicated outfits for the hospital probably won’t work very well.
These are little onesies, but the bottom doesn’t clasp, making it easier to change diapers in the middle of the night.
The hospital has baby blankets, but they are not as cozy and soft as the ones you have. Swaddle blankets are usually made from soft cotton, bamboo, or muslin.
Nursing Cover Up
If you plan on offering your baby a pacifier, don’t forget to pack one!
Let us know in the comments what you packed in your bag and what you wish you hadn’t brought!