Feeling confident about your labor and childbirth experience is a really big deal. It’s crucial to a smooth experience. One of the biggest ways to feel prepared is by packing your hospital bag. Therein lies the challenge. What are you supposed to pack? Where to start? That’s why I’ve compiled a list of 6 hospital bag tips that I learned from my own recent experience to share with you.
Here we go!
Stick around! There’s a free hospital bag checklist at the end of this post!
6 Hospital Bag Tips You’ll Wish You Knew
There are affiliate links in this article which means I’ll make a commission off purchases, but this doesn’t change your experience in any way.
#1: The Art of Balance
Packing your bags can be as glamorous and excessive as you want it to be. However, whatever you take along is completely your responsibility.
This means that you’ll have to look after it.
It’s easy to grab the suitcase/s and go when its two people headed for the hospital.
It’s an entirely different matter when you’re coming back with an infant in your arms.
Whatever you take to the hospital, you will have to bring home while carrying a newborn.
This may not sound like a big deal, but after at least one day of being in a bed that isn’t your own, Daddy sleeping on a cot, a bench, a chair or whatever is available, you will not be feeling as energetic and peppy as you may assume.
Oh, yeah–and the fact you just labored and had a baby.
#2: Don’t Forget Daddy
If your husband is anything like mine, he won’t be leaving the hospital until you do. Some daddies go home and take a shower and get some rest.
But, if Daddy is planning on staying at the hospital with you the entire time, he’ll need a set of clothes for the next day, pajamas for the night, and his toiletries.
I would also suggest a pillow. The hospital provides blankets and usually also pillows, but we all know not all pillows are created equally.
Whatever he is sleeping on will probably not be as comfortable as the hospital bed, so having his pillow from home is a really nice benefit.
#3: A Touch of Home
The hospital can be a stark, sterile-smelling place that can be a bit of a harsh environment.
During your labor, depending on how long you wait before going to the hospital, you are going to appreciate having a few things around that feel–and smell–like home.
You likely won’t be allowed to light a candle, but bringing your favorite one and just setting it on the side table with the lid off will do wonders for you.
So will a blanket, your favorite pair of socks, and your slippers.
Wearing something comfortable and homey will also work to your advantage, which leads to #4.
#4: Your OWN Hospital Gown
When I went to the hospital, I labored at home and didn’t have time to worry about what was on me during delivery.
In fact, it was a minor miracle that the nurses got my clothes off in time and threw a hospital gown over me before Kai was born.
However, later on, after I showered and refreshed and prepared for the soon-to-be arriving visitors, I was so glad I thought to purchase a labor and delivery gown from gownies.
These are little pieces of cotton-made heaven. Gownies are nursing/hospital friendly gowns made of cotton. The gown has snaps across the front for nursing, and snaps down the back.
The gown closes up completely–no more getting up from the bed and having to walk in reverse to stay modest.
They have beautiful prints to choose from, as well as a matching robe.
They are perfect for postpartum pictures!
I showered and wrapped up my hair and snuggled up in my Gownies and matching robe. Not only was it comfortable, the print was gorgeous.
It did wonders for me after all the work of pushing out a baby, being swollen and flushed from the exertion and fatigue.
I could now visit while wearing something pretty–and nursing friendly, to boot! It made an enormous difference.
#5: You Don’t Need As Much Baby Stuff As You Think You Do
The hospital provides diapers, wipes, a blanket (though it’s usually not the cutest), an aspirator, even bottles (if you bottle feed) and much more.
Unless you are very particular about the exact items you want on your baby (ie brand of diapers), most of the baby toiletries will be provided.
My hospital even provided a brush and shampoo for baby’s first bath.
I only used one of the four baby outfits I packed–the one he wore home.
I preferred to keep Baby lightly wrapped in a muslin swaddle providing for lots of skin-to-skin time.
What I Packed:
- 3 burp cloths
- 3 pairs of mittens
- 4 hats
- 4 outfits
- 4 pairs of socks
- 2 bottles
- 2 receiving blankets
- 1 fuzzy blanket
- 10 diapers
- baby toiletries
What I Actually Used:
- 1 burp cloth
- 1 pair of socks
- 1 pair of mittens
- 2 hats
- 1 muslin swaddle
All in all, I used less than half of what I packed for Baby. We didn’t need to bring very much for the baby at all.
Now, if you’re more particular and you have very set things you want baby to wear or to use, then go for it.
But if you’re like me and are willing to take advantage of what the hospital provides, you’ll be able to pack pretty lightly.
Bring a few things for just-in-case, but don’t stress about it.
Extra Tip: You’ll have a stack of papers and forms that you’ll be bringing home, so you’ll want to bring a folder or binder along to place them in.
#6: Focus on YOU more than Baby
Of all 6 hospital bag tips, this sounds craziest, but chances are you’ll use more of what you pack for yourself than what you pack for baby.
You’ll be staying at least one night. You’ll be sitting in a hospital bed for hours on end while you focus on your baby and (attempt to) rest up.
Sitting in that bed for so long can start to feel icky. I wore my gownie that first day after delivery, but I packed another nursing nightgown to have on hand, and I’m so glad I did.
It gave me something else to wear to feel fresh that night.
While the hospital (usually) provides soap for a shower, there is nothing like having the products you’re used to.
Because we packed so far in advance, I bought travel-sized soaps, deodorant and shampoo and packed them neatly in the suitcase, along with a toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste.
That’s a biggie.
If you try and remember to bring your own toothbrush from home, good luck while you’re in labor.
Pro-Tip: Instead of trying to pack your original shower wash, toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries, buy travel-sized items and pack them early. Then you won’t have to try to remember to pack them during contractions!
Don’t forget postpartum care.
The hospital provides some pretty amazing things to help you out, but again, it’s nice to have your own stuff.
Another good item to bring is a pair of flip-flops that you can either wash or toss once you’re home.
You’ll be trudging about the room and into the restroom, and you’ll be glad to have some flip-flops on hand.
To condense it down, here’s a Mama list of helpful items to have in your suitcase:
- At least one nursing nightgown (these are awesome postpartum because you’ll still have a bump for a bit)
- Deodorant, Soap, Razor, Shampoo
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Hair Care (keep it simple and hassle-free)
- Postpartum underwear
- A pair of socks for each day
- Clothes for going home
- Tucks Pads
- Postpartum Pads
- Nursing Balm (I used Badger Balm)
- Electronics Charger/s
- Some favorite snacks
- Your insurance card, ID, and hospital registration forms (if you filled them out in advance)
I’ve linked some of the items in this post that were must-haves for me. I used these personally and would recommend them to all you mommies out there.
May your hospital experience be smooth as you transition to this next beautiful chapter!
And remember, Fearless Mama, you have so got this. You have so got this.
Thanks for reading 6 Hospital Bag Tips You Wish You Knew Before Delivery!
Here’s your Hospital Bag Checklist