As we neared closer and closer to our due date, I began to really stress about what to pack for the hospital. A quick search of the internet had me wishing that Google didn’t exist because everyone had a differing opinion and a laundry list of things I didn’t even own that were apparently “integral” to your 3-day stay. I ended up with 15+ Amazon Prime deliveries and an entire suitcase of stuff I never used or even remotely wanted, and I vowed to create a true list of “must haves” to help future expectant Moms! Here is a short list of what you actually need in your bag (and when you get home!), plus a few really helpful additions for those of us who admit to being slightly high maintenance!
Helpful hint: For most of these items, you’ll want to pack the exact same thing for your significant other! Don’t forget they’ll be there the whole time you are!
- Wallet + Insurance Information
- Slippers – These were the best thing I packed! Whether you are going to the washroom, walking up and down the halls, or just visiting with family, it’s so nice to have something comfy on your feet! I bought these from Target and got so many compliments!
- Flip Flops – Crucial for the shower during your recovery! I suggest wearing them to the hospital – one less thing to pack!
- Labor and Delivery Hospital Gown – I was SO happy that I purchased this! When you check-in, you’ll want to just get right into one of the hospitals’ gowns, where you’ll stay until after your baby is born! The next day however, you are in no shape for regular clothes (trust me!), but also want more coverage than a hospital gown provides (for visitors, walking around the Mom/Baby floor, etc.). I purchased this gown and had it lined so that it was thick and opaque. It’s much longer than a hospital gown and even completely closes in the back so you can walk around comfortably but also be easily accessible to nurses. It was an absolute life saver and I don’t know what I would have done without it!
- Your own pillow – key, key, key!
- ONE Outfit – I ended up with multiple outfits, pairs of PJs, etc. and it was all entirely unnecessary! There is no reason to be outside of a hospital gown when you’re in the hospital, and it would have been a total nuisance if I had been in anything else. Pack one outfit to go home in – I suggest an easy slip on dress. It’s easy, comfortable, and much easier to plan on the right size. Plan on being somewhere around the size you were at 5 months pregnant! You don’t need PJs, you don’t need underwear. Trust me.
*Pack a few outfits for your significant other
- Snacks – Though our hospital was great about getting us food at very strange hours, we found it super helpful to have things like trail mix, protein bars, etc. handy for those moments you don’t want to wait for room service!
- A few baby outfits and a swaddle blanket– This is where I was glad I had options. We packed a few “newborn” sized outfits and then ended up having a child who made the tiny clothing look like a joke. Bring a few different sizes – and don’t get too carried away with “coming home” outfits. Most of the blankets and other fun “gowns” etc. are totally not practical because you can’t strap them safely into a car seat! Bring an adorable onesie and a blanket to go over your baby once he/she is in the car seat and call it a day. I promise!
- Face mask, anti-puff eye roller – The first morning I woke up after giving birth, I told my husband I wished so badly that I had something to soothe my face! The combination of labor and crying (happy tears too, don’t worry!) made my face and eyes so swollen it was actually uncomfortable! My sister brought me a little care package that had both of these items in it and it was such a lifesaver! It was also nice to take 5 minutes for myself.
- Nursing Bra (if you plan to nurse or pump)
- Toiletries – They do have the essentials at the hospital, but I was glad to have my own travel-sized products that were a bit nicer
- Baby Book – I’m so glad I brought this! The hospital did the hand and footprints in our baby book while we were there!
- Installed Car Seat – Make sure you stop at your local fire department or police station to make sure it’s installed correctly!
- Baby Nail File or Mittens – The hospital will not take care of your baby’s nails. Our daughter ended up in the NICU for a few days, and I was so glad I had a file so that she didn’t scratch her face! (You can also use mittens, but our nurses preferred the baby be able to use his/her hands for developmental reasons.)
Things you do NOT need:
- Your own breast pump, boppy pillow, etc. Every single list I read had these items on it, and the hospital provides everything you need to breastfeed, pump, or formula feed!
- The same goes for diapers, wipes, pacifiers, burp clothes, etc. I had a full diaper bag of supplies I never needed!
Things to be prepared with at home:
- Tucks pads (the hospital provides these, but you’ll want more, more, more!)
- Disposable underwear (the hospital will give you enough to take home!)
- Disposable breast pads (I love this brand!)
- Medela quick clean bags – This will save you HOURS cleaning bottles, nipples, pump parts, pacifiers, etc.!
Photo: Joy Lyn Photography