Preparing for Motherhood: Packing Your Hospital Bag

Guest post by Kara from Notes from the Nest

What to pack in your hospital bag?  If you’re pregnant, you know exactly what I’m talking about – it’s the all-important bag you bring to the hospital when you’re having a baby. If you’re not pregnant, you probably know someone who could use this information – share the love!

I originally wrote about this topic on my blog,Notes from the Nest. Rather than compiling a comprehensive list* or relying on my own experience, I asked several new-mom friends for some out of the box ideas. Perhaps the most valuable thing they’d brought to the hospital, or what they wished they’d brought. Here’s what they said:

What to pack for Mom:

-A nursing pillow (Boppy, Breast Friend, Blessed Nest, whichever you choose) will be VERY helpful. I’d almost say it’s an essential, especially when you and baby are trying to figure out breastfeeding.

-A journal or laptop to record the amazing events. You think you’ll always remember, but a little sleep deprivation makes the clearest memories blur. Write it down!

-Comfy clothes – enough for up to four days, just in case you have a c-section. A robe or zip-up hoodie, so you’ll have easy access for nursing. Maybe in dark colors in case of leaks. You may also choose to wear the hospital gowns the whole time, that’s what I did, so they could do the laundry. But better to have the option of your own clothes if you want them.

What to pack for Baby:

-Not much! The hospital has diapers, wipes, toiletries, onesies, hats, and sleep sacks for your new baby to use.

-Going home outfit: You’ll need to wash it at home before-hand, so you might want something gender-neutral if you don’t already know the sex. Or just bring one blue and one pink outfit, and pass the unused one on to a friend. Strange as it sounds, consider a preemie size. My friend Melissa and I, both with 8-pound babies, found the newborn size to be too big. Bring along a newborn size, too, just in case your baby is 10 pounds!!

What to pack for Dad/Labor Partner:

-Pillows for sleeping – the hospital usually provides an uncomfortable couch-bed, but extra pillows help make it a little more tolerable.

-Lots of snacks and a 12-pack of pop or juice so that you’re not spending baby’s college fund at hospital vending machines.

General tips:

-There are 2 schools of thought on packing– either one ginormous suitcase that holds it all, or whatever bags(s) you want to pack plus one empty bag to hold gifts you receive while in the hospital.

-Keep a list of the things you want to throw in your bag at the last-minute.

-Don’t forget chargers for phones, camera, laptop, and the USB cord to connect your camera to a computer for downloading new-baby pics.

-Ideas to celebrate the birth with your visitors: Bring a birth-day cake or champagne/sparkling juice and glasses. Bring some sheets of scrapbook-style paper to imprint the baby’s footprint, then have guests sign it in the hospital or the first few days at home.


Now it’s your turn- what else should be packed  for the hospital? What can be left out?


*Lots of others have prepared very complete hospital packing lists. A few of my favorites are from Baby Center, Babyzone and The Bump.

Kara is a stay-at-home mom to 2-year-old Tate. Her blog Notes from the Nest is about her adventures as a first time mom!

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6 Replies to “Preparing for Motherhood: Packing Your Hospital Bag”

  1. SLIPPERS or flip flops and toiletries. Little travel bottles of shampoo, conditioner, comb, brush, something to tie your hair back, toothbrush, floss…all your favorites so you feel HUMAN.
    And when you are leaving the hospital, take EVERYTHING from the baby’s little cart. Diapers and whatever else it has on there….formula, everything. AND remember plenty of those pads they give you – because they are the best, maxi pads do not work nearly as well.

  2. The first few days (especially in the hospital) I couldn’t live without Lanolin, Tucks pads, breast pads, and nursing bras. The hospital may provide Lanolin and Tucks but at a hefty price (you will just die when you see what it costs to have a baby – even a completely normal uncomplicated delivery!!) I am an L&D nurse and it’s insane what we charge people even for things like pads and diapers. The “sweetease” (highly concentrated sugar solution) they sometimes give babies for shots costs about $18! The little things add up so bringing your own supplies can save a lot! I also brought my own soaps, shampoo, and loofah – those hospital wash cloths are rough! 🙂

  3. It’s also helpful to bring a note pad with you to write down what time you nurse, which side, when the baby has a wet diaper or dirty diaper, etc. Those first few weeks your pediatrician is going to ask you how many wet diapers your baby has in a day, etc. Being able to look back in my notebook for EVERYTHING including sleeping, etc. was a total lifesaver for me!

  4. CHAPSTICK. And depending on how you fell about medicines you should take something to focus on during labor. For the birth of my last child I took a photo of my other kids. I taped it on the wall in front of my bed and that is what I used as a focal point during labor. I always take my own pillow. There is something about your own comfort zone that will help you rest better.

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