My Hospital Bag

 What to Bring to the Hospital When You’re Having a Baby

Being a second-time mama, I have a better understanding of the whole hospital experience.  I wanted to share some of that experience with my friends who are first-time mamas in regards to a list of things to bring to the hospital.  The first time I brought way too much stuff, and that’s totally normal for a first timer.  There were a handful of things that I brought that were never used.  Here is a list of the most useless items to bring to a hospital:

1. Boppy Pillow.  Some people loved this for nursing, but it wasn’t helpful at all for me.  The hospital has plenty of pillows that work just as well as a bobby would for nursing if you need support.

2. Our own diapers and wipes.  The hospital provides this.  Unless you know that the hospital you’re staying at has crappy wipes, don’t bother bringing them.  It’s a waste of time and space.

3. DVDs and Books.  I wasn’t in the mood to watch anything or read anything during contractions.  Bringing a book for your husband is a great idea, but you won’t want to read anything before or after labor.  I slept between contractions, and after the baby was born…she became the only “entertainment” we needed.

4. Non-maternity clothes.  Don’t you dare bring pre-pregnancy jeans!  It takes time for your uterus to deflate.  So that means that you’ll still look about 5-6 months pregnant after giving birth.  I highly recommend stretchy clothing that is comfortable and breathable.  Layers are awesome for wearing in the hospital.  But please do yourself a favor and only bring clothes that fit you when you were 5-6 months along.

5. Shampoo/Conditioner/Body wash.  Most hospitals provide these for you.  I’m usually very picky with products used on my skin and hair, but after giving birth I couldn’t care less.  They work.  They get you clean.  This was just one more thing that I brought and never used.

6. Outfit for a newborn.  Our baby was almost 9 pounds when she was born.  We only brought newborn clothes, and so my husband had to run to Target to pick up an outfit that was 0-3 months instead.  My suggestion would be to bring a newborn outfit, and a 0-3 month outfit.  That way you are covered no matter what.

So what did I find useful?  

Below is a list of “must have” items to bring:

Hospital Bag Must Haves Toiletry Items

1. For your face (make-up remover, facial cleanser, facial lotion, and toner)
2. Toiletry bag
3. Deodorant and loofah
4. Contacts and glasses
5. For your hair (hair binders, baby powder or dry shampoo, blow dryer, straightener, and brush/comb)
6. Toothbrush and toothpaste
7. Chap stick
8. Nipple cream
9. Make-up (Basics include: concealer, foundation, eyebrow pencil, blush, and mascara)

After being in labor, the only thing you’ll want to do is take a shower.  Some of you may be shocked upon seeing the make-up bag.  I’m only bringing the basics, but I remember feeling so much better mentally after applying make-up in the hospital.  Everyone has their own necessities, and these are the ones that make me feel the most comfortable.

Hospital Bag Must Haves Clothes and Such

1. Yoga pants
2. Loose long-sleeved shirt with buttons
3. Loose short-sleeved shirt
4. Maternity jeans
5. Loose cardigan
6. Belly Bandit
7. Nursing bras
8. Pajamas
9. Comfy shoes
10. Socks
11. Nursing tanks
12. Phone, charger, and ear buds
13. Slippers
14. Pillow
15. Prenatal pills

As I mentioned before, you’ll want to bring clothes that are loose and comfortable.  Some of these items depend on when you are giving birth and where.  I live in the arctic tundra, so what is comfortable to me may not be the same for you.  I highly recommend a comfy outfit (with yoga pants) for that first day after you have the baby.  It should be an outfit that is easy for you to nurse in as well.  Last time I wore a nursing tank under a loose shirt.  That seemed to be the most comfortable attire, because if I got warm (nursing can give you hot flashes) I could always just wear the nursing tank.

The second outfit you’ll want to bring is a going home outfit.  This one should still be comfortable.  If it was summer, I would bring a skirt or a dress to wear…but there is no guarantee of warm weather in April where I live.  I will be bringing maternity jeans with a loose shirt and a cardigan.  If you want to continue wearing yoga pants, go for it!  I am all about comfort, and you’ll have to get used to yoga pants until you can fit comfortably into some real pants.

One piece of “clothing” that I didn’t bring last time is the belly bandit.  I didn’t have one in the beginning, but I bought one when I was about 6 months postpartum and loved it.  The belly bandit helps hold your baby muffin in, and through continued wear will help shrink that muffin.  It is lined with velcro so that over time you can tighten it.  They are pretty spendy at maternity stores, so I would check out garage sales and maternity secondhand stores first.  If all else fails, Amazon is usually a bit cheaper.  Now if you have a cesarean, you won’t be able to use this right away.  Your incision will have to heal before using the belly bandit, but eventually you could use it.

You may also notice that I don’t have a robe on my list.  This is because my hospital supplies a very comfortable bathrobe.  If your hospital does not supply a nice robe for you, I would recommend bringing one of your own.  As far as sleep attire goes, I am bringing a comfortable pajama set.  It is important that your pajamas be breathable, comfortable, and easily accessible for nursing your baby.  Along with the pajamas, you’ll want to bring some comfy slippers.  The hospital floors gross me out, and your feet will thank you for bringing some slippers with a bit of cushioning for walking around the hospital.

Finally there are just two more things that I must have in the hospital.  The first is my own pillow.  Some people can sleep whenever and wherever, but I need my pillow to get a decent amount of shut eye (if that is possible with a newborn).  Hospital pillows are very cheap and uncomfortable to me, so I’m bringing my wonderful memory foam pillow.  The second  thing that I’m bringing is a couple of prenatal pills.  If you are nursing, you’ll want to continue to take these.  I believe most hospitals provide these, but there are prenatal pills out there that I’ve tried that make me sick.  That’s why I’ll be bringing my own.

Hospital Bag Must Haves for the Husband

1. Change of clothes
2. Cash
3. Deodorant
4. Hat
5. Toothbrush
6. Watch
7. Phone
8. Snacks
9. Pillow
10. Book

Your comfort during this time is important, but so is the comfort of your husband.  He may not be in labor, but he’s still there for hours and hours.  Listed above are some things that my husband wants to bring to keep himself busy and to stay comfortable during the whole birthing process.  The cash is for purchasing snacks at the vending machines, and yes that is an awesome book that you all should check out.  Love anything written by C.S. Lewis.

Hospital Bag Must Haves for Baby

 1. Take home outfit
2. Diaper bag
3. Socks
4. Warm blanket
5. Car seat with cover
6. Card from big sister
7. Breast pump (if this is your first time, most hospitals send you home with a breast pump.  Check with your insurance before going to the hospital to make sure that it is covered.  Most insurance companies pay for your pump these days.  We only paid a total of fifty dollars for ours.)
8. WubbaNub
9. Receiving blankets (for spit-up, because those little burp cloths are a joke.)
10. Sleepers

These items are pretty straight forward.  The card is something that I thought of.  It’s not something that he will remember, but I think it’s a great way to connect the siblings from day one.

The hospital provides most things for babies.  Just don’t forget the car-seat!  They won’t let you leave without one.

Hospital Bag Must Haves for Big Sister

1. Baby doll carrier (planning on making this myself)
2. Big sister book
3. Card from baby
4. Big sister backpack
5. Baby doll
6. Snacks

 I thought it would be fun to have a special bag for E at the hospital.  That way when she comes to the hospital to see the baby, she has something to play with and keep her busy.


Well, that’s what we’re bringing to the hospital.  I hope this post was helpful to those of you who are experiencing birth for the first time.

Best piece of advice: Take a deep breath.  Our bodies were made for this 🙂

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. Congrats on number 2! I changed everything I packed for number 1 when I had number 2. The list above are great and very helpful.

  2. Terri's Thoughts says:

    these are great ideas! I was so comfy when I was in the hospital- it felt super good

  3. SpiritDee says:

    Great list, wish I had had one when I went in to have my children. Will definitely reblog.

  4. SpiritDee says:

    Reblogged this on It's not just words and commented:
    A very handy list

  5. Becoming Mom says:

    Fantastic article!! I will definitely send it along to new Moms and will probably refer back to this when we have baby #3 sometime down the road.

    I do have to say, I left the boppy home with baby #1 and brought it with baby #2 and it made such a huge difference with my back/epidural pain. My “baby” is now 15 months and I still use it sometimes when my back is hurting. I heart my boppy but it’s not for everyone. 🙂

    1. Janell says:

      Thanks! I did have a love/hate relationship with that boppy. My pregnancy body pillow was what I used for nursing. It gave support to my back and curved around the front to support my arms while breastfeeding. But man, my daughter loved the boppy for tummy time!

  6. alondatanner says:

    This is the kind of stuff I wish people had told me when I was pregnant with my first. We ended up bringing 3 bags of stuff to the hospital and I didn’t use any of it. Just the clothes.

    1. Janell says:

      My husband had to take 2 trips to bring all the stuff to the car. That’s how you know it’s too much 😉

  7. Kim Bolden says:

    I loved your list of items. I am not yet a mother but I am pinning for future reference when I am.

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