The Ultimate Hospital Bag List

This past weekend, we got a ton of baby stuff done, including almost finishing the nursery, buying everything left on our registry and setting up a few things like the baby swing. I also packed my awesome diaper bag:

So far it has:

  • 5 Newborn diapers
  • bebe au lait nursing cover (knocker blocker, hooter hider, whatever you prefer to call it!)
  • wipes
  • lansinoh sample of lanolin
  • Prince Lionheart Knot it bags and dispenser for dirty dipes (or soiled clothes or anything else)
  • a Spare onesie
  • Diaper Cream

I’m sure I’m missing a few things, feel free to make suggestions!

Speaking of packing bags, someone posted this great list of things to bring to the hospital. I thought it was very useful so I’m posting it here in case it helps anyone else.

Experienced moms, do you have anything to add?

The Ultimate Hospital Bag List

At least one month before due date:

*Install car seat
*Keep Hospital Bags in the car you will use or by the door you will be leaving from.
*Have a neighbor or designated person to watch the house/pets/ or other children.
*2 pillows with garbage bags over the pillow like a pillowcase, then w/ pillowcase
*barf bag or two, since people in labor may throw up
*A list of last minute packing items (ID, license, fruit, frozen items, etc…)

In General
*Your Birth Plan
*Your insurance card and any hospital papers you will
*Pediatrician info
*folder for new paperwork
*cell phone

For Labor
*Warm socks
*Lip balm – All that puffing and panting and also dehydration, lip balm is a must)
*Loose underwear (did not use, the mesh underwear the hospital gives you are a godsend, ask for extras to take home)
*Snacks (fruit, nuts, popsicles, etc….)
*Sour Suckers (sour ones curb thirst where the sweet ones will make it worse)
*Hair band or tie (unless you want sweaty matted hair stuck to your forehead)
*Video/still camera (for your lovely shots of labor)
*Pillow (From home with not so good pillow case……..fluids…enough said)
*Pen and paper (if you are in the early stages, you are a list maker, journal writing, or well anyways, just in case)
*Ipod or music
*Roll of toilet paper (hospital paper is cheap and scratchy)
*Slippers (non-slip and once again take them off when things start to get nasty)
*talismans (picture of someone or something you love, anything you find reassuring)

For your partner/coach
*Change of clothes (especially if they plan on staying the night)
*Pillow/blanket (check with the hospital first – however, your own will be more comfortable)
*watch with a second hand for contractions (did not use, the monitor tracks your contractions anyway)
*mints/gum/mouthwash (sometimes the birth partner needs to be really close during labor)
*remember your partner can leave the hospital…pack light

For after delivery
*Fresh nightgown (with openings in front if you plan on breastfeeding)
*Nursing bra (if planning to breastfeed)
*Nursing pads (even if you plan to bottle feed as you may still leak)
*A going home outfit for mom
*Lanolin cream (if you plan on breastfeeding)
*Bathrobe (for the trips to the nursery)
*Baby Book (for all the vitals and getting the feet and hands stamped)
*Boppy nursing pillow
*Dermoplast/Proctofoam: for numbing your sensitive parts
*Spare nightgowns you don’t mind ruining (you will leak)
*Nursing Tank

For Baby
*Going home outfit for baby
*hat/cap (babies lose so much heat thru their heads…even in the summer)
*receiving blanket
*CAR SEAT!!!!!!!
*You may want to bring an extra cute outfit for the picture

Extras or Activities (usually non-essentials)
*Make-up (No one looks good after, but you can pretend)
*Towels (Dark towels….most hospital towels are scratchy)

Extra tips
*Bring your baby book…and let the nurse know you have it and they will stamp it for you
*You may want to bring an extra empty bag just in case you get gifts at the hospital
*Some hospitals charge for parking…beware
*Hospitals usually will take pictures of your newborn….bring some extra cash for these (did not use, at our hospital, we wouldn’t have paid for pics at the time anyway)
*You can usually wear the same clothes home you came to the hospital in.
*Some Hospitals will give you a pre-labor tour of the nursing center,take it.
*Get a list of things the hospital will provide.
*Wash the baby clothes you’ll bring to the hospital
*Remember gowns = easy access
*Make sure your labor shirt is short sleeved (They will check your blood pressure a lot and those pesky i-v’s.
*Fill out the forms during your last trimester…makes admittance so much quicker.
*Most important* Your baby MUST travel home in an infant car seat. Have it installed in plenty of time
* For a Caesarean make sure your partner knows where the extra maternity pads are.

What Not to Bring
*Jewelry (unless it’s a religion symbol)
*Lots of cash, credit cards, or any other valuables

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Sara says:

I worked on a maternity ward, and the things that you are given in your bassinet, you’re encouraged to take home with you, so don’t think of it as stealing lol… except for the blankets.

Kayla Stevens says:

I am only 20 weeks pregnant with my first, but I am soooo going to use this list. I’ve already started making an “incase Mommy doesn’t have time…” list lol. We only live around 45 min. from the Women’s Center, but I do not trust my husband to remember everything if I needed him to! lol! I got so tickled at the comment about stealing everything! HAHAHA! That is too funny! XD! If there is anything else that I might need (remember, this is my first) LET ME KNOW!!!

Sara T says:

I used absolutely nothing I packed except for a coming home baby outfit. And i had packed EVERYTHING but the kitchen sink. The hospital had everything and it was so much easier to use their stuff. However, next time, I will bring Depends and old slippers and robes. It’s like the movie Carrie, so don’t expect to not get blood on everything.

Sammie says:

Just a few suggestions from my experience with my first. I’m going in tomorrow for induction so I’m prepared.
Bring your old period panties and super absorbant pads.
Hospital pads are the equivalent of diapers!
Bring your own shampoo, conditioner, razor(trust me, they dont have any), ad especially makeup wipes(for those pictures after, clean it off then reapply)
I wouldn’t bring any diapers or receiving blankets. They provide you with those in the hospital. All the women I know, financially sound or not take all the hospital provides and take them home. If you have insurance, it pays for it all. The hospital is not hurting if you take all the diapers, swaddles, receiving blankets and whatever else is in the bassinet the baby comes to your room in.
All I can say otherwise is good luck and it will not be as bad as you might think. In fact its a wonderful experience that you will never forget(especially the pain).
Oh, also, get an epidural. Definitely get it!!!

abby says:

If they have already brought the stuff into your room, they can’t use it for another pt and have already charged you for it. So it’s already yours. Not stealing and not wrong.

Leigh says:

The list is great but I’m pretty shocked about the “stealing” comments. Being a Canadian ER nurse, I am well aware of the cost of these items and that the supplies some out of each wards’s budget. I’d hate to add to the cause of decreased supplies for other moms and babies in the future!

Kristal says:

All this sounds very helpful, I’m bout to give birth in one week and have my bag packed already. I’m starting to wonder if I have overpacked…since everyone was saying less is more and they say that the hospital will give you everything that you need for the baby. Now I just need the hubby to pack a lite bag. lol

apple says:

Wow, that’s a long list! You definitely want to leave a lot of that behind, as having more things can be of a nuisance (our postpartum room the first time was a wreck, and we could barely find the things we really did need in it). You definitely want to leave the wipes, lanolin, diapers behind because the hospital will provide it. You will also want to leave behind the hooter hider, as breastfeeding is hard to get the hang of at first, and you’ll probably find that clothing and hiders only get in the way. Plus, the nurses/midwives/ etc will want to see how you and the baby are breastfeeding.

Two things that I would recommend: 1) have your hubby pack his bag well AHEAD of time. Mine didn’t, and was just a tad distracted in the hours before we went to the hospital, and forgot his pajamas, shaving kit, and clean socks! 2) a good book for your husband to read to you. I’m not a TV person, and during down moments (you will do a lot of waiting), the sound of him reading to me was very relaxing.

Kayla says:

Echoing what several other people have said, that’s a really long list and you probably won’t use most of it! Since I had an emergency c-section 6 weeks early I thought I was really unprepared but I actually had everything I needed.

They might be ugly, but the hospital gowns are really useful. You can bleed and leak all over them and they’ll bring you a new one and take the old one away for washing. You don’t ruin any of your own clothes or do any laundry. I was going to bring my own nightgowns but I’m glad I didn’t. Same with towels.

The hospital provides SO MUCH STUFF. The mesh underwear is wonderful (again with the no laundry), they gave me breast pads, lansinoh, pads, and all kinds of other stuff to take home with Wes (diapers, wipes, etc).

I don’t know about labor (kinda skipped that part), but for afterward, just make sure you’ve got your own pillow, a couple books to read, stuff to keep your hair off your face, a bathrobe for when you’re out wandering around, and something for you and baby to wear home. Ok, and I also used my eyelash curler and mascara every day, but that’s me.

If you need something else, you can always have someone bring it to you from home (unless you live like, hours away from the hospital). But I was surprised by how little I needed.

Emily says:

Oh that is good advice. I brought some expensive but sample size shampoos and conditioners and some yummy smelling soap. The first shower AFTER birth is heaven and the hospital showers will be the longest ones you will take in the next several months. Pricey nice shampoo will feel like a complete luxury.

I had a weird reaction to the mesh underwear. It made my skin very itchy and it hurt to sit on it. Definitely bring some cotton maternity underwear.

Katherine says:

That diaper bag is so chic! I bought a small tube of nipple cream today…thinking of YOU! LOL.

Melanie says:

For the diaper bag, I always like to have a bib and burp cloth and a thin receiving blanket.

For the hospital bag, less is more! Seriously, you won’t use half that stuff! All you really need is shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, ponytail holder, socks, and an outfit to come home for you and the baby, a comfy outfit for you, nothing that rubs your crotch area cause it will be sore! loose clothing is best!

Karrie says:

Great advice. I’m working on my bag right now. This is very helpful!

ariana says:

Great advice Emily!

Emily says:

That is a lot of stuff. You won’t need much of it but you can pack it (it will be annoying to unpack when you get home). The hospital has breast pads, diapers, nipple cream, chapstick, etc.

I regret not packing ear plugs. I had to beg a nurse for them in the middle of the night when I was there. The people in the room next to ours had their TV so loud I wanted to shoot them. It was an obnoxious noise when you are trying to bond with your new baby.

I recommend stealing at many hospital receiving blankets as you possibly can as well as the quilted pads they put underneath you for the bleeding. We took about ten of the latter and use those to cover our baby’s changing pad.

I’d take two versions of going home clothes and make them a middle of your pregnancy pair of maternity pants or skirt and an end of your pregnancy pair. If you end up having to have a c section or anything out of the ordinary you are likely to be full of fluid and you will want loose clothes. I recommend a pair of pajamas with a button front top (not a nightgown) as you might want your legs covered in the hospital bed but not want blankets on you.

Create a detailed call list for your husband.

Bring some hard candy, too. Your mouth will be very dry after you give birth.

Kristin says:

Wow Ariana, I am not even pregnant (as far as I know) and I feel more prepared. Great List!

Great list! I’m saving it for sure.

ariana says:

Great tips Dawn! LOL about stealing everything. I fully plan to, even though I feel guilty because its a non-for profit community hospital run on donations! Also, I absolutely fully intend on bringing my makeup. And my straightener :)

Dawn says:

Great list, just a few things –
Make sure your pillow case is bright or patterned. You don’t want it ending up in the hospital laundry.

We brought a towel and washcloth for dad because he enjoys nice linens. I wouldn’t bother with that next time. He can suck it up or shower at home, it was overpacking and then they were damp going home.

I hated the mesh panties but loved the super duper pads. Beware if you wear your own panties they will end up in the trash.

The baby wore the hospital shirts and swaddles the whole time we were there, it was just easier. We did bring him home in his own outfit but otherwise we left him in their stuff.

The hospital will put souvenir footprints on anything so bring whatever you want – even if it’s your partner’s labor shirt.

Bring something to keep you from getting bored. Sometimes the wait seems like forever. Some hospitals have VCRs or DVD players which is nice.

Write everything down. I was so glad to have my nurse’s names and the time everything happened (epi, water break, etc) for reference later.

I was so glad I brought my makeup and put it on in early labor. The photos after birth were so much better for it!

Don’t feel obligated with the hospital photos. They’re usually horrid and taken with a cheap digital point and shoot. Bring your own camera!

Steal EVERYTHING! The bassinet that the baby sleeps in will be stocked full of clothing, diapers, wipes, etc. They will charge you for it if you take it or not. Take everything!