This post was originally published in August 2012 and was updated in March 2017. There are affiliate links in this post. I have linked to my favorite favorites.
A pregnant mom asked for recommendations on what to bring in her hospital bag. Great question! My first kid was evicted (induced) 10 days late, so we had lots of reading material. Sitting and waiting for something to happen was not exactly exciting so we needed entertainment. My second kid was about a week early, and I waited as long as possible before heading to the hospital. He was born one hour after I walked through the front door, so as you can imagine we didn’t need anything to keep us entertained!
I had short (under 4 hours) labors with both my girls but definitely enjoyed the comforts of home during my hospital stay. (With daughter #2 we only stayed one night in the hospital, though.) Also, unlike some moms, I really don’t mind the hospital gown, pillow, baby onesie, diapers, baby blanket, etc. I like a smaller bag to grab on my way to the hospital. I didn’t pack a million outfits for baby. I do, however, get my husband to pick up my meals, and never once tried the hospital food. Try bringing things that can be used in multiple ways – like a Boppy which can be used for breastfeeding, as your own pillow, or as a baby photo prop.
Here’s what the moms suggested for your hospital bag:#memphismoms dish about the best items to pack in your hospital bag! Click To Tweet
- Your pre-planned playlist
- Essential oils or other aromatherapy for calming, lavender, chamomile with green tea oil
- Racquetball – “better than squeezing your husband’s hand off.”
- Tennis ball or massager for your back
- Wallflower since you can’t have candles
- One mom said: “Glucose tablets to sneak when they won’t let you eat anything.”
- Gown, PJs, underwear, clothes
- I had a custom maternity gown that I delivered in and it made me feel pretty in all the pics after. I highly recommend getting one and I know someone local who can make one fast.
- Comfy slippers (I used slipper socks)
- Underwear! I had 2 c-sections and they gave me the most unbearable mesh fishnet panties I refused to wear.
- Bathrobe (instead of using the hospital one)
- Sleeping mask (lots of lights on in the hospital!)
- Chapstick, lotion (several moms suggested!)
- Nursing cover, nursing bra
- Ponytail holders
- Toiletries, makeup, hairdryer, flatiron, face wipes
So many pictures and you’ll want to look presentable. I didn’t do this with my first, didn’t even think about it, and i really regret those first day photos where i’m holding that precious baby and i look like a zombie!
- Sally here: I can tell you no amount of makeup could have hidden me looking like a zombie, so I definitely did NOT pack a flat iron.
- Always infinity overnight pads (“big enough but not as bulky as the hospital pads”)
- Breastfeeding book (you may or may not get a lactation consult the first day)
- Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter, or lanolin
For comfort and entertainment
- Clorox wipes
- Snacks, gum, chocolate
- Your favorite pillow (several moms suggested!)
- TP, Kleenex
The TP there is that single-ply, scratchy stuff which you obviously don’t want anywhere near your underbits after you’ve just delivered a baby.
- Books, magazines, a journal
If you find yourself sitting for long periods with nothing else to do, why not write to your child?
- Birth announcements, stamps, pen (one mom sent her husband home for a pen!)
- There is a lot of paperwork.
- Small fan (several moms suggested!)
- (Several moms suggested!) 2 outfits (2 different sizes) for baby!
The outfit I brought didn’t fit so my sister ran to a nearby store to get another!
- Baby receiving blankets
- Car Seat
- Special photo props, like stuffed animals from siblings, or family blankets
- Fingernail file (Sally here: I’m pretty sure it is hospital policy to not cut Baby’s nails)
- Boppy or My Breast Friend, leave in the car unless you need it
- A visitor sign-in book
- Itzbeen baby timer
It was hard to keep track of baby’s eating, sleeping, diapers with everyone coming in and out of the room.
When you don’t have family around being able to share high-quality photos as soon as possible is important!
- Laptop, ipad
- Good camera (extra batteries)
- Plenty of chargers & cords
- Razor (to look good in photos and not scratch Baby)
- Pillow, blanket
- Sleep mask
- Swim trunks – so he can help you in the shower if you need it
- Long sleeve shirt (you two may not agree on room temperature!)
For on the way home
- Collapsible shopping bags for gifts people bring to the hospital
- Maternity clothes that fit before you delivered (several moms suggested!)
Shockingly, I did not know your stomach stays pregnant looking for a while! I only brought some from my first trimester!