What You Really Need to Pack In Your Hospital Bag

I remember the first time I packed a hospital bag as I prepared for labor and delivery. I wanted to make sure I had everything the experts recommended to bring for the hospital stay: insurance cards and paperwork, baby diapers, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, blankets and a few essentials for mommy. It was a little overwhelming to try to include everything possible I would need to care for my new baby.

Fast forward 4 years later, as I prepare for baby number three when I learned a thing or two about what an expectant momma really needs to pack for that stay.

Pregnant? See my checklist of what you really need to pack in your hospital bag as you prepare for labor and delivery of your new baby (from a mom of three!)

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So here are my tips to help reduce the stress and get you to pack only those essential items:

What to pack in your hospital bag for BABY

While you obviously want to pack all you can for your new precious little one, know that the hospital will have most of those basics baby items in stock. This includes diapers, ointment, baby hat, and socks. They’ll also have plenty blankets, a bulb syringe and those easy to change side-snapping half-onesies to make changing a breeze! Remember it’s a maternity ward so why wouldn’t they have these must-have baby items handy?

If you have any doubt be sure to ask your doctor or speak to a hospital staff in advance.

Of course, you’ll still want to pack a few personal things for your bundle of joy, just in case. I recommend included the following:

  • Emery boards
    • Most newborns come out of the womb with sharp claws so be prepared! Plus, many hospitals won’t do the filing for you apparently for safety and liability reasons.
    • Make sure to bring a few boards as they are safer than nail clippers (Here’s a great one you can buy here.)
  • Baby mittens – to prevent scratches (Buy here.)
  • Take-me-home outfit
  • Cute muslin swaddle blanket (perfect if you’re having a photographer come in for newborn photos!)
  • Extra bulb syringe to help clear fluid buildup from babies mouth (common in c-section babies)
    • While the hospital will have these available and give you one to take home, it never hurts to bring your own for quick access as sometimes ringing the nurse can take awhile. Plus you’ll most definitely need another one in no time — buy here!

What to pack in your hospital bag for Mommy

  • Change of clothes
    • For when you depart and for a more comfortable time nursing. Button down shirts and loose sweat pants are good options!!
  • Comfy pajamas
    • In case you prefer something other than the hospital gown – mine got tangled a few times so towards the end of my 4-day stay I could have used a favorite jammy; However, I was fine with the hospital gown during the first few days as the recovery was tough and messy.
  • Slippers – although your hospital may provide no-slip socks, if you want something a bit more comfy as you walk around to-and-from the bathroom or nursery, slippers with no back are perfect!
  • Flip flops – to make showering easier
  • Toiletries
    • I was really surprised at the lack of toiletries available at my hospital so wish I would have packed my own shampoo and body wash during my first hospital stay. There was a generic blue-green wash/shampoo in the shower that didn’t do much for a pick-me-up, even though I stayed at one of the “top” hospitals in my state.
    • Make sure to include your toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties, deodorant, lotion and any other items you’ll need to freshen up once you are feeling up to it!
  • Phone/tablet, camera & chargers
  • Water bottle
    • There will obviously be cups on hand, but I found that nursing made me super dehydrated and I was constantly calling for a refill — having a large personal water bottle on hand would have been so much better. Buy one of my favorite bottles HERE.
  • Nursing pillow
    • If you have a pillow you love, bring it! You can always use pillows from the room, but having something that is made for baby like this one is a great alternative.
  • Breast pads & cream
    • Your hospital may or may not have these, so bringing your own helps to treat sore nipples and prevent milk leaking. I LOVED these organic washable pads!!
  • Pre-registration paper work, insurance cards etc.

Remember, while you want to pack whatever items you think will help make your stay as comfortable as possible, don’t overdo it. Baby will have everything they need in stock so just pack a few extra things for YOU, mommy!

Let me know if I missed anything!

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