Packing for the day I was going to meet my unborn child was probably one of the most surreal experiences in my life up to that point. It felt like a lot of pressure on one little bag, like it was going to set the course for what kind of mom I was going to be.
Would I be the Instagram ready mom or my usual hot mess self? I’ve done this twice, admittedly much more organized the first time, and thought I’d share not only what was in my bag, but if I used it!
Hospital Bag Packing List
I packed this in two parts – one was a big toiletries bag for after the main event and another was a smaller zipper pouch for during labor. Think about what you might want to keep close and consider packing it separately!
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Contacts, case, & solution
- Glasses – I brought my glasses too, so I could take my contacts out at night and still see baby!
- Body wash & loofah ball
- Facial cleansing wipes – I used these in place of my normal routine, because I knew I wouldn’t be standing at the mirror doing a whole process!
- Moisturizer & lotion
- Lip balm
- Tinted moisturizer & mascara – Look, I want to be one of those moms with a full face of makeup during delivery and my stay, but I’m just not. Even in my daily life. But if you’re a makeup person, bring it! You may also want to bring more makeup if you plan to do hospital portraits. I didn’t realize our hospital offered this service and therefore look like a train wreck in ours!
- Hair brush, hair ties, bobby pins
- Prenatals and other medications – Check with your hospital. Ours provided anything I needed, but some hospitals supposedly don’t!
So, every single packing list I read before Ruby suggested that I bring loose clothing and robes for after delivery. I didn’t have that many loose options, so I brought what I had. And I’m glad I did. I never wore my loose tees or yoga pants.
- 3 nursing tanks and sleep bras – Obviously, you only need these if you plan to breastfeed and you can make plain tanks work. I liked having easy access and being able to have a little more covered when I was nursing around visitors!
- 3 pairs of black leggings – This is where I differentiated from suggestions. I liked the secure feeling of my maternity leggings, as I waddled around with a giant pad and mesh underpants. It made me feel less messy. But pack what you think you’ll use!
- Open front, draped sweater – I used this a lot, especially when we had company or I got cold at night.
- Maxi dress to wear home – I packed it both times, but came home in leggings.
- Robe – I brought it the first time and used it a little bit, but packed two draped sweaters instead for my second birth.
- Old undies – If you’re an underwear connoisseur, you may want them. I personally wore the mesh underwear the whole time. They weren’t restrictive and I wasn’t worried about messing them up.
- Slippers – I used these at night, but they could have totally been replaced by flip flops.
- Flip flops – My trusty Havianas have seen some things. I wore them during the day.
- Socks – I didn’t use them either time, but I’d still bring them if I did it again. Cold feet aren’t fun!
- Clothes for your partner – My husband was going back and forth to take care of our pets, so he changed at home, but if your partner will be staying with you, make sure they have clothes and toiletries packed too!
- iPhone – Obviously, bring your phone. I made sure it was loaded with music I liked and had plenty of space for pictures. I kept it close through my labors and after!
- Headphones – I brought them in case I needed to tune everyone out, but didn’t use them.
- iPad – I used my iPad as a white noise machine in our room. There’s so much commotion that it was nice to have a way to dull the noise.
- Chargers – We only brought one the first time and wished we had more, because everyone’s phones kind of died at the same time. The second time, we brought a charger with four ports, to assure everyone could charge. Also, bring your longest cable(s), because you never know how far the closest outlet will be from your bed!
- Camera – Make sure the battery is fully charged and you have a memory card loaded!
- Baby book – We brought ours to her footprints done directly on the page. I also used downtime to fill in little details.
- Notebook and pens – I didn’t use it much the first time, but did the second. I started tracking her feedings and things, so that I could answer questions for the pediatrician and nursery staff. The pens also came in handy a lot, because they’d leave forms for us and forget to leave a pen!
- Snacks – Our hospital had a lobby area with snacks out and provided drinks for me, so we didn’t use our own snacks. Also, our friends kept us well fed.
- Pillows – I always sleep so much better when I have my own pillow! I also brought my Boppy, which helped me find my groove. I also used it for support during labor!
- Outfits – I packed 4-5 newborn outfits (onesies and leggings or one pieces) for both kids. Yes, the hospital will provide some little clothes, so you don’t need them, but I was happy to start using all the cute clothes and wanted her camera ready!
- “Going Home” outfit – We had a special outfit planned for each of our daughters. Not necessary, but still fun to do.
- Baby socks
- Any accessories you want for pictures
- Caps/hats – We brought a couple of our own that coordinated with outfits, but we loved the hospital cap!
- Burp cloths – I didn’t use them the first time, but did the second time, more to wipe breastmilk than for burping purposes.
- Muslin blankets – We used these a lot. The hospital provided blankets, but I preferred the soft (and cute) blankets we brought from home.
- Nursing cover – I didn’t use it much at all, except when nursing while male family was visiting, more for their comfort than mine.
- Pacifier – There’s different schools of thought on this, so do what works for you. When Lucy wouldn’t stop nursing, the nursery nurse suggested I use it. She said babies sometimes can’t differentiate gas and other tummy feelings from hunger. Her pacifier gifted us both some much needed rest.
- Car seat – This is a no brainer. If it’s your first time installing a car seat, I highly suggest you find a car seat technician in your area and have them help. Our local state police will do it for free, just have to call and make an appointment!
Unless you’re traveling a far distance to your hospital, remember that you can always send someone to get things you’ve forgotten. Don’t stress yourself out!