Hospital Bag: The Essentials Packing Guide

The almighty hospital bag. There’s a lot of pressure to pack everything you need for a trip you don’t really know anything about or how long it’s going to last. With my first, I was so nervous I was going to be without some magical item {because hospitals just let you suffer, right?} that I went completely overboard with my packing. I researched lists, had a Pinterest board, cross-referenced lists to make sure I had anything and everything one could possibly need. Needless to say, it led us to bringing everything, but the kitchen sink.

They say with your second child, you wise up a little.  I was not so sure how that was going to play out. However, when it came to this hospital stay, I say we looked a lot more put together.  Plus, when we left, my husband didn’t look like we needed one of those bell-hop carts to get out of our room.

I found that once I figured out my ‘essentials’ – the ones I couldn’t live without, then there was a lot less pressure. My new theory is bring what you need, embrace what the hospital gives you, and everything else – if you want it, great, if not, no big deal.

Here are my essentials to hopefully help guide you on what I believe is all that you’ll need. I’ll let you fill in the rest with what makes you feel comfortable!

The Labor Bag

This is something I wish I discovered last pregnancy so that I wasn’t toting my giant bag between all of those false alarms. For my “labor bag,” I used a tote-sized purse and this bag had everything I would need during the “laboring” process {which quite frankly isn’t a whole lot}. Everything else for recovery I kept in a separate bag that my husband or sister retrieved from the car once we were settled.

  • License and insurance card as well as any needed hospital paperwork {birth plan, etc.}
  • Chapstick
  • Chargers {Phone, iPad, camera – anything that could go dead during the laboring process, bring the charger}
  • Camera {make sure your memory chip is in the camera!}
  • Evian Facial Spray {my Grandma and cousin’s go-to item – trust me, when if you feel nauseous, a minor freak out because your epidural legs are too numb {yeah, that’s me}, sweaty, hot or just want to feel refreshed – this is AMAZING}.
  • Hair ties & headband
  • Little zip pouch for valuables {anything you may take off that you do not want to lose}

Simply add anything else you would like during the laboring process, I know some people like music, workout balls, etc. Save all the big stuff for later!

The Overnight Bag

  • Towels {nothing feels better than a big plush towel after that first shower}
  • Toothbrush /toothpaste {add to list of things that feel amazing post delivery}
  • Comb, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and did I mention, more chapstick?
  • Makeup {if you so choose, I brought it and never wore it.. oops}
  • Dark Loose pants
  • Nursing bras /shirts
  • Robe or zip jacket that allows for easy nursing access / all the poking & prodding by the nurses
  • Going home outfit for you {make sure nothing is too tight in the bottom region}
  • Tucks pads/bottom spray such as Dermoplast or New Momma Bottom Spray {just in case pushing does a number…}
  • Nipple balm {hello cluster feeding}
  • Breast milk pads

Again, these are just base items – so, from here, you would add any personal stuff you use daily.  Also, you will see I didn’t include any type of underwear or pads. If there is one single bit you take home from this post it is please EMBRACE THE MESH UNDERWEAR. Love them, take all the extras home with you. They’re comfortable and you can throw them away. In fact, here is a link so you can order more hospital mesh underwear in advance so when you get home, you just keep wearing, adding the pad, and throwing away. It makes life SO much easier. Forget the Depends, forget the cotton briefs, forget the boy shorts, the mesh is the best.

The Baby Bag

  • Hats {if there is one special you would like baby to wear after birth throw in labor bag, same with a blanket/swaddle}
  • Swaddles/blankets
  • Going home outfit {remember they will be in a car seat so no gowns}
  • Mittens {I made sure to put mine on before they did the eye goop this time around – first one my kid clawed his face}
  • Pacifier {if you want to use}
  • Bottles {if you want to use}
  • Diapers/wipes {take all the spares & extras from the hospital that they have in your room before you leave}
  • Extra outfits  {I prefer these side-snap onesies which allow nurses to easily do exams on baby as needed without causing them too much anger and aren’t rubbing on umbilical cord stump}
  • This doesn’t fit in the bag, but don’t forget the car seat! Install in your car prior to due-date and you won’t forget it {also make sure to have a full tank of gas or at least enough to get you to hospital EVERY day until that baby arrives}.

Don’t forget a bag for dad or whomever else will be joining you – for my husband’s bag we did basic toiletries, some snacks such as protein bars for added energy when assisting mom-to-be, his own charger for his devices, a set of overnight pants & a shirt, as well as a change of clothes.

There you have it, my hospital essentials. Anything you would add to the list of must-haves during labor & delivery?

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2 Responses to Hospital Bag: The Essentials Packing Guide

  1. Jacqui Cone
    Jacqui Cone August 13, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    The mesh underwear! Leary at first, but stuffed with a frozen pad = ahhhhhmazing! Lol. Great list and a cute model there towards the end!

    • stephaniemitchell
      stephaniemitchell August 31, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

      haha i was totally the same on the mesh – now I order them in bulk from amazon. MOM LIFE!