hospital bag necessities

Some of you may remember how I did an episode of  ‘What’s in your…?’ on That’s What we Said and I did it for the contents of my hospital bag. Now the time has come to reveal what I actually found handy to have with me.

What I used:
  • The flip flops for the shower were a must. Things are pretty nasty in the first couple of showers. It was comforting to know that my feet would stay clean from the shower floor.
  • Bedroom slippers were great for walking the halls while I was recovering. I stayed in the room during labor. It was impossible to move around when you’re hooked up to so many monitors and IV’s!
  • Light weight robe was nice to slip on when people came by to visit.
  • Two button down pj’s from Victoria’s Secret. They were essential for breastfeeding and it was nice to not be in the hospital gown. I didn’t wear the bottoms because I was afraid of getting them stained.
  • Nursing tops also came in handy.
  • Nursing pads were essential. I just used the washable kind while in the hospital since you aren’t leaking yet, since it’s just the collostrum. You mainly just need them so that you don’t stain your shirts with the lanolin nipple cream.
  • Of course, the going home outfit is essential. You want to feel cute when you head out to the car!
  • A camera was essential to catching the video and photos. The time goes by so quickly, you hardly have time to soak it in. It’s nice now to go back and revisit the memories.
  • It was nice that my husband brought his laptop so he could upload photos of our new family member, but having mine wasn’t necessary. I could do everything I needed (internet wise) with my iPhone.
  • The snack assortments were nice to have in the recovery room during the wee hours of the night. You could only order food from 7am-7pm, so when you’re up feeding the little one all throughout the night, you’ll be wanting to eat!
  • Having my make-up, shower essentials (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor), blow dryer, straightener, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, and deodorant were nice to make me feel like a human again.
  • I had my mom bring in the cookies I had made for the delivery nurses. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go in the labor/delivery part of the hospital to give them to them personally, but I hope they got them and enjoyed them!
  • I also brought a heating pad, which was nice to put directly on my stomach for some extra relief and comfort.
  • Pillows from home were a nice comfort too. And bring two pillow cases if you plan on having your pillow in the delivery room as well as the recovery room. It’ll get nasty in the delivery room.
What I didn’t use:
  • I never wore any sweat pants or pajama bottoms. I was too afraid I’d stain them. I just wore the disposable underwear and pads, which were all I wanted getting remotely close to ‘down there’.
  • I never used the sleep mask or ear plugs. I had so many visitors during the day that there was no time to nap (as much as I wish I could have).
  • I never used the nursing bra that I bought before hand, except just to wear going home.
  • I didn’t need any sort of entertainment like the nook or iPod. My labor was very quick and not relaxing what-so-ever. Also, the recovery time was spent entertaining guests, feeding Liam, and napping.
  • Again, since my labor was so quick, I didn’t need any mints. I just got loads of popsicles to suck on since I was starving and thirsty! No food and water while you’re working your butt off pushing out a baby! 😉
  • Also, it was unnecessary to bring water bottles either. The hospital gives you PLENTY of water and the best ice chips!
  • I didn’t use any of the pads I brought. They provided me with all of the essentials for my health and recovery including:
    • disposable underwear
    • giant pads
    • squirt bottle
    • witch hazel pads
    • spray anesthetic
    • nipple cream
    • pain medications
  • The only baby related things I needed to bring were a going away outfit and cute outfit for the in-hospital photoshoot that we had done. All the rest could have been left at home.


So, here’s the my official list of what to pack in a hospital bag:

  1. Going away outfit for you and the baby
  2. Receiving blanket to tuck baby into the car seat on the trip home
  3. Cosmetics and shower essentials
  4. Bedroom slippers
  5. Light weight robe
  6. Nursing tank tops
  7. Sleep nursing bras or these bras
  8. Socks
  9. Nursing pads: Washable for the hospital because they are soft and comfortable when your nipples will be most sore and not leaking yet,  Disposable for home when your nipples get tougher and your milk comes in.
  10. PJ button down tops (bottoms if you’d like, but I never used mine)
  11. Shower shoes
  12. Midnight snacks (granola bars were my favorite)
  13. Camera
  14. Laptop (if you’re crazy and want to upload photos to the internet)
  15. Phone (with a baby log app to start keeping track of how often you feed, change, etc)
  16. Pillow and 2 pillow cases
  17. File folder for all the paper work and a pen
  18. Clothes for daddy
  19. (optional) An extra bag to carry home the womanly essentials, diapers, and goodies the hospital gives you.

Have anything to add???

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25 Responses to hospital bag necessities

  1. Courtney Arrington says:

    I’ll def be using your list! It’s perfect!

  2. This post is SO helpful. I need to get my bag together soon!

  3. Jacquina says:

    Delivery sounds so different to here in the UK! We go home 6 hours after labour (providing there were no complications) and you’re allowed to eat and drink all the way through.

    • caroline says:

      Wow, that’s incredible! It’s amazing how it differs from country to country! I read that in France you stay for a week. And in the US, you stay 2 days for a vaginal delivery and 3 for a caesarian. I was glad to be home after 2 days, but it was so nice having everything taken care of while you were initially recovering. However, I’m not liking the hospital bills we’re getting now (even with good health insurance).

      • Jacquina says:

        My gran told me about being on bed rest for 10 days after she gave birth! How crazy would that drive you?? Haha. I think it’s around 2/3 days for a C section here as well. As long as you and baby are happy and healthy after I suppose the whole process doesn’t make much of a difference! 🙂 I definitely don’t envy you with the whole hospital bill thing.

    • Amanda says:

      In the US, the length of your stay won’t necessarily be as long as 2 days. In my area, the standard stay for an uncomplicated vaginal birth with a midwife is something like 12 hours after the delivery.

      • caroline says:

        Oh wow! That’s a quick turn around. We wanted to leave the hospital after my second baby soon after he was born, but we were required to stay until he was 24 hours old to check levels and things. 😀 I guess every hospital is different!

        • Amanda says:

          I can only speak for my experience but with my first two births (in a different city than my last birth) the midwives visit a couple days after the birth to check on mother and baby. Also, they have people on call 24/7 in case you have difficulties or questions.
          With my last birth, in a different hospital, they kept me a little longer. 24 hours, maybe? I don’t remember for sure. But that midwife group doesn’t do home visits.
          I suspect what I experienced was highly unusual. I know the midwife group in my hometown is very highly rated.

  4. Dianna says:

    Great list! Don’t forget baby book for hand and foot prints!

  5. Audrianna says:

    I like your list out of most that I’ve read but I will definately need disposable nursing pads instead haha. I’ve been leakin through shirts since 16 weeks pregnant.

  6. Stephanie says:

    This is a great list! I’m 30 weeks pregnant so I want to start preparing my bag. Only thing I won’t need is the nursing gear. We’ll be exclusively formula feeding (I had breast surgery and just not comfortable with it).

  7. I’ve been scouring the internet for “hospital bag essentials” blog posts looking to see what people found most useful. This is one of the best lists I’ve found so far! It can be overwhelming wondering what you’ll need, what’s practical, etc., so I will definitely be referring back to this in a few weeks when we’re getting our bags together!

    • caroline says:

      I’m so happy to hear that, Kristen! I too will be using this list again in a few months! 😀 Congratulations!

  8. Amelia says:

    This is probably the best list I have found for what to pack. I would have never thought of flip flops for the shower. I’ve already bookmarked this page and will be looking at it next month when I start packing our bag. I’ve already gathered some items but they’re still in a target bag in the closet.
    Did you deliver in charleston or before you moved back? My friend Jen delivered at east cooper, where we will as well, and she said she had so much extra stuff that she didn’t need because they supplied so much. I guess it depends on the hospital.

    • caroline says:

      Aww, thanks Amelia! I delivered Liam in Columbia and they did supply everything I needed for the baby and for my ‘down there’ needs. But having the things from home like a robe, shower shoes, shampoo and snacks. I’ll definitely be doing a comparison of my experience this time around!

  9. Cody says:

    Great list! Honestly I asked my midwife what I would need so I don’t overpack, she gave me a list of exactly what I would need and some nice possible wants and not necessary, always a good idea to ask ahead of time if you are a big planner like me, I want to have what I need not too much though that I’m digging through so much stuff, also my midwife recommended to have two separate bags, one for me one for the baby(diaper bag) I like this as well!

  10. Pingback: Packing for the Hospital | Pro Pregnancy Planner

  11. Mary says:

    Awesome list!! I’m SO glad I brought snacks as I was hungry all the time and you just don’t know how often you’ll be up at night with the baby. I didn’t see a towel on your list, but I was really glad I brought one from home as it felt like such a luxury compared with the kind of pitiful hospital towels. That’s the only thing I’d add to your otherwise fantastic list!!

  12. Staci says:

    I’m preparing for #2, though it’s been almost 6 years, I thought I’d read this for a reminder.. It’s a great list! I loved the Boppy type pillow, handy for me, and for baby. Also Tucks pads were from heaven (though I didn’t pack them with #1, someone brought them for me).

    • caroline says:

      Totally agree with the Tucks pads. I started using those as soon as I got home and no longer hand ice packs handy. Congratulations on baby #2!!!

  13. Brittany . says:

    Do all hospitals do special pictures in the outfit you choose ?

    • caroline says:

      I’m not sure. The two hospitals that I’ve delivered in have had Bella Baby Photography there to take photographs. Of course, you have to pay to get the digitals or prints. You also always have the option of hiring a newborn photographer to come to the hospital to take photos of fresh 48. 🙂

  14. Christie says:

    I brought Depends to the hospital. Since I did walk around during labor, and my water had already broken, they were great for labor as well as recovery. They also fit and stayed put better than the hospital panties and pads!

  15. Marissa says:

    Those of you who have had babies before, will I need to bring the breast pump to the hospital for any reason? I’m sure I can figure out how to use it on my own and it just seems like one more big and bulky thing to bring. lot of hospital bag lists include it.

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