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July 5, 2024

Here’s All the Free Stuff You Get From the Hospital After Giving Birth

By Amylia Ryan | Fact Checked by Shannon Vestal Robson
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Here’s All the Free Stuff You Get From the Hospital After Giving Birth.

One thing new parents are always looking for: free stuff. Whether it’s gently used baby gear or free samples of baby products, there’s plenty of stuff out there that parents and caregivers can get without paying a dime. And if you’re giving birth in a hospital, there’s even more good news: they’ll provide a whole bunch of essentials for both your newborn and your recovering body

You’re welcome to take home all the supplies they give you—they’ll even give you a bag to take it all home in—but keep in mind that the items you get for “free” actually depend on your insurance.  Some insurance plans may only pay for some of the hospital products, so before you go emptying out all the drawers and cabinets in your recovery room, it’s worth a call to your health insurance representative to see what you might have to pay for out of pocket.

Some of these items will already be in your recovery room when you get there (after you’ve delivered your baby), like diapers, wipes, maxi pads and witch hazel pads, and your care team will gladly refill them when you start running low. But other items you’ll need to ask for specifically—if you want things like formula samples or donor milk, a breast pump, feeding syringes or hydrogel nipple pads, flag down your nurse or lactation consultant to have them delivered to your room.

Free newborn products from the hospital

  • Diapers

  • Wipes

  • Petroleum jelly (for diaper rash and circumcision healing)

  • Diaper cream

  • Formula (the ready-to-drink kind, so you don’t need to bring a bottle)

  • Breast milk from donors

  • Small baby bottles or feeding syringes

  • Nasal bulb (for sucking out mucus from baby’s nose and mouth)

  • Bodysuits

  • Baby hats

  • Swaddle blankets

  • Baby comb

  • Pacifiers

  • Digital thermometer (usually a rectal/armpit thermometer)

  • Surgical gauze (for circumcision healing)

Free postpartum recovery products from the hospital

  • Maxi pads

  • Disposable mesh underwear

  • Pain killers (usually ibuprofen)

  • Perineal numbing spray

  • Witch hazel pads

  • Ice packs

  • Peri bottle

  • Heating pads

  • Stool softeners

  • Anti-slip socks

  • Inflatable donut pillow

  • Large incontinence bed pads (essentially the same giants pads used for housebreaking puppies, in case you leak through your regular maxi pad or incontinence underwear)

  • Recovery/nursing gown—not your typical hospital gowns; they’re soft and usually have snaps on the chest for easy nursing access (for use while in the hospital; you can’t take it home)

Free nursing products from the hospital

  • Electric breast pump (for use while in the hospital; you can’t take it home)

  • Hand pump

  • Breast pump attachments

  • Nipple cream

  • Hydrogel pads (cool, soothing gel pads for sore nipples)

  • Nipple shields and latch assists

Note that not every hospital will have all of the above supplies, and the types of supplies and brands will vary based on what the hospital has available. Take diapers, for example: some hospitals use Huggies, others use Pampers—those are likely the only two brand options you’ll have, since they’re two of the best infant diaper brands out there. Whatever your hospital supplies are, you won’t be able to pick and choose what brands or styles you get, but hey, it’s free.

This is all in addition to all the baseline items hospitals provide, like bed linens, pillows, towels and washcloths. If there are any other supplies you need, like shampoo, deodorant or toothpaste, you can ask your care team if they have any available, though there’s a good chance you may have to buy toiletries like that from the hospital gift shop instead (or pack them in your hospital bag).

And there’s typically no limit to the amount of these supplies you can ask for (you can even ask for extras to take home with you!). Just be sure you know what you’ll be paying for so you don’t rack up your hospital bill too much.

If you’re giving birth in a birthing center, you may also get to take home some of these items, but it depends on which birthing center you choose since they operate as independent organizations (even if they’re located within a hospital). If you’re curious what sort of free items you’ll receive, call your birthing center ahead of time and ask what they have available.

Are hospital lactation consultants free?

You’ll get essentially all the breastfeeding supplies you need during your hospital stay, but what about the actual lactation consultation, when a certified lactation consultant comes to your room to teach you (and baby) all about latching and breastfeeding techniques?

Whether or not you pay for a lactation consultation out of pocket depends entirely on your health insurance policy. The good news is that most health insurance policies will fully cover lactation consultations, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. However, some policies may pay only a portion, and some may not pay for it at all—in which case you can choose to decline the service so you’re not left with additional costs after giving birth


Amylia Ryan

Associate Editor

Amylia Ryan is the Associate Editor at Babylist, specializing in the topics of health, wellness and lifestyle products. Combining a decade of experience in writing and editing with a deep passion for helping people, her number one goal in her work is to ensure new parents feel supported and understood. She herself is a parent to two young children, who are more than willing to help product test endless toys, books, clothes, toiletries and more.

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