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What I Packed in My Hospital Bag
March 30, 2023

What I Packed in My Hospital Bag

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What I Packed in My Hospital Bag.
What I Packed in My Hospital Bag

Although I’m a fairly organized person, the idea of packing my hospital bag for childbirth admittedly left me a little flustered. What type of clothing would I be comfortable in after I delivered? Would I need different things if I had a C-section? What sorts of items was the hospital going to provide for me and what should I bring from home? And how do you pack for a tiny baby you’ve never even met?

Like most parents-to-be, I scoured the internet and found some pretty good information on what to pack. But by far the best information came from my chats with friends and family who had been there and done that. Which is why I decided to share my own hospital bag packing list–so I could pass along all of the good things I learned to others who might be asking themselves the same questions.

What To Pack in Your Hospital Bag: A Quick Overview

Before I dive into my favorite products below, here’s a quick run-through of hospital bag basics to help you get your bearings.

  • Comfy clothes. I’ll cover the specific things I loved below, but in general, think clothes that aren’t too restrictive (other than a supportive bra) and a few options in case of a C-section, as well as some sort of slip-on shoes.
  • Toiletries. This includes things like a hairbrush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and skincare (things like face wash, moisturizer and makeup wipes). Don’t forget your glasses and/or extra contacts, if you wear them. You may also want to toss in a bath towel if you plan on showering, as the ones the hospital provides are pretty skimpy, and your own pillow if that’s something that will make you more comfortable.
  • Important docs. Think: your ID, insurance card if you have one, and a few copies of your birth plan if you’ve written one out.
  • Snacks and drinks. Birthing a baby is hard work! Don’t rely on hospital food to get you through.
  • Electronics. Other than your phone and charger, think through if you’ll want any other electronics such as an iPad or a Bluetooth speaker.
  • A car seat. If you’re driving home, this one is a non-negotiable, as the hospital won’t let you leave without a safe car seat for your baby.
  • Your pediatrician’s contact information. Hospital staff will ask you for this information several times throughout your stay, so it’s good to have it on hand.
  • Stuff for your support person. Most partners or support people appreciate a pillow and a blanket, basic toiletries and some snacks and drinks.

What I Packed in My Hospital Bag

Clothes

I likely wouldn’t have splurged on this myself, but this lovely box was gifted to me (thanks, mom!) and I was so glad to have it. I wore every single item in the bundle multiple times throughout postpartum, right down to the ultra-luxurious Italian socks.

Hatch Collection Hatch-To-Hospital Box - Charcoal, M

$268.00

If you prefer to build your own postpartum clothing bundle, this soft robe is a great place to start. I love the longer length for extra warmth and coverage while in the hospital and that the waist tie is sewn right in so you’ll never have to worry about losing it.

Goumi Kids You'll Live In Mom Robe - Rose, Medium/Large

$65.00

These nursing camis were an absolute staple in my wardrobe both in the hospital post-birth and for months and months afterward. They’re affordable, long but not too long, well made and the perfect mix of supportive yet comfortable. The front unclips for easy nursing access and there’s a built-in shelf bra.

Auden Nursing Seamless Cami

$19.99

I wanted to have options in the hospital, and I’m so glad I included this pajama set. It’s so soft, and the button-down front made nursing and skin-to-skin super easy. The waistband wasn’t too tight, something I appreciated even more after my C-section. And, over a year later, these PJs are still in rotation.

Larken The Black CloudLuxe Classic Pajama Set

$98.00

Postpartum leggings can be tricky, especially in those weeks right after delivery when your lower half feels extra sore and sensitive. I had a C-section, so I knew finding the right legging would be extra challenging—but this pair from Storq was absolutely perfect. Supportive without being compressive and wildly soft, I wore them toward the end of my hospital stay when my soreness had started to calm down a bit. They remained a wardrobe staple for months.

Storq Signature Maternity Leggings

$68.00

This is the only nursing bra I would even consider putting on in the hospital—it’s that good. Stretchy, soft and with minimal support, it’s designed to adapt to the fluctuations your breasts go through after delivery, including engorgement and discomfort. The front clips make nursing easy and both the straps and back are adjustable.

Bodily Everything Bra - Clay/Clay, Xl

I didn’t pack this bra in my hospital bag and I regretted it. I wore it frequently from the moment I got home and pretty much throughout my entire nursing journey. It’s perfect for sleep, as it slips on easily and doesn’t feature clips, pads, clasps or anything else that could get in the way of you and those precious hours of rest.

Storq Cozy Rib Nursing Bra

$48.00

I absolutely love these flip-flops for the hospital. (And for real life, too!) They take up hardly any space in your bag but they’re cushy and comfortable and provide good traction on slippery hospital floors. I even wore mine in the shower and had a little giggle as I relived my college dorm days.

Havaianas Slim Flip Flop

$30.00

Here’s what you don’t need to worry about during labor, pushing or a C-section: your hair. Throw this headband in your bag so you won’t have to.

Scunci Soft Knotted Headwrap

$6.49

Postpartum Care and Feeding

If you’re hoping for a vaginal delivery, this kit should be one of the first things you toss in your hospital bag. It has everything you need for postpartum comfort all in one convenient spot. (I also recommend adding the FridaMom Upside Down Peri Bottle. Yes, you’ll get one in the hospital, but this one is so much better!)

FridaMom Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit

$10.98

Was this bulky, oddly-shaped nursing pillow a giant pain to lug to the hospital? Yes. But was I SO glad that I did? Also yes. If you’re planning on trying to nurse, especially if it’s your first go-around, this supportive pillow is an absolute necessity.

My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow - Horizon

$41.99

There are a lot of nipple creams on the market, but this one is far and away my favorite. I tossed it into my hospital bag and used it before and after every single nursing session. It helped reduce and prevent irritation, cracking and all of the other unpleasant things that sometimes go along with breastfeeding.

Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter - 2 Fl Oz, 1

$12.59

And speaking of nipples, these are another good-to-have item in your hospital bag if you’re planning to nurse. Your milk may not come in while you’re still in the hospital, but if it does, these will help to keep you dry and comfortable.

Lansinoh Stay Dry Disposable Nursing Pads - 200

$22.99

Extras

The number one tip I heard from family and friends on what to pack in my hospital bag was to include an extra-long charging phone charging cable. I wasn’t sure I quite understood why, but now I do. Every outlet is strangely far away from anywhere you (and your phone) need to be. This makes things a lot easier.

APFEN 10FT Lightning Cable Charger Cord

$12.99

Here’s what no one tells you about nighttime in a hospital: turns out it’s just like the daytime! Lights, beeping machines and doctors and nurses coming in and out. Will this mask help you achieve a restful, spa-like slumber? Nope. But it will help you make the most of any precious hours (or even minutes) of sleep you can sneak in during your postpartum stay.

Up & Up Sleep Eye Mask

$6.99

Another fun hospital fact coming at you. In addition to being loud and bright, hospitals are also super dry. This lip sleeping mask (basically a fancy name for lip balm) saved me. I slathered it on both day and night and was so happy that I included it in my toiletries bag.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask Intense Hydration with Vitamin C

$24.00

And while we’re on the topic of Weird Things About Hospitals, some (including mine, both times around) can also get really hot, especially if you’re giving birth in the warmer months. Couple that with fluctuating postpartum hormones and you’re suddenly feeling very sweaty. I hooked this mini fan onto my bedrail and although I felt a tad extra, I didn’t much care because it kept me so cool and comfy.

GUSGU Portable Battery Operated Fan

$21.99

It’s really important to stay hydrated after having a baby, and this electrolyte drink mix makes it easy. I tossed about five individual packets in my hospital bag and drank them throughout my stay.

Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier Vegan Powder Electrolyte Supplements

$15.99

And speaking of hydration, this was my water bottle of choice for my hospital stay. The slim design makes it not too bulky or heavy, and it does a great job of keeping beverages cold for hours and hours.

Simple Modern 24 Oz Stainless Steel Classic Tumbler

$19.99

You’re going to get a LOT of free stuff at the hospital. (Think mesh underwear, formula, diapers, wipes etc.) I brought an extra bag along so I’d have somewhere to put it all. I like this one because it’s roomy and lightweight, and you’ll be able to use it after your stay.

Childhome Canvas Family Bag - Light Grey

Baby Stuff

You really don’t need much, if anything, for your baby while you’re in the hospital, so think of these things as nice-to-haves rather than must-haves. I love these simple white wrap bodysuits for an extra layer of cozy comfort if needed, or if you’re not loving the bodysuit your hospital or birthing center provides.

Carter's Little Planet Organic Cotton Wrap Bodysuits (3 Pack) - Cream, 3 M

$19.95

I knew I wanted a take-home outfit for both our trip home from the hospital and a DIY photo shoot while we were there. This head-to-toe set was the perfect choice.

Tiny Kind The New Arrival 4 Piece Set - Safari Family, Nb

$16.40

Copper Pearl swaddles are a favorite of mine, especially for the first few months. Unlike muslin blankets, they have just the right amount of stretch to make swaddling a squirmy newborn a little bit easier. I used this one both during our hospital stay and long after.

Copper Pearl Swaddle Blanket - Steel

$26.95

Labor and delivery nurses make swaddling look easy (and have a lot of practice!), so don’t be surprised if your first attempts aren’t quite as seamless. I packed this easy zip-up swaddle in my hospital bag and was happy I did. It was tough to get out of bed and lean over the isolette to swaddle my baby, and this made the whole process a lot easier.

Love to Dream Swaddle UP Original 1.0 TOG - Gray, Small

$32.95

People Also Loved…

We put the call out to the Babylist team to find out some of their hospital bag must-haves. Here’s what they had to say.

Homemory 
Flameless Timer Tea Lights

“One of my besties gave me a pack of flameless tea lights and I thought, "Okay, yeah, whatever," but then they ended up making for such a vibe and I loved it.
Buy Now

Harmless Harvest  
Organic Coconut Water

“I packed a cooler full of my favorite coconut water to have during labor and after.”
Buy Now

Beckham Hotel Collection 
Bed Pillows Standard / Queen Size Set of 2

“I packed too many useless things, but I do really remember loving my pillow from home.”
Buy Now

Pure Daily Care 
Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser & Essential Oil Set

“I packed a diffuser and essential oils and my room smelled so nice throughout my whole stay. Everyone that entered would make a comment about how great it smelled.”
Buy Now

Target 
You Are Wonderful Gift Card

"I initially thought it was silly that friends brought their nurses snacks or $5 gift cards, then a nurse helped me to the toilet and prepared my padsicle undies for me, and I was like, oh, I get it now.”
Buy Now

Apple 
Airpods Pro True Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

“I was so happy I tossed these in my bag at the last minute. I used them a ton.”
Buy Now

Horizon Hound 
Down Camping Blanket

“A cozy, warm blanket (one of those puffy camping blankets for my partner, who was appalled at the tiny sheet on his sofa bed thing.”
Buy Now

Revlon 
One-Step Volumizer Enhanced 1.0 Hair Dryer and Hot Air Brush

“I live in the south. These ladies don’t play”
Buy Now

Advil 
Pain Reliever/fever Reducer Tablets

“Without caffeine, the adrenaline crash and migraine after birth were debilitating, but I was neither a patient or worthy of complaining of pain because of what Mom just went through, and painkillers were not available.”
Buy Now

M&M's 
Peanut Family Size Chocolate Candies

“No explanation needed.”
Buy Now

Not Your Mother's 
Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo

“I couldn’t deal with a full shower after birth. This did the trick and made me feel somewhat human again.”
Buy Now

Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

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