Here we go again. We’re heading to the hospital because it’s time to meet baby #3. But this time I didn’t pack anything extra and only what I know I’ll need or want. So, what should you pack for the hospital for labor and delivery? Here’s what’s in my hospital bag and what’s not!
While this isn’t an absolute must-have item, it’s one you’ll definitely want. If delivering naturally, you’ll be in the hospital for at least 2 days. And if delivering via c-section, you could be in the hospital for up to 3 days. While you can wear a hospital gown during the whole stay (I did this with my first 2 babies), you aren’t going to want to.
Yea, it’s okay for the actual labor and delivery, but after that you want to be comfortable and feel as much like yourself as possible, so pack some loose PJ’s. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gown or pajama set, as long as it’s loose you’ll feel much more comfortable and more like yourself in your PJ’s than a hospital gown. I opted for one of my favorite night gowns that is loose fitting and has easy access for nursing.
The hospital typically provides toiletries for mom, but they aren’t of the greatest quality. I packed travel size body wash, shampoo, conditioner (the hospital didn’t provide conditioner and my hair is near impossible to brush without it so thank goodness I brought some), and brought my toothbrush and toothpaste from home. And don’t forget a brush and hair ties. After pushing out a baby, my hair is the least of my worries and I just want it out of the way. Oh, and deodorant too.
Phone & Charger
Obviously, you’re going to want to tell the world (or at least the important people in your life) that your new bundle of joy has arrived. Be it phone calls, texts, social media posts, or the hundreds of photos you take, it’s only a matter of time before your phone dies. As it is, you probably never leave home without your phone anyways so that’s not really to worry about, but don’t accidentally leave the charger behind. I think I checked about 3 times before leaving home to make sure I had my phone charger.
If you plan to breastfeed your baby, you’ll want some nipple cream on hand in the hospital. I’ve breastfed two of three of my kids, and the first week is always the most painful. I had dry, cracked nipples the first week and it makes it difficult to continue breastfeeding. I won’t lie, quitting and switching completely to formula crossed my mind more than once, but with the help of some nipple cream and temporary pumping every now and then, I’ve been able to continue breastfeeding. And once you and baby figure out the breastfeeding thing, it gets much better.
Even if you’ve preregistered at the hospital, you still want to have your ID, insurance card, and a copy of your prenatal records with you when you arrive at the hospital. Sometimes the medical providers don’t have access to your prenatal records and if they do, there’s a good chance they haven’t had time to look at them. By having a copy with you, it makes things move a little quicker. And even if no one verifies your insurance, you’ll still need that information when filling out paperwork for the baby.
Clothes to Wear Home
This has always been my favorite thing to pack in my hospital bag. Baby’s first outfit! I went through and separated baby’s clothes by size, and then picked my absolute favorite newborn sized outfit (that also fit with the current weather).
Blanket for Baby
When baby #3 was born, the weather that week had been up and down. It was hot one day and cold the next, so I wasn’t sure what the weather would be like when we were discharged. I decided to pack a blanket for baby just in case it was cold outside and he needed some warmth.
On the same topic, you don’t have to keep your baby swaddled in the hospital blankets. You can bring your own and swaddle baby in his own blankets. I didn’t do this, but if it’s something you would prefer, by all means do it.
That’s it! I wasn’t weighing down my hospital bag with unnecessary stuff this time. Besides, I knew the hospital would be sending me home with diapers and possibly other baby supplies (formula, pacifiers, circumcision supplies) and supplies to care for myself post-delivery, and I would need room to carry it all. But this doens’t mean there aren’t other things you can take. I just personally didn’t find them necessary.
Change of Clothes for Mom
Like PJ’s this isn’t an absolute must because when discharged you can easily wear home the same thing you were wearing when you arrived at the hospital. That being said, I was induced so everything was planned. If you spontaneously go into labor, you may not necessarily be wearing the most comfortable clothes or even clean ones at that. You’re not going to want to wear those same clothes home, so having a loose fitting change of clothes in your hospital bag will be helpful in this instance.
The hospital will provide you with 3 meals a day after the baby is born (you can’t eat while in labor), but as you probably know, hospital food isn’t that great. And even if you do eat it, you’ll probably still want some snacks in between. There’s no reason you can’t pack some snacks and munch on them between meals.
Do Not Take These Items
You will not have time to be on your computer! While in labor you’re going to either be focused on breathing and getting through the pain, relaxing and sleeping before baby comes (thank goodness for epidurals), or will be too nervous to focus on anything else. And once baby arrives he’s going to need a lot of attention and you’ll be sleeping whenever you can. You will not have time to be on your computer so leave it at home.
While in the hospital, you will be supplied with everything you’ll need for baby – diapers, wipes, formula, etc., and can even take home the extras. There’s no need to bring any of that from home. In fact, I suggest you take home as many baby supplies as you can from the hospital. Don’t be afraid to ask the nurse for extra diapers or formula. Most of the time they’ll say yes and the worst they can say is no.
Even if you plan to be a pumping mom, there’s no need to bring a breast pump to the hospital. If you want to pump, the hospital will have a pump on hand for you to use (just ask) and will also store the milk in a fridge until you need it.
Look, you’re not going ANYWHERE until you’re discharged. You don’t need anything in your purse, aside from your ID and insurance card, but that can be placed in your hospital bag. Leave your purse at home. It’s one less thing you have to keep up with.