One of the best ways to feel prepared about having your baby is by knowing what to pack in your baby hospital bag pleeenty in advance.
Therein lies the challenge. What are you supposed to pack? Where to start?
I’m going to share 8 secrets about knowing what to pack in your baby hospital bag to help you feel confident and have a smooth birth experience.
We are going to cover packing a baby hospital bag and packing your own overnight bag too, because that’s super important!
Here we go!
Before we get started, pin this for later!
8 Secret Tips on What to Pack In Your Baby Hospital Bag
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I’ve included a free hospital checklist for you to print out while you plan, so stick around!
#1: You Don’t Need As Much As You Might Think In Your Baby Hospital Bag
The hospital provides diapers, wipes, a blanket (though it’s usually not the cutest), an aspirator, even bottles and baby grooming supplies.
Unless you are very particular about the exact items you want on your baby (ie brand of diapers), most of the baby toiletries will be provided.
In all honesty, you won’t need nearly as many baby clothes and accessories as you think you do! I learned this firsthand when my oldest son was born. Our baby hospital bag was stuffed with clothes, accessories and all sorts of cute things.
I only used one of the four baby outfits I packed–the one he wore home.
What ended up happening was baby was swaddled in a muslin blanket that I could easily unwrap for skin-to-skin time.
I’m going to list exactly what I packed and what I used so you can see the difference.
What I Packed In My Baby Hospital Bag:
- 3 burp cloths
- 4 hats
- 3 pairs of mittens
- 4 outfits
- 4 pairs of socks
- 2 bottles
- 2 receiving blankets
- 1 fuzzy blanket
- 10 diapers
- baby toiletries
What Baby Actually Used:
- 1 burp cloth
- 2 hats
- 1 pair of mittens
- 1 pair of socks
- A muslin swaddle
All in all, I used less than half of what I packed for Baby. We didn’t need to bring very much for the baby at all.
If you’re more particular and you have very set things you want baby to wear or to use, then go for it.
But if you’re like me and are willing to take advantage of what the hospital provides, you’ll be able to pack pretty lightly.
Bring a few things for just-in-case, but don’t stress about it.
Extra Tip: You’ll have a stack of papers and forms that you’ll be bringing home, so you’ll want to bring a folder or binder along to keep them organized.
#2: Focus on Packing for YOU more than Baby When Packing Your Hospital Bag
This secret is probably missed the most. After all, we focus on our baby more than ever during the third trimester while we’re nesting. Our main concern is making sure we have everything possible for baby once they’re born.
The truth is that the hospital has everything needed to help with baby. What they don’t have are comfortable things for you to wear and freshen up.
Trust me–you’ll want to freshen up.
You’ll be staying at least one night and sitting in a hospital bed for hours on end while you focus on your baby and (attempt to) rest up.
Sitting in that bed for so long will start to feel icky. I wore my Gownie (more on this secret coming up) that first day after delivery, but I packed another nursing nightgown to have on hand, and I’m so glad I did.
It gave me something else to wear to feel fresh that night.
Make sure you pack your own shower essentials.
While the hospital (usually) provides soap for a shower, there is nothing like having the products you’re used to.
#3:You Are Completely Responsible for What’s In Your Baby Hospital Bag
Packing your bags can be as glamorous and excessive as you want it to be. Just remember that whatever you take along is completely your responsibility.
You are liable for your own belongings–the hospital claims zero responsibility for lost, stolen, or damaged items.
This means that you’ll have to look after it at all times.
You also have to remember that you’re the carrier. It’s easy to grab the suitcases, your baby hospital bag and go when it’s two people headed for the hospital.
It’s an entirely different matter when you come back home with an infant in your arms.
Whatever you take to the hospital, you will have to bring home while carrying a newborn.
This may not sound like a big deal, but after at least one day of being in a bed that isn’t your own and Daddy sleeping on a cot, a bench, a chair or whatever is available, you will not feel as energetic and peppy as you might think.
What you brought with you feels like a whole lot more when taking it to the car from the hospital.
#4: Don’t Forget A Hospital Bag for Daddy
If Daddy is anything like my husband, he won’t leave the hospital until you do. Some daddies go home and take a shower and get some rest–some don’t.
If Daddy plans on staying at the hospital with you the entire time, he’ll need a set of clothes for the next day, pajamas for the night, and his toiletries.
Pack a pillow for him. We learned this from experience. The hospital provides blankets and usually pillows, but they can also run out. Their pillows may not be all that comfortable, either.
Whatever he is sleeping on won’t be as comfortable as the hospital bed, so having his pillow from home is a really nice benefit, anyway.
#5: Pack What Makes You Comfortable
The hospital can be a stark, sterile-smelling place that can be a bit of a harsh environment.
During your labor, depending on how long you wait before going to the hospital, you are going to appreciate having a few things around that bring you comfort.
You won’t be allowed to light a candle, but bringing your favorite one and just setting it on the side table with the lid off will do wonders for you.
So will a blanket, your favorite pair of socks, and your slippers.
Bring something comfortable from home to wear during your hospital stay. Get out of that icky hospital gown! Which leads to secret #6.
#6: Your OWN Hospital Gown
When I went to the hospital, I didn’t have time to worry about what was on me during delivery.
However, later on, after I showered and refreshed and prepared for the soon-to-be arriving visitors, I was so glad I thought to purchase a labor and delivery gown from gownies.
These are little pieces of cotton-made heaven. Gownies are nursing/hospital friendly gowns. The gown has snaps across the front for nursing, and snaps down the back.
The gown closes up completely–no more getting up from the bed and having to walk in reverse to hide the goods.
They have beautiful prints to choose from, as well as a matching robe.
They are perfect for postpartum pictures!
I showered and wrapped up my hair and snuggled up in my Gownies and matching robe. Not only was it comfortable, the print was adorable.
It did wonders for me after all the work of pushing out a baby, being swollen and flushed from the exertion and fatigue.
I could now visit while wearing something pretty–and nursing friendly! It made an enormous difference.
#7: Pack Travel-Sized Toiletries
Instead of trying to pack your original shower wash, toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries, buy travel-sized items and pack them early. Then you won’t have to remember to pack them during contractions!
Because we packed so far in advance, I bought travel-sized soaps, deodorant and shampoo and packed them neatly in the suitcase, along with a toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste.
That’s a biggie.
Good luck trying to remember to pack your toothbrush from home during labor!
#8: Don’t Forget Your Postpartum Stuff
Don’t forget your postpartum care.
The hospital provides postpartum care supplies but it’s nice to have your own stuff if you want to use a particular brand.
Another good item to bring is a pair of flip-flops that you can either wash or toss once you’re home.
You’ll be trudging about the room and into the restroom, and you’ll be glad to have some flip-flops on hand.
To condense it down, here’s a Mama’s list of helpful items to have in your suitcase:
- At least one nursing nightgown
- Deodorant, Soap, Razor, Shampoo
- Toothbrush and Toothpaste
- Hair Care (keep it simple and hassle-free)
- Postpartum underwear
- A pair of socks for each day
- Clothes for going home
- Tucks Pads
- Postpartum Pads
- Nursing Balm (I used Badger Balm and recommend it!)
- Electronics Chargers
- Some favorite snacks
- Your insurance card, ID, and hospital registration forms (if you filled them out in advance)
- A file to keep all your paperwork in one place
I’ve linked some of the items in this post that were must-haves for me. I used these personally and would recommend them to all you mommies out there.
May your hospital experience be smooth as you transition to this next beautiful chapter!
Here’s your Hospital Bag Checklist
Here’s A BONUS Checklist for Baby!