Monday, September 8, 2014

Hospital Bag Checklist

One of the most important items on a mommy-to-be's "to do" list before the big day arrives is to pack a bag of all the necessities and nice-to-haves for her hospital stay.  This was something I procrastinated a bit on when I was expecting, partly because I hate packing and partly because I was a little overwhelmed.  I scoured the internet looking for tips on what to pack, and the lists seemed endless.  Finally, when the clock was ticking and I didn't think I had much time to spare, I got my bag packed and helped Shep with his.  Below is the list I compiled for myself, from a bunch of different sources on the web.  Feel free to use it if you're expecting {here is a printable version}, and also let me know if I've left anything off that you found helpful during your hospital stay if you've already had a baby!

For Mom-to-Be

__ ID + insurance card
__ Birth preferences sheet (3 copies) -- Just in case one gets lost/accidentally discarded!
__ 1-2 bed pillows with favorite cases -- I ended up not bringing these, and fared fine with the hospital pillows.
__ Lotion or massage oil (unscented)
__ Back massager tool
__ Soothing picture for focal point
__ Sugar-free lollipops/hard candies/lozenges for a dry mouth
__ Lip Balm for dry lips
__ Paper fan -- In case the room is hot
__ Refillable water bottle + favorite bottled water -- I am a little of a water snob so this was a treat I enjoyed!
__ Bendy straws (to drink from cup while laying down or sitting back)
__ Brown paper bag (to breathe into in case of hyperventilation) -- Luckily I didn't end up needing this!
__ Music and music playing device for labor, birth, and nursing the baby -- I worked so hard on creating my play lists during the last week before I had Emily, and then never used the music! D'oh!
__ Bathing suit top for shower during labor
__ Flip flops for shower (disposable)
__ Warm socks (disposable) -- My hospital provided slipper socks with rubber grips on them so I didn't end up needing the socks I brought or my slippers
__ Slippers (disposable)
__ Nightgown(s) that opens in the front for nursing (2) (disposable) -- I ended up just wearing the hospital gown during my entire stay, which had snap closures in the front for easy nursing access
__ Bathrobe -- I decided at the last minute to leave this home because I didn't want it to get ruined and didn't miss it at all
__ “Granny” panties and nursing bra -- I didn't end up using these either. The mesh panties that the hospital provided worked great for me, and I didn't need to wear a nursing bra in the hospital since my milk didn't come in until I got home
__ Breast pads and lanolin cream -- The hospital provided breast pads along with saline solution for soreness
__ Mouthwash, toothbrush, tooth paste, breath mints -- These will be the first step in helping you feel like a human again!
__ Shampoo, Conditioner, Face Wash, Face Moisturizer, Body Wash, Body Moisturizer
__ Hairbrush & hair ties
__ Sleep Mask & ear plugs -- Extra helpful if you have to share a room
__ Makeup -- I didn't end up using this at all..... not even for our first photos with Emily taken by the hospital photographer, which I now regret. ;)
__ A notepad and pen to record important information -- It's amazing how quickly things can happen and how details and information can get forgotten quickly in the post-birth chaos/excitement.
__ Comfortable / loose clothes and shoes to wear home -- You will still look pregnant, so stretchy pants and a loose top are musts!
__ Bag for taking extra items home -- The hospital provided us with a cloth bag to take supplies home and we still needed our extra bag! They really stocked us well before we left! {More about that on a coming post!}

For Your Partner

__ Snacks for labor (yogurt, nuts, bars, dried fruits) & drinks -- It's important for the coach to stay energized.... though probably not a great idea for your partner to eat in front of you if you're not allowed to. ;)
__ Electronic devices (e.g., phone, tablet) + chargers
__ Reference handouts from childbirth class -- In case you forget any breathing or relaxation techniques!
__ Camera + spare battery for birth and baby photos and video
__ Change of clothing & pajamas
__ Toiletries, including razor
__ Glasses/contact case/saline/eye drops
__ Baby name books -- If like us you're totally unprepared to name your newest favorite tiny person!
__ Swimsuit & t-shirt, flip flops (in case mom-to-be wants to stand in shower during labor)
__ Towels for shower (optional) -- The hospital towels are less than soft, but we didn't end up having room in either of our bags to pack our own towels so we fared with the hospital ones.
__ Magazines & pens
__ Change for vending machines
__ Money for food delivery / take out
__ Prescriptions

For Baby

__ Blanket & beanie hat for hospital photos -- Doesn't need to be anything elaborate, but if you have a blanket or outfit or headband or hat that is special to you, bring it for baby's first photos!
__ Going home outfit w/ legs, including a hat, socks and receiving blanket -- It's important for baby's outfit to have legs so that you can strap the baby properly into the carseat. Newborn babies don't hold their body temperature well, so it's important to ensure you dress baby warmly enough... layers are helpful. I read that it's best to dress baby in the amount of clothing you'd be comfortable in and then add one more layer, like a thin blanket.
__ Car seat already installed in the back seat of the car -- Check with your local police station, fire department or hospital if you need help installing it or getting it checked to ensure it's installed properly! You don't want to wait until the last minute for this!
__ Information of pediatrician on note card -- The hospital will need this information; we found it easiest to just hand them a card with the information on it rather than repeating it to different hospital staff members.

__ Baby memory book (for footprints) -- We didn't end up doing this, but I've heard that some hospitals will put baby's footprints directly into the memory book if asked. They need to take baby's footprints anyway for their own records, so save yourself the mess of applying ink to baby when you get home! ;)

Well, that's my recommended list!  So tell me, experienced moms -- what did I forget???  :)


  1. I'd remind people what NOT to bring as well: don't bring a lot of valuables to the hospital. Engagement rings, wedding bands, watches, lots of cash, other expensive jewelry etc. Leave it at home! You might (like Nicole and me) get moved around from room to room and you certainly don't want to lose anything in the frenzy.

  2. Thank you so much, this is incredibly useful. I was told to carry a birthing ball and an ice cooler with popsicles/ coconut water packs as well.

    1. Hi Sonia, thanks so much for reading! Excellent suggestions with the birthing ball and cooler! Our hospital actually had birthing balls available for use by patients. The popsicles/coconut water cooler is a great idea!


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