Oh Baby: My Hospital Bag Packing List

what to pack in your hospital bag

It’s true that there’s only so much you can do to prepare for the experience of having a baby. No matter how prepared you think you are, you will probably still be in for a few surprises! I know I was… But even so, it certainly helps to have all your ducks in a row and be as ready as you can be—starting with packing your hospital bag. When I was in my third trimester, I found myself searching the Internet for hospital packing lists. There are plenty of packing lists out there—some bare bones and some with more than is truly necessary. After doing my research, I compiled a packing list of my own that was the perfect happy medium. During my hospital stay, I had everything I needed to be comfortable, but it also didn’t feel excessive (after all, you’re usually only in the hospital for 1-4 days). If you’re about to have a baby and want to have the perfectly packed bag, this list is a pretty good guide to follow. Check out my personal packing list below…

For you:

  • Birth plan (It helps to print a couple copies or post it somewhere visible, so that you can make sure your doula, midwife, doctor, nurses, and anyone else who is helping to care for you sees it.)
  • Comfortable pajamas (With a top you can button-up or pull down if you plan on nursing)
  • Robe (To keep you warm and cozy, and allow you to quickly cover up when visitors arrive or nurses pop in)
  • Comfy slippers or sandals
  • Cozy socks
  • Cotton underwear (Bring maternity underwear or other pairs that you don’t mind getting ruined)
  • Nursing bras
  • A bathing suit if you want to take a bath or shower during labor without baring it all to the nurses (although you might not care!)
  • A going home outfit for yourself (something loose—you’ll still look several months pregnant—and with easy access for nursing)
  • Charger for your phone and any other devices
  • Toiletries (Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, and moisturizer)
  • Dry shampoo
  • Books, magazines, or a laptop or iPad to watch movies on
  • Anything else that will help you relax (your own pillow or pillowcase, a playlist, pictures of loved ones, lavender spray, etc.)
  • Eye mask (There will be some lights left on 24/7, so if you need complete darkness to get any real shut-eye, I highly recommend an eye mask.)
  • Healthy snacks
  • Photo ID
  • Insurance card
  • Credit card
  • Cash
  • Any necessary hospital paperwork
  • A notepad or journal and pen to log down notes and memories from the first few days (This isn’t 100 percent necessary with a cell phone, but I still prefer good old fashioned pen and paper.)
  • Air freshener spray (If you have your own bathroom and a lot of visitors it could come in handy)
  • A treat for the nurses (This is optional of course, but it’s nice to bring something sweet to say thank you.)

For baby:

  • An installed car seat (You won’t be able to drive your baby home without it, so make sure you do this ahead of time. If you’re unsure how to install it yourself, you can make an appointment at your local highway patrol office and they will assist you.)
  • Clothes to bring baby home in (It helps to pack both a newborn and a 0-3 months size outfit if you’re not certain which one will fit. Keep in mind that newborns have trouble regulating their body temperature the first couple of weeks, so you will want something a little warmer than you might need otherwise, with either footies or socks.)
  • A receiving blanket or swaddle (The hospital will provide blankets, but if you have a cute and cozy one you prefer, it’s nice to have something to tuck around baby’s legs for the ride home.)
  • A baby book for baby’s footprints (This was a nice keepsake I chose to create.)

Is there anything else you would add to this list?

Please share your must-have items with everyone in the comments below!

XO Lauren

Photo: Elizabeth Messina
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