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Take the stress out of preparing for your hospital stay with our ultimate list of what you really need to pack in your hospital bag.
This is the first step towards bringing your bundle of joy home, we want you to enjoy it! This is why we’ve made this helpful list of all the things you need to (or might like to!) have with you during your hospital stay.
In this post, we’ve included everything that you’ll need for yourself, baby, and dad during labor itself as well as your hospital stay. We recommend packing three separate bags so that everything is easily accessible!
While dad can bring whatever bag he likes, we recommend a large suitcase-like bag for yourself and a diaper bag backpack for your newborn baby. A large diaper bag has all of the space and pockets that you’ll ever need for your newborn necessities, and being a backpack makes it much easier for yourself or your partner to carry when it’s time to bring your baby home.
Scroll to the end of the article for a quick reference list of everything included to making packing even easier!
When it comes to your own hospital bag, the bigger the better! There’s literally no end to the things that you might like to bring with you for your hospital stay. We’ve kept our list to the absolute essentials so that packing your hospital bag is a little less overwhelming.
We’ve also included a small list of other items that you might like to consider depending on your needs and what you would like to have available.
Bring all of your pregnancy notes with you, it’s much easier for doctors and midwives to get important information from your notes than to bother you between contractions!
You can also get a cute and affordable Pregnancy Journal/ Pregnancy planner to document your entire pregnancy and labor day. Tell your partner where the notes are packed in case you have to rush to the hospital for a quick delivery. Believe it or not, it can happen.
If you make a birth plan, remember to pack a few copies. Though all of our good intentions may turn to dust after a few hours in the hospital, it’s an easier way to communicate your wishes with the people who will be looking after you.
Type your birth plan up well in advance so that it’s easy for hospital staff to read. You might like to separate your notes according to what you would like to happen should you choose to have or require a cesarean section.
During labor, you’ll thank yourself for wearing something that it’s easy to move around in. This might be a labor and delivery gown or a large t-shirt from your partner’s wardrobe. Think naked from the bottom half down!
Here are some good options to explore:
Bring all of the chargers that you need to keep your phone, camera, electronic reading device, and any other appliances charged throughout your hospital stay. Remember, you might be there for a few days!
The early stages of labor, though uncomfortable, can be a little dull. Pack a puzzle book, download a series, load your phone with podcasts, or bring a new book to get you through those first few slow hours.
Remind your partner to do the same! Though they have an easier job, this means that their time spent with you during the early stages of labor can feel incredibly long. We’ll talk more about what your partner needs to bring later in the post.
As soon as labor starts, any natural hunger rhythms will cease. Bring a few nutritious snacks that are high in energy and easy to eat so that you can snack when you need a quick boost. While you’re in the early stages of labor and still up for eating, think carbs.
The first thing that you eat after giving birth will taste like nothing you’ve ever eaten before, it’s delicious. You might like to plan ahead for this joyous moment by packing your favorite snack or favorite meal to reheat.
If you are wondering what snacks to pack for labor. Here are some of the best snacks for a hospital stay for labor and recovery:
Bring a water bottle to make sure that you don’t get dehydrated during labor! Ask your partner to offer your water at regular intervals during labor - it’s more than likely that you’ll be too busy to think about drinking.
Choose a reusable bottle with a straw as these are the easiest to drink from in any position.
Though it might be difficult to find the time to wash and look after yourself during your hospital stay, it’s essential that you do! Bring all of your normal toiletries and anything else that might help to boost you after labor.
● Toothbrush and toothpaste
● Shampoo and conditioner
● Hair ties
● Some make-up
● Face wash
● Facial moisturizer
● Lip balm
Smells can make us feel a certain way depending on what we most associate the smell with. If you took a hypnobirthing course or spent time practicing yoga or meditating during pregnancy (alongside the use of essential oils), bring the same oil with you to invoke a sense of relaxation and calm during labor.
Not only will essential oils help you to relax, but they can also relieve pain and reduce the amount of time that you spend in labor.
If you would like to use essential oils during labor but you’re not sure where to start, here are some pregnancy-safe and labor-safe scents! Just select the smell that makes you feel the most relaxed:
● Clary sage
● Citrus blossom
Nursing pillows make breastfeeding much more comfortable and easy on the shoulders, it will be something that you come to rely on completely! The longer nursing pillows also double up as a great pillow for you to use to find a comfortable position during labor.
Check out these stylish and functional nursing pillows:
You’ll need a lot of these. Opt for maxi pads that have the highest absorbency, you’re going to need it. Pack enough maxi pads so that you have enough to replace them every 30-60 minutes - particularly in the first hours following birth.
These Honey Pot Postpartum Herbal Pads are a great option!
Tampons are not safe to use until 6 weeks after birth and following a check-up with your healthcare provider. This is because of wounds, cuts, and grazes that you may have experienced internally.
You’ll need breast pads when your milk comes in. Bring some in case your hospital stay ends up lasting longer than a couple of days! If you’re looking to be eco-friendly, reusable breast pads are not only better for the environment, but they’re also a lot more comfortable to wear and a lot less visible through clothes.
Our advice is to keep a pack of disposable nursing pads in your diaper bag backpack so that you’ll always have some available even when all of your reusable pads need washing.
You’ll probably be going through a few outfits changes a day yourself. Bring comfortable postpartum clothes that are easy to take on and off, remembering that you won’t want to wear anything which will feel tight around your lady parts.
If it’s warm, you might like to stick to loose-fitting dresses that are easy to slide down for breastfeeding. Remember that the ultimate goal is comfort, so pack the clothes that you know you can comfortably wear while feeding, napping, and moving around.
Sometimes, simply getting changed out of our day clothes and into our pajamas is all we need to access a little normality and mentally wind down in the lead up to bedtime. Pack a set of pajamas that are as comfortable as they are easy to feed in.
Robes are also a great option that will provide comfort, especially during the very first hours after giving birth since you might not even want to get fully dressed, not even in PJs. You can get a matching Robe and Swaddle to add extra cuteness to your family photos!
Here are some great matching Robe and Swaddles:
Pack enough underwear so that you’ll have 3 pairs of clean underwear a day. There will be blood, and lots of it, so you might even prefer to bring disposable underwear just to make your life a little bit easier.
Frida has great options for postpartum care including disposable underwear. Their High-waist Disposable Postpartum Underwear was designed for C-section postpartum recovery and their Boyshort Disposable Postpartum Underwear was designed for Perineal postpartum recovery. Available on their website, Amazon, Target, Walmart!
There’s nothing better than a pair of cozy socks to make you feel at home and looked after, something that is particularly important after birth. Labor and delivery non-skid socks are great for hospital stays and they have tons of cute designs!
A nursing bra or nursing tank top is a great way to feed your baby without having to remove clothing or have fabric come between you and your baby. Though you may prefer to wear absolutely nothing, a nursing bra will keep your breast pads in place if you need to wear them during your hospital stay.
Keep any dirty clothes in a small plastic or portable laundry bag so that you can put everything straight into the washing machine when you get home.
Packing a separate bag for your baby will make it easier to find everything your baby needs (without having to rummage!) during your hospital stay. With one of our cute diaper bag backpacks, packing a hospital bag for your baby becomes much more fun.
Our diaper bag backpacks contain all of the space, compartments, and pockets you’ll ever need for arranging your diaper bag essentials. Once out of the hospital, you’ll love the 6 insulated pockets included for baby bottles, snacks, and your mommy drink - we mean coffee, by the way…
Why not take a look at our pink diaper backpack or black diaper backpack to find the perfect bag for you? After all, this is one accessory that’s going to be perched on your stroller, shoulder, and car seat for the foreseeable future.
So, what exactly do you need to bring to the hospital for your baby? We’ve narrowed it down to the ultimate list of newborn necessities so that you’ll have everything you need without overpacking - we’ve also included a few extras that you might like to consider.
When it comes to newborn sleepsuits, honestly, you can never have enough. Especially when bringing a newborn into your life. They pee, they poop, they vomit (and you can guarantee that they’ll do it minutes after dressing them in a shiny, new sleepsuit) - be prepared!
Bring at least 3 sleepsuits for every day you think you’ll be spending at the hospital, that way, there’s no chance that you’ll fall short.
There are tons of cute, affordable, and comfortable newborn sleepsuits out there. Below you can find three options to check out:
A cozy newborn hat can help to keep your baby warm and cozy once they’ve arrived in the big, wide world. Newborn babies aren’t as able to adjust to temperature changes as adults, and can lose heat 4 times faster than us! Because of that, it’s important to keep them nice and warm after birth.
If you plan on bottle-feeding your baby, make sure that you slot 2-3 clean baby bottles into your diaper bag backpack. Your midwives and caregivers will be able to clean and sterilize these for you during your hospital stay.
Though hospitals should have formula available, you might like to bring a brand of your own choosing. You won’t need an entire tub of it, so to save space, you might like to transfer some into a clean jar or pot from home.
In your new role as a mom, your baby’s burp cloths are going to become your new best friends. Not only are they useful for cleaning up milky dribble and spit-up, but they’re also a wonderful way to protect your clothing while burping your baby, as well as cleaning up any general spills that can happen whilst out and about.
Burp cloths are at the top of our list of diaper bag essentials for newborns, and we can guarantee that you’ll be using them from day 1 at the hospital.
Here are our top picks for neutral and boho themed burp cloths:
Pack a weather-appropriate going-home outfit that is as convenient as it is adorable. Bringing your baby home is a significant time, but there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Think layers!
Not so much something to pack in your hospital bag, but make sure that you’ve got the hang of using the car seat and that it’s installed in your car well ahead of time.
For more information on how to install a car seat or to get the installation inspected, please visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find an inspection station in your area. Inspection stations are can be located at local automobile dealerships, police stations, firehouses, hospitals, and other places.
● Portable white noise machine - particularly useful on noisy hospital wards.
It’s best if dad brings his own bag so that he’s able to access all of his necessities without having to search through your enormous bag and be away from you for too long.
Here’s a complete packing list for dad!
Though on the sidelines, he’ll be needing a quick energy boost to stay awake and give you the support you need!
You’ll need money for drinks, extra food, parking meters, as well as anything else that might come up during your stay - did we hear “pizza delivery”??
So that your baby’s arrival into the world can be announced to your closest friends and family while you catch up on some much-needed sleep.
To capture those special moments after birth. Depending on your wishes, you might also like to ask somebody to capture a few images during the birth itself.
Instant film cameras are great options to capture those beautiful moments. Start your search with these three amazing options!
Accidents happen and hospital stays can be long. Make sure your partner brings a couple of spare t-shirts and pants!
Because those hospital chairs and couches leave a lot to be desired when it comes to comfortable napping.
A pair of earphones means that dad can watch or listen to whatever he wants to during the early stages of labor - it might also be helpful when he manages to grab a few minutes of sleep himself.
Labor can be incredibly long and uneventful, make sure you and your partner find something to do that will help you forget about the contraction. Get the Netflix app or any other app of your preference, on your phone or iPad, and get ready to binge-watch your favorite show or a movie that makes you laugh!
Your partner will probably want to freshen up at some point too!
Here’s a reference list that you can screenshot to use while packing hospital bags for everybody!
● Maternity notes
● Birth plan
● Loose outfit for labor
● Appliance chargers
● Something to do
● Water bottle
● Toiletries Bag
● Essential oils
● A nursing pillow
● A pillow
● A yoga ball
● Peanut ball
● A yoga mat
● Massage oil
● Spray bottle
● Flip flops/sliders
● Electrolyte sachets
● A speaker
● Burp cloths
● Going-home outfit
● Car seat
● White noise machine
● Wallet (including cash)
● Phone & charger
● 1-2 outfits
● A pillow
Now it’s time to get packing! Make a note of all the things that you would like to pack so that you can cross them off as you put them into the bags - baby brain is real…
There’s no longer any need to take your bulky backpack when going on a 5-minute or 2 hours trip to the shops or a short walk with your little one. Simply use your Diaper-Changing Handbag to pack the essentials and get out the door in under 5 minutes! Imagine that…