After much research, refining, and many piles, I’m finally bringing you the master list of what is in my bag for the hospital. It has been packed for a while, which is good, because we’re down to just a little bit over a week until our due date!
But first, the bag itself. I’ve wanted this bag forever, so I was sooo excited when it finally came in the mail from Addison at Carolina Dandy! It’s even prettier and higher quality in person than I was expecting, and it’s the perfect size. Spacious, but still comfortable to carry. I have a feeling it will get a lot of use when we get back to our weekend getaways, and honestly, I wish I had ordered it a long time ago! If you’re in the market for an all-purpose weekend duffle, this is your bag!
I compiled this list from many blog posts, our childbirth class at the hospital, conversations with our doula, and baby websites. It seems like a lot, but I really prefer to be over prepared than to not have something when I suddenly need it. That being said, I tried to pare it down as much as possible. Will also packed his own backpack from a list he found on Fatherly. I’m not sure what’s in it, and I’m thinking I should maybe check. Anyway, here we go!
Postpartum notes on whether I used things are in italics!
For Will and Me
- Our Pillows in Colored Pillowcases: We haven’t packed the actual pillows yet, but I know a comfortable pillow is key, and they recommend buying colored pillowcases so you know which pillows are yours. I had to go with pink, of course! We used these!
- A Dark Maternity Nightgown for Labor: I’m leery of hospital gowns being scratchy, so I got a cheap navy maternity nightgown that is super soft, and if I have to throw it away, that’s fine. I wore my own nightgown for labor and was so glad. The hospital gown was the worst!
- Cheap Slippers: Similarly, I ordered comfy grey slippers with nonslip bottoms for labor that I can also dispose of if need be. I wore these too.
- A Warm Maternity Long Sweater: I have a comfy grey maternity sweater from Old Navy that is coming with, because I am always cold. I would not put it past myself to be cold in labor. I was not cold in labor, but I started out in this and it was comforting at first.
- Two Pajama Sets with Robes for After Delivery: I doubt I will need both unless we’re in the hospital longer than we think we will be, but just in case, I have comfy maternity pajama sets that will be warm and soft, work for nursing, and still look decent in photos for after we’re in the recovery room. I wore them both, and it was so nice to have them for visitors and photos!
- A Maternity Dress to Go Home In: I have this grand idea that I really want a good photo of us as a family leaving the hospital, and I thought it would be nice to have something comfortable but a little more special to wear, so I ordered this maternity maxi dress from Ingrid and Isabel. Also, I’m wearing my Birkenstocks to and from the hospital. Done! All my dreams came true here.
- A Nursing Tank, Maternity Leggings, and Nursing Bras: I have a few more of these miscellaneous clothes in case I feel like I need them. I did not wear my tank or leggings, but I am glad I brought them. They definitely are something I used a lot at home after!
- A Belly Bandit: Obviously I haven’t tried this yet, but I hear great things about how much more secure a Belly Bandit can make you feel after labor, so I threw this in to put on after delivery. I put this on right after delivery, and it seemed to really help!
- Snacks (Sugar-Free Jolly Ranchers, Almonds, Luna Bars, Sun Chips, GU Energy Gels): I know I may need a sugar boost during and will definitely be hungry after labor, so we are prepared! Will attempted to bring beef jerky in his bag, and when I told him there would be no beef jerky smells in my hospital room, he said that’s ok because he actually already ate the jerky he packed. HA! I need to inspect his bag, though… I did not eat during labor, but I am glad I was prepared in case I had wanted to.
- Water Bottle, Coconut Water Cartons, and Flexible Straws: Gotta stay hydrated, and I hear you want things with flexible straws for ease of access. I used these!
- A Folder with Birth Plan, Important Info, and Paper for First Footprints: We preregistered with the hospital, but the “important info” page includes contact information for our OB/GYN, pediatrician, doula and parents as well as copies of my insurance card, social security number, etc., just in case they need it again. That way Will has it all at his fingertips. Then I brought acid-free paper for baby’s first footprints to put in the baby book if they do that. 🙂 This was key! They don’t do footprints anymore, though, so the paper was unnecessary.
- Our Wallets with IDs, Insurance Cards, and Cash: Seems really obvious, but they may not be when I’m having contractions, so this is on our “pack last minute” list that is sitting on top of the bag. We didn’t use these…just kidding!
- My Camera, Headphones, an Extension Cord, all Chargers, a Six-Foot iPhone Cord, a Bluetooth Speaker, and Extra Memory Cards: All of this is to make sure we don’t have technology problems, obviously. Our Bose dock is too big to bring, so got a bluetooth speaker for some labor playlists that I still need to make. Of course we’ll have our phones too! We actually used all these things! We turned white noise on from the Bluetooth speaker for Victoria’s very first night in the hospital!
- Lavender and Mint Essential Oils and Sock of Tennis Balls: Our doula has a whole bag of labor goodies, but we made our own sock of tennis balls for counter-pressure to use at home, and I found old DoTerra lavender and mint essential oils I had forgotten I had! I like that I have calming and energizing options. I didn’t use the oils during labor, but the tennis balls were a lifesaver. I would still bring oils again in case I got a wild hair to use them.
- Toiletries: There’s no reason to list them all here, but I brought travel sizes of all the essentials (including headbands, elastics and bobby pins for sure!). I do plan to throw some make-up in there last minute (we’ll be taking lots of photos), and want to note that everyone said good lip balm is critical, so my Aquaphor is coming along. Also, contacts and glasses will go in last minute as well. And I reluctantly brought flip flops for the shower, though I’m not that much of a germaphobe. I’m not bringing shampoo or conditioner, but I did bring dry shampoo, because I’m being honest with myself. I showered THREE times in the 48 hours we were in the hospital, and they were the best three showers of my life. I used all the toiletries. They made me feel human.
- Notebook, Prayer Journal, Pens: I have a miscellaneous notebook where I can jot down things nurses and our pediatrician tell us, plus I will throw Baby Girl’s prayer journal in there last minute as well. I didn’t use the prayer journal, and I’m not sure I needed a notebook for notes. They gave us folders with hand-outs.
- A Mini Bottle of Pink Champagne: I’ve had this forever from my friend Ida’s wedding, and I think this is definitely an occasion for pink champagne to celebrate! This is so fun. You have to!
- My Brest Friend Pillow: This is loaded in the car for Will to bring in after delivery, because people insist that it’s good to have the nurses show you how to get in a good position with the pillow, but I’m a little reluctant to haul it into the hospital, so we’ll see. I really did use this and was so glad I had it when learning to breastfeed.
- Goodie Bags for Our Nurses, Doctors, and Staff: See below! I made little goodie bags of granola bars, candy, gum, and our birth plan for the people who will be helping us. Will says this is bribery, but I say it’s hospitality. These were appreciated! We put the extras at the nurses’ station, but next time I would have taken them to the recovery room for all the nurses taking care of us after delivery!
For Baby Girl
- Cute Swaddles for First Photos: I have this Beaufort Bonnet Bow Swaddle that I’m obsessed with and also another cute Aden and Anais swaddle or two for right after we get her cleaned up. Used these!
- Hat and Bow: Obviously. Used these!
- A Soft Smocked Footed Sleeper for Going Home: I can’t wait to take photos of her in the car seat going home! Used this!
- Emory Board for Baby: I hear her nails may come out already too long and sharp! I think we just pulled the hanging nails off (they are sharp but soft somehow).
- A Correctly-Installed Car Seat: Just thought I should throw this on there, as it’s pretty important! We may or may not bring the stroller, since we’ll just be carrying her to the car and then into the apartment. Obviously used this!
There are other postpartum supplies for me and things the baby will need (diapers!), but I hear the hospital provides them, and I’m happy to use theirs. The goodie bags are packed in an otherwise empty tote bag that we can fill up with free supplies if we like what they have. I think that about covers it, but if you have any ideas of things you think I’m forgetting, let me know in the comments!
I really feel like we nailed the hospital packing, to be honest. We weren’t overly weighed down and used pretty much everything, but we were also prepared. I loved all the free stuff they gave me for postpartum recovery and for Victoria.