After having my first baby this past September, I wanted to reflect and share what we packed for our hospital stay. Much of it we didn’t use so next to each item, I’ll share if we used it or not and if there is a particular reason as to why! Keep in mind that some women can show up with just themselves and be all set. Some women, similar to me, will show up with a suitcase lol. Either is just fine! Do what works best for you and if someone chooses to go about their experience in a different way, that’s great! More power to them 🙂
I wouldn’t say I’m an over packer in life, but I like to be thoroughly prepared and I like my own particular products. If you are a first time mom and are on the fence about packing something, just bring it. You can always leave an extra bag in your car with the “maybe” items. I just prefer to have my own sense of security of knowing that I have what I need. I understood that the hospital would provide items and if I liked them, great! If not, I’d be prepared with the products I packed that are listed below. Due to having a little pandemic baby, we weren’t able to do a hospital tour so I didn’t even know what my hospital provided and my doctor’s office wasn’t sure either for some reason. I’ll mark what items below were provided as well. If you are a Massachusetts local, I gave birth at Winchester Hospital. That may be helpful when seeing what the hospital provided.
What I Packed for the Hospital
- Baby blanket: Since his big furbrother and momma are huge fans of blankies by this brand, Baby will need to join the club! We did use this a bit when nursing to keep him warm.
- Announcement swaddle: This was used and I’d certainly pack one again for future babies, but you don’t need one if you just want to use the swaddles the hospital provides.
- Leaving outfit: Make sure to pack something with legs and not a newborn sleepy gown. Also I’d pack a couple options. Baby S’ worked, but was absolutely huge lol.
- Two newborn gowns with hat: We didn’t use any clothes in the hospital outside of swaddles and his going home outfit. People go in and out of your room at all hours so the swaddle is easiest.
- Nail filer: 100% need! When baby is born, their nails are often sharp and, depending on their stance in utero, can have their hands up by their face. I was so glad we packed this.
- Mittens: Yes! Even with filing their nails, mittens were so helpful to avoid baby from scratching their face.
- Socks: We didn’t use socks since he was always in a swaddle.
- Hat: We didn’t use any hats we packed other than the one for his announcement photo because the hospital gives you one.
- Pacifier: I did not pack this since the recommendation is to avoid a paci for two weeks if you are breastfeeding. Well I had my dad bring them when he visited because my little guy needed one. He sucked his fingers in utero, but as a newborn needed the paci to sooth himself. Most hospitals are “breastfeeding friendly” which I’ve learned means they push it heavily which includes not providing pacifiers. It’s a personal choice, but I’ll pack them for future babies.
- Baby book: We had them press his newborn feet in his book. I just brought that one page and S handled this when the baby was born.
- Car seat: After seeing a guy struggle to carry a regular infant car seat in Nantucket on our babymoon, we were both sold on the Doona. It’s out of stock a lot of places, but in stock here. Now being sixteen weeks into this parenting journey, this product is our #1. Here is a blog post all about our baby registry and our thoughts on products we’ve used, but in summary – the convenience of this car seat is worth every penny.
- 2 Nursing bras: I hate bras and pre-pregnancy was able to get away with hardly ever wearing them. That said, I knew postpartum that I’d need to wear one frequently to hold these on. Due to this, I splurged on this nursing bra and the below since they came with rave reviews on being comfortable. I am also brought this as my second and although it’s not a technical nursing bra, it’s very comfortable, cooling super easy to pull down. I am here to say – you really don’t need these at the hospital.
- 2 Nightgowns: I don’t like robes so I packed two of these which have buttons and are so cooling and soft! At 41 weeks pregnant, they still fit! I went up one size for postpartum which also fit my pregnant 41+ week belly.
- Fuzzy socks: You could also do slippers instead. I’m not a slipper person so I went the sock route. These aren’t needed honestly because the hospital gives you grippy socks.
- Flip flops: My feet were so bloated from birth I could hardly even fit these on to shower lol.
- Leaving outfit: I packed two options – a loose dress and this lounge set (one size up from pre-pregnancy). I opted to go home in the lounge set and I’m not even sure if the dress would have fit over my postpartum belly at the time! I 100% suggest lounge clothes, but that is a personal choice :-).
I knew that the hospital likely provides you with a lot of the items below, but I am the type of person that would prefer to have my own items just in case so do what you want to do. We can’t do a tour due to the pandemic, so I am not sure what my hospital actually provides so I overpacked in this area.
- Prenatal vitamins: These are needed still for postpartum if you’re nursing.
- Peri bottle: Many of you said this one is much better than what the hospital provides and I agree. I’m glad I packed it! The hospital peri bottle is just a straight up squirt bottle whereas the one I linked has an additional attachment that just allows for a better ‘water application’.
- Nipple cream: I never needed to use this through our nursing journey so definitely did not need at the hospital, but worth packing just in case.
- Witch hazel cooling liners: These were way better than the round Tucks pads because they are one long strip, but I didn’t touch these at the hospital and just used the Tucks pads they provided. I used these down the road at home though. It’s just easier to use one long liner than four circle Tucks pads layered together.
- Undies: Definitely not needed since you’ll be using their mesh undies that are provided. I packed my own because many of you said you did not like the mesh boyshorts the hospital provides, but I liked those! They were thin, stretchy and comfy. After awhile once home, I used the ones I bought.. basically once the hospital ones weren’t as needed.
- Diapers: Yup! Some of you swore by them over pads/undies. It’s really 50/50 I’ve found! One sweet momma told me the Always Discrete were a life savers so that is what I brought in case. I did not use these at the hospital and won’t pack in the future That said, I certainly used them at home once I graduated out of the hospital layering situation you use at first. I went up one size from my pre-pregnancy size to accommodate the postpartum shrinking belly situation.
- Breast pump: I did not need this at the hospital personally! I left it in my Jeep just in case.
- Nursing Pillow: Some of you said to bring this when trying to learn to breastfeed. I didn’t bring mine, but in hindsight think it may have been helpful while nursing.
- Camera and lens: I brought my DSLR (Canon EOS 80D) and lens (Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG Art) to snap some photos of Baby for his announcement. I would have had my dad use it to snap some family photos, but after a three day birth, the last thing I wanted to do was get ready for some photos. That said, you may! If you have a professional camera, I suggest bringing it.
- Cash: Our vending machines took cards, but you may want cash just in case. The hospital meals were so big that we usually split them. Having access to the vending machine was good for off-hours and also for juice. You will want to drink juice RIGHT after you give birth and throughout your stay with Colace. The hospital will give you Colace, but definitely buy some for home.
- Birth preferences: I used the guide that came with our TinyHood course. Make sure to provide this and review with each new nurse shift. In hindsight, I should have printed off many copies to give the nurse entering her shift a physical copy each time.
- Pillow: The thought of bringing my own pillow made the germaphobe in me cringe, but it had been echoed as a need from many of you. I personally did not use mine! I am so picky when it comes to pillows, but found the hospital one to be just fine.
- Blanket: I surprisingly didn’t use this either. I love this blanket, but again with being hot, uncomfortable, etc. using the hospital one was fine for me. Personal preference! I think that if I didn’t have such a long labor, I’d have used more of my own belongings.
- Long cord iPhone charger: I wasn’t on my phone, but this came in handy for S for having a charged phone to give people updates. The need for a long cord is due to the outlets because they are few and far between.
- Snacks, tea and waters: I didn’t eat from this, but it came in handy for S.
- Vava night light: I did not use this and honestly – it sucks! I don’t know why people suggested it so highly. I find that turning it on and off is a pain.
- Toiletries bag: With basics like toothbrush, toothpaste, glasses, contacts, solution, etc.
- Chapstick: I had heard your lips get super dry during labor which was true. This one is my favorite.
- Blow dryer: It was nice to have this to quickly blow dry after the first postpartum shower.
- Straightener: I use this one and it’s great for long, thick hair. I personally didn’t use this at the hospital.
- Shampoo, conditioner and body soap: I like my own products and always pack my own when we travel. The hospital didn’t provide these items.
- Travel size skincare: I packed this set. Use code MINDY for 15% off.
- Dry shampoo: Packed a travel size of my favorite kind. Didn’t use it.
- Make up bag with CC cream, concealer, bronzer, blush eyebrow pencil. I didn’t touch my make up once lol. I’ll probably pack it again for future babies though. I just didn’t feel like getting ready because I was exhausted after such a long birth. I don’t think that is the case for everyone and you may enjoy getting put together.
- Hair ties & Clips: Definitely needed especially for labor.
- Lotion: I used this for sure!
For my Husband
Since we were being induced, S packed more than someone normally would for a labor stay.. plus my dad had to bring him more clothes. I’d consider what birth you’re having and if are able to have the additional preparation (unlikely lol), then tailor to that. If a spontaneous or C-section birth, I’d tailor the below down because your labor likely won’t be three days like mine / long like an induction. Like I noted before though, you can always keep a second bag in your vehicle just in case. My husband used everything below that he packed.
- 4 pjs
- 4 outfits
- Toiletries with basics like toothbrush, face wash, etc.
- Pillow and blanket: Unlike me, he used these! I just don’t think I wanted mine because I was sweaty and didn’t want to use my nice items.
- Shower flops
- Long iPhone charger cable
We didn’t pack any entertainment items like an iPad, board games, etc. Even though I was induced, I didn’t feel like we had “down time”. My labor was so intense that we were focused on that and trying to rest, but it doesn’t hurt packing and leaving in your car!
Also these hospital lists on blogs always have a fancy dedicated bag, but I just used my suitcase and we packed our items together for us two and baby. That way we had one bag for all our items (plus a tote with S’ pillow and blanket).
I hope this was helpful! Let me know what items you couldn’t live without for your labor hospital stay. Xo Mindy