After experiencing some intense Braxton Hicks last night, I ran into holy $h*%$ this-could-actually-happen mode and started packing my hospital bag. Now onto my second pregnancy, I realize there are wants, needs, and definitely don’t needs as I get ready for labor and pack my hospital bag essentials.
Disclosure: Nothing in this post is sponsored, these are just some of my favorite products and recommendations. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Rewind to our first pregnancy bag tally:
- My stuff (obvi with all of the checklist “must have’s”) = 1 bag.
- Hubby’s stuff (who has the same overpacking tendencies that I do) = 2 bags.
- Plus, the little human I was about to push out also needs clothes and stuff = 3 bags. (The fact we didn’t know if baby was a boy or girl didn’t help our over packing problem).
- And of course, after reviewing and studying several “hospital bag must haves” we had a separate bag of snacks, magazines, entertainment, because…well, they were must haves. Bag tally total = FOUR!
My husband and I rolled in the hospital with so much baggage that all of the greeters and nurses were all laughing and asking us how long we were planning to stay at the hospital. I was in intense labor pain and all I could tell them is that we packed the recommended checklist. GRRR! We didn’t tell them that wasn’t our only load, in fact, my husband ended up moving his car to a different entrance to bring up load number 2. So onto baby #2 and I realize we didn’t need most of what we brought the first time around!
**Most hospitals provide items on the list below, however, each hospital is different so best to call beforehand!
Hospital Provides (so you do not need to bring):
- Hospital Gowns (Not the cutest but *#$& gets real and you don’t want to ruin any of your cute stuff)
- Mesh underwear (these are NOT Victoria Secret’s finest)
- Water squirter and numbing spray for your waaa-hoo
- Witch Hazel pads
- Pads, Pads, and more Pads (these babies are seriously bigger than your baby)
- Breast Pump and bottles to use during your stay
- Nipple cream
- Baby formula
- Nose suckers
- Baby wash/lotion/comb
- Diapers and wipes
- Swaddles (over washed and faded but they do the job)
- Kimono style onesies
- Baby hat
- Food (some hospitals offer lobster and we were pleasantly pleased with our selection, however, if you’re picky about food better check delivery options and bring snacks)
- Pillows and blankets
- Don’t be afraid to ask for extras! The nurses loaded us up last time with all of the above which lasted us for weeks. Be sure to raid the room cabinet and ask your nurse for extras before you head home!
- Wallet (be sure it includes insurance card, license, and cash. Cash is for vending machines and making it rain after baby arrives).
- Birth plan (If this is important to you. Friendly reminder to give doctors, nurses, and probably your husband whose memory seems to go out the window in the midst of the labor action).
- Delivery gown (I caved in and purchased a Baby be Mine Labor/Delivery/Nursing Hospital Gown. Totally unnecessary, but it received amazing reviews and I couldn’t help myself).
- Hair tie, head band
- Chapstick (Hospitals are so dry, especially with all the huffing and puffing you’re about to do!)
- Deodorant (at least let me smell good)
- Phone + extra-long Charger
- Pajamas (nursing friendly)
- Flip flops (for cruising around the hospital and for the showers)
- Comfortable underwear and Always Discreet Boutique (Yeah ladies! These are cute versions of an adult diaper but more comfortable than the hospital’s mesh underwear and pads bigger than your baby).
- Nursing bra (check out the Ollie Gray bra HERE! I wish I had this for my first pregnancy because these bras are genius: they are nursing friendly AND pumping friendly, plus really cute!
- Nursing pads
- Nursing tanks (My favorites linked below)
- Belly Bandit (it’s crazy how empty you feel after giving birth so this feels like you are being put back together).
- Going home outfit (Maxi dress for me!
Toiletries (because after delivery, you’ll want to feel human again):
- Your Shower stuff: Shampoo/Conditioner, Razor, Soap
- Dry Shampoo and Makeup remover wipes (in case your body is still numb and you can’t shower right away. These are a lifesaver!)
- Bio Oil (I love this stuff. This was one of my pregnancy must-have’s (see this POST) and recommended to use post baby to help reduce appearance of stretch marks).
- Hair straightener
- Car Seat and Car Seat Base (MANDATORY, most hospitals won’t let you leave without having one properly installed.).
- 2-3 soft, washed onesies and zip up sleepers (size Newborn and size 0-3). My favorite little sleepers linked below, they zip and have turn cuff hand mitts.
- Going home outfit (reminder you are about to buckle your little newborn in a car seat so make sure baby can spread its legs). Rookie mistake made by us!
- Scratch mittens
- Baby Photo shoot outfits and props (in case your hospital offers this). My hospital offers a photography session and I went back and forth if I wanted the pictures or not because of price. I ended up buying the pictures and I’m so glad I did because our little man was only a day old. This time around I’m going to treat it like a proper photo shoot, with some suggested photos and prepared outfits (ex: headbands, hats, blankets, mom and dad outfits, letterboard, etc…
Hopefully he’ll pack himself because the pregnant mommas have enough on their plate! Remind him of your birth plan, camera and specific pictures/videos you might want, layering outfits (it gets cold in the hospital) and snacks, if he is the type that gets hangry.
Miscellaneous Needs/ Wants:
- Letterboard/ chalkboard. I didn’t have this first time around and cute way to announce your baby details (name, weight, height, time and date born)
- Sibling gift
- Nurse gifts
Stuff I am not bringing this time around:
- Pillows for ourselves (unless you want your hubby making a few more loads to ‘unpack’ your hospital must-haves but you can always ask for more while you’re there.
- Nursing pillow.You’ll have to wash it when you can home, and this is something you’ll want immediately.
- Bag of magazines. I guess last time I thought I’d be doing a lot of leisurely reading but between labor, new baby in your life, and all the guests, you won’t be thinking about it.
- Weeks’ worth of food
I will be using a rolling suitcase because it will be easier to carry (when I say carry, I mean for hubby to carry) and will combine my stuff with baby’s stuff. I bought these awesome packing cubes to help organize myself with 1. Baby’s stuff, 2. My stuff, 3. Going home stuff, 4. Baby photo stuff, etc… These packing cubes are awesome, you’ll want them regardless for your future travels. Not only helps you organize but it helps condense your suitcase so you can pack more (no more Jon and Kate plus 8 baggage status!)
Hopefully you found something that can help you for your big day. It’s super overwhelming and so easy to overpack but there are no wrong choices. You never know how long you’ll be at the hospital, obviously if you have a c-section, you’ll be at the hospital longer. Also depends on how far you have to travel, you might want more or less. We only have a 25-minute drive so if needed, my husband could go home and grab any necessities that we forgot. However, nothing takes away from your new little miracle you are about to meet. This will be a day you remember forever. I wish you healthy and quick delivery and good luck to your growing family!
Let me know your thoughts! What other hospital must-haves did you think you wanted or needed? Thanks for reading!