Wondering what items to pack in your hospital bag for before and after the delivery of your new baby? The following list are some of the items that I thought were absolutely necessary, including some not-so-obvious ones!
Before I had my baby 4 months ago, I remember conducting endless research about what exactly I should be packing in my hospital bag. There were so many lists out there. Some recommended packing pretty much the whole house, while others suggested only bringing a few simple items. I was totally confused!
With my personality, I tend to always be over prepared rather than underprepared so it turns out that I majorly overpacked. I didn’t even use half the stuff that I packed in my hospital bag! And then, of course, there were things that I wish I packed that I didn’t have. Isn’t that always the way it seems to go??
In order to prepare for the next hospital stay and help out some other new expecting mamas, I wanted to compile a list of items that I felt were absolutely essential, including some of the not-so-obvious and easily overlooked items. I’ve also included a downloadable copy of my list for you to print as well!
The following are the items I’d recommend packing in your bag that will come in handy both during and after labour and delivery!
1. Straw and Water Bottle
This was an awesome suggestion I received from a friend that I wouldn’t have ever thought of myself. She recommended bringing a straw or water bottle that has a straw built in since your husband (or whoever is in the delivery room with you) will most likely be helping you drink your water. Because you’ll be busy breathing, focusing, pushing, getting through those contractions…you know…just all that simple labour stuff, you’ll probably find drinking without a straw to be challenging. And you’ll definitely need that water to stay adequately hydrated so be sure to pack that straw!
2. Lip Balm
The hospital air can be really dry and with all that hard work you’ll be doing, you might find that your lips get really dry and parched. A lot of women I’ve talked to have recommended lip balm for just this reason. There will be enough discomfort going on, the least you can do is keep your lips smooth and moist!
This is a recommendation I got from a friend who had her baby several months before me, which I never would have even thought of! You’ll most likely have a pretty dry mouth from all of the breathing during the labour process and the dry hospital air. Hey, you may even throw up a few times (good times!!) Because you probably won’t be able to just get up and brush your teeth, I recommend bringing along some breath mints to get rid of that sour taste in your mouth. Your friends and family will most likely thank you too, since your breath can get pretty wretched.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t like to have hair hanging in your face when you’re trying to focus. Nothing can be more frustrating than having wisps of hair sticking to your face when you’re a sweaty mess! I recommend bringing along some hair elastics so that you can pull back your hair when you’re in labour. You’ll probably be sweating (and maybe even puking) so hair on your neck and in your face will only add to the misery of the situation.
5. Phone & Charger
If I’m guessing correctly, you’ll most likely be making a lot of phone calls to family and friends after the birth of your baby. It is a pretty exciting time!! Also, if you don’t bring a camera, you’ll probably be using your phone to snap quite a few pictures. A phone charger is one item that can be easily overlooked when you’re heading (or RUSHING in my case) out the door for the hospital, so be sure to pack it in your bag in advance. You don’t want that phone dying on your big day!
I found that the hospital was pretty cold and I recall shivering when I was in the gown that the hospital provided. I mean, it’s practically like you’re wearing tissue paper. Once you’ve had the baby, you’ll probably want to change into something more comfy but still easily accessible for breastfeeding (if that’s what you choose to do).
I pretty much lived in my warm fuzzy robe the entire time at the hospital. Let’s face it, you probably won’t want to wear any type of restrictive clothing regardless if you had a natural birth or C-section. You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible and you probably won’t even care how you look at that point. So for me, a warm and comfy bath robe was the way to go!
7. Nursing Bra
A good nursing bra will come in handy after you give birth to keep the girls in place. They’ll start to get pretty large as the milk comes in, so you’ll need something to keep those engorged breasts under control. The baby will most likely be feeding every couple of hours, so you’ll want to be be able to easily access your breasts. A nursing bra is definitely the way to go!
8. Comfy Button Up Top
As mentioned above, I chose to live in my robe the whole time, which was really easy and accessible for breastfeeding. If you have guests coming and want to look a little more presentable (or prefer getting dressed over living in a bath robe), then I recommend bringing along a comfy button up top so that once again, you can easily breastfeed the baby. Not to mention, I’d wear a comfy oversized top any day, regardless of whether or not I just gave birth!
9. Warm Socks or Slippers
Similarly, when I was lying in the hospital bed after giving birth, I found my feet got really cold. I really appreciated having my fuzzy socks to keep my feet warm.
10. A Pillow (or Two!)
I would highly recommend bringing along your own pillow or maybe even two. One for yourself and one for your husband. I brought my favourite pillow along (since the hospital pillows are not always that comfy) and my husband actually ended up using it since the hospital didn’t provide a pillow for him when we stayed overnight. So it may be wise to bring a pillow for yourself and any guests who might be sleeping in the hospital room with you.
Similarly, a warm blanket might also come in handy if you’re staying overnight at the hospital. In our situation, the hospital didn’t provide much when it came to a comfortable night stay. Let’s face it. We’re not staying in a 5-star hotel, so bringing along a warm blanket might help you get a more decent night sleep, especially if you have to stay in the hospital for several nights.
12. Non-Refrigerated Snacks
This to me was the most important one! I’d strongly suggest bringing some healthy snacks along with you to the hospital. Depending on how long your labour is, you might need to have a few snacks beforehand to make it through the delivery process and give you the energy necessary to push. Believe me, you’ll need all of the energy you can get.
Because my labour was pretty short and happened in the middle of the night, unfortunately I didn’t have time to have a snack before I had to start pushing (although I could have used one!), but I was definitely starving after the delivery process was over. Snacks were essential for me especially because the hospital food might not be served when you need it most (and is oftentimes not all that desirable…or healthy).
I suggest packing some snacks that don’t require refrigeration like some of the examples below:
- Fresh fruit (i.e. apple, orange, banana, etc.) or dried fruit
- No-bake energy balls (try these Oatmeal Energy Bites, Chocolate Mocha Energy Bites, or Lemon Coconut Energy Bites)
- Homemade protein bars or cups
- 4-Ingredient Brownie Cups (who doesn’t want a brownie after they’ve pushed out a baby?! You deserve it girl!)
- Assorted nuts or seeds (try these Spicy Nuts!)
- Trail mix
- Roasted chickpeas
- High-fibre crackers
- Muffins (I love these Sweet Potato Muffins)
One thing that was a big surprise for me was how much I bled after having the baby (sorry if that’s TMI!) The hospital often provides you with monster pads (these things are massive!) and I even received a complimentary pair of mesh grannie underpants. Lucky me.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m just not a big fan of a big lumpy, sticky pads, so I opted for depends underwear. It made everything after labour and delivery SO much easier! Just pitch it when it’s dirty and put on a new one. Easy peasy! No need to mess around with lumpy pads and granny underpants. Overall, I also found the depends to be much more comfortable than a pad.
This one might be obvious but can be easily overlooked so that’s why I’m adding it to the list. You’ll probably want to bring along some face wash, moisturizer, and maybe even some shampoo and body wash if you’d like to freshen up after giving birth (it can be pretty messy and you’ll probably be sweaty — not nice). I also packed a few of my favourite makeup items too, but didn’t end up wearing any makeup until we were going home because I didn’t really care what I looked like right after giving birth. It is a personal preference, of course! But definitely bring along some of your own toiletries as you might not like what the hospital provides and you’ll probably want to freshen up.
15. Flip Flops
You’ll probably find that you’ll need to take frequent trips to the bathroom to clean things up down there OR you might even want to take a shower after giving birth. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have bare feet in the hospital shower. You just never know what’s on that floor. A pair of flip flops will come in handy if you want to walk around the hospital without exposing your feet to the dirty floor.
16. Going-Home Outfit for You
I made the mistake of packing leggings as a going home outfit, failing to realize that leggings and puffy depends underwear are not a good look. I’d recommend packing some non-restrictive pants and a comfy top, depending on what time of year it is. The key is make it comfortable. You just gave birth — it’s not a fashion show!
17. Going-Home Outfit for Baby
For the baby, we packed a whole bunch of things that we didn’t actually need. I was surprised that the hospital provided diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets and hats. The only thing that we really needed for the baby was a cute going home outfit. You might want to bring along your own hat just in the case the hospital doesn’t provide one as the babies tend to lose a lot of heat through their head in those first few days.
I recommend checking with your hospital ahead of time to see what they provide to avoid having to bring things that you don’t actually need (you’ll have enough to think about). You can often check the hospital’s website and they’ll outline a list of what they provide and what you need to pack in your hospital bag. The items above are all items that I highly recommend, but you may need to adapt the list accordingly depending on your hospital and what they offer during your stay.
What items did you have packed in your hospital bag? If you’ve already had a baby, which ones did you feel were absolutely necessary? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Want to print out this list? Download my Hospital Item Checklist here!
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