What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery + real mama advice


So our little girl is due in just 7 weeks and while I had all the time in the world to prepare for our first born to come- because he was our first born (it’s sometimes hard for me to imagine what life was like before him)- this pregnancy, however, seems as if it just started and is already ending. Don’t get me wrong… I feel like a walrus with a huge belly and tiny arms. The weight and my center is so unproportionate that I need my husband to help me get out of bed. So, yes, I am very ready to be done being pregnant. Nevertheless, this pregnancy has gone a thousand times faster than our first. And for that I am grateful. But it’s also left me feeling a little bit unprepared as we get into the final weeks.

Do you ever angry-clean?

I usually do this when I remember one thing that I forgot and then start to feel stressed out over it. I think the same thing happens to pregnant mamas but the gracious world around us calls it “nesting.” A couple nights in a row last week I dreamed that I was having the baby in the hospital and woke up freaking out that I had nothing packed yet. So, of course the natural response was for me to angry-pack my hospital bag… jussst in case baby girl decides to come a little bit early.

So, this being our second child and knowing what I wish I had packed or not packed the first time, I decided to make a list of the essentials I’m packing in my hospital bag. The things on this list will be mostly be needed items for Mama, with a few things for baby as well. Thankfully enough, God made it so that babies don’t need a whole lot in the very beginning, and most of what they do need can and will be provided by the hospital.

If you read the post and feel like I’ve missed something, help a mama out and share your ideas in the comments below! You could be saving me- and other mamas- a huge headache!

For mama

  • Phone charger
    • You know, so you can text your mom.
  • Water bottle (although the hospital gave me a HUGE one last time).
  • Gum
  • A book
    • My first labor was pretty fast and Josh and I opted to leave the hospital early (since everyone was healthy and we were having a really hard time sleeping in the hospital) so I never had time for one. But I’ve heard from other mamas that they really wish they had brought something to do! A computer is also an option, but be sure to also pack the charger.
  • Leggings
  • A pair of shorts
  • A nursing tank top
    • (also pack the nursing bra but you’re going to want to keep it as simple as possible at first. A nursing tank top will be your easily accessible shirt and bra all-in-one. Breastfeeding is hard enough in the beginning, especially dealing with visitors and trying to hide your boobs from those you might not know so well. A tank top will make it so you don’t need to lift your shirt up and pull your bra down. Just a no-brainer to me until everyone’s had a little more practice).
  • Deodorant
    • And a good one at that. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Dove Advanced Care so that’s what I’m going to be packing in my hospital bag. I’m sorry to tell you that your hormones will go a little crazy for a while after birth and lots of times that means hot flashes and sweating, making a good deodorant a must. Dove Advanced Care offers 48 hours of odor and wetness protection plus added skincare benefits of  Dove ¼ moisturizers and NutriumMoisture for softer, smoother underarms. Just what a hormonal, new mama needs.
      A list of what to bring to the hospital when it comes time to give birth.
  • Warm socks
  • Slippers
  • Flip flops for the shower
  • A robe
  • A cardigan
    • Rather than a sweater for easy access to breastfeeding
  • Large undies
    • You’ll be wearing massive pads after delivery (unless you have a c-section, of course) so you’ll need a large place to put these. Our hospital did provide huge undies though, which I did take advantage of and I even brought an extra pack home with me.
  • Hair ties!
    • Easily overlooked but oh so necessary!
  • Hair brush
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Face wash/moisturizer/lip balm
  • Makeup
    • Optional of course, you’re going to have bigger things to worry about. But with all the memorable photos being taken, some mamas might feel a little more comfortable with a little on).
  • Nipple cream
    • I thought I wouldn’t need this. I really did.
  • Breast pads- You will leak.
  • Your photo id and insurance cards
    • Of course you probably never leave home without these, but pregnancy brain plus the “OMG WE’RE HAVING A BABY” brain might make you forget the things you’d usually never have to think about.
  • A gift for older children.
    • I hadn’t originally thought about this but when I read an article about how to transition your first born to being now the oldest, I thought, “Yes!” I know for a fact that my son loves being the center of attention when family visits (he is the only grandchild on my side of the family) so giving him a little gift to let him know he’s not forgotten is perfect.
  • Laundry bag for dirty clothes
  • Your own pillow
  • Comfy clothes for leaving the hospital
    • That nursing tank and leggings I mentioned before will do fine. If you pack shirt, do not be surprised or sad if you still look pregnant when you’re leaving the hospital. You might not want to wear a maternity shirt, but at least pack a loose t-shirt.
  • Glasses (if you wear them)
  • Snacks
    • Unless you prefer to rely on hospital food or your family running to get fast food for you, which might actually sound amazing after labor.
  • A heating pad
    • Another thing I’m sorry to say is that you will have aches and cramps (even ones that might feel like contractions) after giving birth. A heating pad could do a lot of good to ease that.

For baby

  • Adorable, cotton hats
  • Mittens to prevent scratching
  • Footed pajamas
    • The hospital gave us a one-size-fits-all shirt thingy for our son, which certainly did not fit him. But of course we had a lot of outfits we were eager to put him in anyway.
  • A simple newborn outfit
  • Socks
  • Swaddling blankets
    • The hospital does provide a blanket (at least ours did) but I found it to be kind of scratchy?
  • Newborn diapers
    • But the hospital will provide these so you might be off saving the room in your bag.
  • Wipes (hospital will also provide)
  • Nursing pillow
    • This was really a must for us!
  • Burp cloths
  • Formula + bottles if not choosing to breastfeed
  • Diaper rash cream

Bonus:

Also be sure to pack the car seat with all the infant inserts, preferably already installed in the car to make life easier for you when you have less hands as you’re leaving.

I asked a few other mamas what they would make sure to bring (or wish they had brought). Here’s what they had to say!

Lauren

“I had two c sections and I can’t lie-I wanted things to DO. It gets boring on the third day in the hospital and baby is sleeping non stop. The second time I brought my computer and a book to read, but the first time I didn’t and I really regretted that.

Also HAIR TIES! Do not forget the hair ties. Nothing is worse than dropping yours, not being able to find it, and having a newborn trying to nurse

Jessica

“Really comfortable lounge pants for after delivery. But make sure that if a stain were to get on them you wouldn’t be devastated (delivery and postpartum are pretty messy).”

Megan

“Yes to the hair ties!! And a stretchy shirt/nightgown to sleep in so you can pull it down rather than up for middle of the night breast feeding. The easier the access the better!”

Brianna

“Lip chap!!! And i second bringing something to entertain. I had my laptop full of movies. This time i may just bring a tv show.”

Chelsey

“Tennis balls for back labor, your own heating pad, an extension cord for chargers, and a laptop! I watched stand up comedy to distract me from contractions!”

Kiersten

“To Bring: a nursing nightgown, breast pads, warm slippers/socks

To not bring: everything. Lol. I WAY overpacked my first time around. Hospitals are equipped enough for you to survive just fine. Make sure your camera/phone has batteries/is charged, you have a nice a nice blanketand/or prop to capture those first moments with your baby, and you’ll be fine.

Also, if you have a photographer friend you trust, have them come visit.

Another tip that doesn’t quite fit here, but we found invaluable – let them take your baby. Lol. In our first hospital, the nurses offered to take our daughter to the nursery for the first time. At first I balked – “what?! This is my baby!”, but after having been up for almost three days in labor, the Lord knew we both just needed SLEEP – and apparently when you bring the baby home, you don’t get much of that anymore.

Oh! And don’t forget your husband/significant other. They need clothes/things to do/ a comfy pillow from home even more than you do – you get cared for by the hospital, oftentimes their care is not as nice. My poor 6’3″ husband had to sleep on a fold out chair that only folded out to 4 feet – I felt terrible!”

Megan

“I always like to bring something to do with my husband during the early stages of labor, like a deck of cards or something. Also a toothbrush/paste and chapstick. Your lips can get really chapped from not being allowed to drink anything.”

Courtney

“Snacks-labor makes you hungry, nursing makes you hungry, dads get hungry, visiting siblings need something to eat, and hospital food is mediocre and usually only enough for one person.

Your own shampoo/soap unless you’re someone who loves the sterile smell of hospital soap.

Shorts/tanks- after my daughter was born my hormones were going crazy and I couldn’t stop sweating. She was born in January and I didn’t plan on being that warm.

Other things to bring: Phones, cameras, CHARGERS, clothes/blankets for baby.

Things not to bring: modesty (I’ve never been so exposed and not cared about it in my life), clothes that will inhibit breastfeeding (pullover sweatshirts/sweaters, regular bras, snug-fitting t-shirts)

Things to take when you leave the hospital: the baby soap/ointments that the hospital provides, paperwork, the jumbo pads and witch hazel etc they give you for aftercare.”

Kelley

“Pillows, blankets, a thin robe, a few favorite movies, comfy clothes, snacks, nursing bra, shampoo, and conditioner.”

Kayleigh

“I was going to say lots of underwear, but I think they give you those hospital ones? I can’t remember. I brought my own blanket and pillow. I think bringing earplugs could be beneficial because I heard other people in other rooms from time to time throughout the night. 🙂

Slippers are good too if you don’t feel comfortable walking in the bathroom with just socks.”

Serina

“I’m not a mom but from helping out my mom, I know she loved slipper socks (those fuzzy ones with the rubber grips on the bottom). Her feet always grew and bending over was hard so she could walk around and then jump right back in bed without worrying about shoes.”

Jennifer

“I snuck in snacks 🙂 granola bars and almonds… sometimes you have to wait awhile for them to bring you a meal depending on how busy they are. And this isn’t an item, but speak up when you need to. My first time I didn’t ask questions and I wish I had/requested things…it was much easier the second time around because I was less shy. And bring a nice dark colored shirt/cardigan so you can feel semi-normal in photos – something to make you feel more like yourself

Jamie

“Ask for as much stuff as you can. They gave me multiple sets of nipple creams, pads, etc.”
I brought my pillow from home to make me feel more at home. Phone, camera, clothes for me, 1 outfit for baby, and snacks. Clothes for dad and all personal hygiene items for both of us.”

Mary Jean

“Bring: shampoo, conditioner, blow dryer, make up (all to feel a little more human after giving birth); slippers; cozy nursing wear… and bring it all in a rolling bag, because frankly, when you’re in full force labor and your husband is pushing you in a wheelchair, the less things he has to juggle, the better. Also, a treat for the nurses as a way of saying thank you in advance for all that they do.”

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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22 thoughts on “What to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery + real mama advice

  1. kirstin morabito

    I forgot my own pillow and its the one thing I regret! The hospital pillows are the worst, even when you add a couple. I only stayed one night so it wasn’t terrible but still…. BRING YOUR OWN PILLOW!!!!

    Reply
  2. robin Rue

    I didn’t pack that much because I knew I could get a lot of those things at the hospital (slippers for example). You have a very thorough list here 🙂

    Reply
  3. Charity

    We brought small baskets full of tea, granola bars, chocolate and other snacks to give to the nursing staff (one for L+D and one for PP) with a sweet note thanking them for taking good care of us. The staff was so appreciative!

    Reply
  4. Angela Tolsma

    Not a mom here, but all these things are good to know, for when I’m buying baby shower presents! I’ve always felt bad for the men in the relationship and their bad sleeping arrangements! But really they didn’t go through labor so a night or two isn’t that terrible.

    Reply
  5. Jessi

    My biggest thing was the nursing pillow. I HAD to have my boppy at the hospital with me. It was amazing both times. I didn’t bring nipple cream, diapers or wipes because my hospital provided all of that upon request so I stocked up

    Reply
  6. Charlotte

    This is perfect, I am halfway through my pregnancy now and it’s been several years since my last hospital bag!! I was thinking about this the other day and we’ve made notes!

    Reply
  7. Melissa

    I couldn’t think of a thing you need besides all the things you and your friends suggested but my needs are pretty simple. Hair ties, thin robe, my phone and charger, leggings and I’m good to go thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  8. Lydia

    These sound like great products! Especially the small necessary details, like a hair tie! I love the idea of bringing a gift for the other kids, I’ve seen that done before and is always so fun

    Reply
  9. Marisa

    Great advice, I’m definitely going to share for my friends that are having babies! You never realize all the items you may need! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  10. Tereza

    I love these posts! And I’m not even a mum or expecting. I just love when people write real life advice! Thank you for sharing xx

    Reply
  11. Misty Nelson

    Well done! You’ve truly covered everything and made some wonderful recommendations. It’s crazy how much you worry over being prepared for labor. Things like this are truly helpful to new mommas, especially when it’s a real list of essentials.

    Reply
  12. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories

    Youvr got a great list of essentials and you’re do right about the books. For my first two, contractions started labor along so I didn’t have time/focus to read but for the third I was being induced and had to wait hours before they started, a book would be helped take my mind off things. Best of luck for a quick delivery and a happy and healthy baby girl!

    Reply
  13. Yona Williams

    Just skimming through your list made my head spin. There are so many things to remember. I haven’t had to pack a labor bag before, and I wouldn’t have thought of a lot of things mentioned here.

    Reply
  14. Donah Davila

    These are all great essentials to pack, I don’t have kids but my sisters do so I have a pretty good Idea of what I should bring along when that day come 🙂

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply

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