What To Pack In Your Pregnancy Hospital Bag
Ready to pack your hospital bag? As parents who have been there, done that (and wish we’d remembered to bring shampoo), we’ve compiled a list of essentials you’re going to love having during your hospital stay.
When it comes to preparing for your hospital stay, it’s easy to focus solely on what you’re going to need for your baby. People tend to overload on onesies, newborn diapers and forget that they’re going to need comfortable clothing (and absorbent padding) for themselves too.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- When to pack your hospital bag
- Our hospital bag checklist
- Tips and advice for your hospital stay
- Hospital bag product picks for both mom and baby
Scroll down to learn more!
Wondering when to pack your hospital bag?
We recommend packing your bag around 35 weeks, and leaving it by the front door. This will ensure you’re prepared if your baby decides to make an early appearance. If you’re in doubt about anything on this list, ring your hospital or birth center and ask if they provide it. If they do, check it off to lighten your load.
Hospital bag checklist
From clothing to cushioning, these are the items we loved having on hand:
- Insurance info
- Birth plan
- Face masks
- Natural hand sanitizer
- Cell phone charger
- Stress ball
- Personal hospital gown
- Non-slip socks
- Flip flops/sandals (for the shower)
- Oversized tees
- Comfortable nightwear
- Comfortable, loose pants
- A going home outfit
- Nursing bras
- Large coverage underwear
- Pregnancy pillow/Feeding pillow
- Non-toxic toiletries
- Toothpaste & toothbrush
- Maternity pads
- Breast pads
- Nipple cream
- Non-toxic diapers
- Non-toxic baby wipes
- Non-toxic diaper cream
- Swaddles & wearable blankets
- Newborn outfits
- Infant car seat
- Healthy snacks
Tips and advice for your hospital stay
Even if you are already registered at the hospital or birthing center, at a minimum, you’ll need to bring some ID and your health insurance card.
Your birth plan
A birth plan summarizes your ideal birthing experience. It outlines your preferences for care, and provides your medical team with a clear understanding of your wishes. This can be invaluable when important decisions need to be made quickly and under pressure. So, if you have made one, bring it! And don’t forget to Xerox extra copies. If you haven’t written one yet, here are some simple birth plan tips to get you started.
After waiting months and months you might get super excited at the first signs of labor but labor can start slowly and be a lengthy process. Pack some items to keep you calm and focused. A Taiwanese study has shown that the use of music can significantly reduce pain and anxiety in labor so bring an iPod and speaker deck and different mixes of feel-good songs and relaxing music. If you are planning to use specific labor tapes or relaxation methods make sure they are pre-loaded onto your device before you go to the hospital.
Some women recommend taking a stress ball into labor as a distraction aid during contractions – or you can pass it to your partner if they need a distraction!
While your hospital may have you wear their provided gown, we are obsessed with Petite Plume’s hospital gowns. Designed with both front and back access, laboring, breastfeeding and recovering in comfort is an absolute breeze.
Slippers or non-slip socks
During labor, some mamas feel like moving around by swaying back and forth, side to side or going for gentle walks. So don’t forget your slippers!
Like a heating pad, hot water bottle and some organic massage lotion will go a long way to ensure you’re feeling comfortable during this time. And if your pregnancy pillow has been a godsend, bring it – you might be sleeping before labor really kicks in.
Your hospital or birthing center may or may not provide the basics, but we recommend using natural and organic personal care products where possible. The last thing you or your baby need is to be exposed to the harsh chemicals often found in commercial toiletries.
We recommend bringing your own:
- Organic body wash
- Organic shampoo & conditioner
- Organic lip balm
- Organic body moisturizer
- Organic deodorant
- Natural toothpaste & toothbrush
- Hair ties if you have longer hair or headbands
- Organic, fragrance-free massage oil for labor
- A brush/comb
A lavender spray for your face can also cool and calm you during labor. Also, remember labor is an important and sometimes stressful time for your partner too. Partners can sometimes feel a bit redundant because, as much as they would like to, they can’t actually do the work of labor for you. Having your partner give you a massage, rub your feet or offer any kind of distraction can be a way of reducing the stress for both of you.
Regardless if you give birth vaginally or have a C-section, there’s a high chance you will have quite a heavy period after. Regular size pads will not cut it. Be sure you pack at least 12 pads.
Before you go to the hospital find out whether breast and sanitary pads are provided by the hospital or whether you will need to bring your own. We recommend Kushies Organic Jersey Nursing Pads (these are washable rather than disposable, and there are six in a pack, but in the early days of breastfeeding with leaking and sometimes excessive supply, you might want to purchase a couple of packs so you can have them on high rotation.)
You might wish to pack a nursing pillow to take the pressure off your back as you come to grips with breastfeeding. We love Nook’s Niche Nursing Pillow’s body-hugging arms ensure the pillow doesn’t shift.
Take a journal and pen. You won’t have this time again and even if some details will remain in your mind forever, many will quickly fade.
If you have time, write down how you are feeling, what you are thinking, your experience. Sometime in the future when your tot is running around the house or off to school, you will treasure what you wrote about how you felt in those first strange and exciting days as a parent.
Having soft, comfortable and stylish pajamas may be just the thing to help sleep come more easily. We opt for button-down PJs like the below from Petite Plume and HART + LAND because they make breastfeeding or tending to a C-section wound hassle-free.
An easy-to-slip-on robe is ideal for your body’s quick temperature changes, because one second you’re hot, one second you’re cold and other times – you just want to be able to cover up.
Postpartum nursing support clothing
The Blanqi Lift Up Access Underbust Postpartum and Nursing Support Tank is strategically designed to make breastfeeding easy, while giving your body much-needed support.
Your underwear also matters. Depending on how long your hospital stay is, you’re going to want plenty of wide coverage underwear to hold your maternity pads in place. You’ll also want comfortable wire-free bras with adjustable straps that can provide the perfect amount of room and support for when your milk starts to come in.
You may not feel like eating much, but labor can be a long game and it’s good to keep refueling with light, healthy and nourishing snacks rather than vending machine food. Granola bars, protein balls and fruit are all good options. Coconut water is refreshing and hydrating. Ask the hospital administrator in advance what you are allowed to bring – broth or coconut water for example – so you can prepare.
What your baby needs in your hospital bag
Non-toxic diapers, wipes & diaper cream
Hospitals usually supply newborn diapers, wipes and creams for those first few days, but these tend to be really harsh on baby’s sensitive skin. We recommend using more natural products that are free of harmful ingredients and chemicals.
Non-toxic personal care
Many mothers avoid using any body washes and lotions until week 2 when bathing their newborn. If you would like to use products in the hospital, make sure they don’t contain any potentially harmful ingredients like fragrance, phthalates, dyes or formaldehyde.
You will want to pack an outfit for the proud moment you take your bundle of joy home – though don’t be surprised to find yourself inundated with gorgeous newborn gifts! When you choose your baby’s going home outfit, be mindful of the weather and the fact that newborns aren’t very good at regulating their temperature – babies usually need one more layer than adults. We love HART + LAND Baby basics for their buttery soft, hypoallergenic fabrics.
Cotton swaddles will prove to be invaluable. At first for swaddling your little bundle of joy, then later for using as an impromptu change pad, play mat, or nursing cloth. We love Pehr swaddles made from GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton muslin.
Newborns also tend to lose heat through their heads. You can help them regulate their temperature with a soft matching hat.
The hospital will not let you take your baby home without a car seat with the base safely installed. You can get your car seat inspected free of charge at many fire or police stations. See our guide on Which car seat is right for you.