What I Packed for the Hospital
Even though I gave birth two months ago, so many of you have asked for the details about what I packed in my hospital bag. I didn’t want to share my list ahead of time, because I figured it wasn’t that helpful to share what I thought I might possibly need. Instead, I thought it would be more beneficial to share after the fact!
Leading up to Rory’s birth, I was so worried about what to bring for the delivery. I did lots of research, asked my mom friends, and consulted this blog post that Bridget wrote a few years ago. Well, let’s just say that giving birth during a pandemic made things a little different for us. We were in and out of the hospital in one day and no visitors were allowed to come. This changed the must-haves in my hospital bag quite a bit.
Let’s review what I packed and actually used during our quick trip to the hospital.
Must-Haves for Your Hospital Bag
So my list may look a little sparse, but that’s because I gave birth during a global pandemic. We knew from the start that we weren’t going to be allowed visitors. That meant that I really didn’t care what I looked like in the hospital. Plus, we didn’t have an “official family photo shoot” that the hospital usually offers the day after delivery because of the virus. If visitors and a photographer were going to be coming, I might have done my hair and swiped on some makeup. I brought makeup and my straightener to the hospital but I didn’t touch either!
Here’s the bag (size large) that I ended up bringing to the hospital. My mom got it for me for Christmas because it represents our rainbow baby! She also got us this adorable nightgown and hat for the baby and I brought that with us, thinking I would take her first pictures in it. It ended up being sooooo ridiculously huge on Rory’s tiny body, so we couldn’t use it. Instead, I wrapped her up in this swaddle and this matching headband.
One other tip, pack your bag early!! I went into labor at 36 weeks and 4 days and I was so grateful that my bag was 90% packed when it was go-time. We started to pack our bags at around 35 weeks and just kept adding to them as we thought of things to bring. I also made a checklist of all of the items I wanted to bring and kept that next to the bag with a pen. As I added items, I checked them off. When it was time to go to the hospital, I consulted my list, added those last few items, and we were good to go!
Okay, let’s get to the items that were must-haves in my hospital bag…
- Outfit for Going Home
- Toiletries (brush, face wash, shampoo & conditioner, body wash, lotion, deodorant, etc.)
- Underwear & socks (these underwear have been amazing postpartum)
- Flip Flops (for shower)
- Extra Bag (just throw in a reusable grocery bag that you can use to take home all of the stuff they give you from the hospital. Extra diapers, mesh underwear for you, etc.)
- Outfit for Pictures (I used this swaddle and headband for her photos, but also brought this rainbow outfit that was way too big!)
- Outfit for Going Home (I love Monica + Andy everything! Pack newborn and 0-3 months because you won’t know the size of the baby. We needed preemie and didn’t have anything that fit her, but it was okay).
- Car Seat
- Wipes (At our hospital, you have to get their wipes wet, to use them, which is kind of a pain. Bring a pack of your own so diaper changes are easier).
For All of Us
- Multiple Phone Chargers
- Extension Cord
- Snacks (alllllll the snacks!)
- Water Bottle
- Paper & Pen
Two things I want to emphasize on my must-have list…snacks and an extension cord. Because we weren’t allowed to go in and out of the hospital (or have visitors bring us food), we had to bring a lot of snacks with us for sustenance. We ordered food from the hospital for all three meals, but having snacks on hand was key. We brought protein bars, trail mix, granola bars, cheez-its, etc. You can’t go overboard in this category. Bring all the goodies because you will be famished and running on empty.
Now, an extension cord! Having my phone nearby was a must to call and text with family, snap pics of Rory, and just feel connected to the people who couldn’t be there. We brought an extension cord so my phone charger could be right next to the hospital bed and I didn’t have to reach too far. You can also bring phone chargers with extra-long cords. Make sure you have at least two phone chargers, one for each of you.
Nice-to-Haves for Your Hospital Bag
These are items that I’m happy I brought, but they weren’t essentials.
- Baby Briefcase
- Sound Machine
- Letterboard (have the message already written on it!)
- Eye Masks
- Boppy Pillow (Finn used it for sleeping and I used it while learning to nurse)
- Something to Play Music (Finn just used his phone for our labor playlist, but we could have brought a small speaker).
Since I knew I would have to photograph the baby, I brought my DSLR camera and a letterboard (that was all ready to go!) for photos in the hospital. If you have an iPhone, use it (this post has tips on how to take good baby photos with your phone and this one has tips on how to edit those pictures). Take lots of pictures of those first 24 hours because your baby will change so fast!
Our sound machine was also nice to have as the hospital can be super noisy and we didn’t want to drain our phone batteries with a white noise app. Oh, and this document organizer was awesome to corral all of the papers that were thrust at us during our visit. We were able to get Rory’s paperwork organized from the start with this cute baby briefcase. Add it to your registry!
No Need to Pack
Here are items that I think you’re better off leaving at home…
- Hair Dryer & Straightener
- Too many extra pairs of clothes
- Too many extra pairs of underwear (you’ll wear the disposable they give you)
- Breast Pump (you’ll use the hospital grade one they have)
- Too many extra sets of clothing for baby
- Towel (lots of people told me to pack one for the shower. Honestly, it takes up lots of room in your bag and the hospital towel will be fine. Trust me, that first shower will feel amazing, no matter what!)
The hospital will provide items for you to use for postpartum care (however, I did buy this kit and this spray bottle for at home use). Make sure you take as much as you can from the hospital! Bring all of those goodies home because you will definitely use them that first week after delivery. Trust me. The hospital will also provide everything for baby…swaddle blanket, hat, diapers, etc. You’ll only need items for baby for your car ride home.
I was stressed about what I should pack in my hospital bag and I wish I didn’t fret over it. At the end of the day, as long as you’re coming home with a healthy baby, that’s all that matters! And if you want to read advice from other moms who have been there before, check out the comments in this blog post.
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.