Wondering what to bring with you to the hospital? Come prepared with these hospital bag essentials and have everything you need to give birth.
In Los Angeles, heading to the hospital when you’re in labor is not something you want to happen at 5pm on a weekday. With luck on my side, both trips to the hospital for my pregnancies happened in the middle of the night. It’s almost like even my kids knew how bad rush hour traffic can get.
Still, my husband and I came prepared. We had our baby hospital bag packed weeks in advance, especially with the twins’ pregnancy.
Having done this twice now, here is a hospital bag checklist I recommend you take with you. I also listed what your hospital might have on hand that you might not need to pack.
Hospital bag essentials to pack
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- Slip-resistant slippers or flip-flops. The hospital might have a policy to avoid slipping during walks, in which case slip-resistant footwear would be best.
- Robe. You might want to take a slow walk at some point during your stay, and a robe is an easy thing to throw on. You know, so you look “presentable.”
- Nursing tops. If you’re breastfeeding, bring about three of these in case you’re tired of wearing the hospital gown. Or bring a nursing bra and your regular t-shirt or camisole.
- Yoga pants or leggings. This can be part of your going-home ensemble.
- Comfortable dress. You can also wear a comfortable dress to go home in, especially if you’ve had a C-section.
- Outerwear or sweater. In case it’s cold, bring something to keep you warm when you leave the hospital.
- Eyeglasses, contact lens case, and saline solution. This is if you wear contact lenses and eyeglasses.
- Facial products. Bring your face soap, lotion, and whatever else you use to rinse your face.
- Toiletries. This can include cotton swabs, deodorant, lip balm, toothbrush, and toothpaste.
- Shampoo and conditioner. Travel size works best so you don’t have to lug enormous bottles with you.
- Towel. Not all hospitals provide towels.
- Rubber bands or hair ties. Bring your hairbrush, too.
- Socks. In case your feet get cold (these are my favorite, made from recycled plastic bottles, and not one has had a hole or tear!).
- Snacks. During labor, you’re not allowed to eat, so you might be hungry right after delivery. Granola bars and fruits make great snacks (don’t forget your reusable water bottle, too).
- Soothing balm. I didn’t know these existed, but a friend gifted me with one and they make a huge difference in the postpartum stage.
- A going-home outfit for you and your baby. Keep it simple, not fancy. For the baby, a zipper one-piece works great for cooler weather and a onesie for warmer ones. And bring two in case one gets dirty.
- A blanket and burp cloths for the baby. Place the blanket over the baby when you’re ready to take him home.
- Your purse. This should include your wallet with ID, your insurance card, spare cash, and your phone (don’t forget your phone charger).
- Shoes. In case your flip flops don’t cut it for the weather.
- Baby lotion: Your baby may have dry skin, but not all hospitals carry baby lotion.
Items the hospital might provide
I didn’t realize the hospital provided many supplies as well. Here are items you may not need to pack in your baby bag (but double check with your hospital):
- Pads. The hospital provides you with tons of maternity pads for post-delivery bleeding. You’ll likely have your period for the next few weeks, starting the day you deliver.
- Cotton “underwear.” I put that in quotes because these aren’t exactly undies. They’re more like cotton mesh underwear you put the pad on and you can throw away after each use. My hospital would also put ice packs on top of the pads. They might send you home with a bunch to last you for a few days. If you decide to bring your own, maternity underwear can also work well.
- Belly wrap. Start wearing a belly wrap to strengthen your core.
- Perineal spray. I didn’t have to buy these because the hospital provides you with a can of spray to make you more comfortable.
- Diapers. Again, they not only provide your baby with diapers, but they also send you home with a bunch.
- Wipes. The hospital won’t use wipes but rather water-soaked cotton pads for your baby.
- Onesies. While your baby is in the hospital, he’ll probably wear the onesies or wraps they provide.
- Pump rental. The hospital may be able to lend you a pump rental. You can take the pump parts home but not the actual pump.
Both my contractions started in the middle of the night and lasted for a few hours. We didn’t head to the hospital until 5am when contractions were finally close enough. We were cutting it pretty close to rush hour, but made it in time before traffic stood in the way.
Thankfully, we had our hospital bag ready to go, traffic or not.
Get more tips:
- Preparing for Baby: How to Avoid the Clutter
- The Ultimate Mom to Be Guide
- 8 Misconceptions about Parenting First Time Moms Make
- The Ultimate Newborn Shopping List
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth
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