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 hospital bag packed weeks in advance, especially with the twins’ pregnancy.
Having had done this twice now, here are the real hospital bag essentials I recommend you take with you. I also listed what your hospital will likely 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’ll 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. Bring about three of these in case you’re tired of wearing the hospital gown.
- Yoga pants or leggings. This will 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.
- Lip balm.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- 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.
- 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 band or hair clip.
- 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.
- Soothing balm for down there. I didn’t know these existed, but a friend gifted me with one and they make a huge difference.
- Two outfits for the baby when he goes home. Keep it simple, not fancy. A zipper one-piece works great for cooler weather, and a onesie for a warmer one. 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 identification, spare cash, and your phone.
- 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.
I didn’t realize the hospital provided many supplies as well. Here are items you may not need to pack in your bag (but double check with your hospital):
- Pads. The hospital provides you with tons of pads for post-delivery bleeding. You’ll have your period for the next few weeks, starting the day you deliver.
- Cotton “underwear.” I put that in quotes because this isn’t undies per say. They’re more like cotton mesh 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’ll likely send you home with a bunch to last you for a few days. If you decide to bring your own, this 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, 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 be wearing 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(s), 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
- Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me when I Was Pregnant
- 8 Misconceptions First Time Moms Believe about Parenthood
- The Ultimate Newborn Shopping List
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth
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