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Hospital Bag Checklist

What to pack when having a baby

By michellehorton |

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  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    Most new moms have no way of knowing exactly what to pack and what to leave home before their first hospital delivery. While every woman has different needs and preferences, here are our top 15 recommendations.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    Your Birth Plan

    Your Birth Plan Don’t forget to print out copies of your birth plan for your doctor, midwife and nurses. Here are four things you need to know before writing a birth plan.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist


    Snacks Pack some of your favorite easy access (read: one-handed) snacks (granola bars, pretzels, etc.) just to have on hand in the middle of the night. Your partner will appreciate this too.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    A hospital-gown alternative

    A hospital-gown alternative While some women are perfectly content in the hospital-provided delivery gowns, many hospitals and birthing centers now allow women to deliver in the comfort of their own gowns. While we think it’s silly to spend too much money on something to deliver a baby in, we found some comfortable, pretty delivery gowns for under $30.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    A robe, comfortable pajamas and slippers

    A robe, comfortable pajamas and slippers So maybe you can live without your own delivery gown, but a robe, PJs and slippers are a must. Keep in mind that your PJs will most likely be ruined, so leave the silk and cashmere at home. And you’ll definitely want a comfortable pair of slippers or slipper socks to pitter-patter around the hospital floors. If you want a little something-something to make you feel fresh and pretty, check out these pretty robes to throw on when you have visitors.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    Not-so-pretty underwear…

    Not-so-pretty underwear… Because they will be ruined. Though most hospitals have disposable undies to wear under your giant post-delivery sanitary pads, you should pack a few pairs to have on-hand in case it’s more comfortable.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    Nursing tank tops

    Nursing tank tops You’ll want two or three good, comfortable nursing tank tops, which either snap down or lift up for easy breastfeeding access.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    Nursing bras

    Nursing bras You’ll also want to bring some nursing bras. Since it’s hard to know what size you’ll be after your milk comes in (and because wearing a traditional bra might be too uncomfortable in the beginning), we recommend bringing comfy sleep nursing bras, which are soft-structured, wireless bras that come in a S, M, L, rather than cup sizes. (Almost like a sports bra, but much more comfortable.) You don’t want to waste money on a bunch of bras that won’t fit in a couple of weeks.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    Soothing Relief

    Soothing Relief The hospital will provide all of the sanitary pads and pain relievers that you’ll need during those first few days of recovery, but you might want to pack some Tucks Medicated Pads or Demroplast, in your bag just in case you have a perineal tear.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    Tech-y must-haves

    Tech-y must-haves You’ll most likely want a camera to record the momentous day — and of course to take your baby’s first picture — and maybe even a video camera. Also remember your cell phone charger (check that your hospital allows cell phones) and laptop in case you want to tweet, blog or just watch movies. You might also want a laboring play list on your iPod or MP3 for soothing music or your favorite tunes — whatever you think will work best for you. And you can always download some magazines on your Kindle.

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    Favorite personal items

    Favorite personal items The hospital or birthing center should provide all of the pillows, blankets and toiletries you need, but we all have those favorite comfort items. Some popular things to bring from home include your own pillow, blanket, body wash, chapstick (many women complain of dry lips), toothpaste and deodorant. And don’t forget the ponytail holders!

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    Postpartum Organizers

    Postpartum Organizers You’ll want to record your baby’s sleeping and eating while in the hospital (and for the first few weeks after that), so you might want to pick up a postpartum baby tracker whether it’s a simple journal, comprehensive organizer or an iPhone app. Some new moms like to bring along the baby book as well.

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    Comfy clothes

    Comfy clothes You won’t be back at your pre-pregnancy size after birth (it takes a good six weeks for your uterus to shrink back down), so pack some loose, comfy clothes for the hospital. We would live in these pants if we could.

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    Essentials for your baby

    Essentials for your baby For your baby, you’ll want to pack a coming home outfit and a couple of your favorite swaddling blankets. (These are our favorites.) Tip: Bring one baby outfit in size “newborn” and another in size “0-1” because most moms don’t know exactly how big their baby will be. If your baby is born over 8 pounds, all of those newborn clothes will be too small.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    A breastfeeding pillow

    A breastfeeding pillow If you’re planning on breastfeeding, a breastfeeding pillow is actually a lot more comfortable than a standard pillow. Plus, we loved how the Boppy provided comfortable back support during our hospital stay. But if you’re tight on cash, don’t sweat this one.

  • Hospital Bag Checklist

    An empty bag

    An empty bag At the hospital, you’ll be able to take all of the diapers, ointments, gauze and pads that you want. Stock up!

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About michellehorton



Michelle Horton is the founder of Early Mama, an award-winning site that proves young motherhood doesn’t have to define or limit us. When not writing, she’s typically pretending to be a superhero in her 4-year-old son’s imaginative play. Read bio and latest posts → Read Michelle's latest posts →

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8 thoughts on “Hospital Bag Checklist

  1. Debbie Richer says:

    For Tip #2: If your snacks are also intended for labor snacks, don’t bring heavy snacks like granola bars. Jello cups, honey sticks, hard boiled eggs, bananas and other light foods that wont dry out your mouth too much are best.

    For Tip #3: What ever your going to labor in is going to get ruined, hospital gowns aren’t THAT bad. mine was pretty modest.

    For Tip #5: Just wear the silly disposable undies, why waste the money. They are perfectly comfy.

    My tips: bring swim trunks for partner in case you want him in the shower/tub with you (the nurses have seen it all, but that doesn’t mean they want to see it all :P ). And, bring toothpaste and tooth brush for your partner (while in labor my hubby ate dinner and then leaned close to support me, in my state of labor induced lack of social graces I yelled out “You Stink!” – he wreaked of cool ranch Doritos. He brushed up and was just peachy after that :P ).

  2. Almena says:

    Thanks for sharing. Always good to find a real expret.

  3. Reno says:

    Thanks alot – your answer solved all my prbolems after several days struggling

  4. Janeece says:

    You are so awesome for helping me solve this msytery.

  5. meg says:

    I had only 20 minutes of labouring at the midwife led unit before my son arrived so most of the stuff I packed in our bag was pointless! Also we were in such a rush getting from car to my room that the bag was left in the boot of our car for the birth so number 9s playlist was a waste of time! As for the snacks again, we didnt need or eat these until the following day when we were ready to go but waiting to be signed out. Delivery gowns – why?! I was naked for my sons birth I arrived in just my dressing gown (an old thick one rather than the new lovely one that Id left in the birthing bag) and was boiling so just took it off honestly at that point I really didnt care that I was naked in front of people Id never met before, there were far more important things to think about! As for pyjamas I thought it was a lot more practical to have a nightie on as there arent trousers or shorts involved. Usually Im a PJ wearer but with my breastfeeding-friendly nightshirt I could wear it while having my stitches done. As for disposable knickers I bought some but they were a waste of money as they didnt fit and I ended up wearing just some old knickers Id packed (you know the sort usually reserved for a day when youre on a heavy period) and threw away that pair as they were wrecked. Finally a post-partum baby organizer?! What on earth? Chill out and just enjoy you really dont need to write everything down and if youre paranoid or forgetful just use a normal notepad! Tip for photos: wear a bra even if you dont feel like it if someones photographing you! Other hints: if youre taking a washbag for a shower at the birthing unit take a soothing/moisturing shower gel rather than the invigorating type!

  6. michelle says:

    I, like Meg, ended up with a quick delivery but even if it was long and drawn out most of this stuff is not necessary. Bring a nursing pillow and a bra, bring an outfit for you and baby to wear home, and, of course, a camera. Most of the other stuff is unnecessary. I bought a nightgown and ugly panties and didnt use them. Use what the hospital provides for you and baby. The less you have to wash when you get home the better!

  7. Fox in Flats says:

    Here are some tips from other moms to help you look your best right AFTER the big delivery regardless of whether you had a sweaty 40 hour marathon birth, or a neat scheduled caesar.

    How to look awesome after the big delivery

  8. Ausssie midwife says:

    A lot of these tips would not apply to my hospital; Ask your hospital for their recommendations.We have list included in the personal health record that each mother is given when she books in ( I cannot believe# 15!)

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