After lots of research and planning during my first pregnancy, I created an ultimate hospital bag packing list for myself, baby and Brian so that all three of us could be comfortable during our stay and be prepared for the car ride home. And I’ll be honest… I used about 20% of what we brought.
I knew this would happen… Every single mom out there will tell you, “you literally just need to bring the car seat,” but I like to be prepared and I can sometimes be a classic over-packer. Even though we didn’t use the majority of the things that we brought in our hospital bag, I can say with confidence that I’m very glad we brought all of it with us. Especially as a first time mom, you just never know what you’re going to want or need during labor. SO, on this packing list I will share everything we packed, but I will put an asterisk (*) by all the items we actually used. Every single mama is different, and your needs during labor are super personal. But, I think I cover almost every base with this list (even if you’re having an at-home or birth center delivery).
But first, some quick “to do’s” before heading to the hospital…
Honestly, would it really be a P&C packing list if it didn’t include a short to-do check list? Here are a few things we did/plan to do prior to leaving for labor/delivery (I also wrote more about prepping for baby in my third trimester blog post during my first pregnancy if you care to read that, too):
- Time contractions – Your doctor will tell you when you should call their office, but our doctor had us call her when mine were consistently 5 minutes apart for 2 hours
- Shower – My first labor was 38 hours long, plus 3 hours of pushing. Trust me. You’re going to want to shower while you can.
- Nap, if you’re able
- Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
- Eat small/healthy/easy to digest snacks (protein shake, apple, chia seed pudding, electrolyte drops, peanut butter, energy balls, protein bars, oatmeal)
- Charge your phones
- Make sure house is clean/tidy to make coming home a little less chaotic
Ok… Now on to the packing lists!
Items For Mom
- Drivers license & Insurance card* – You would think you would need these, but no one ever ask for them, haha! I would still recommend bringing them in your hospital bag just incase.
- Birth plan* (3 copies)
- Copy of will
- Nursing bras/tanks* (I delivered in this one and loved it)
- Headband/hair ties*
- Grippy socks
- Compression socks – I didn’t use these the first time around and I will for sure be using them while in recovery! I had some crazy postpartum swelling.
- Heating pad – Again, I will be using this the second time around. My back was killing me after a very long labor, and I just forgot to use this the first time. It’s for sure a must for sore muscles after delivery.
- Chapstick* – I like peppermint for a refreshing feel
- Dry shampoo
- Hair brush*
- Towel – A lot of moms like to bring their own towels, cause the hospital ones aren’t great. But I didn’t feel like getting blood or anything on the one I brought (TMI, sorry), so I just used the ones from the hospital. They got the job done and it’s was less laundry to bring home.
- Soap/face wash*
- Loofa* – highly recommend bringing one with a dry brush attached to scrub off all of the sticky tape from IVs and epidural if you get one.
- After birth snacks*
- Suckers for when you can’t eat during labor
- Massage oil
- Essential oils – Our hospital provided some lavender oil, but I really like peppermint for a more awakening scent if you’re feeling sluggish during a drawn out labor.
- Robe – I was WAY to tired to even think about looking decent for pictures in a cute robe. I honestly don’t know how people get those cute “in the hospital newborn pics.” I was in a nursing bra, hospital gown and mesh undies the entire time. But, I am going to try to take a little more care of myself this time around just to feel like me and like the photos we take.
- Make up – Just bring the basics, you don’t need much.
- Travel jewelry case*
- Support bloomers – I didn’t wear them in the hospital just cause it was too messy, but I def loved these at home during recovery.
- Going home outfit*
- Reusable water bottle – Because of COVID during my first pregnancy, we couldn’t leave our room to refill waters all the time, so we just asked for water/juice from our nurses and it worked out fine. Totally up to you if you want to take up room in your bag.
- Extra Long phone charger*
- Portable fan – I forgot we packed this the first time around, but I will be using this during L&D this time!
- Nerve desensitization kit (for possible c-section)
- Extra bag for hospital items that are given to us*
Items For Baby
- Baby Book to add foot/hand prints to – We brought this, but the nurse we had was actually kind rude about helping us do it, so we just bought inkless pads to do it at home.
- Onesies – Jack was given a shirt, swaddle and hat after birth which he stayed in until we went home, but pack whatever clothes you’d like for baby in the hospital if that’s important to you.
- Blanket/hat for pictures – we just took a photo with the blanket and hat they gave you in the hospital, but again, personal preference.
- Burp clothes
- Going home outfit*
- Car seat*
- Car seat cover/blanket* – weather permitting
- Travel sound machine*
- Nail file/clippers – Something we didn’t bring the first time that we actually needed. Jack’s hands were like witch hands until days after we got home.
Items For Birth Partner
- Reusable water bottle – Again, not really needed.
- Zip up sweatshirt* – for skin to skin
- Birth deck* – Highly recommend!… Review the deck prior to labor so you can practice technics and see what you like/don’t like.
- Conversation cards* – Also would highly recommend for getting your mind off of things during a long labor.
- Glasses/contacts/contact solution*
- Snacks/Hydration packets*
- Bathing suit – We have large jetted tubs in our hospital, so Brian might get in with me to help with relief during labor.
- Change of clothes*
- Camera/Camera Charger (we ended up just using our phones our first pregnancy)
- Going home outfit*
As a reminder, make sure your partner packs their own hospital bag, and watches you pack yours. It’s incredibly helpful when they actually know where everything is since you’ll be a little preoccupied. I hope this is a helpful list for you guys! Let me know if you have any questions or have anything to add that I may have missed.
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