What I Packed in my Hospital Bag (And What I Actually Used!)

Hey y'all!

I'm so happy to hear all of the positive feedback from sharing my birth experience with y'all! It took me a long time to write, but I didn't want to leave out any details. I think a lot of the scary part of birth is the unknown, so I hope that it will continue to serve as a positive birth story for other mamas!

My type A personality had me packing my hospital bag at 32 weeks. I'm glad that I did because it gave me time to think and replace stuff as I researched more. There are SO many hospital packing lists out there. I looked at quite a few and picked what sounded right for me.

I figured I'd share what I brought and what I actually used. Since I did have an induction AND checked out a little over 24 hours after having bubs, my experience was a little different than most moms. BUT I did still stay a total of 2 nights since I went in early for the prep. 

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I personally didn't bring my own pillow or towels. Neither did my husband. I think if you're really particular about that stuff, then it could be worth it. But we felt completely fine without them.

We used this travel-sized carry-on suitcase for our stuff. I had my clothes/items on one side and my husband had his things and baby E's stuff on the other. It made it way easier on him to take up to our room and down when we were leaving. It's also totally worth it to pack a reusable tote bag for extras that the hospital gives you. Take allllllll the things they offer!

For Mama:

  • Cozy Robe: I didn't wear this until after delivery because I didn't want to have to worry about it getting dirty. Birth is pretty messy so I recommend just using their gowns when laboring and switching to your own stuff after your first shower!

  • Button-Down Pajamas (3x): I brought 3 pairs, but only wore 2 of them. If you're planning on breastfeeding, definitely recommend that you get a button-down pair for easy access! These ones from Target are my absolute favorite and I have them in 3 different colors. I like that they're long pants and short sleeves because hospitals are cold but giving birth had me sweating haha.

  • Fuzzy Grip Socks (3x): Most hospitals will give you grippy socks, but I was really glad I brought my own. Way softer and made me feel more like a normal person and less like a patient.

  • Slide on Slippers: Although I mostly wore my socks during my hospital stay, I was glad I had the option of my slippers. I ended up wearing them home from the hospital too!

  • Sleep Mask: It's hard to have your room be fully dark, especially with all the equipment. I'm really glad I had my mask to help me block most of it out so I could attempt to get some shut-eye!

  • Hair Tie/Hair Clip: I was REALLY hot during labor, so I definitely used a hair tie to help keep my hair up and off my neck. I do wish I had packed a portable fan to attach to the side of my bed. We have this one for our stroller and it would have been perfect!

  • Hatch Sound Machine: If you don't already have this on your registry, add it NOW! We've used it every single day for E's naps and bedtime routine. I swear by it! But it's also something super easy to pack in your hospital bag. Hospitals are LOUD and you're constantly being checked on by nurses. This helped my husband and I sleep easier through the night and also helped E sleep once he came into the world!

  • Essential Oil Roller: When I was having contractions, it was really helpful to have something to smell to help distract me. I didn't use it on my body, but I liked waving it back and forth under my nose while I took deep breaths.

  • Personal Toiletries: I took my own travel-size shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, and moisturizer. It felt good to use my own things and smell like myself. That after-labor shower is EVERYTHING!

  • Frida Peri Bottle: IF YOU BUY ONE THING FROM THIS ENTIRE BLOG POST, LET IT BE THIS! Y'all, the hospital peri bottles freaking suck. This one is a total game-changer. If you don't know what a peri bottle is, basically you fill it with warm water and spray it on yourself while you pee. It helps with the burning and makes cleanup a lot easier. You. Need. This.

  • Laxative Gummies: I'm a baby who can't swallow pills so I took these instead. Trust me, you will want to take these for the first week at home. Better safe than sorry!

  • Boppy Nursing Pillow: I took a travel boppy (which they don't make anymore) to help support my arms while feeding E. It was really helpful to not have to use a million hospital pillows to try to prop him up. If you're breastfeeding and have room in your bag, I think it's worth taking it. I just wrapped it around the handle of our bag.

  • Affirmation Cards: I highly recommend checking out one of Mommy Labor Nurse's pregnancy packs. They're all free and sorted by Natural Birth, Epidural Birth, and C-Section Birth so you can choose which one works for you. Inside the Natural Birth Prep Pack, she has a set of affirmation cards. I had my husband read them to me while I had contractions. It was really helpful to have something else to focus on.

  • Nipple Butter: I brought a vegan one since I figured the hospital one wouldn't be vegan-friendly. I love this stuff!

For Baby:

  • Electric Nail File: Babies have teenie tiny fingernails! And when they're born, they've got some pretty long ones! Instead of trying to clip them, I highly recommend getting an electric file. It's way more gentle and practically impossible to cut their fingers. I'm glad we had one in the hospital because our little dude loved having his hands by his face, so we were able to avoid him giving himself scratch marks.

  • Zip Up Swaddle: I had my dad bring us this swaddle from our house because we were tired of wrapping and unwrapping him in the hospital blankets. It's WAY easier to change them if you just have a simple zip-up or velcro swaddle.

  • Bamboo Pajamas (2x): Most of the time, we just had E in his diaper, but at night we put him in pajamas! I recommend bringing 2 of these just in case of an accident or spit-up. E basically lived in zip-up pajamas for the first month of his life. The bamboo ones are the best because they're super stretchy for little baby bodies. He's 24 inches long now at 9 weeks and still fits in the newborn size we used in the hospital!

  • Baby Blanket: Our friend gifted us this from our registry. It seems really small but it's the perfect size for a newborn! It's a really similar feel to the Barefoot Dreams blankets but at a way more affordable price.

  • Going Home Outfit: A lot of people use tie-up gowns which are cute for pictures. But remember that you can't safely put baby in a car seat while they're in it. We went with a 3 piece matching set that's adjustable for longer use.

  • Car Seat: We have the Chico KeyFit 30 that a family friend gave us second-hand. We love it! Really easy to install using the bases. I'd definitely recommend it.

Things I packed but didn't use:

  • Nursing Bra: I packed a few but didn't end up wearing one at all! Your milk doesn't fully come in until a few days after giving birth, so I didn't have to worry about leaking. If you're bigger chested, you may feel more comfortable having one with you.

  • Preppy Pops: I had these left over from early in my pregnancy so I threw some in the hospital snack bag. I didn't end up feeling nauseous so I just never got them out of the bag.

  • Gum: Again, this could help you out with nausea but I just didn't need it!

  • Portable Charger: I actually didn't charge my phone the whole time I was at the hospital! So many lists recommend using an extra-long charger. But if you're not close to an outlet (or are clumsy with cables), a portable charger is an even better option because you can have it next to you in bed. If I cared about charging my phone, I probably would have used it!

  • Breast Pump: I'm glad I took this one even though I didn't use it. My plan was to have the lactation consultant at the hospital help me find my proper flange size and how to use the pump. She ended up being so overrun while we were there that we only got to meet with her one time only an hour after I gave birth. If you plan on pumping, I really would try to bring your pump and meet with the LC.

I hope this helped some of my mama friends out! I'm sure I'm forgetting something on this list, so let me know what you used or didn't use at the hospital. Everyone's experience is always so different! I'm loving writing again so expect to see lots more content real soon.


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