What to Pack for the Hospital When You’re Having a Baby, Revisited

I thought it would be helpful to revisit my hospital packing list now that I’ve done gone and had my baby to let prospective packers know what I used, what I didn’t use and what I forgot. The list below is copied directly from my earlier post on packing your bag for the hospital when having a baby. I’ll put notes in bold. (If I don’t make a note, assume I brought and used the item.) It’s probably worth noting that I had a natural birth. It seems my list caters somewhat to that method/mindset.

To pack ahead of time:

  • Copies of birth plan (in case they don’t have the copy my doc sent over ready and waiting) Wasn’t necessary—they had it waiting.
  • List of phone #s to call (even if Clint can remember the list of five people now, he may not have his wits about him when the time comes, due to sleeplessness and baby excitement)
  • Notebook (Birthing thoughts? Final baby-name narrowing down? Returning home to-do list? You never know.) Did not use this time. (Did last time.)
  • Birthing skirt/2 tanks/zipper sweatshirt (aka stuff to labor in that allows me to regulate my temperature and allows the hospital staff to access my lady region. An extra tank in case I want to wear one into the birthing tub.) The tank tops, especially, were lifesavers. I did not wear a hospital gown the entire visit.
  • Two pair nonslip comfy throwaway socks (For labor. There will likely be dripping. Gross, I know.) I only needed one.
  • Nursing bras. Oh my yes.
  • Bella bands (Nice to pair with nursing bras, for the discreet & ladylike, such as myself.) Did not use. Guess I’m not as ladylike as I imagined.
  • Breast pads (In case my milk comes in. Oh, the leakage.) Used, but not for leakage (my milk came in soon after returning home) but to prevent lanolin (see below) stains on my new nursing bras.
  • Lanolin (At first, your nipples hurt. A whole lot. Lanolin helps.)
  • Lotion
  • Arnica (My awesome friend Laura, a homeopath/pharmacist, recommends 200C post-delivery, and again 12 hours later, to promote overall healing.)
  • Ponytail holders
  • iPod/speakers (I prefer silence to birthing tunes, but we have HypnoBirthing scripts and affirmations on there.)
  • Breastfeeding-friendly PJs/hangout wear (Better than a hospital gown. You’ll probably want options that allow easy access to Down There and/or your post c-section tummy. Make it something you won’t mind being photographed in.) A short, comfy cotton robe was the key piece here‚ easy to nurse in, but also easy to cover up with. Also: Maternity yoga pants.
  • Pantry snacks that may be tolerable during labor, such as electrolyte jelly beans, granola bars (sprung for fancy raw Pashen bars for the occasion), nuts, emergenC (Keep that energy up!) So nice to have some can’t miss snacks on hand for both during and after labor. These things, plus drinkable yogurt, aged Gouda, bananas, clementines, and my favorite teas, kept me happy without having to rely on the hospital kitchen’s offerings and hours.
  • Have cooler ready Didn’t bring. Got everything into the hospital refridge immediately upon arrival.
  • Present for Roy (From the baby. So when they meet, she has it ready for him.) Yes. See shark washcloths above. A hit!
  • Cash For hospital cafeteria for Clint.

For baby:

  • A few sleepers (Those long gowns with the elastic at the bottom, to make frequent changes easier. Might as well have her wear her own clothes, washed in our detergent, from the get-go.) The gowns were too big. Should have brought newborn-sized footie PJs.
  • Socks & hats
  • Blanket A must.
  • Super cute going-home outfit
  • Car seat with BundleMe (Essential for a winter baby in Minnesota—no bulky, hard-to-regulate snowsuit necessary.)
  • Baby book (Get those footprints!) Yes! Cute little tootsies.
  • Boppy, or other breastfeeding pillow (Might as well start in the manner you intend to continue.) Yes! Do it.

To pack the last minute:

(Again, a list containing even the obvious is nice. It’s hard to make decisions while in labor.)

  • Laptop
  • Camera (batteries, charger)
  • Phones & chargers
  • Makeup bag
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Deodorant
  • Vitamins & allergy medication
  • Hair products
  • Brush
  • Hair dryer Didn’t need—the hospital had one.
  • Slippers
  • Pillows Yes!
  • Stock cooler (ice, drinkable yogurt, hard cheese, fruit)
  • 12-pack fizzy water (It’s my jam.) Yes.
  • HypnoBirthing scripts (On paper. For Clint to potentially read to me.) We did not read these.
  • Towel to sit on in car (if my water hasn’t broken)
  • Wallets/insurance card/ids
  • Calendar (I’ve not yet gone electronic on this. Rockin’ it old skool style.)
  • Glasses

 For Clint:

(Just a loose reminder list for him…)

  • Food (If he’s gonna support me, he needs to maintain energy as well.) He brought leftovers and sandwich necessities.
  • PJs (The hospital is not the place for underwear-only sleeping.)
  • Toiletries
  • Camp mat (To make a crappy hospital sofa more bearable.) Did not bring.
  • Blanket (See above.)


  • Commenter Darcie suggested my own special baby wash, which was an awesome addition.
  • I would’ve appreciated my own soap, shampoo and conditioner. The hospital stuff is so… hospitaly.
  • We had someone bring in our Netflix DVDs. We were unexpectedly in the mood to keep tabs on Nurse Jackie.

All in all, I think I did an OK job—enough to keep myself comfortable, not too many extras, and not too many “I wish I would’ves.” Hope this helps you do the same.


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  1. by Renee

    On November 14, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I also found it helpfull to bring a tennis ball in a sock so that my husband could use it on my lower back. Very nice to have if you are having back labor pain.