What to Pack In A Hospital Bag – And What NOT TO!

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There’s nothing that says “we’re about to have a baby!” then packing your bag to take to the hospital. And this article will tell you exactly what to pack in a hospital bag. You will find a ton of hospital bag checklist articles that seem like they are have everything you could possibly need. However, this article is the minimalist list of what to bring to the hospital.

You do not want to over pack, because the last thing you want to do is carry a bunch of baggage into the hospital while you’re in labor, and deal with tripping over it all in the tiny hospital room.

If you can, try to pack mom and dad’s things together in one bag and baby’s things in the diaper bag. Two bags means one trip!

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The Minimalist Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Dad, and Baby

packing hospital bag

Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom:

  • Birth plan – If you create a birth plan, be sure to bring it. Ideally, you would go over it with your doctor beforehand, but you will likely want to give it to your nurses as well upon arriving.
  • Minimal toiletries – Toothbrush, deodorant, makeup remover wipes, hairbrush, hair ties, headband, etc.
  • Clothes for going home – Comfy is key. Baggy sweats, loose t-shirt, large comfy underwear, slippers or easy to put on shoes.
  • Nightgown – If you want a personal nightgown to relax in while you’re there, you can bring one. Some people just stay in the hospital gown the whole time. I suggest this one, as it’s long sleeve and it’s cold in the hospital, and it’s hard to keep your arms covered while nursing and changing the baby.
  • Entertainment – Being something to distract yourself. Whether it’s a book, a tablet, your computer, etc.

If you plan on breastfeeding…

  • Nursing tank top or bra – Nursing tops are magical. I can’t imagine breastfeeding without them.
  • Nipple butter You will need it. It’s on my top 5 must-have items… ever!
  • Breast pads & Breast pump – You can pack this if you want, just in case, but you will not likely need this, because your milk doesn’t come in for a few days after birth. You will produce colostrum, but it’s very little and not enough to really leak. And, your baby cluster feeds for a while after birth. They basically sleep with your breast in their mouth. This is why your nipples hurt so dang bad while they’re building up a tolerance to breastfeeding. DON’T FORGET THE NIPPLE BUTTER.

If you plan on having a natural birth…

  • Birthing ball – If your hospital or birth center doesn’t have one, you will want to bring one.
  • Clothes for getting wet – You will want a sports bra or swim top for laboring in the water.

What You Probably Don’t Need to Bring to the Hospital

  • Hair tools, makeup, razors, etc. – You will likely not care what you look like after giving birth. The last thing you are going to want to do is to go stand in the bathroom and do your hair and makeup. And you sure as heck aren’t going to want to bend over and shave your legs. If you really want to do your makeup, bring a mirror so you can do it while laying down.
  • Things the hospital usually supplies – The hospital usually supplies diapers, wipes, witch hazel, dermoplast spray, pads, and baby hat. You can call your hospital and ask what they provide.

Check out this Pregnancy Planner! It will help you to stay organized and make sure you’re fully prepared. Being prepared is key for helping you to de-stress!

Hospital Bag Checklist for Dad:

  • Comfy clothes – He will be there, on a couch that is likely uncomfortable, for at least a couple days. He’s going to want clothes he can relax in.
  • Jacket – Hospitals are generally on the cold side. So a light sweatshirt will come in handy.
  • Blanket – He will also be sleeping on that couch, and the hospital will likely provide pillows, but bringing a decent blanket will be nice.
  • Camera – Getting pictures might sound awful, considering you’ll be pushing a baby out, and it will likely show on your face. But those pictures will mean so much to you for the rest of your life.
  • Chargers – Phone chargers are very important. Make it his job to remember to grab them. If you have extras, pack them in your bag ahead of time.
  • Cash – For vending machines.

Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby

packing diaper bag, packing hospital bag for baby

  • Carseat – Most important thing first. You should get the car seat base installed ahead of time, to avoid having to worry about it later.
  • Minimal amount of diapers and wipes – The hospital will likely supply you with all of the diapers and wipes you need, and even send you home with some.
  • Clothing – Mittens are a must, no matter the time of year. Babies come out with claws, and they scratch their little face up. You’ll also want some onesies or a sleep sack. Sleep sacks are amazing. No snaps, you just pull it up, change the baby, and pull it back down. Simple. Socks are also important, their tiny little feet get cold.
  • Swaddle blankets – Your hospital will provide you with a blanket, but there is no blanket that compares to a muslin swaddle blanket. I am not about getting overly priced baby items, but the muslin swaddle blanket is something I will gladly pay the price for. So soft, so breathable, and it holds swaddle so well!
  • Going home outfit – It’s become a tradition to dress your baby in a “special” outfit. You can decide if you want to do this. Check out Etsy for some cute ideas.

Hospital Bag Recommendations:

For baby: A backpack-style diaper bag is so handy for carrying all of baby’s things! It’s perfect for the dad to have his hands free, to carry in other bags, or help you through the hospital. Not to mention, the hands-free convenience is wonderful while using it after the baby is born as well!

For mom and dad: A hardcover suitcase is the perfect thing to pack yours and dad’s things in! It might seem overkill, but the convenience of being able to push or roll it through the hall is great! And it’s easier to keep everything organized in.

I hope this list of what to pack in a hospital bag helps you prepare for your little one to come!

Be sure to pack your hospital bag as early as you can. You never know if you’re going to go into labor early.

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