Hospital Bag Checklist for New Moms – What to Pack?

Hospital Bag Packing List - Hospital Bag Essentials- Quote

While each mama has a different delivery experience, you can count on one thing: If you’re delivering in a hospital, you’ll stay there between 2-3 days post-delivery, hence the need to create a hospital bag checklist. 

You’ll deliver in one room, then move to a separate area of the hospital for recovery. The recovery rooms aren’t large (think: college dorm room), and you’ll spend most of your time sitting on your bed or on the bench by the window, holding your baby, nursing. 20 years ago, a hospital bag consisted of a change of clothes.

Now, women pack multiple suitcases. Seriously! Our tip? Pack as little as possible!

This list is broken down into four sections: delivery, recovery, going home, and optional. The optional items are far from necessary, but provide a comprehensive list of everything you may possibly want to take for your stay.

Hospital bag checklist for delivery:

  • 2 snack baskets (For delivery and postpartum nurses. Urban legend says it makes them more attentive. Easiest version? Pick up some individually packaged treats from Costco and toss them in a basket with a thank you card.)
  • Chapstick
  • Mints or gum
  • Snacks (Contractions can kill your appetite or make keeping food down difficult, so consider packing the kind of stuff a marathon runner would eat while during a race.)
  • Coconut water (Great source of electrolytes and energy.)
  • Delivery dress (Pretty Pusher’s original labor and delivery gown is great- it makes it easy for the hospital to monitor you via the ties on the belly, and it’s a soft material you won’t mind wearing.)
  • A large, soft cardigan or zip-up sweatshirt (Tough contractions can send your adrenaline pumping, making you feel cold and shiver. Having something easy to put on and take off is helpful.)
  • Clary Sage essential oil: Rubbed with coconut oil on the lower stomach, it can speed help contractions.

Hospital bag checklist for immediately after delivery:

  • Nursing tank top 
  • Black yoga or pj pants (There will be bleeding.)
  • Cardigan, zip-up sweatshirt, or button-down shirt (For warmth.)
  • Facial cleaning wipes (You’ll likely be too wiped out to wash your face.)
  • Deodorant
  • Hair tie
  • Swaddling blankets (Hospital detergent can irritate baby skin, but there is the perfect size to take home and use once you’ve washed them!)
  • Lotion/moisturizer (Hospital air and soap can be drying.)

Recovery time:

  • Baby body wash (They’ll help you give baby their first bath. Hospital grade soap is heavy duty and not organic.) 
  • Another hospital recovery outfit for mama (Same as above. Nightgown or maxi dress if you’re having a c section.)
  • James (If you won’t sleep in the same outfit you wear during the day. Hint: you probably will!)
  • Onesie for baby (They’ll spend most of the time swaddled or skin to skin with you, so clothing doesn’t matter.)
  • Nursing pillow (Newborns are pretty much sleeping or nursing, so you may as well get comfortable! Our top pick is the Luna Lullaby, followed by the Brest Friend, but the Boppy is the most well known and the one you’re most likely to receive as a hand me down from a fellow mommy.)
  • Nipple cream (We love Motherlove brand because it’s organic and doesn’t need to be wiped off before baby nurses.)
  • Nursing pads (Your milk won’t likely leak yet, but the nursing cream may rub off on your clothes.)
  • Cell phone charger
  • Snacks (The hospital will feed you, but nursing may make you extra hungry.)
  • Pineapple juice (To help milk come in if you’ll be nursing)

Leaving the hospital:

  • Empty a trash bag for your dirty clothes from the stay
  • Empty reusable grocery bag (For all of the things the hospital provides that you’ll be stocking up on- disposable undies, pads, burp towels, etc.) 
  • Shampoo and conditioner (You’ll likely shower the morning or evening before you leave.)
  • Outfit to leave the hospital for mama
  • Outfit to leave the hospital for baby, with mits (A onesie with legs is great because it’s easier to get them in the carseat than if they have on a baby gown.)
  • Flip flops or Ugg boots and socks, depending on the season and where you live.
  • What Most Hospitals Provide (Grab some of these extras to take home!)

Hospital bag checklist for Mama:

  • Disposable underwear (Stock up. These are great for recovery time at home, as well.)
  • Pads (They’re very large and don’t have adhesive, but are free and very effective. Take extra.)
  • Warm and/or ice packs (You may be surprised at your muscle soreness the day after delivery.)
  • Squeeze bottle for peri-cleansing (Take this home!)
  • Hemorrhoid wipes (Take.)
  • Dermoplast spray (Take.)
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, comb
  • Nonslip socks

Hospital bag checklist for Baby:

  • Swaddling blankets (Take. These are great to use under Aden and Anais swaddle blanket on newborns. Double swaddle them with a hospital one, then a big one. This combo keeps them secure and prevents Houdini’ing.)
  • Burp cloths (Take.)
  • Baby soap, hairbrush, and comb
  • Baby hat

We don’t think you’ll need these items, but, just in case…

  • Nursing bra (Totally unnecessary if you wear a nursing tank unless you love wearing a bra.)
  • Pads (If you’re particular about what sort of pad you’ll need for recovery, bring your fav.)
  • Underwear (Dark colors only! Think: period panties)
  • Makeup, if you want it for photos (Why not embrace your “just had a baby self” and go makeup-free?)
  • A hairbrush or a headband for photos (Your hair may be nuts after delivery, and you may not shower until the next day.)
  • Hairdryer (Hospitals don’t provide them.)
  • A non-white pillowcase (You’ll likely be too tired to care about the pillow, but some mamas find the hospital pillow cases too rough.)

  • Your own bath towel 
  • A robe (If you bring one, pack a thin one, not a massive one.)
  • Slippers (Redundant if you bring fuzzy socks or wear the nonslip socks the hospital provides.)
  • Burp cloths (Hospital provides them, and fresh out of the womb babies don’t spit up much- that takes a day or two to kick in, once they’re drinking milk instead of colostrum.)
  • Extension cord (Outlets are in weird places in hospitals, so you can’t usually charge and use your phone at the same time.)
  • Sleep mask (Hospital lights don’t stop)
  • Magazines or books (If you’re having a c section and anticipate spending time alone.)
  • Snacks, clothes, and jammies for your birthing partner  (…In case they don’t remember to pack for themselves, and because the hospital likely will not feed them since they’re not the patient.)
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