One thing I’ve learned is you actually need to have your hospital bag packed a lot sooner than you think! I definitely recommend having it ready once you start your third trimester! I found out I had a marginal cord insertion at 20 weeks pregnant with baby Dune, which ended up severely restricting his growth and after 30 weeks, I could go into emergency delivery at any time if things didn’t look good! So I had my bag packed pretty early. But you just never know, so it’s good to be prepared!
I may not have had our nursery set up until almost 38 weeks (when he was born!) but I DID have my bag packed. And man, having the right things in your bag made our experience at the hospital for 2.5 days soooo much more enjoyable! So here is everything I recommend packing and the things I ACTUALLY used and was glad I had!
Here’s a quick list you can copy and paste of everything you need to bring to the hospital for your baby’s birth or just download my checklist!
Obviously, you need an actual BAG. Honestly, I treated it just like traveling! I was scheduled for a c-section, so I knew after I wouldn’t be able to lift heavy things, so a roller bag with a bag that goes over the handle was an EASY choice. If you feel like that’s too much, I’d use something like a weekender bag. But if you are having a c-section especially, just bring a carry-on suitcase! So I went ahead and used my carry-on suitcase and my beis travel baby bag that fits perfectly over my suitcase handle.
This is the one I used which is ALSO my diaper backpack! I love that it can be a back pack, carried over shoulder, or put onto a suitcase easily. I also have this diaper backpack as well! But if you’d prefer to have an over the shoulder/ more purse-like diaper bag, this one is amazing! This is also another great option as a weekender style bag if you don’t want to bring a suitcase.
Everything you’d want for an overnight trip! I packed shampoo, conditioner, hair oil, a toothbrush and toothpaste, floss, my glasses, contacts case and solution, hair brush, curling iron, hair dryer, lip balm, my favorite amazon hair clips to easily put your hair back, body lotion, coconut oil because it’s also anti-bacterial, which is important especially after a c-section to not get an infection! This also was super great as a natural and safe option. And of course, my skincare routine. I got my eyelashes done before the birth so that I’d feel good no matter what since I knew we’d take a bunch of pictures, but also packed a makeup bag with my favorite tinted moisturizer which feels sooo lightweight and like a dream, eyebrow shadow, bronzer, blush, and lip gloss for the pics =).
If you plan on breastfeeding (which I highly recommend! even though it’s hard!!), a nursing pillow is a game changer after birth. Your baby is just soooo little during this time and honestly they’re just attached to your boob every hour. You’re already tired, so not having to support and hold them the entire time nursing helps sooo much! It makes nursing a newborn sooo much more comfortable. This one is my favorite from Butterr (I have 2 I love them so much!)
Robe & Slippers
This is honestly going to be the easiest thing to wear! You’ll feel cute and comfy in a chic robe too. My mom got me the barefoot dreams robe and it is just so yummy, I highly recommend. And don’t forget cozy slippers or fuzzy socks with grip bottoms!
These are my favorite easy nursing bras from Target that I’ve been using for over a year of breastfeeding! I love having a super comfy, easy-to-pull-to-the-side nursing bra. I have some clip ones too, but those first days in the hospital, no need to have the extra work, the simplest and softest nursing bra will be the most comfortable!
Comfy Clothes & PJs
And make sure they are breastfeeding-friendly! I brought a cute sweat set and a nursing friendly PJ set. Anything with buttons down the front is a good go-to as well like this set! Just don’t bring too much, you’ll pretty much be in your room except for a few walks around the maternity ward with your new baby once you’re feeling up to it (my nurses made me go on a short walk every few hours to help with my c-section recovery).
Sugar free Gum
This is for my c-section mamas – they want you to chew gum after the surgery so make sure to bring it!
I didn’t really need this, but if you are breastfeeding and your nipples start cracking, you’ll TOTALLY want this. I tried out a few nipple balms and am OBSESSED with this one from nemah (it also doubles as a lip balm!). I actually didn’t need any until after 6 months of breastfeeding, which is when my first blisters and cracks ever happened (bizarre, I know!!), and nipple balm was my SAVING GRACE!!!! But many of my friends had cracking and blisters when first breastfeeding and its so painful, so definitely pack it just in case you need it!!! But make sure its a natural one like this one (my fav) because your baby is also nursing and doesn’t want to be exposed to anything not natural and safe.
Full Size bath towel
The hospital towels were just NOT it. SO glad I brought a full-sized one. Otherwise, it would have been reminiscent to the year I lived in South Korea where the bath towels were always the size of our American hand towels (I don’t know how they do it in Korea – I need a FULL-size American bath towel after a shower to dry off, lo!)
This was CRUCIAL in order to get any sort of sleep (which you won’t get much of the first 2 weeks!). Plus nurses will be in and out of your room frequently, so it’s hard to rest, so an eye mask makes it much easier when you do!
Camera + Chargers
You might just be using your phone, so don’t forget phone chargers! We also brought our camera, 2 lenses, and camera battery charger so we could take some photos with our baby boy.
Breast Pump, pumping bra + breast milk storage bags
This is the one thing I didn’t bring and wish I had (even though your hospital should have hospital grade ones you can use too!). I’ll go over my breastfeeding journey in my upcoming blog post (so make sure you subscribe here), but it would have been really nice to have had help from the nurses learning how to use my breast pump since I hadn’t used one before as a new mom. My priority was breastfeeding, but I learned just adding in 1-2 pump sessions a day OUTSIDE of all of my baby’s feedings would have increased my supply more. Plus, the hospital has lactation consultants on staff (I saw 3 during my stay for breastfeeding help!) but they could have also helped me again, with pumping. So just a suggestion if you’re considering it!
Okay, so yeah you need the above stuff, but this next list is what CHANGED the game! Seriously, everytime a nurse or my dr walked into our hospital room, they would go WOAHHH it feels so GOOD in here. Seriously, listen to me, brign these things and really create * that vibe * you want. You just might be here way longer than you think! (you NEVER know!!!) So creating a welcoming, comforting, cozy, space for you and your new baby makes such a difference for you to soak in the newborn bubble as a family.
Cozy pillow & blanket
Get yourself a FRESH new cozy blanket and you’ll want a full size pillow. You’ll be sitting a lot (and after a c-section, I couldn’t even move for 6 hours anyways!!) so having it be super cozy for you makes it so much better. Here is my favorite cozy blanket.
Portable speaker for music
Really set the vibes and create some good chill playlists for yourself. I liked to play spa like music to really set the mood and feel relaxed. This is one we use!
Battery operated lights
Hospital room lights are just BLAH. I mean, overhead artificial lights do nothing to make you feel good. And there’s no good setting to have that subtle light at night time either for feedings if you’re staying multiple days. I felt like our only light options was SUPER BRIGHT or like, I couldn’t see. So having a couple strings of lights set up around the room allowed us to have a much chiller lighting setup without it being SUPER bright (especially for the nighttime hours). Here are the ones I used.
Pink Himalayan Salt Lamp
This really created set the mood (hence why I needed a suitcase lol). But aside from being a TOTAL vibe of a softly natural glow, pink himalayan salt lamps can boost your energy, improve your sleep, and purify the air like this one I have in his nursery now.
Pillow & Blanket
If you’re there for 24+ hours, likely your partner will ALSO be sleeping but only you will have a bed! We had a couch in our room, and thank GOODNESS I brought a blanket and pillow for my husband, because he would have been unable to sleep comfortably otherwise!
Lots of Snacks + Drinks
You might not be eating, but your partner will be! Also, our hospital served me meals since we were there for 2 days, but my husband wasn’t included in the orders, so he needed food!
The hospital gives you a bottle to fill with water (you’ll want SOOOOO much ice!! ice cold water!) but again, nothing for your partner, so bring one for them to have!
Change of clothes
Your partner will definitely want a change of clothes too! My husband even used the shower of my room since we stayed multiple days (but he just steals all my toiletries lol).
Your hospital will require you have a safe carseat for your baby in order to leave the hospital! Make sure to have your base already installed in your car. And if you anticipate having a small baby like we did (he was 5 lbs!), also get any needed additions so they are safely in the car seat. We absolutely LOVE our doona car seat which is ALSO a stroller that folds up.
It made it SO easy for me since I couldn’t lift more than 10lbs weight after a c section, so I could still pop the carseat up into the stroller form to wheel him around, but if I needed to pick up a car seat to put in a stroller attachment, I would have had to totally rely on my husband! Seriously, one of the best gifts we got was our carseat the Doona, it is NOT just for travel, it’s an amazing car seat that you can use in any car easily without a base.
Going home outfit + swaddle
Add a swaddle for pics if you want too! I love these swaddles and sleepers from Solly Baby, they have the BEST fabric and material, they are sooo soft. And obviously love this sun swaddle! You don’t need a bunch of outfits for your baby while at the hospital, the hospital literally provides you EVERYTHING you need and even sends you home with a couple outfits and plenty of diapers and wipes.
I didn’t bring these and wish I had! I didn’t even know I needed these things, lol. But man, those little babies scratch themselves so easily! Their nails are razor sharp too! Like, it’s crazy they come out of you like that hahaha! So definitely consider packing a couple in your bag so your new baby doesn’t get scratches on their face. We absolutely love Goumi Kids for many things, including their baby mittens!
Too many outfits for you and baby
The hospital will provide the swaddles and you’ll be changing and feeding every hour so we just kept our baby swaddled the whole time and they have plenty! Aside from maybe your own photos, just keep it comfy and don’t bring too much for yourself.
Diapers & Wipes
The hospital will have more than you need! Don’t worry about bringing your own. They’ll send you home with some too!
Post partum underwear / pads etc
Again, the hospital has you covered! If you can, take extras from what they send you home with! Honestly, I thought their postpartum underwear was sooo comfortable, its disposable so it just made it sooo much easier. And it was high-waisted enough with a c-section incision which is still healing. Honestly, grab some extras of the post partum underwear they have, I found them SO comfy (atleast at my hospital here in Virginia! We were at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk). They honestly just provide everything you need for you and baby so you’ll be good to go! I totally didn’t need to pack my postpartum items, so save the space!
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