If there was one thing that I looked up with every single pregnancy as I neared that 40 week mark, it was an ultimate hospital bag checklist. It’s amazing how those instincts just kick in to get things prepared for the baby coming any day and it’s also amazing how much you forget from one pregnancy to the next and have to do your research all over again! So, I thought I should write out my list while my youngest is still so little and since I went through it not too long ago.
“Hi, I’m Jessica and I’m an over-packer.“
It’s true. I’m just that kind of person who would rather have way too much than be left without something I could have used or have to find a way to go out and buy something I could have just packed but didn’t. I’m actually completely fine knowing that I’m an over-packer! Maybe it’s a peace of mind thing. Even if it doesn’t get used, I would rather just know I have it if the situation arises that I desperately need a vegetable peeler… okay, okay, maybe not a vegetable peeler. I’m not THAT bad, but you get the idea! And I firmly believe that as far as a hospital bag for labor and delivery goes, over packing is welcome!
*Tip: Have your bag packed no later than 37 weeks just in case.*
Every mom has their own list and favorite must-have items for the big stay and I’ve decided to share mine here too! All images have links to my recommended products for your convenience. So let’s get right to it!
My Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist
There is a reason I am putting this first on my list. Although it may sound like something simple, it is THE #1 thing I could not live without during labor and the hospital stay. I cannot emphasize this enough. When first time moms ask me my “must-haves” for my hospital bag, I always tell them “chapstick!” Your lips get so dry while you’re screaming bloody murder for hours on end. And then for days afterwards, that mix of recovering, nursing your baby non-stop and that cold, dry hospital room air… it just wreaks havoc on your lips! Trust me on this one and pick up some chapstick!
This means a birth plan (if you have one), insurance information or hospital intake forms they may have given you in advance.
- POSTPARTUM UNDERWEAR
I’m choosing to call Adult Diapers, Postpartum Underwear. Don’t argue with this. No one wants to call them Adult Diapers. But whatever you want to call them, they are an absolute necessity! A friend of mine who had her first baby about a month before I had my first baby, gave me this advice and said “don’t bother with anything else, just get yourself some Depends.” And guess what? I didn’t listen! WHY?! So, when I was preparing for labor with my second son, I thought back on her advice and decided that she may be right. And ya know… she totally was! I was kicking myself for not listening to her the first time around! It was just SO much more comfortable in the hospital after giving birth with these little gifts from God. I mean that’s where they would have to come from to make me feel so good after pushing a baby out of a hole that shouldn’t be big enough to push a human being out of… God. They came from God.
A couple of comfortable outfits for you, your significant other and at least one going home outfit for baby love. This includes what you plan on wearing during labor and make sure you don’t forget socks and underwear too!
- AIR MATTRESS
This one is not for you. This is for your hubby because you love him and he needs some sleep too! When Jack was born, Dave had to sleep on that pull out chair in the hospital room and he was so uncomfortable! I didn’t hear much complaining because he knew what I just went through…. Bless his heart. But I ended up scooting over in the hospital bed so he could come sleep next to me a little bit. Less than ideal in those beds but it was better than the alternative. With babies 2 and 3 I packed an additional suitcase with an air mattress, sheets and a comforter for him and it was a game-changer! I always wonder why they don’t ever mention that this is an option but it totally is and the nurses don’t mind at all! In my opinion, this should be a must-have on any ultimate hospital bag checklist.
- NON-PERISHABLE SNACKS AND DRINKS
My husband was particularly grateful for this one. My first labor was 22 hours long and he basically survived off of the food and drinks I packed. Some ideas include: beef jerky, peanut butter sandwich crackers, dried fruit, granola bars, trail mix, Gatorade, fruit cups, chips, juice boxes, etc.
- A FEW NURSING SLEEP BRAS/ NURSING NIGHTGOWNS
This means no underwire and ones you can wear comfortably while sleeping that won’t cause a clogged duct. If you are unfamiliar with clogged ducts… consider yourself lucky and you don’t want to find out. I recommend these ones because they come in a pack of 3, fit a range of sizes, affordable and fit well! I basically lived in these for the first few months and also labored in one because I never wanted to be completely naked under the hospital gown. Nursing Nightgowns are also a great option and I loved having thesefor the first few weeks after each baby arrived.
- HAIR TIES/ HEADBANDS
Don’t be caught without them!
- A COMFY ROBE
I love this Emmaline Robe from Kindred Bravely. It’s SO silky soft and not too hot. Great quality and works just as well with a pregnant belly as it does postpartum! I still wear this Robe and love it. It’s nice to have at the hospital if you have visitors and need some modesty or to just lounge around in instead of the hospital gowns.
- YOUR OWN PILLOWS
I found it much more comfortable to have my own pillow from home for me and the hubby. Just make sure you put your Star Wars, Tie-Dye, Chris Hemsworth (swoon) or whatever patterned/colorful pillowcases on them so you can easily tell the difference between yours and the hospital pillows.
- CELL PHONE AND PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER/ POWER BANK
With all of the photos you’ll be taking, texting, phone calls, and Facetime you’ll be doing with family and friends after you’re fresh and tiny human arrives, you’re going to need to charge your phone… a lot… and you’re not going to want to ask your significant other over and over again to plug your phone in across the room and then ask him to give it back to you 5 minutes later when your baby does the same thing but in a different position and you need to take another hundred photos to document. These things are really handy for charging your phone right in your hospital bed!
- NURSING PADS AND NIPPLE CREAM
You might not need the nursing pads in the hospital but if your milk comes in before you’re discharged, you definitely will. Nipple Cream might just be a life-saver, especially if you’re having a rough start with breastfeeding. Trust me, you will have a couple of thankful ladies.
You know- Toothbrushes, toothpaste, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, hairdryer, soap, makeup, makeup remover wipes/ face wash, deodorants, and DRY SHAMPOO. We love our dry shampoo don’t we Moms?! Also, smaller versions of these things are good if possible.
I hated walking on the cold, yucky hospital floors and I adore these super soft and comfy slippers. My parents got these for my birthday right before I had Claire and I actually forgot them at the hospital! I was SO bummed but they were so kind and bought me another pair. Too sweet! So, pack some slippers but just make sure you don’t leave them behind like I did.
- NURSING PILLOW
I’m a big fan of the Boppy Pillow. I practically can’t nurse without it.
- CASH OR CHANGE
There is always a vending machine in a labor and delivery unit and it’s always nice to have the option to get something from it!
- CAR SEAT
Please don’t forget the car seat! The best idea is to just have it already installed in the car you know you’ll be taking to the hospital, but if you can’t for some reason, just keep it with your hospital bag. This car seat is the one I’ve used for all three kids! Yes! It’s really lasted a long time. It’s super easy to wash, comes in different colors and lightweight which is HUGE! I recommend getting it together with the jogger stroller because the seat snaps in easily and its just an incredibly affordable bundle. You don’t need a super expensive stroller and car seat. These have served me so well and stood the test of time… and kids.
I hope this list helps you as well as it helped me and best wishes bringing your little blessing into this world! You can do this!
So, what do you think of my Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist? What would you add to yours? Any absolute must-haves that you loved? I want to hear about them in the comments below and thanks for reading!