Preparing for the hospital is so exciting, because it is one of the final preparations before baby comes! If you’re having your first child, it’s hard to know what to include, so we hope these suggestions from personal experience give you an idea of what to pack in your hospital bag. I used a carry-on roller suitcase that Lolli gave me for Christmas to load up what we’d need for a few days away from home. There are all sorts of hospital bag checklists available, but after three deliveries, I’ve narrowed things down to what I actually brought and used:
Photo by Megan Lucas
Socks and Slippers
During labor and after delivery, you’ll be getting in and out of bed, so bring a pair or two of slip-on slippers that have some support (not flimsy hotel slippers) for walking and getting up and down frequently. I recommend slippers that are washable so that you can freshen them up once you’re home. I also packed several pairs of tube socks to keep my feet warm throughout my hospital stay. While we’re talking footwear, also remember to take a pair of flip flops with you for the shower.
The hospital provides you a gown upon check-in, but I prefer to bring my own. There are some brands that make labor and delivery gowns in cute patterns and colors. I wore a pink one with polka dots for the delivery of our baby girl, and it looked cuter in first photos than the generic hospital option.
I recommend packing a nursing pillow like the Boppy for your hospital stay. It’s not just useful as a prop for nursing a newborn, but it doubles as good back support or as a leg pillow in the hospital bed, too. There are several options for Boppy covers, and I chose a pink polka-dotted one for baby girl this time!
Nursing Bras and Pads
After delivery, it’s nursing time every couple hours, so you will need nursing bras (comfortable enough to sleep in) and nursing pads, as you adjust to breastfeeding a newborn. I like these nursing tanks, too, especially when paired with comfortable leggings or pajama pants.
A Favorite Robe
You may want a favorite robe from home or a cozy house coat for after showering or as an added layer. I packed this soft PajamaGram fleece zip-up, since my most recent delivery was in chilly January. A Turkish cotton robe is a more lightweight option, and it would be even cuter monogrammed!
While you can certainly wear the gown your hospital provides, I preferred some of my own nightgowns from home, which were more comfortable after delivery and functional for nursing. I packed several, like this cotton nightgown and this sleepshirt with buttons:
I actually didn’t bother with makeup while in the hospital, but many new mothers prefer to bring their cosmetics and products with them to feel as normal as possible postpartum. I do recommend packing your own comb or brush and hair dryer, and fill a cosmetic bag with your preferred shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush/toothpaste, lip balm, and favorite face products, as well as any vitamins, medications or other everyday essentials. I packed all toiletries and things in my monogrammed leather travel case set by Cuyana, a brand WHERE THE GENERATIONS MEET™.
Keep it Clean
In addition to toiletries, and if you’re a “germophobe” like me, you’ll want to pack some baby-safe hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for your hospital room and as visitors come in and out. Be sure to wipe down door knobs, bed trays and remote controls especially! We were glad we packed these and took extra precaution, since I delivered right in the middle of a horrible flu season.
Snacks and Supplements
Ironically, most hospitals don’t offer the best assortment of healthy food or snack options. That’s why I’m always sure to stash my favorite LemonZest Luna bars and an assortment of KIND bars in my hospital bag for quick snacks throughout the day and night. I learned by experience (and a few dizzy spells) that it’s important to remember your body needs some extra calories as you’re recovering from labor and beginning a nursing marathon!
One of the best memories from welcoming our baby girl was her two big brothers coming to meet her at the hospital! When Lolli brought the boys, they arrived in “Big Brother” scrubs and held “I’m the Big Brother” plush bears to greet their newborn sister. We gave them LEGO gifts from their sister with a note about how blessed she is to have siblings to love and look after her on life’s journey! Their LEGO sets also kept them entertained while hanging out in the hospital room for the afternoon. It was so sweet to see the boys in love with little Liza right away, and they continue to be such good “mama’s helpers” with the baby!
Nurse Swag Bag
We also prepared and packed gifts for the nurses and team of technicians who served us so well during our time in the maternity ward. I tied little bows onto pink Burt’s Bees, mini Vaseline, and Eos lip balms with an attached note on a “swag bag” asking all of our hospital heroes to take a “party favor” from Baby Liza and family on their way out! They were appreciative of the gesture, and it was a small way to share our thankfulness for what they do everyday.
You will need an outfit to wear when leaving the hospital, and it might as well be cute so that you feel as much like yourself as possible arriving home. While the baby’s been delivered, you will still fit into your maternity pants, and they’re usually the most comfortable postpartum option. Pair leggings, maternity jeans or pants with a crisp, white button-down shirt or tunic and add layers like a coat, cape or blazer as needed for the temperature that day. Your feet may be swollen, so also include some chic flats with flexibility like these Rothy’s to make the trip home in style. In warmer weather, heading home in a loose-fitting dress with sunglasses and sandals is perfect, too!
Baby’s Receiving Gown and Blanket
As you leave the hospital, you’ll also want to have a receiving gown and blanket for baby’s trip home! We dressed our baby girl in a Kissy Kissy convertible gown with a coordinating cap and receiving blanket (monogrammed, of course!) for the drive home. Convertible gowns are great for the newborn phase, as you can switch between a dress/gown and a onesie with leg snaps, which is needed for loading baby into the carseat and to allow for growing room! In colder weather, you may want to pack an extra stroller blanket as an added layer of warmth for baby’s ride home.
Infant Car Seat
Now, if you forget everything else, don’t forget to have an infant car seat and base installed and ready to take baby home! We used the Orbit car seat and stroller system with both boys and loved it, but this time we opted for the new Doona car seat/stroller, which is a stroller that folds into a car seat. What’s great about the Doona is you don’t have to keep a stroller base in your car trunk all the time! We had Hip Hip Hooray! make a custom cover (you guessed it..in pink!) for our Doona for the infant stage, so Liza rolled out of the hospital and into our home surrounded by soft, quilted cushioning and sweet floral embroidery.
Please share this post with anyone you think may find it helpful, and tag #lolliandme in any hospital bag pics of your own. Good luck, mamas! It’s worth everything when you get to bring that baby home.