labor + delivery hospital bag essentials

01 June 2017

Let's just rename the blog, "Camp Hospital Bag Checklist" because how many of these am I going to pen? Well, I don't know. I'm a lover of lists (but not more than Simon - he REALLY loves lists) and checking things off lists and Simon suggested that maybe I pack a hospital bag the other night and so - here I am. Bringing you along for the ride. Again.

Giddy Up.

Alright, I like to break this down into two different bags. One bag that you bring in when you initially check in that contains the immediate essentials (so think like a big purse or tote or maybe even your diaper bag that looks like a purse) you'll need during your delivery. Leave the rolly suitcases in the car and bust those out in your recovery/postpartum room. Not that I'd know anything about this but I don't imagine checking in with a suitcase fit for European travel only to be sent home because you're not technically in labor? Not fun.

So, first bags first.

1. bag (duh) and birth plan - (I like to laminate mine but - personal preference!)

2. electronics:
portable charger/battery - this one in particular kept my laptop and both of our phones charged for a five day trip recently and is well worth the money so that you don't have to wrestle with short cords/finding outlets etc etc etc.
+ camera
+ computer/iPad/something - Simon and I have always had time to watch some shows (thank you epidural) but maybe you'd enjoy some light reading? I don't know - but I'm always happy to have my laptop along for the ride.

3. the obvious wallet/insurance card etc -- I'm sure you're on the ball and pre-registered but in the event that you didn't ... make sure to have this stuff at the ready or you'll be kicked out. No, you won't. But, it will speed up the process. I think.

4. nursing bra - I never have to foresight to put one of these on and am awkwardly wrestling with a non-nursing variety but I'm thinking one of those sleeping nursing bras will make all the convenient difference this time around. Right?

5. Chapstick/lip balm - my lips always get dry. I don't know why.

Bag numero dos (rolly suitcases 1/2 off today if you're in the market!):

6. stretchy swaddle (2) my super talented friend Nell recently started making the best, biggest, stretchiest swaddles in all of the baby gear land. I used to be a big muslin swaddle fan but once you go stretchy - you don't go back. At least I don't. One of the reasons I can't wait to find out if this baby is a boy or girl is so that I can order from her newest inventory of patterns. She has the best eye. edited to add! Score 15% off any swaddles with code: grace15! go go go ! ! !

7. nursing tank/bra - I'm not an expert here and have always just worn the basic Target tanks but I'm going the slightly nicer route this time around so we'll see if there's a big difference.

8. toiletries (especially chapstick/lip balm - another favorite) - just bring them all. I like to collect samples (one of my many varied and cultured hobbies) and throw those in my bag so I'm not juggling full size bottles galore. I like to take advantage of the shower with only one child to worry about but I always assume the quarters are going to be more spartan dorm room rather than luxury hotel and I generally assume right. BYOBottles of shampoo/conditioner/soap etc etc etc.

9. leggings - I'm trying these for the first time ever and I'm a LOT more excited than I should be about dedicated postpartum leggings.

10. going home outfit - Or two. For the baby. Maybe it's just my luck but it feels like sometimes it takes an eternity to get all of your paperwork in order to leave the hospital and odds aren't bad that your new little bundle of joy will soil the first outfit by way of a blowout or projectile spit up - or maybe that's just Patton babies? I'm bringing a couple of these sleepers but hope they aren't too hot for Florida in June.

11. cardigan/robe - I'm always freezing and I've found a sweater or robe over a nursing tank is the best immediate postpartum uniform around. Although, if you want to stay gowned up - go right ahead. I've always had great luck finding super soft open/longish cardigans at Forever 21 of all places.

12. pacifiers galore - the baby-friendly hospitals don't offer these (unless you ask, I think) and lots of people say to wait two weeks but sometimes the baby just needs to suck and you need to take that well-deserved shower and the baby-friendly hospital doesn't have a nursery and so - hello pacifiers. I like to bring a variety. I'm one for five on pacifier lovers SO I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to it (not a pacifier expert).

13. nipple shield - these has saved me every single time. Hospitals have them but it's not a bad idea to bring your own in case your nurse is super busy or you get charged $60 for a $4 piece of plastic.

Actual photo of me laying things out to pack. Not pictured: birds chirping and harmonizing outside the open windows with whatever ditty I'm whistling to myself.

+ your own pillow(s). I saw a new mom loading up not one but two pregnancy pillows after being discharged from the hospital the other day while I was there for an appointment. No shame - do it up if you need to.

+ your own snacks - I've always lucked out with great cafeteria food but I know that's not always the case so ... it doesn't hurt to be prepared.

+ a Boppy or similar nursing pillow - for you and any siblings that might need a little extra help when holding the baby

Alright. I think that's it. I think. I know there are rare cases where people do live hours from the hospital but if you forget something essential - I'm sure someone will be happy to trot on home to retrieve it for you.

Happy packing/birthing!!!


  1. Great list! I would only add slippers, sandals, or comfy socks depending on your footwear preference :)

  2. I love this! Wish I would have thought to pack a smaller "pre-game" bag, that is a genius idea. I always just have my husband bring in the giant bag after we are sure we are staying but your idea makes way more sense. I would add that with my last two deliveries I brought foam ear plugs and a sleep mask for blocking out loud hospital noises and lights. The hospital I deliver at has a nursery and you better believe if someone offers to watch my newborn sleep and let me rest in peace for 2-3 hours during the night, I am going to take advantage of it!! Even though I've nursed all of mine, I still like to get a little shut eye if it's available and we all know that the real fun begins when you get home to your other kiddos with your sweet new bundle in tow ;)

  3. You always have the best hospital bag posts! Thanks so much for the love!

  4. Love it, Grace!! Have been thinking about you and praying for your delivery!! Xoxo

  5. The birth plan tho... oh Im so glad I clicked, good one.

  6. Prayers for a safe delivery!!!! And black leggings look perfect for postpartum, I'm in the awkward 16 weeks stage and am guilt of over wearing my black leggings.

  7. I'm a pillow-bringer. I never ever thought I'd be a bring-my-own-pillow-places person but now I sleep with a memory foam pillow and when I don't have it I'm up all night with various neck pains. So if you're attached to your pillow, cart it along because hospital pillows are the pits.

  8. Due on the 22nd of this month with baby #4, thanks for the reminder to get a bag ready! The thought hadn't crossed my mind yet...many prayers for a safe and healthy delivery, baby and mamma! Please keep us in your prayers, as well!

  9. All great suggestions. I actually used my boppy as a neck pillow, so I could sleep with the head of the bed upright and crane my neck to check on chirping from the bassinet.
    Not mentioned: room in your bag to make off with as many mesh undies and newborn diapers as you can get your mitts on. Best of luck for a blissful 6th birth.

  10. Sleep Nursing bra! Yes! I just recommended this as a MUST to a friend due a month after me-I loved mine the first two times around and already bought 3 for this go...

  11. Two bags! Yes! Just had my fifth baby, and totally got sent home the first time I went to the hospital. After so many babies you'd think I'd know...Also, yes to bringing sleep nursing bra, pillow (they have the worst!), and pacifiers! We learned the hard way on pacifiers--with our first they had them at the hospital, but our second they were all of a sudden my husband drove home to get one at like 2 am when our baby was screaming. Interested to see how you like those leggings- I ordered those and also the high waisted Zellas, and ended up keeping the Zella's. Can't wait to find out what you are having!

  12. My baby friendly hospital WOULD NOT provide me a pacifier. Even as a second time mom, who nursed the first baby 14 months, wanted to exclusively nurse the new one...No go. They only thing they would do is send lactation in to "help with my frustration (at being used as a pacifier resulting in bloody boobs) So I smiled very sweetly and sent my husband to the grocery store to buy me some.

  13. I was hoping you'd do another list! I'm about a week behind you (#2) and have been desperately searching for better nursing bras/camis...I'm going to give these a try! Prayers for a smooth delivery!

  14. Lol birth plan. My sixth is due August. Going to print a copy of this.

  15. Ah, the birth plan- same as mine ;) I'd better get my act together & pack...thanks for the nudge!

  16. I wish I had this list before I gave birth to my little guy last month. Definitely agree that these are all must haves!

  17. What were your thoughts on the postpartum leggings? Worth the cost?

  18. What were your thoughts on the postpartum leggings? Worth the cost?



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