Hospital Bag for Mom-to-Be

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You’re getting ready for your big day and you may assume that the hospital or delivery ward will have everything you need, like a hotel – shampoo, food, sheets. And maybe they will. But, the shampoo might dry out your hair, the food might be bland, and the sheets might feel like paper. Having essentials from home makes your stay more comfortable. This article discusses items to pack in your hospital bag for mom-to-be.

Have your bag packed and ready to go by 36 weeks, ’cause well, ya never know! 🙂

Here are 11 must-haves (and 3 extra lil’ somethings) for your hospital bag.

1. Birthing Preferences

If you have birthing preferences, it is extremely important to bring them with you. Bring extra copies for you, your doctor, your doula, the nurses, the anesthesiologist, etc.

Not sure what to include on your birth preferences? Feel free to use this free template.

2. Snacks

Hospitals have food, right? Right. But they aren’t very diet-friendly. They might not feed your partner, either. Our hospital only offered me three meals a day – I couldn’t even buy meals for my husband. (Trust me, I offered). When he went to see what the cafeteria had to offer, he was surprised by the lack of nutritious options. He returned to the recovery room with chips and hummus – no fruit cups or smoothies or pre-made salads. Hmmmmm. 

Having high-calorie, nutritious snacks will help to keep you full and energized during and after birth. Take something you know you enjoy. I packed nuts, coconut water, and iced raspberry leaf tea.

Don’t feel guilty about eating chips and cookies, but also don’t worry about packing them – the hospital will provide.

3. Water bottle

You will need LOTS of water while you are in labor and recovery. Hospitals provide an endless supply of water, but you may want to bring your own container. Pack your Hydroflask to ensure your water stays cool and you don’t have to drink out of plastic or styrofoam cups.

4. Pillows

I planned to pack pillows, and thank goodness I did. They were perfect for nursing baby. She even slept on one, cozied up in my arm through the night. (No, the hospital didn’t like it, but I did it anyway…)

Having our own pillows helped to make the extended, unexpected stay more comfortable. My husband was able to use one for sleep instead of having to use the hospital pillows, which feel like thin paper.

5. Blanket 

Before leaving for the hospital, I had been snuggling with a blanket all day. I carried it to the car with me and it made its way into the labor/delivery room. It smelled like home and felt like home, making my experience all the more comfortable.

Along with the pillows, the blanket from home allowed my husband to sleep soundly on the couch next to me. 

6. Socks/Slippers

I never expected our hospital room to be cold – it was FRIGID. I guess they thought since it was 95 outside, it should be 55 inside. It was not pleasant at all. I mentioned how cold I was several times, but the hospital staff never offered to adjust the temperature. 

For some reason, I had packed my favorite wool socks – in the heat of the summer. I was so happy when my husband pulled them out of the bag while I was in labor. They helped a little, but I could have desperately used a hoodie. 

Slippers are also beneficial, since most hospitals require you to wear shoes while roaming the halls. My dad gifted some hotel slippers to me, which I wore with my wool socks to pace the birthing unit, waiting patiently on baby girl.

7. Portable speaker/music

I thought I would use this a lot more. My husband and I made a birthing playlist in the weeks leading up to delivery day, but we only listened to about 15 minutes of it. This goes to show how you never know what your mood will be while in labor.

I’m glad I had it just in case. I think if we had gotten to the hospital sooner, prior to me being 6cm, then we would have jammed to our favorite tunes while bouncing around the room. 

8. Nursing essentials

If you plan to breastfeed, pack a nursing bra, nursing top, or both. As soon as I showered, I slipped on my softest nursing dress. It was perfect for easy access, since baby was nursing 24/7.

Don’t forget your other nursing essentials. Especially your nipple cream.

9. Comfortable, loose clothing (in case of cesarean)

Before having a cesarean, I hadn’t considered what kind of clothing to pack for having one. The nursing dress I packed was perfect because it was loose-fitting and didn’t put any pressure on my incision. 

The idea of wearing anything with an elastic band – yoga pants, sweat pants, underwear, etc – seemed extremely uncomfortable. I wore hospital underwear for a week after my surgery.

Even if you don’t have a cesarean, the chances of fitting into your pre-pregnancy clothes right away are slim to none.

10. Toiletries

Who knows how long you’ll be at the hospital – baby could have jaundice, mom could have complications, dad could pass-out 😉 – you want to have your personal care products. 

11. Pads

The hospital provides thick pads to wear with your oversized hospital underwear, but if you have a preference, load up on them and bring them with you! I really like these because they are organic, super thin, and super absorbent.

3 Lil’ Somethings Extra:

Something special: newborn onesie to help remind you of what you’re working so hard for

Something fun: loopty-loop straws to keep you silly, excited, and relaxed

Something extra: salt lamp for the perfect birth lighting (also great for middle-of-the night feeds)

What did you pack in your hospital bag? What did you wish you had packed? Tell me in the comments below.

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