Hospital Bag Must-Haves?

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] everyone! I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my first, and I’m a bit clueless as to what to pack for the hospital for when the time comes (midwife and hospital both recommend having the bag ready at 32-34 weeks just in case, so I’m starting to purchase things I don’t have yet and/or round up the things I do have).

As far as I know, my hospital only provides the bare basics and I have to bring/supply just about everything myself, and I’m a planner so I don’t want to forget anything :joy:.

What items did you find you absolutely needed or wish you had for your hospital stay for Labour and Delivery? I was told to expect S/O and I to have to stay overnight for at least one night (newborn tests are done when baby is 24 hours old), so we’re trying to figure out what the three of us will need.

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Clothes - only pack comfy! Some people think they’re gonna get dressed up to leave or something, but trust me, you won’t want to, and my best advice is pack shorts and t-shirts and also bring a sweatshirt. [name_f]My[/name_f] hospital would go from super freezing to sweltering hot constantly.
Phone chargers - extra long ones if you can! Sometimes the outlet is far away from the hospital bed or behind a chair or something
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Deodorant
[name_f]My[/name_f] hospital provided shampoo and body wash but if you want something specific then bring your own
Hairbrush and hair ties or clips - you will definitely want an easy way to get your hair out of your face, especially during labor and delivery
Chapstick!!
Grippy socks - not a necessity, the hospital will provide them to you but I preferred the ones I brought, you can get them off Amazon
Nursing bras if you’re planning on nursing or pumping
Nursing bra pads
Boppy if you’re planning on nursing! Makes it so much more comfortable, especially while you and baby are just learning
Any medication your SO might need, just basics like Tylenol or tums, the hospital cannot provide any treatment to someone who’s not a patient
Your insurance card and any paperwork you’ve been given that needs to be brought with you
Your birth plan - some people don’t make one, but I do recommend it, even if it’s just a few basic bullet points

For baby you really don’t NEED anything besides one outfit for going home and their car seat (which should just be installed in your car) but of course most people are excited to start dressing up their little cutie so you can bring a few outfits but try not to overdo it, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time doing skin to skin anyway

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Oooh, I didn’t even think of Tylenol or Tums for S/O! Lol he’ll almost definitely end up needing them too if I didn’t bring them :joy: Thank you!! Also adding grippy socks to my list!

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Yes! I am prone to headaches and stomach issues, especially during stressful situations so we made sure we packed a whole pharmacy basically lol also if either of you have any daily meds you have to take then make sure you don’t forget them, and I forgot to mention you should pack your prenatal vitamins! You need to keep taking them for a few weeks after birth.

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I’d check and see if your hospital has any rules about medications. At the one I delivered at, I was not allowed to bring any medicine at all. [name_f]My[/name_f] medication list was in my e-chart and anything else, like Tylenol, I had to be given by them. It was a safety thing plus that way the nurses knew exactly what was taken and when.

I’d also double-check on what they provide for [name_u]Baby[/name_u]. Each place is different but ours did provide diapers, wipes, nose sucker…that kind of thing. We got to take it all home, too!

[name_f]My[/name_f] favorites to bring:

Loose clothing: I lived in the gown for the first day but it felt sooo nice to be in people clothes again! I’m glad I packed baggy sweatpants because I needed a c-section, so it didn’t hurt the incision.

Belly binder: I didn’t bring this actually but all of my friends recommended it. You can find them on amazon or insurance may cover it. I’m going to look into it if we have another.

Blankets: good for you and your s/o! Hospital blankets are thin… don’t bring your whole bed set but a warm, fuzzy throw blanket can be comforting!

[name_m]Long[/name_m] phone chargers.
Snacks.
Nursing bra, if you plan to try.
A going home outfit for baby.

That’s really it for me. [name_f]My[/name_f] hospital provided a lot.

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If there’s anyone you know who birthed at your hospital I’d use them to find out exactly what is there or maybe even ask your midwife…. I way overpacked with my first!

Some Notes from my experiences:

-diapers and wipes- at my hospital the nurses literally tell you to take every package of diapers and wipes they put in your room. So packig these was pointless. Additionally they also oversupplied me with witch hazel, socks, ice packs, Anti itch spray…… but maybe all things to consider if you aren’t given these.

  • baby wash if you’re planning to have them bathe your baby while there. With my first two they asked if I had my own or if I was ok with what they used. Third I passed on the bath.

  • phone chargers a must!

-camera- I had an unplanned c-section with my first. Keyword “unplanned”. So what was awesome was the anesthesiologist offering to take pictures of our experience.

-snacks- one thing we were told to bring from someone who birthed elsewhere. Turns out our hospital supplied these with the first two in abundance and the snacks we brought were a waste BUT then with covid durig our third the hospital shelves were empty on this route and my husband was STARVING!!!

-Nipple Shield- a lifesaver at nursing my firstborn!

  • packed make up, special pillows, prenatal with my first all went untouched. For nursing, I just used an extra hospital pillow for support. The hospital actually supplied me with prenatal daily. Also untouched we’re pacifiers as the hospital lactation consultants advised against them for the first month of nursing.

-clothes for all weather temperatures for baby! My last baby was born in the summer but our hospital bed was directly under the fan so our two days there he was dressed for winter but then had a typical summer baby outfit to leave in! And maybe throw in a favorite newborn outfit. With my first the hospital had a baby photographer going around doing newborn pictures and I was thrilled that family had stopped by with an assortment of clothes to pick from by this point.

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Definitely plenty of socks, underwear & loose t-shirts / clothing. Maybe a dressing gown. Some headphones if you want to listen to some calming music. Maybe a refillable water / drinks bottle with a straw to sip easily. Also I’d suggest packing some postpartum pads (maybe the ones that fit better with wings), as I remember the ones they provided at the hospital being uncomfortable. Can’t think of anything else right now that hasn’t already been mentioned by others, but I’ll pop back if I do! Exciting times for you! :blush:

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This is what popped into my head first too - sometimes I was sweating and sometimes I was freezing, so bringing something to wear over a t-shirt to keep you warm if needed is a good idea (my wife ended up bringing me woollen socks and a jumper half way through my hospital stay).

I found having a simple written down (two sides of an A4) birth plan helpful - it was a list of my preferences, like in what order I preferred to try out different pain relief methods, what I wanted to happen in case of a c-section (I ended up having one!), wanting to try breastfeeding etc. I was in labour a long time and had a lot of different care providers during that time, so being able to hand them a list rather than having to explain everything over and over again was useful.

Being in a hospital included a lot of waiting around so having something to distract me like music / podcasts / shows on my phone pre-downloaded came in handy. (Hospital wifi isn’t always the best so wouldn’t rely on it for streaming).

Also definitely snacks! [name_f]My[/name_f] antenatal class recommend snacks that make you feel good and happy (those endorphins are great for labouring) plus some that give you energy (like nuts for protein) - I actually ended up relying on those snacks after birth rather than before/during but was happy to have them.

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Also just want to point out, you should ask your hospital for exactly what they will provide for you. Our hospital was amazing (actually voted “best place to have a baby” in our state) and provided a ton of food and drinks (like literally ended up throwing away so much food when we left because we couldn’t eat it all), a ton of toiletries, socks, postpartum care things, stuff for baby, etc. But I’ve also heard horror stories of people showing up to the hospital without important things because they were assuming the hospital would provide it and they didn’t. We did a virtual tour of our hospital and they provided us a detailed list of what they have versus what you need to bring.

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I second the suggestion of taking a tour of your hospital to get a better idea of what to expect. But even then sometimes it depends on the nurse/ staff on the night you give birth.

For me the most important thing was several pairs of comfy clothes (that you don’t mind getting a little stained or bloody). And i prefer the depends adult diapers than the diaries or pads the hospital provides personally. Also a water bottle if your hospital doesn’t provide one. I was so thirsty after and during both labors. And snacks for after labor (or during if your hospital allows for it) and books/ music/ipad something to keep you entertained. Plus a camera and all the chargers

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The others have given some good advice already, and you should definitely check with your hospital what they provide, but these are the things that come to mind:

  • food for you and SO, more specifically snacks. Bananas are my favorite antenatal snack :joy:
  • if you’re having a water birth, don’t forget to bring swimming clothes and a towel for your SO
  • I know the others have said it, but: socks, and loose fitting clothes. Don’t bring any “clothes that look decent for when visitors come”, because they’re no use :sweat_smile: And be prepared for all kinds of temperatures
  • if you plan on breastfeeding and you expect people to come and visit: something to cover yourself and baby a little while breastfeeding. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for breastfeeding in public and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but if you’ve just given birth, that little bit of privacy can mean a lot
  • for baby: tiny mittens so they don’t scratch themselves (if the hospital doesn’t provide these) and something warm to wrap them in when you take them home
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Highly recommend an extension cord. I was charging my phone and laptop, so this really helped!

I brought a little nail file for baby, but she didn’t need it. Still glad I had it tho!

One thing I wish I brought was a dishwashing sponge! [name_f]My[/name_f] hospital provided a pump while I was there (not to take home) and the parts. However, I needed to clean the parts after use! They provided dishwashing soap, but I had to use paper towel as a sponge :face_with_diagonal_mouth:

Lastly, flip flops or sandals for taking a shower :blush: Speaking of shower, your own shampoo, conditioner, and face wash, plus if you want, razor and shaving cream for underarm touch up.

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This reminded me of shower stuff!

I got the travel-sized shampoo and conditioner bottles and then a travel kit that came with soap, a razor, a toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. It was from Walmart and was absolutely one of my favorite purchases!

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Thanks everyone! Unfortunately my hospital still has COVID protocols in place (not unfortunate for when baby arrives, but unfortunate for everything leading up to his arrival!) so tours aren’t an option at the moment, sadly. I know roughly where in the hospital I’ll be having him, but the building is basically completely new to me, as it’s not my local hospital (due to access/demand for prenatal care, I had to go outside of my area to find care and therefore, a new hospital).

To my knowledge, the protocols also mean they don’t provide hardly anything anymore (have to double check with my midwife, but the hospital did say to bring my own nursing pads, newborn diapers, wipes, clothes for baby, blankets (unless I want to pay for one of theirs), pads, etc., so I’m basically planning to just need everything :sweat_smile:

@namergirl3 - I believe they provide my meds but not anything for S/O, so anything I bring would be for him. He does have daily medications but we can figure something out for those if they don’t allow him to have them in the room. I didn’t think about the snot sucker or belly binder though! Lol I have a snot sucker on my registry for my shower so I’ll hold off on purchasing one just yet (my shower is when I’m 33 weeks so I’ll still have time to get one if not).

@Alix2016 - unfortunately no one I know has given birth at my hospital within the last decade (the only person I know had her youngest 19 years ago there, so I imagine things have changed somewhat!), so that’s not an option :confused: I was going to try and follow up with my midwife, but honestly, I’m not worried as much about overpacking as I am about not having something and needing it, as the hospital is about 35 minutes from home :sweat_smile: I do have a few long sleeve outfits packed for him, but I should probably pack a romper or something, as late August/early [name_u]September[/name_u] can still be quite warm here! I remember starting the first day of school in shorts and tank tops more than once :joy:

@louC - thank you! definitely adding headphones for me and waterbottles for each of us to our list!

@Luminen - I have one of my own blankets packed as well as sweatpants, pj shorts and a nightgown, but not sure I have any sweatshirts that’ll fit - may have to invest in one :joy: (being heavily pregnant in the summer, I didn’t think to buy any!). I do have a birth plan as well, it’s very basic but I’ll make sure I pack it! S/O also has it typed out in his phone in case we need it! And yes! [name_f]My[/name_f] SIL did tell me to bring snacks - she relied on almonds and little cartons of orange juice after delivery :joy:

@Emarkulics [name_f]My[/name_f] hospital has a short video explaining what to bring, and it’s a lot of things I’ve been told by people who’ve given birth at other hospitals had supplied for them (like diapers, postpartum underwear, wipes, etc.), so I’m not sure if anything is provided? I know during COVID for a while, no hospitals were providing extras. I’m going to double check with my midwife, but I’m going in prepared to need to supply everything myself! :joy:

@LibelluleClaire - I’ve been told the depends are the best! Lol I’m stocking up on those!

@Rosebeth - [name_f]My[/name_f] mum actually has made me some really lovely blankets and nursing covers, so I did pack those! I’m also all for public feeding, buuuut maybe not when my in laws are walking in (more uncomfortable for me than anything!). I have a set of scratch mittens so I’ll make sure I add those in too!

@Elle1 - Ooh, maybe I should bring my own pump then? :joy: I have one, so it might be easier for me to bring it and have my midwife teach me how to use that one rather than learn the hospital one and then get home and not have a clue. I did pack all the toiletries for a shower - my SIL said after some rest all she wanted was a shower before she went home, and I’m sure I’ll be the same :joy:

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Honestly how exciting I remember packing my hospital bag and thinking oh my days is this actually happening for me packing the bag was proper this actually happening moment

What I would bring next time round (learnt from my mistakes with Lils)/ what I did bring…

  • clothes (comfy loose clothes think nightwear, leggings, dressing gown, grippy socks/slippers and hoodies) and clothes for bubba I packed for [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] just babygros and hats

  • maternity bras even if your not breastfeeding (I didn’t) they are the most comfy and you just want comfort. Also pants (think [name_f]Bridget[/name_f] [name_m]Jones[/name_m] pants) I would buy pants a couple of sizes bigger than your usual size so you can use maternity pads with ease.

  • If your not breastfeeding bring formula I brought formula with me so glad I did as my hospital do not really supply formula unless something goes wrong (like the mum can’t breastfeed due to infection etc) so glad I brought that.

  • Perineal Bottle if your having a vaginal delivery they work wonders for the first few days/weeks after birth

  • towels and blankets

  • hairbrush, toothbrush, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, deodorant and any other products you use to make you feel more you for me it was [name_f]Nivea[/name_f] lip balm that has the pearly shine and mascara. I even brought hair straighteners just so I felt more like me.

  • snacks for me snacks with that sugar kick were the way forward haribo etc but also snacks that release energy slowly like bananas

  • technology; phone, chargers ideally with a long cord, camera, maybe iPads or tablets

  • I brought playing cards so me and [name_u]Joseph[/name_u] could play cards whilst waiting for my c section which felt like forever. Playing cards kept me calm.

  • medication for both you and your birthing partner including painkillers or any other tablets you guys use regularly for me it was indigestion tablets just think about medication. [name_f]My[/name_f] partner ran out of insulin (he’s a type 1 diabetic) despite being in a hospital trying to get him insulin was beyond a nightmare. Essentially I wish we packed more carefully surrounding medication.

  • car seat

[name_f]Hope[/name_f] this helps

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Covid protocols can change everything around unfortunately. I will say speaking from experience with my third one protocol we had that I would check in your situation as your planning what to pack is…… “Will they let you run back out to your car for anything?”

[name_f]My[/name_f] third was born in the summer of 2020. And one protocol they had was once you (enter the building you are not allowed to leave again for ANY reason and this included running out to the car. So basically anything we packed had to be carried in when we came in that first time including the carseat. And this even included after baby was born. Thankfully I think 2 years later they’ve relaxed that one but where you say your place has protocols I would really hate for you to find out you had that one place after the fact.

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I did look into that, I’m allowed 4 visitors/support partners due to staying overnight (mandatory overnight stay for births, lol) and and one of them is allowed to go to the car and back.

an update: I found the list from my hospital and I literally have to provide everything, including my own Kleenex/facial tissues and it says to bring a large t-shirt for during labour :thinking:

I think i might be different to other people but i really preferred to pack as lightly as possible. [name_f]My[/name_f] focus was our new baby and I didn’t want to have to keep track of all my belongings. And anything I “might need just in case” i thought i could make do for a couple of days or have someone bring in later.

*Pjs & underwear for me (and a change or two for partner)

*basic toiletries, pads. (Breast pads not needed if you are only there for 3 or 4 days)

*nipple cream (if breastfeeding or bottle and formula set.)

*Couple of clothes for baby coming home. (Mostly stays in a nappy and singlet and swaddled up)

*wallet, phone, charger, documents.

*nappies and wipes (if the hospital doesn’t provide)

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So many great suggestions above. I want to add bring a pair of wireless headphones with you. Depending on the type of birth your planning, these really help you get in the zone whether you put on some calming music, a meditation or something to dance to! You can tune out some of the hospital business and really focus inwards, I personally preferred them to a speaker. If you can get water resistant ones you can wear them in the birth pool too!

Speaking of which great to have a few spare copies of your birth preferences/plan ready in there too. It’s great to be able to have everything on a page to hand over to someone who may not know you, saves you from coming out of your labour zone and your partner explaining over and over again.

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