One of the most common questions we see posted on the internet is “What should I pack in my hospital bag?” Whether you’re having an induction or are planning to go into labor spontaneously, you might be wondering the same!
Often, our suggestion is to pack a bag for labor and a bag for the hospital stay post-birth.
This is not a comprehensive list for your bag, and a lot of these suggestions are personal opinions, but here are some things I think are often useful during labor or immediately after to pack in your hospital bag. (We have written about this topic previously, but have gone back and edited/added/removed some things.)
Things for the birther:
Favorite pillow- I’m a well-known pillow snob, and I come by it rightly. My parents are pillow snobs, too. So, for me, MY pillow is the ONLY pillow that’s good enough to sleep on, rest on, or snuggle with. Plus, sometimes the hospital has a pillow shortage. I’m not even kidding. In many of our local L&D departments, you either have a million pillows or none. There is no in-between.
Hair ties- or headbands, or bobby pins. Whatever you use to get your hair up and out of your face.
Chapstick- for the dryness on your lips after all of those amazing inhales through your nose and exhales out of your mouth. In all seriousness, your lips to get chapped after deep breaths and during pushing.
Labor clothes- this is really a personal preference. Some clients don’t like the idea of wearing a hospital gown, so they will wear something of their own (either a pretty hospital gown they have purchased or some ensemble of their own. Several of our clients have worn roll-over skirts and sports bras.) If you decide to bring your labor clothes, be sure it is something you don’t mind throwing away. Birth is normal, but can be messy business.
Sports bra- or swimsuit top or something that covers your top if you aren’t comfortable going au naturel up top while in the shower or tub. (Most clients “throw their bras in the air like they just don’t care” by that point. But, you know yourself.)
Socks- something to wear around the hospital room or if your feet get cold. I’m, personally, not a sock person, so I’m a fan of flip-flops instead. Whatever you do, bring something to wear on your feet.
Robe- again, this is a personal preference. I didn’t mind wearing the hospital gown but threw on my robe over it so I could walk the halls without my beautiful bodacious behind flapping in the wind. Plus, it came in super handy after the baby was born for visitors. Another option is to just wear a second hospital gown backward as a robe.
Misc. Toiletries- Toothbrush, toothpaste, contact/glasses stuff. The hospital will have some sort of soap to wash with, but will likely be an all-purpose cleanser.
Honey sticks- You can find them on Amazon here. I’ve also seen them sold individually at Sprouts. These sticks of awesomeness can give you that little “pick up” when you can’t handle much on your stomach.
Heating pad- You can pack your own, or have one fashioned at the hospital. They also make really neat portable ones, now!
Water bottle- you can always get a styrofoam cup with hospital ice (It is a thing. Google it.) and water, but sometimes you just want your container.
Snacks- For you and your support people. Birth happens at all hours, including the hours when food options are sparse. Pack a few snacks for labor and for your postpartum stay!
Nursing pillow- A lot of people will just use pillows folded up, etc. But, often a nursing pillow is easier to manipulate while semi-reclining during the period right after birth. (then, again, if you’re attempting to try this breastfeeding technique, you won’t use pillows at all!)
Bottles- if you’re planning to bottle feed and want to use your own.
Things for Partner:
Snacks, drinks, etc.- You will get hungry.
Coffee or money for coffee- often, spontaneous labor happens in the wee hours. I would suggest packing your own in a thermos or via packets, etc. Our local hospitals have windows of time where the only coffee available is the nurse’s station coffee. While I love our nurses, and I am so grateful when they share, I’m not a fan of how their break room coffee tastes.
Pillow- again, only if you’re a pillow snob like me, or you are worried about a pillow shortage- the struggle is real.
Sweatshirt- people in labor often get really hot. That usually means turning down the thermostat. It can sometimes get a bit chilly for the non-pregnant people in the room. Especially at 3 am.
Camera or video camera
Phone chargers- both of them. Your partner may not remember to bring theirs, so you’re in charge of both. Phones are usually one of the first electronic things used when a baby is born, so you want to make sure it is charged and ready to go! You may want to consider investing a few dollars in one that has a longer cord, too!
Change of clothes- labor can take a while, especially the first time. Having a change of clothes goes a long way to feeling “refreshed” even when you may not be very “refreshed”.
Bathing suit- if you’re planning to get in the shower or tub with your partner, this is a good thing to throw in the bag.
Toiletries- Toothbrush, toothpaste, eye care items, comb, etc.
Hopefully, this helps you as you think through your question of “What should I pack in my hospital bag?”- at least for labor! Should we continue with postpartum hospital bag suggestions? Would a downloadable checklist be something that would be helpful? Let us know in the comments!
Want to hear more of our suggestions? Hit us up in the comments with your questions!
Do you have any c section recommendations?
We do! We will get that put together!