What To Pack For The Hospital: What I Actually Used & Needed When Giving Birth

October 27, 2023

I spent a good amount of time searching Google and Pinterest posts trying to figure out what to bring for myself, my husband, and the baby when we were prepping our hospital bags ahead of time. Every single list had something extra or different and a lot of it felt excessive. While every pregnancy and delivery experience will always vary, I sorted through those lists and chatted with friends who had gone through it before to come up with a practical and useful list of what to pack in our hospital bags.

Now, I have a list that is pared down to what we ACTUALLY used while we were in the hospital together!

Note: this is what I used/needed/wanted to have with me and what worked for my own experience. You may have other needs that aren’t on this list, so make sure to keep your day-to-day needs in mind when packing, too.

In My Bag:

Click the photo to shop this bag in a number of colors and designs! 

-Going home outfit – make this a pair of darker sweatpants or PJs with a large waist (something that fit when you were pregnant! You don’t shrink down the way you might think and are usually bloated after giving birth.) Loose sweatshirt or t-shirt to pair with those sweats and sandals/slides that are looser. I cannot even tell you how confused I was trying to put on my Nike tennis shoes when we were getting packed up to head home only to discover that my feet and ankles were so swollen I had to put on my husband’s Adidas slides.

-Pillow and blanket- The hospital pillows are not comfortable. I brought my own from home and a body pillow that I used prior to giving birth since I spent 3 night in the hospital before I had Beckham on that fourth day. I was so happy my sister told me to bring a good blanket with me! The hospital blankets are very thin, so you are likely to want something a little more cozy.

-Pads/Disposable Underwear – This is something the hospital provided, but I ended up liking the ones I found for myself more. I used the hospital supplies for a few days, but felt much better after switching over to the ones I bought for myself. I’m glad I had them on hand just in case, though. You will definitely need these after you are home, too,

-Toiletries/Hair Tie/Hair Brush/Hair Dryer – Think about what you use in the shower and grab the travel sized version of each. Hair ties are key to have around! I also used chap stick like crazy because my lips were so dry.

-Slippers – Trust me, you want a pair with you. I also brought a nightshirt/PJs, but ended up just wearing the hospital gowns until the morning we were discharged to go home.

-Nursing bras, pads for inside them, and nipple cream (if you are breastfeeding)

Note: Most hospitals won’t let you bring any medications or vitamins. They will provide them for you so that they can regulate and ensure the ingredients are appropriate to mix with anything that you may be on for the delivery. I did bring melatonin with me and was allowed to take it instead of the Ambien that they provided as a sleep aid. I tried Ambien one night during my time there, but it made me sick and groggy the following morning.

In Beckham’s Bag:

We packed his diaper bag in the same way we might if we were taking him out of the house today. The hospital provided us with diapers, wipes, bottles, and swaddling blankets, but we did bring a few of our own diapers, wipes, and bottles just in case we needed them for any reason.

-Going home outfit – easiest and the thing your newborn will want to live in for the first few weeks will be a zip-up sleep and play onesie. They are the easiest to get on and off for changes when you are at home. When dressing him to go home, you want one of these because they are basically just a footie PJ so they cover him/her completely.

-Formula (if you are not breastfeeding or if you are doing a mix of the two and want to have your own formula on hand) – I intended to try breastfeeding for a few months, but as him birth got closer, I decided to only do colostrum for the first few feedings and then move to formula. I could not be more happy with that decision FOR ME and my family because it is absolutely what worked for us. Make sure you are making a decision on this for YOU and your baby without pressure from any outside voices. Be strong in your decision if someone wants to push you towards something else. We were fortunate to have doctors and nurses who 100% supported our decision and did not try to push for anything other than what we chose.

Note: baby honestly doesn’t need much! The hospital provides a little onesie/t-shirt, diapers, wipes, bottles, swaddles for sleeping, etc. We didn’t need to use anything we brought except our formula and his going-home outfit.

In Drew’s Bag:

-Snacks – seriously. The hospital food is not good. Be ready to DoorDash in food and snack your way through this.

-Entertainment – Chargers/iPad/Phones ready with your favorite streaming services, movies downloaded, books, etc. We spent 3 days waiting before much happened so having entertainment for myself and my partner was very important.

-Pillows and blanket for him

-Water cups/tumblers for us to refill

-Change of clothes and toiletries for him

-Towels for when either of you is showering – Like the sheets on the bed, the hospital’s towels are thin so you will feel much better after your shower if you have a fluffy towel.

-Ibuprofen or Tylenol along with any meds/vitamins he needed – Something to keep in mind is that if your partner is with you for this process, they are not given anything in most hospitals. Food and medications are not provided to them because they are not a patient.

I hope this list helps you feel more prepared for your own hospital experience! If you have questions or there were things you felt were vital to bring that aren’t listed here, comment below or message me on Instagram!

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