What to pack for the hospital

I started this post in 2013. I started a lot of things in 2013 that I still haven’t finished – but as of today…apparently this post isn’t one of them! Giddy up.

As you hoped to never recall, my hospital stay with Amelie was less than glamorous. My stay with Cade was clunky too but I had learned a lot from my first time around. Looking back, here is what I did right and would have done differently.

It doesn’t hurt to start packing well over a month before your due date. You just never know when your “time” will be. I was one week early with Amelie and two weeks early with Cade. Most importantly, get that car seat in and approved by someone official NOW because it doesn’t matter what you bring TO the hospital, you will want to bring the baby home from it and you can’t do that without a car seat. If you pack anything, it must be the car seat!

For the Mommies:

I put all of my gear in a rolling suitcase. It looked excessive but it was easy for Hubs to cart around and I could keep everything all in one place.

Insurance card and ID. ‘Cuz the hospital needs these things and you don’t want to be digging through your purse full of Tums and Target receipts in between contractions.

Cellphone and charger. Smart phones are the best invention ever. You’ll want to call family, update Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Whatever, take pictures and videos and have something to do when you can’t fall asleep after those late night feedings.

Cardigan, pj pants, a nursing tank top and slippers. I’m apologizing in advance, I’ll be overly chatty in this section. Before I had Amelie, two different friends highly recommended not just comfy pants but LOOSE pants. I didn’t listen and packed my skinny yoga pants thinking to myself “you can’t get more comfy than yoga pants!”. Actually, you can. Loose fitting is key. You may have an owie c-section incision or at the very least, you’ll be super sore and tender down under. Soft, loose pants are the way to go. Tight fitting pants around a Mommy diaper is unfair for everyone involved.

In addition, I recommend bringing a nursing tank (or two) if you plan to breast feed. Throw in some nursing pads as well to protect your tank top from the mountains of nipple cream you’ll slather on between feeds. A cardigan is nice to throw on yet still allows easy access. I’m a slippers person so those went with as well. It doesn’t hurt to pack old underwear but most likely you’ll be chillin’ in the gauzy underwear-shorts-thingys from the hospital instead. You don’t need much but consider the different phases and what you might want for each: laboring, delivery, post delivery, going home – but also recognize you’ll probably be either in a hospital gown or in varying levels of undress for the majority of those. Also, you probably won’t be at the hospital for very long but you never know. For both births, I was at the hospital for 4-5 days – which is not typical but pack extra just in case!


Water bottle and snacks. A water bottle is a must. Ice water never tasted so good until after I gave birth. Usually the hospital gives you one too. It’s nice to have both actually – especially if you find yourself alone like I was when I had Cade and can’t easily pop out to fill up when you run low. As for snacks, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything before each of the the births and was pretty satisfied with the hospital food after delivery. But it’s nice to have some snacks packed for the middle of the night when you are up feeding/Facebooking/worrying about your tiny new person.

Toiletries. This is all about personal preference. Bring what you feel comfortable with, knowing you’ll be very busy, very sore and very tired. I had packed a small amount of makeup (pared down essentials like I mentioned in this post) and even though I didn’t use it every day – I did feel better when I had a little on. Things I’d recommend: toothbrush (easy to forget as you rush to the hospital!), shower cap (if you don’t want to bother washing your hair), a really good lip balm, glasses (if you typically wear contacts like me), lotion, and flip flops for the shower.

Going home outfit for baby (including hat, mittens, and blanket). This is the fun part! I thought I’d be dressing the baby up from the very beginning but it’s easier to keep them in the hospital kimono shirt until it’s time to go home. Don’t go overboard and pack a bunch of outfits, swaddles and accessories. You’ll be promised plenty of outfit changes (and laundry) soon enough… Just make sure your sweetie is warm for the car ride home and that your outfit isn’t a replica of theirs in adult size:


Breast pump. We had forgotten to bring this when I had Amelie so Hubs had to buzz home to get it. A very helpful consultant showed us how to use it and since ours was used, she gave us new replacement tubing for it as well. I was intimated by pumping (and breast feeding in general the first time around) so this was really helpful for me.

Laptop and power cord. Is this necessary, especially since you probably have a smart phone? Nah. But I’m a geek and I like having my computer. It came in handy for the birth announcement, blogging, Facebook and email. You’ll be getting a lot of warm wishes and sometimes it’s nice to have a full sized keyboard to use for responding.

A list! While I was pregnant with Cade, I made a list of things to pack that I couldn’t do ahead of time like my toothbrush and phone. When I went into labor, I went right down the list and it made the last minute packing/prepping/panicking go much smoother. And if labor is really gnarly, your partner can pack these things for you!

For the Daddies/partners:

Unlike me, Hubs did not pack ahead of time. It doesn’t take him very long to do so but I still would recommend having a bag packed. There is a lot to get ready besides packing up the car, like taking out the trash and tidying up. Why not make this very exciting day a little easier on yourself by packing in advance?

Camera (charged and ready), USB cord, and extra battery. YOU WILL WANT TO TAKE A BILLION PICTURES so don’t be an idiot and bring a half-charged camera to the hospital. Pack it now!

Laptop and charger Again with the geekry. Hubs doesn’t leave home without it. When I was in labor with Cade, it took 7 hours after I received the epidural before I started pushing so Hubs actually worked from the hospital. Might as well! If you can’t work, it’d be nice to pop in a movie or something to pass the time.

Pillow/blanket. Hospital beds are not all that comfy but the little cot/couches that the partners sleep on are much worse! A pillow and a blanket will help you get better rest. Not good rest probably, but better. Good rest is a thing of the past once you have a baby.

Toiletries. A toothbrush is a good idea for Dads too! Who knew?

Snacks & water bottle. Your food may or may not be covered by insurance so I’d pack some goodies to help get you by. Be considerate of your partner and eat somewhere else if she’s not allowed anything while in labor.

Comfortable clothes. This is obvious but Hubs didn’t anticipate us staying as long as we did when I had Amelie and he ran out of underwear! Overpacking a little doesn’t hurt.

Anything I’ve forgotten or that you found helpful that I didn’t mention? I’m curious to see what others couldn’t have gone without.

And boom, just like that, this post is over.


4 thoughts on “What to pack for the hospital

  1. This blog was great fun! Good advice down to the pants. I love specifics. When I delivered, I think I had to order everything from the hospital. I brought 2 or 3 outfits for you guys (which was funny because the outfits were so huge that you could fit both of you into one). I did have Husband bring me beer for my breast milk. Fun! Lv mamap

    • You had him bring beer! I bet that tasted good after delivery! It’s fun to hear what you brought – what did you have to order?

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