Labor + Delivery Hospital Bag Checklist

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Packing your hospital bag for labor and delivery can be overwhelming, especially for first-time moms. What do you need? What can you do without? Well, I’ll tell you how it was for us!

I scoured Pinterest for the most minimalist of lists. I did not want to bring anything that we didn’t actually need, and even with doing that, I had a suitcase filled with things we didn’t even end up using.

Here is my hospital checklist split into what we needed and what we could have left at home:

MUST HAVES:

FOR BABY:

  • Car seat: Yes, they will not let you leave the hospital without it. We chose Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 for our car seat because the fabric is self-wicking and you can remove the cover for easy washing (both of these were appealing sells considering the hot Texas weather).

  • Baby mittens: We used the heck out of these — those newborn nails are no joke.

  • Diapers + wipes: We brought our own diapers and wipes because we knew we didn’t want to use the Pampers that have all the added scents and allergens. This was a personal choice for us.

  • Outfit to go home in: I packed two newborn size outfits and two 0-3 month outfits, not knowing how big Summit would end up being. I would recommend just packing one of each size. I thought I might change him into an outfit while we were in the hospital, but he honestly lived in the sleep swaddles the hospital had because it was so important for him to just be able to go skin-to-skin and breastfeed when he needed to. We didn’t use any of the clothes I packed until I was changing him to go home.

  • Coat: Summit was born in December, so we packed him a coat. Just go by the seasons.

  • Socks: My mom always jokes that newborns are too small for shoes, so we brought socks just to have his little feets covered when we went home.

FOR MOM:

  • Birth plan: Definite must-have. I will do a post about my birth plan choices (even though a lot of them went out the window due to how my labor played out — I’ll talk about this too. It’s called a plan for a reason, I guess).

  • Cell phone + charger: For obvious reasons..

  • ID: You’ll need it at check-in.

  • Lip balm: So glad I packed this! Your lips will get really dry with all the mouth-breathing required in labor.

  • Nursing bras: I brought these ones because they are wireless, super comfy, and easy to get to the boob.

  • Nipple cream: Your baby will be sucking really hard to get the colostrum (your first milk) out because it is really thick compared to how your milk will be after the first few days. On top of that, your nipples probably aren’t used to being constantly suckled at and they’ll be sore. I made my own nipple cream because a lot of the ones on the shelves have toxins in them, and lanolin (wool grease..) was just out of the question for me due to the potential allergen.

  • Boppy: I brought my Boppy to the hospital and I’m so glad I did. I actually forgot to bring it and had my mom go to the house to get it! This was a lifesaver when first starting to breastfeed.

  • Earth Mama Perineal spray: Although I really hoped I wouldn’t tear… I did. Hello, stitches.. down there. Yes, the glamorous things they don’t tell you when you get pregnant. They will give you witch hazel pads and numbing spray at the hospital, but I used my perineal spray too to help quicken the healing process.

  • Fridababy MomWasher: What I like to call the “down there” bottle. Although the hospital will provide you with a squirt bottle to rinse your down there area when you pee (yeah, you don’t want to wipe that..), I ended up using my Fridababy one because it is ergonomically angled to squirt up. I will pray that all my future pregnant friends don’t tear in delivery, but I will also buy them the Fridababy MomWasher in the event that they do.

  • Gatorade: I brought a whole pack of orange Gatorade, and I drank like three of them throughout the labor process. This was a good electrolyte kick when my body was working so hard to get my baby out.

  • Button-down pajamas: My dad bought me these PJs from Target the night before we left for the hospital and I’m so glad he did. The button-down top made it really easy to access my boobs to breastfeed and quickly cover up if I needed to when visitors came. I practically lived in these the whole time I was at the hospital. I brought a pair of sleep shorts too for the moments when I got hot (thanks, hormones).

FOR DAD:

  • Clothes: Duh. Just bring comfy stuff. Chris just wore athletic wear the whole time.

  • Cell + charger: Definite for dads. Chris was the main communicator with the outside world the whole time we were there.

  • ID, credit cards, and insurance card: ID and insurance are a must. They’ll ask for these at check-in. Credit card if dad wants to grab snacks or anything.

TOILETRIES FOR THE BOTH OF US:

  • Toothbrushes + toothpaste: Even though you might not get around to it for a minute, you’ll never be more grateful to brush your teeth then you are after you have a baby.

  • Deodorant: Please don’t forget this… I switched to Schmidt’s Charcoal & Magnesium deodorant shortly before I had Summit because it doesn’t have aluminum or any other toxins in it, and I didn’t want to have a toxic deodorant knowing my baby would be breastfeeding so close to the armpit region.

  • Hair ties: You won’t want your hair down. Trust me.

  • Face wash + lotion: See note on toothbrush and toothpaste. Same. First Aid Beauty is my go-to face wash and lotion. No preservatives, parabens, or toxins.

MIGHT NEEDS:

These are things that I wouldn’t say were totally pointless in bringing, but we personally didn’t end up using. However, you might:

  • Baby hats: My mom ended up putting the blue hat we brought to the hospital on Summit (“because they need to know he’s a boy”… lol), but we didn’t necessarily need to bring these. The hospital will provide little gender-neutral hats for your baby.

  • FridaBaby nail clippers: I didn’t end up clipping his nails; I just kept little mittens on him.

  • The Honest Company baby shampoo: I knew I wanted to postpone bathing Summit, but I brought our toxin-free shampoo with us just in case I changed my mind (I didn’t). But I wanted to have our shampoo knowing that he wouldn’t be exposed to Johnston’s as soon as he came into the world (read the labels, y’all).

  • Robes for mom: I packed one heavy and one silk robe to have easy access for breastfeeding, but I ended up just wearing my button-down PJ shirt the whole time.

  • Pillows with cases other than white: We packed our own pillows, but didn’t end up bringing them in. Our hospital’s were comfortable enough.

  • Wireless speaker: I had every intention of playing music throughout labor, but it didn’t end up that way.

  • Essential oils + diffuser: Same as above.

  • Body wash, towels, and loofas: We didn’t shower while we were there. I know, gross. But if you’re feeling up to it, good for you lol. I suggest bringing a travel size bottle of bottle wash and travel loofas that you can just toss when you leave and bringing your own towels because the ones the hospital provides are anything but lush.

  • Brush: My hair was in a bun the whole time.

  • Dry shampoo: All the good intentions to do something with my hair, but no.. my messy bun was great.

LEAVE AT HOME:

  • Newborn swaddles: I packed a couple of newborn swaddles, but we just used the ones the hospital provided the whole time.

  • The extra outfits: Just unnecessary. Bring one newborn size and one 0-3 month and you’ll be good.

  • Bamboobies nursing pads: You honestly don’t need these until your milk really comes in. You more than likely won’t leak colostrum just because it’s so thick and there isn’t really that much of it.

  • Moby baby wrap: I packed my Moby wrap, but that was a total waste of space. My baby was either in mine or someone else’s arms the entire time we were at the hospital and there was a slim chance I’d be standing up and walking around enough to wear a wrap.

  • Makeup: Just LOL.

What did you pack in your hospital bags, moms? What are the things you couldn’t live without? What things could you have ditched at home?


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