What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

I’m nearing my due date, and it’s time to start thinking about what I’ll need to pack in my hospital bag this time around. Since I’ve done this a time or two (or 5) before, I’ve quickly learned what I need, and what I don’t need. I figured my experience could help you all out, so that when the big day arrives, you’re ready for anything.

Hospital BagHere’s my list of must-haves for my hospital bag:

  • Camera &/or Video Camera (And not just because I’m a photographer. You’re going to want to capture every special moment you can, so make sure your battery is fully charged and you have plenty of room on your memory card.)
  • Cell Phone & Charger (I’m notorious for forgetting my charger, so I always make sure to put it on the list!)
  • A List of People to Call (The whole world has probably been asking you for weeks if you’ve had that baby yet, so now’s the time to have your husband call and let them know. I don’t recommend making a long list. Word will spread fast, so just call the people closest to you and share the good news.)
  • Socks (I prefer the fuzzy ones with the rubber grips on the bottom. That way I can walk across the hospital floor and not have to worry about slipping. Bring several pairs the ones you wear during delivery may get pretty yucky.)
  • Underwear (I always pack a bunch, no matter how long I’m planning on staying. Make sure it’s cotton, stretchy, and comfortable. Believe me. A thong is going to be the last thing you want to wear for awhile.)
  • Pads (I hate the ones the hospital provides {think diapers!} so I always bring a pack of my own. Get the long overnights with wings. You’ll probably bleed a lot, so you’ll want lots of protection. And the reason you’ll want lots of underwear.)
  • Nursing Nightgown (or a regular nightgown if you’re not planning on breastfeeding. It will feel nice to get out of the yucky hospital gown and into something a little more pretty. And, you won’t have to worry about your butt showing every time you walk to the bathroom.)
  • Nursing Pads (I highly, highly, highly recommend Lansinoh disposable nursing pads. They’re a bit more pricey, but they offer super fabulous protection.)
  • Nursing Bra (You should actually purchase this during your last month of pregnancy. Just make sure you bring it with you during the hospital!)
  • Glasses, Contact lenses, Eye Care Solution, Glasses Case, Contact Lens Case (If you use any of these things, make sure you bring them so you can actually see what’s going on and give your eyes some relief during the night.)
  • Makeup, Toiletries, Hair Brush, Headbands, Pony Tail Holders, Lotion (You may not even touch the makeup, but I never leave home without some on. Get small travel sized bottles of toiletries, and only bring what you need – deodorant, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. Skip the blow dryer and just let your hair dry naturally. If you’re worried about frizz, throw it back in a pony tail. Remember, no one will judge you, you just had a baby!)
  • Lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, etc. (Some hospitals won’t let you have anything but ice chips, but bring these just in case. Jolly Ranchers are totally what got me through my first pregnancy, so I’ve snuck them every time since then!)
  • Snacks for your Hubby (Now, some people say to bring change for the vending machine, but what if he leaves, and the baby crowns? Do you really want the hospital to have to search for him? Of course, after 5 deliveries, my husband has learned that if I’m only eating ice chips, he’s not eating anything but ice chips, either. You may be nicer than me, though, and actually let your husband eat in front of you.)
  • An Outfit to Wear Home (for you! You’ll want to wear a pair of comfy maternity pants {not jeans} and either a nursing top or a loose fitting maternity top.)
  • Drivers License, Insurance Card, Hospital Admission Papers, etc. (If you didn’t pre-register with the hospital, you’re going to need all this stuff!)
  • Going Home Outfit for Baby (Self explanatory.)
  • Several Receiving Blankets
  • Several Onesies (This is what I keep baby in during his/her stay.)
  • Baby Socks (at least 2 pairs)
  • Newborn hat (the hospital will provide one, but I always like to have a cute one on hand)
  • Large Blanket, or Car Seat Cover (if it’s cold outside, you’re going to want to make sure you have something to keep baby warm. Don’t try to do a snowsuit – they’re not safe for baby.)
  • Car Seat (Should already be installed in your car!)
  • An Extra Bag (To bring home gifts. If this is your first baby, you may want to bring a big bag.)

That’s my must-have list. I know, it looks like a lot. And it is. But, it keeps me prepared for anything. Some other things you may want to consider bringing along – your own pillow, books, magazines, a journal, baby book (have them put baby’s foot and/or hand prints directly in the book for you), ipod and headphones, and other gadgets.

Don’t worry about bringing diapers to the hospital. The hospital will provide some for you, and they’ll even give you lots to take home.

Did I miss anything? If you have a must-have item for your hospital bag, let me know what it is, and I’ll add it to my list if I agree!