The Hospital Bag: What I Packed and What I Actually Used

141226I totally procrastinated packing my hospital bag and I remember looking online for recommendations on what to pack, what not to, etc. I think my procrastination was due to the fact that I had no idea what to expect. It’s not like I was going to the lake and knew I was going to be going swimming. This was my first child, so I had no idea. We were given a checklist from the hospital on what to bring for mom, significant other and baby.

Here’s what those lists looked like:

– Birth Plan
– Lotion/Oil for massages (unscented)
– Warm socks/slippers
– Lip balm
– Picture or something small to focus on
– Back massager
– Warm pack
– Robe
– If breastfeeding, nursing bra, pump and breast pads
– Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash
– Hair care items
– Cosmetics
– Loose fitting clothes to wear home (something from around 5 months)


– Insurance information
– Snacks
– Swimsuit to wear in shower
– Watch with second hand
– Change of clothes and toiletries
– Phone numbers
– Cell phone, charger, change or phone card
– Laptop
– Books and magazines
– DVDs or CDs
– Camera, film, camcorder, charger

– Newborn communication plan
– Undershirt and sleeper
– Socks
– Going home outfit
– Infant car seat
– Baby book for footprints
– Sweater, cap and extra blankets for cold weather

Now, I am totally an over-packer. I always try to err on the side of “have it but not need it”. So here’s what we packed based on what we thought would be necessary.

– Birth Plan
– Lotion – Johnson and Johnson’s baby lotion
– Warm socks – two pairs
– Lip balm
– Heating Pad
– Robe
– Nightgown, pajama pants and shorts
– Nursing bra, pump and breast pads
– Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash
– Hair care items
– Cosmetics
– Sundress to wear home
– Boppy pillow
– Thank you cards for nurses

* Note: For all my toiletries, I bought travel size items so as not to have to lug my full size items from home. So toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, lotion, etc. were all travel size.

– Snacks
– Cell phone and charger
– iPad and charger
– Camera, film, camcorder, charger, batteries for video camera

– Newborn communication plan
– Undershirt and sleeper
– Socks
– Going home outfit
– Infant car seat
– Baby book for footprints
– Outfits/blankets for newborn photos as I knew the hospital offered this

Now here’s what I actually used:

– Cosmetics and toiletries
– Robe
– Dress to go home in

Here’s the deal with my situation. I labored at home for almost 12 hours before going to the hospital so a lot of the items that were on the original list I feel are items you would need in early labor – such as massage lotion and heating pad. Since I was at home, these items weren’t needed at the hospital. If I would have had to be induced, I believe those things would have been beneficial to have to try to soothe, but all I really even used at home was an exercise ball to lay across to relieve pain in my lower back.

At the hospital, I pretty much used everything that they provided me, including the gown (until the last day). The gown was actually easier to maneuver in than pants and had cut outs for nursing. Plus, the nurses had to come in and check on me and baby every 4 hours, so the gown was easier for that as well. They provided these boy-short type of underwear which was so nice because they were comfortable, kept everything in place and were disposable so I didn’t have to ruin any of the underwear I brought. I actually brought some pairs home for the first few days to wear. We did bring our breast pump, but never took it out of the car as the hospital brought in one of theirs to use. They gave us all the tubing and used parts to bring home, along with diapers, wipes, a sleeper for baby, pacifiers, hats and a receiving blanket.

So all in all, we really didn’t need that much. Jed didn’t pack anything other than the camera, snacks, chargers, video camera and his iPad because we live very close to the hospital and he went home to shower, change, let the dogs out, etc.

Again, when I packed I was anticipating that I would be laboring in the hospital for a long time and would need shorts to wear around the maternity ward and a heating pad to help with the pain and so on, but once we got to the hospital everything happened very fast. As for something to focus on, much of the time I would find something in the room to focus on or shut my eyes and just concentrate on my breathing. And as for the massage lotion, I was definitely one of those “I don’t want to be touched” people during labor so it wouldn’t have been used anyways. Which is funny because I love massages normally and thought I would love getting massaged while in labor. Not the case.

If I had to pack again, I would probably pack all the same things as you never know, but I think it was funny that we really didn’t need much. I’m going to chalk that up to the fact that the hospital was great and provided so much for us and the fact that I was bedridden for a good portion of the stay other than bathroom breaks and the occasional walk.

One item I wish I would have thought about prior was bringing something for the nurses like cookies or a Starbucks gift card (since there’s one in the hospital). I brought thank you cards, but thought a small gift would be nice since they were all awesome! Luckily, my parents brought us some celebratory gifts (single serving champagne bottles and cigars) so we gave each of our nurses a small bottle of champagne with their thank you card. I had to ask my mom if that was appropriate to give since it was alcohol, but we figured it was a nice gesture and it wasn’t like it was a regular size bottle. 🙂 And they didn’t have to drink it if they didn’t want to. The bottles were so small and cute.

So what did you pack in your hospital bag? What did you need and what was unnecessary?


9 thoughts on “The Hospital Bag: What I Packed and What I Actually Used

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I too agree that I won’t need much, but unlike the hospital, the birthing center provides no food, drinks (other than water and ice chips), or any clothing. I think I would be better off going and stealing a gown from the hospital. Sounds like the way to go! I am definitely not bringing a pump with me or any massage things. I don’t plan to start pumping for a few weeks after she is born. I love massages but have a feeling I too won’t want to be touched. Ha.

  2. All good stuff! I’m getting ready to pack my bag in a few weeks and it’s really interesting to read what kinds of things people pack versus what they end up using. We live 2 blocks from our hospital so I’m sure if there’s something I desperately need, the hubby can run home to grab it. 🙂

    1. That was our thought as well living so close to the hospital – that Jed could run home and grab something. I’ll be curious to know what you end up packing and using. Good luck and I look forward to hearing more about your journey.

    2. That was our thought as well – that Jed could run home and get something since we live so close to the hospital. He didn’t need to, but it was nice for him to shower in his own house instead of at the hospital. I look forward to hearing about what you pack and what you end up using.

  3. Now you made me think… Did we give anything to the nurses? Hm…
    Nice post by the way!
    One thing I know I never used were the strange maxi pad shaped somethings that were sold in Spanish pharmacies. They looked like something our grandmothers had to come up with as a quick solution.
    Our those really your suitcases? They look adorable…
    How are you feeling?

    Wow! The power went out. This is nothing unusual on an island…but what is a great surprise to me that my comment did not get lost! 🙂

    xoxo, Eszter

    1. If you’re referring to the “sanitary pads” that they give you, I did end up using those for the first few days. I had to laugh that both my daughter and I were wearing “diapers”!

      Unfortunately, those are not our suitcases, but I wish they were!

      I’m feeling good. Just wish the weather here would cool down (which it’s supposed to on Monday) so we can go outside and enjoy the sunshine.

      Hope things are going well with you! Love reading your posts.

      1. Hello,

        The Spanish cotton thingy I was able to purchase was basically a pad of cotton wrapped in a net. It did not have any thin paper covering the cotton as in a sanitary pad. It was just a bizarre product. HAHA

        You are waiting for the weather to cool down?! Usually people pray for the warm weather to stay a little bit longer… 😛

        Are you planing on posting lots and lots of pictures by any chance? 🙂

        I am glad you are doing well. Any news from your husband on how he is doing with his training?

        Zoárd is making his usual odd sounds… what could I compare it to.. seals? engine of a speed boat? HAHA


  4. This post is really helpful! Thanks! I hope to do much of my early laboring at home and holding out on going to the hospital until labor progresses further. I probably will still overpack “just in case”!

    1. I’ll be curious to see what you end up using and hearing all about your birth story (if you’re willing to share). I’m so excited that you’re getting so close. Safe travels back to Colorado (if you’re not already on the way or back already).

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