The first time I was pregnant, I looked up all the things on Pinterest for ideas on what to pack in my hospital bag. I saw an overwhelming number of lists, claiming I needed so many things that were “essential” for a hospital stay! Such as: multiple changes of clothes for mom and baby, several swaddles, tons of snacks, multiple nursing gowns, hair straightener, hand sanitizer and lotions, a notepad, etc….I definitely overpacked for our first, and didn’t even touch or use 80% of the things I thought I needed.
The second time around, I am packing WAY less “stuff” and focusing on what I know I will actually need and use. I don’t want to overwhelm myself digging through a full weekender while I’m at the hospital, and you shouldn’t either 🙂
So I made a list of the only items I know I will need and want to use for when our second baby girl comes (hopefully this week, because her due date is tomorrow)! Read below for my list of overnight essential items to pack in your hospital bag during labor and delivery:
1. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: I didn’t bring a nursing pillow the first time, and so regret it. I was so uncomfortable being stuffed with pillows on all sides in the hospital while the Lactation nurse showed me how to breastfeed…and when we got home, I had the Boppy which ended up losing its fluff and shape after a month or so of use. It didn’t provide back support at all either, and was a bit hard to maneuver while figuring out latch.The “Brest Friend” nursing pillow was such a game changer for me! It gave me plenty of back support, the cover is machine washable, and Izzy was completely happy while nursing on it for months. I wish I had known about it sooner! Definitely bringing it with me this time around.
2. An oversized weekender bag: To pack all the things in! I have one that I LOVE from Target, it’s the perfect size to fit both mine and John’s things as well as the newborn items I’m bringing. You can find similar ones here. But really, any larger duffel will do – just don’t go overboard with a rolling suitcase and personal carry-on item.
3. 1-2 nursing bras: I had fancier/prettier ones when I nursed Izzy, but honestly these ones by Auden at Target are just so much more comfortable for overnight use and lounging in. I only wore one nursing bra (if I was even in one) at the hospital the first time around. The nurses come in every 1-2 hours to help with breastfeeding and latch, so I don’t think it’s necessary to bring several nursing bras…just one or two comfortable seamless ones will do. Which leads to my next point…
4. A pretty nursing/delivery robe: John gifted me this robe from Pink Blush while I was pregnant with izzy and I am definitely bringing it to the hospital for our second baby!! It’s lightweight, very soft, and a lot more comfy to lounge in than the delivery robes that hospitals provide. With izzy, I had forgotten it at home and wish I had it with me. You can bet it was the first thing I threw into our hospital bag when I started packing it a couple weeks ago! We are also having Fresh 48 photos done by Chanel Lyn Photography while we’re there, so having something to wear for them that will make me feel pretty and put together is a must.
5. Black or dark colored “postpartum” undies: After birth while you’re staying in the hospital (and honestly for the first few weeks of motherhood), your down-there will be in major recovery mode. The last thing you’ll want to have happen is for your postpartum experience to ruin your pretty undergarments! You will obviously want to have a couple pairs of comfy undies for when you head home, but during your stay, the nurses provide some mesh undies for you to wear. They’re breathable, not tight fitting, and were life savers for me while I was there because I didn’t have to worry about ruining the ones I brought before we even left.
I call these my “postpartum” undies because that’s what I purchased them for — specifically to wear while I’m in recovery at home and making homemade “postpartum ice padsicles” to wear down there. I grabbed the black and floral pairs of these high waisted ones from Target, these ones in black, these ones in the black and tan color pack, and a few more individual full-coverage ones I found in the intimates section at my local Target. That way I know I will be in something comfortable that I won’t freak out over needing to toss once I can wear regular undies again.
6. Non-slip socks: I ordered these exact ones from Target and they fit perfectly. They’re cozy, soft, and not overwhelming in size since they’re the “no show” style. The hospital does provide socks to wear while you’re there, but…they’re kind of scratchy and definitely not cute haha! I wanted to bring my own that I know I would be comfortable wearing for walking around and staying warm in overnight.
7. Practical Going-Home Outfit: I went home with my first baby in pajamas (LOL) and this time around I want to wear something more stylish and more “me.” I am bringing this t-shirt dress, and these slip on sandals as my main going home outfit, but am also bringing 2 pairs of leggings plus a tee just in case.
I suggest bringing sweat pants like these maternity joggers from Target, or a pair of quality Postpartum Leggings (like these ones from Blanqi) and a loose tee as your runner up going home outfit. I have both of these pants, and threw them both in my hospital bag. I am excited to try out my Blanqi postpartum leggings though, because I’ve lived in my Blanqi maternity leggings the last several months and loved how supportive they are.
8. TOILETRIES!!: Now for my first time around, I didn’t have my hair washed, didn’t shower while I was there, and forgot mouthwash. I definitely felt like a hot mess zombie the entire time and wish I would’ve taken the chance to take care of myself while I had L+D nurses right there to watch my new baby.
THIS time around, I am going in much more prepared with toiletries to make sure that I am equipped to function like a normal person in postpartum/recovery. All of these can fit into a small-ish canvas bag that I am bringing:
-Deodorant: I have Schmidtt’s Rose and Vanilla and cannot be more obsessed with how well it lasts and the smells. You’re going to get sweaty and hot during delivery, so don’t forget this essential!
-Toothbrush/Mouthwash/Toothpaste/Flossers: Mouthwash is so essential if you don’t have the energy to brush your teeth, or if you throw up all kinds before the epidural like I did because of intense contractions…
-Dry Shampoo: Definitely a must if you don’t feel up for showering while you’re there. I am bringing my fav dry shampoo from Living Proof.
-Travel size washes just in case: I am bringing our travel sized Disney shampoo/conditioner/body wash that we snagged from the Grand Californian from my birthday weekend trip earlier this month. They smell like pineapples and don’t take up space at all! I didn’t have the energy to shower during my first stay, but really want to make an effort to this time around. Also good for my hubby to use too in case he wants to shower!
-Extra hair ties/a stretchy headband/hair clip: As much as you might want your hair to be down and styled for you delivery, you will most likely want to throw it into a bun at some point. Delivery can get sweaty and sticky, and you definitely won’t want your hair in your face for it. I definitely threw my hair up right when Izzy came out (it was down during pushing).
-Facial spray: This isn’t exactly an essential, but I am bringing my Mario Badescu rose water spray for the hours leading up to pushing and after. It’s refreshing and cooling, and always calms my skin as it settles.
-Sleep Mask: Now this is definitely an essential for me since with my last birth, I went in at 1am and didn’t sleep much before or after we got to the hospital. I wanted the curtains drawn ALL DAY and kept falling in and out of sleep when I could. Having a cozy sleep mask this time around will make it much more comfortable for me to get some shut eye if we go in at night again!
-Lipgloss/Lip Stain/Chapstick: Of course I am bringing a light/neutral lip color, because we are taking photos! Also having lip balm on hand (I use lip colors and balm from Lipsense/Senegence) will keep my lips moisturized during the hours when I can’t drink or eat due to the epidural.
The hospital will pretty much provide everything you need for baby while you’re there. L+D nurses will do baby’s first “bath,” have swaddles on hand, a little beanie, and plenty of diapers and wipes. They will even send you home with many of these things too! Baby definitely does NOT need as much as Pinterest lists tell you. Here’s what I am bringing for our little one:
1. 2-3 onesie outfits: Since your little one will be in a swaddle and a diaper the majority of the time, they won’t need a ton of outfits. I am going to bring 3 long sleeve onesies (just in case of poop) to choose from for her going home outfit, and for our Fresh 48 photos.
2. 3 swaddle blankets: Mainly bringing these for our pretty Fresh 48 photos and for the drive home! I am bringing this one from Mini Scout and a soft blush one with peaches on it with a matching headband that I found at Pigment in North Park, San Diego.
3. Letterboard for Birth Announcement: I’ve loved seeing this trend on Pinterest of bringing a letterboard with baby’s birth info for photos! I have one pre-made with our daughter’s name written out, and am bringing the extra letters for weight/length/birth date so I can just throw it together when we do our Fresh 48 hospital photos.
4. Scratch mittens: These are mainly for when we are on the long drive home from our hospital, we don’t want little one scratching her cute new face!
5. Baby socks: Baby will need socks for going home, unless you’re bringing a footed onesie. I am bringing one pair 🙂 Since she will be born in the middle of spring in southern CA, I’m not worried about bringing more layers than socks (plus her long sleeve onesie and a light swaddle) for the drive home.
For our first baby’s birth, John brought several things to keep himself occupied while we waited 13 hours for my labor to move into delivery mode. He ended up using them all, and has an updated list of things he will be bringing this time around! Here is his list of essentials below:
1. Laptop + charger: Especially if it’s a longer labor! While mom sleeps and nurses, dad can put on a show, listen to music, or watch a movie. Mine lasted hourssss, and John and I watched several episodes of our current show together while we waited for pushing time to come.
2. A good book you’re currently reading: You won’t want to start on a new book when you get to the hospital. Bring one that you’re in the middle of so it’s easy to pick up and put down while you’re waiting so you’re not just doing screen time the entire time.
3. Nintendo Switch: Now I know not everyone has one of these, but if your man does, it’s a good idea to bring it!! We got to the hospital for my first baby at 1am, and she didn’t come out until 4pm the next day. There were several stretches during that time where John was scrolling on his phone or wandering to the cafeteria haha! Having your guy bring his switch to play with friends or on his own will help him pass the time while he’s in the room with you.
4. Athlesiure clothing: Gym shorts/cozy sweats, his favorite tees, a sweater, house slippers, and socks are great for him to bring so he can feel completely comfortable. A pair of regular shorts or jeans are also nice for his own “going home” outfit. Your guy will also be doing skin on skin with baby while you rest, so having comfortable tees on hand for him to quickly change in and out of will be awesome.
5. Pillow (and cozy blanket) from home: He will most likely be sleeping/staying with you at the hospital on a not-so-comfy pull out bed/hospital bed. Bringing pillows from home for both of you will greatly increase your level of comfort while you’re there!
6. Snacks: I grabbed John and I’s favorite candy (Swedish Fish and Sour Patch Watermelons) to enjoy together after we have the baby for fun. Trail mix, gummies, waters, and anything else your guy likes to snack on is good to bring for when the cafeteria is closed and he’s tired of the Postpartum Floor kitchen snacks. Another option would be to do Uber Eats and have his fav local food delivered straight to the hospital.
I hope this list set your mind at ease for what to actually pack in your hospital bag! If you are a mama to 2+, what did you decide to bring or not bring the second time around? Let me know in the comments!
Maternity Photos by Chanel Lynn Photography ❤