What is in my hospital bag

Because there aren’t enough of these posts out there in the blogosphere, am I right? 

After four babies in four years, I think I have honed what we really need and what we really don’t. Some of these are more my preferences than necessities, though. Every mama has to tweak her hospital bag to suit her needs. Without further ado:

For Baby:


  1. Outfits with easy access to the diaper for quick changes. Because newborns need changing A LOT. Pretty much any baby store sells these, and I like the ones from Gap usually. These particular ones are from Carter’s. You can get them here. I like them too, but they tend to run small, so size up if you have big babies. I also prefer the ones that come with the little mitts that flip over the hands because those stupid baby mittens that come separately fly straight off my babies’ hands and then their little faces look like they are being used as a cat scratching post. The hospital does provide baby clothes, but our hospital only gives out these pitiful little kimono tops that look a little too orphanage-esque for my liking. So this one might be filed under personal preference.


2.     Swaddling blankets.  Newborns are used to being in a snug environment, so they sleep better when they are tightly swaddled. The hospital provides these too, but they are a little stiff and hard to fold into a swaddle easily. I love these blankets. They are from Aden and Anais. You can get them here. They are lightweight too, so they will be perfect for my summer baby.

3.     Pacis. The hospitals here love handing out those familiar green Soothies, but none of my babies have taken to them. I’m going to give this one a try this time around to see if Baby Lady likes it. Also, they look so darn cute!

4.    Hats. At risk of sounding like a broken record here, the hospital provides them. We even got a really interesting knit hat donated to the hospital newborns from a knitting club with Ruth. It is truly the most hideous hat I have ever seen. I couldn’t help but laugh at it all over again when I was getting out all the newborn stuff to pack this time around and found it. But it was so sweet of whomever it was to knit it for the new babies, and now I have a lot of fondness and nostalgia attached to it. However, this time around I did pack a sweet beautiful bonnet for Baby Lady. Because Briar Handmade Bonnets are To. Die. For. I’m also hoping it will protect her sweet little head this hot summer. 

5. Going home outfit. Aha! Finally something the hospital will not provide. Again, I prefer the outfits with the built in hand mitts until baby stops clawing at her face. Also, make sure it is something with footies or pants so that you can comfortably buckle the baby into her car seat. This one is from Baby Gap. You can find it here.

Other stuff we don’t bring because the hospital supplies are sufficient:

  1. Diapers and wipes. Unless you have a specific brand you prefer. I am perfectly happy with the hospital diapers and wipes; however, I usually have to specifically request the newborn size because they will automatically put my tiny newborns in size 1 and that size is HUGE on them.
  2. Boppy pillow. Now, I know that this is a must-have on pretty much every hospital bag list I have ever seen, but we only brought ours to the hospital for our first-born and hated having it there. It is huge and bulky and the hospital pillows serve the purpose just as well for me.  My poor husband is having to haul enough stuff around as it is.
  3. Breast pump. If the nurses are giving you a hard time about the baby’s weight loss or your milk not coming in, you can request a hospital breast pump. However, I think if they do that to me again this time around I’m just going to tell them my milk will come in, the baby will not starve, and to leave me the hell alone. 
  4. Breast pads. Unless you are super mom, your milk probably won’t be leaking yet. Mine never is until after a week or two.
  5. Underwear. Don’t bring underwear for yourself. You’ll only ruin it. The hospital provides everything you will need for that region.

For Mama:

  1. Robe. A lot of women like to bring a loose fitting outfit or some pajamas, but I’m assuming that is usually after a vaginal delivery. After my C sections, I consider it a Herculean effort to even put on a robe over my hospital gown. But, without my robe I won’t be able to make my frequent bathroom trips while still retaining my dignity in front of visitors, so I bring a robe or two. 
  2. Going home outfit. I usually bring a maternity dress. You went in with a bump, and you’re leaving with a (smaller) bump. Also, I don’t like having anything pressing against my incision, so a dress is ideal.
  3. Slippers. I used to bring flip flops, but I decided I couldn’t stand the feel of the thongs against my (still) swollen feet. So, I switched to some fleecy moccasins, and I have never looked back.  Something you can slip on is especially helpful after a C section because you can’t lean over and they make you walk the halls to speed your recovery.
  4. Toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, glasses because they won’t let me wear contacts during surgery, deodorant, makeup remover, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, hair brush, Lanolin (make sure you have this for sore nipples! The hospital should have some if you forget it), chapstick (this is another one that is included in all of the blog lists, I’m guessing it is also more applicable to vaginal births because I have never needed it).  I bring my makeup bag just in case, but who am I kidding.  Hair dryer if you are really ambitious. 
  5. Snacks. Breastfeeding makes me RAVENOUS, so I am always glad to have some snacks on hand for those late night cravings while feeding the baby. I love anything small that I can keep on my hospital tray so that I don’t have to wake up my husband to bring me something.  (As if I could wake the poor exhausted man up anyway. I swear he sleeps like the dead at the hospital.)
  6. iPhone. Because duh. The world needs to know about your newest blessing. I am going to wipe it down with a little bit of rubbing alcohol because there is seriously nothing more bacteria filled than your phone.  Well, that might be a bit hyperbolic but I am going to wipe that filthy thing down anyway.
  7. Pre-Admission Papers. So we can sail through check-in and go straight to the maternity ward.

For Daddy:

  1. Clothes/Pajamas. If he is staying with you. I try to cover all my bases because sometimes the hospital is sweltering and sometimes it is freezing.  Also, the nurses made a point of telling us during our hospital tour that they feel uncomfortable with the husbands lounging about in their underwear, so pajamas are a must. 
  2. Pillow and blanket. I keep suggesting he bring a blow up mattress because I know that little couch in the hospital room is SO uncomfortable, but he declines every time. So, I bring as fancy a pillow and blanket for him as I can to make his stay a bit more enjoyable. 
  3. Toiletries.
  4. Change. In case he gets thirsty and needs a quick trip to the vending machine. 
  5. iPad. My husband gets bored with the limited hospital channels and we take full advantage of some shows on the iPad. It is also nice for all those long nursing sessions.  

That is what is in my bag! Any of your must-haves I have missed?  I still have time to pack them!

Also worth revisiting:

Loot to take home from the hospital
How to prepare for a C section 


About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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14 Responses to What is in my hospital bag

  1. This is the best list I’ve seen! I just wanted to add that it’s also a good idea to bring your own pacifier (if you want to use one) because as breastfeeding has come more into the spotlight a lot of hospitals won’t give one to you because it can disrupt the latching process early on. They reluctantly gave Elizabeth one when she was under lights due to jaundice, but they weren’t too pleased about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matty Pérez says:

    I just saw this, my email was not working well we just came from the ATT in Marietta and I got all the emails. We can go to the Carter store and finish the baby’s needs. Tell me how many of everything. Abuela Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Matty Pérez says:

    Do you want for me to get some of those cute outfits. We did not see anything pretty like that. Tell me where to go and I will get it for you.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  4. morgan says:

    Great List! Our hospitals usually provide all baby clothes and strongly advise parents NOT to bring their own because if they accidentally end up in a laundry pile there’s no chamce to get them back.
    My niece has one of those pacis. It looks equally ridiculous and adorable but she loves it. Mine preferred mama’s breast.
    The breast pads were a life saver! My breasts started leaking when I was still in the hospital after every birth and with leaking I mean LEAKING. THere were times when I canged them about every hour and still ended up with a wet shirt. After my first I tried these washable ones made of cotton and three hours in the experience I wore ALL THREE PAIRS on top of each other and my shirt still was soaked. Drove baby boy nuts and me too.

    I definitely brought my own underwear every time. I truly HATED these one-size-fits-all hospital thingies and couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.

    Wish you all the best for you trip to the hospital !!! It’s Tuesday, right? I am thinking of you almost all the time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      You want to know something weird? My breasts almost never leak. Even that first month when they become engorged. I have never used a breast pad ever. But my babies seem to gain weight fine, so I figure it’s nothing to worry about. So weird though, I am the only one I know who has almost never experienced it (that first night they go 5-6 hours without nursing it happens, but that is it). I am so jealous your milk comes in so early. Mine takes 5 days! The worst. And thank you!! These last few days are flying by!!!


      • morgan says:

        Nothing weird about that… I clearly remember when I first looked in the mirror after the milk came in. I was horrified and thought: “Oh my … I look like Dolly Buster” (a german actress in the adult movie industry who got widely known after she appeared either in a commercial or in that jungle show…? anyways… everyone knows her). They were huuuge and looked absolutely unreal. (I should have taken pics!!!)
        I once heard of that rumor that if you start bottle feeding too early the kids might refuse breastfeeding later because milk from the bottle flows much easier than from the breast where the babes “have to work to get the good stuff”. ha. not mine. I had milk spraying a meter wide (not kidding. You can spot milk drops easily on oak parquet flooring). MAYBE that’s why some of them were so reluctant to drink from a bottle (especially: daughter) and none of them ever managed to get anything out of those NUK learner cups (the spill proof ones) because they never really had to work for the good stuff. They just had to suckle a bit to start the flow. My husband once got the giggles when he saw one of our babes latching onto a nipple and his (her?) cheeks inflated within seconds. I looked similar to inflating an air balloon with a gas cylinder. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • sylcell says:

        So funny how different women are. My girls have to work hard for it. Ruth was particularly bitter about it and was relieved when I weaned her at 6 months. I still get the porn star boobs though. Really nice because it takes the attention away from the rest of my post partum body;p


      • morgan says:

        And now I’ve been rambling and rambling… the point: I was THE ONLY ONE in my circle of mommy friends experiencing stuff like that. Some never had to use a breast pad. None ever woke up in a puddle of milk in the middle of the night because she fell asleep before she could put the pad back in and fasten the nursing bra (or because the pad got out of place or she fell asleep during breastfeeding).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Kara says:

    don’t forget the chargers for your iPhone and iPad and something to use for burp cloths

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      Mine never spit up in the hospital because my stupid milk never comes in soon enough, but the charger is right on! Thank you, I totally forgot that one!


  6. Kim Johnston says:

    I like to always tell new moms that the hospital is SO DRY. I keep rewetting drops for my contacts and a few chap sticks with in the drawer of my food tray. I need those things so much that I don’t want to ask for them on day one when I can’t get up.

    I LOVED LOVED my Aden + Anais blankets and still use them. I wish they made adult size, they would be perfect for the summer on the bed with a sheet!

    Also, does your hospital provide you with a binder of some sort after your C-section? That is by far the best thing I have done after mine. After I shower in the mornings, I fold a (hospital grade) pad in half long ways and put that on my incision to keep any moisture out and give me some cushion. Then I take my Velcro binder thing and wrap it around tight. I can normally get up and do things with a fair amount of ease and a little bit of pain medication after day one with those tools. When I got home, I switched to a Bellefit girdle, which I am positive kept everything in and more comfortable, so I was still able to carry around my 12 month old.

    I am SO EXCITED FOR THIS BABY!!! And I am praying for an easy, calm delivery for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sylcell says:

      I have never been offered a binder there and I have never used one! They keep switching between staples and stitches (in a futile effort to make my scar look better) and one they use tape over it and the other they just leave out in the open! I don’t remember which is which. I will look into maybe something once I get home though! And thank you. I’m starting to get past the nervousness and be just plain ready.


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