Getting Ready for Baby: What's In My Hospital Bag

At 36 and a half weeks along, I have already surpassed the amount of time I've carried 2 out of 3 of my prior pregnancies. I carried Ethan until 37.5 weeks - but Aiden was born at 34.5 and Hudson at 36. While I'm happy to have made it this far - especially considering my scary episode at 23 weeks - I will admit without shame that I am beyond ready for Nolan to make his appearance. In fact, I came across this article the other day and feel like it could have been written by me. I think my body just reaches a point where it is so done with being pregnant. Here's hoping I survive these last few weeks...or maybe less? Yes, less would be nice.

In the meantime, while I patiently await his arrival I'd like to share with you my tips for what to pack in your hospital bag. (Pregnant but not quite ready to pack a bag just yet? You may want to check out: "My top 10 pregnancy must-haves" post from a while back.)

It's a good idea to pack a bag a few weeks in advance as sometimes baby gets anxious and comes a little early. Having it all packed up and ready to grab and run will make heading to the hospital a tad less stressful. Trying to describe your favorite comfy jammies or exactly which items need to be go in your toiletry bag to your husband/mom/sister will only result in having the wrong stuff brought to you. Which in your emotionally fragile, hormone-charged state during and after baby is born will not be a good thing for anyone. Anywho, as I'm heading into my 4th time birthing a baby, I present to you my tried and true list of what I find extremely important to have on hand at the hospital.
  • Blanket/pillow -- Set one aside or be sure to grab it as you head out the door. The scantily covered plastic pillow and sorry excuse for a blanket they provide you at the hospital is just.not.acceptable. You will want your own. Trust me. (Bonus tip: hospitals are germy...wash your pillow and blanket the minute you get home)
  • A cute maternity gown -- Although not essential, I thought it was going to be my last time having a baby when I was pregnant with Hudson and I wanted to look cute! I got this one as a gift from my sister and am so excited that I get to use it again!
  • New PJs -- I don't know why, but it has become tradition for me to have a new pair of jammies tucked away in my bag, saved to wear after baby is born. It's just a nice little pick me up to put on something new. For the winter time, I recommend fleece sets with a button up top (for easy nursing access if you plan to breastfeed) or even just a new pair of pj bottoms with a nursing tank.
  • Robe -- If you plan to breastfeed, you'll probably live in your nursing tank most of the time you're in the hospital. Or since you pretty much will have a small being attached to your chest around the clock, you may even get tired of wearing a top all together. In that case, you could wear a nursing bra and a robe. I typically purchase a new one with my new set of pjs.
  • Slippers and/or socks -- I'll say it again, hospitals are germy. And often cold. I highly recommend bringing along a comfy pair of slippers or socks. You know the really super soft fluffy kind with little rubber grippy stuff on the bottom? Yeah, those. Here are the ones I have in my bag.
  • Nursing tanks/bras -- Again, this applies only if you plan on breastfeeding. You can find these at Target, Motherhood Maternity, Babies R Us or other specialty baby shops. You can find my favorites here, here, and here.
  • Underwear, of the big and old variety -- Delivering vaginally? Word to the wise...don't bring your cutest, smallest undies. You know those large "period panties" you keep shoved to the very back of your underwear drawer? Yes, bring those. You just pushed a human out of your nether regions. You will bleed. You will bleed for days. You will be forced to wear maxi pads the size of a tennis shoe. So for the sake of being able to fit the maxi pad in your underwear and to avoid permanently ruining a cute pair, just stick to your oldest and most ready to toss. Or buy a cheap pack of XL undies that you can get rid of as soon as you're ready to. (Bonus tip: The hospital will provide you with a large swatch of mesh that is sewn to resemble some sort of underwear type garment. They are hideous. But they are actually what I wore until the time I was going home. Give them a shot.)
  • Comfy clothes to wear home -- You won't find any pre-pregnancy clothes in my bag...I am NOT one of those lucky ladies who seems to bounce back the minute my womb is empty. I remember walking down the hall to see my day-old Ethan in the nursery. I happened to be eating a popsicle and some well-meaning (but clearly uneducated) woman gave me a knowing look and said "trying to get things going by walking, huh?" Rather than get upset about it, I decided to make her feel as uncomfortable as she did me by replying "nope, had my baby yesterday." She turned bright red. I get it lady, I still looked pregnant. But that was not what a first-time mom wanted to hear hours after giving birth. Way to make my day! Anyway, I have always proudly worn maternity pants home from the hospital. If you have to as well, don't beat yourself up over it. (Bonus tip: keep those suckers around. I still have a few pair of maternity leggings that I wore for months after Hudson was born. That panel is great for smoothing out a never-really-the-same postpartum belly.)
  • Baby items -- You won't need to bring much for baby. He/she will pretty much live in a diaper and swaddle blanket the entire time at the hospital. With as much as they are poked and prodded and looked at and checked, they won't really need clothes. Only thing you might want is a few onesies and an outfit to bring him/her home in. Don't forget that you will need to bring or have someone bring a car-seat later. If your baby is born more than 4 weeks early they will need to pass a car-seat test at the hospital before going home (this is where they put baby on a monitor while they sit in their seat for a period of time to make sure they can keep their O2 levels and respirations where they need to be.
  • The obvious essentials -- cell phone, camera, video camera, ipad and any necessary charger(s); notebook and pen (I used mine to track feedings); toiletry bag with toothbrush/paste, deodorant, travel shampoo/conditioner/bodywash, brush, chapstick, rubberbands, headband (to hold hair back during labor).
  • Bonus tip: Things to pack when you leave the hospital (but you didn't hear any of this from me!) -- While the pillows and hospital gowns are not one of them, there are many items that you might want to consider "accidentally putting in your bag when you are leaving". Some of those items include...
    • one of the blue and pink striped baby blankets - I swear those things are unmatched when it comes to swaddling baby comfortably like a burrito. 
    • that blue bulb syringe thingy - you cannot find those sold at any store and they are life.savers.
    • baby's first shirt and hat - sometimes baby is dressed in a little hat and tiny shirt after birth and those make great mementos for their baby boxes. 
    • any extra diapers, unopened nipples/formula (even if you are nursing, as there are times you might need to supplement with formula), the baby brush/comb, unused baby lotion/wash. All of it is tossed after you leave, so might as well bring it home with you!
    • that squeeze bottle thingy they give you to squirt warm water "down there" to help with the pain and recovery. 
    • any leftover pads and/or mesh undies. 
    • ask for the witchhazel pads and antiseptic spray a few times a day and take home what you don't end up using. 
    • breastfeeding mamas, ask each and every nurse for lanolin and breast pads. Stockpile them in your purse to use at home later.
Well, I think that about covers it! If I'm missing something you think is essential, feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below. Thanks for reading and good luck mamas!

Stay tuned for more Getting Ready for Baby posts including: Making a Birthplan, Labor & Delivery Music Playlist, and Newborn Essentials.

** There are affiliate links included throughout this post. If you purchase any of the items I've linked to above I receive a small % of the purchase price from Amazon (does not affect the price you pay at all). I appreciate your support!


  1. So I'm sitting in Chik Fil A today and out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of some bright orange eyeglasses. I turn to admire them and imagine my surprise to realize its Aiden! Your boys are adorable and they seemed to be having a blast when they ran by. I'm glad everything's still going well and The Incubation has lasted so long. I hope the birth if the next Skees is easy least and you can relax and Anjou it in your fabulous hospital gown. (I need to make myself one of those! I spend enough time in surgery/recovery to get use out of it- I had #8 in late Dec and #9 is Friday.)

  2. I apologize for all the typos- I was on my phone, lol.