As you await your little one, you may find it fun and exciting to pack your bag for the big event. Or you may find it completely overwhelming to try to figure out what you need to bring along. Relax. We’ve been there and are happy to walk you through it. Let’s dive into what to pack in the hospital bag for mom.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of contents
- Pack 2 Bags for Mom: Labor Bag & Hospital Stay Bag
- So, What Do You Pack in Mom’s Hospital Bag?
- A Few Things for Baby (in mom’s bag is fine)
- Packing A Hospital Bag for Mom’s Birth Partner
Pack 2 Bags for Mom: Labor Bag & Hospital Stay Bag
The easiest way to make sure you have what you need when you need it is to pack two bags. One bag should focus on all the things mom will need during labor. This includes things like the birth plan, music, camera, massage tools, snacks, etc. Learn more about packing this bag in Kopa Birth’s 10 Birth Hospital Bag Essentials.
In this article, we’ll focus on the things mom will need for the hospital stay after baby is born. Most post-birth hospital stays are 2 – 4 days. This depends on whether you deliver vaginally or by cesarean section, and you want to be prepared with everything you need to be comfortable in case of either scenario.
So, What Do You Pack in Mom’s Hospital Bag?
The hospital will give you everything you need to wear while you’re there. This includes hospital gowns, non-slip socks, and stretchy, mesh disposable underwear. Some women like having the hospital take care of all they need, not having to drag any additional dirty laundry home, and not risking getting blood on their own clothes. Other women feel exposed or uncomfortable in hospital gowns and like to bring their own clothes. Either is okay, but if you want to pack clothes in mom’s hospital bag, here are some ideas of things you might want to include (and likely 2 or 3 of each):
- Bras – This is the one thing that you’ll want to pack, as the hospital does not provide bras. You may think you’ll be fine with going braless, but this is often not the case postpartum. Your breasts may be very large, sore, and tender and feel best in a supportive bra. And you may find that your milk comes in before you go home, in which case you can experience leaking. Find some good, supportive bras, and if you plan to breastfeed, pack nursing bras.
- Gowns (or Comfortable, Roomy Tops and Bottoms) – Keep in mind that: 1) you’ll still be closer to your pregnant size than your prepregnancy size; and 2) you should bring clothing that will accommodate breastfeeding if you plan to do so.
- Robe or Sweater – You may want something to throw on over your gown when walking the halls or when visitors come. Many women feel hot and even sweaty in the postpartum period, though, so pack a lightweight robe or sweater.
- Slippers – Many hospitals won’t allow you to walk around in regular socks because of the possibility of you slipping and falling. Most offer non-skid socks, or if you prefer, pack a pair of slippers with grip on the bottom to put on when you get out of bed.
- A Going-home Outfit – Something comfortable, loose-fitting with a drawstring or elastic waist.
Toiletries & Personal Care
The hospital may give you some toiletry items, but they are usually the most basic, institutional types. Think a bar of soap and possibly some shampoo. They’ll get the job done, but might not make you feel as comfortable as your preferred toiletries. You probably won’t need anything particularly specialized for “mom’s hospital bag,” just pack like you would for a weekend trip.
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Soap or Body Wash
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Brush or Comb
- Hair Ties
- Glasses or Contacts (and Supplies)
And please, please don’t feel like you need to wear makeup. Needing to impress anyone else should be the last thing on your mind. (And I promise you that no one will see you as anything but beautiful and strong.) However, if you typically do wear makeup daily, and you feel uncomfortable with not wearing it, pack it. Do whatever makes you feel best and whatever will help you embrace the camera with your little one rather than shying away from it. There are too many moms who wish they had more pictures of the early days, but were too camera shy to be in the pics with their babies at the time.
- Phone and Charger
- Towel – Hospital towels tend to be small, thin, and scratchy, so you may want to bring your own.
- Pillow – Hospitals also aren’t known for having the most comfortable pillows. If you bring one from home, make sure you use a pillowcase that makes it easy to distinguish from the hospital pillows.
- Notebook and Pen – You may want to write down baby care instructions from the nurses, jot down birth stats and story while they’re fresh in your mind, etc.
- Nursing Pillow – While not at all necessary, some women find that breastfeeding is easier with the aid of a positioning pillow. (And if you have a c-section, you may find it especially helpful to have something soft and comfortable to help with positioning.) The top choices for many moms are the Boppy, which can be used for baby as she learns to sit, and My Breast Friend, which curves around mom’s body like a Boppy but also fastens around the back to keep it in place.
Snacks & Drinks
Many moms are ravenously hungry after labor. And while the hospital will feed you 3 square meals a day, they’re often lacking on snacks. Opt for nutrient-rich options such as granola bars, fresh or dried fruit, jerky, crackers, nuts, etc.
A Few Things for Baby (in mom’s bag is fine)
Baby doesn’t need a lot at the hospital, and there’s no reason to have to pack and keep track of yet another bag. Just throw a few things in mom’s bag so that you’ve got what you need for the newbie as well. The hospital provides everything baby needs — simple clothing like onesies and hats, swaddling blankets, diapers and wipes, pacifiers, feeding supplies if you’ve chosen to use formula and bottles. As tempting as it is to want to get baby into all those cute clothes you’ve been buying, you really don’t need more than the hospital provides. (And for security reasons, many hospitals will only allow babies to wear the hospital-branded onesies while they’re there.) Baby will be just fine wearing a simple diaper and onesie, swaddled in a blanket, and a cute little hat on her sweet little head.
What you should plan to bring is a going-home outfit. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to bring two outfits, just in case baby spits up or has a diaper leak right after being dressed. You may want a blanket and hat, depending on the weather. And while it doesn’t go in your bag, make sure that you have a rear-facing newborn car seat properly installed in your car. Typical hospital protocol requires that a nurse walk you out to the car and check the seat before you can go.
Packing A Hospital Bag for Mom’s Birth Partner
If someone will be staying at the hospital — a spouse, partner, friend, or support person — they may also like to bring along what they will need so that they don’t have to make trips home. There’s no need to have a specific list for this; all of the specialized items will be in mom’s labor bag or hospital stay bag. Just pack the way you would if you were going away for a few days. (But at a hotel that isn’t known for its luxurious accommodations. 😉 )
Congratulations on making it to the point in pregnancy where you are actually thinking about packing for the big day! Your little one will be in your arms before you know it!
Kopa Birth’s online childbirth classes allow you to prepare for a natural childbirth from the comfort of your own home, 24/7. Enroll today in our free online childbirth class to learn more about preparing for a natural hospital birth.