My first son came almost a month early. With an emergency c-section. So no, I did not have my hospital bag packed when I had to rush to the hospital because I was bleeding.
After our son was born, and we were settled into the maternity room, my husband had to go back home and get some things we needed for our stay at the hospital. Not fun. I was much better prepared the second time around.
Learn from my mistakes, and make sure to have a hospital bag packed and ready to go a month before baby is due. Juuuust in case baby decides that he wants to surprise you and meet you earlier than planned.
Here are my hospital bag essentials: must-pack items that I took to the hospital when I gave birth to my second son. And also some things I wish we would have taken!
Fill out the form below to download a convenient printable of all the things you actually need to take to the hospital!
With my first son, I had no idea what to expect. For the c-section I had to wear the hospital gown, and it has a button closure that is easy to let down for nursing. However, after the baby is born, and I started to breastfeed, my breasts got engorged and my nipples were sensitive.
It sounds weird, but NOT wearing a nursing bra was so painful! You would think that not wearing a bra would feel freeing and give easy access to the baby. But the gown just kind of grazed against my nipples felt like they were chafing them.
The second time around, I packed my nursing bras, and they were a game-changer! Just having that support and coverage on my nipples was so much more comfortable and hurt way less!
I loved these nursing bras! The material is comfortable and supportive while not being too restrictive. The clips are easy to use even with one hand. Are they a forever bra? Nope. But I’ve been wearing mine for about two years, and they are starting to get out of shape now.
I love that they come in a 3-pack, and even with extenders (which I used during my pregnancy).
Along the lines of nipple chafing, nipple butter was so essential for the first couple months of breastfeeding. With my first son, again, I was not prepared, so I just used the lanolin that they gave me at the hospital. It helped a bit, but I wasn’t too happy with the ingredients. So the second time around, I brought my own nipple butter.
This one smells really good like cocoa. I would apply some after nursing, and it helped a lot with the pain.
As difficult it is to walk after having a c-section, after the spinal block wears off, they make you walk. And my doctor also made it a requirement to take a shower before getting discharged from the hospital.
I did not like the idea of walking around barefeet in my room and to the bathroom. So I made sure to bring slippers that are easy to slip on and off.
The first time, I just brought my soft comfy home slippers. But it wasn’t the most ideal thing to wear when I had to get in and out of the shower.
The second time around, I brought my waterproof Birkenstocks. They were so easy to put on without much effort. And they are waterproof, and have a good grip on the bottom, so it’s much safer especially in the bathroom and the shower.
I mentioned belly bands in my Fourth Trimester Essentials post. After having my babies, I just felt like there was so much extra skin on my tummy and I could feel it jiggle around when I would walk. Also, since I had a c-section, I just felt like I needed the support around my waist and back.
I didn’t use this while at the hospital, but I did wear it on the way home from the hospital.
Belly Bandit also has a lot of great belly wraps that are popular. I used their c-section recovery underwear. It helped me feel more supported. Belly wraps can be a little bulky, but the c-section underwear gives you more freedom in movement. It just helped smooth things and I felt like my incision area was protected. And it’s obviously less noticeable when going out.
Bellefit is another popular option for postpartum girdles and corsets. Personally, I ordered one but it was a little too restricting for me. So I ended up returning mine. But lots of people seem to love it for the compression and support during postpartum recovery.
I NEED my skincare every single day. But obviously taking full-sized products is not very convenient, I had a little bag of sample or travel sizes of my favorite products.
I am a huge Korean-beauty/Korean-skincare fan, and have been using since my mom gifted me my first set to it when I was 10 years old. Yay for mom!
Here are some of my faves:
- Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm–Even gets waterproof mascara and eyeliner off!
- Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Cleansing Toner–My favorite toner of all time! Gone through several bottles already!
- Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence
- Acwell Licorice pH Balancing Essence Mist–Super convenient to use at the hospital.
- Klavuu Nourishing Care Lip Sleeping Mask–Hospital rooms can get so dry! A must-have!
I don’t know about other hospitals, but mine didn’t provide shampoo or conditioner. So make sure you pack basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face cleanser, toothbrush, and toothpaste.
This is the toothbrush I am currently using, and I love it! I’ve been using the Philips Sonicare for about 6 months, and my teeth have become a lot whiter. I just went in for my bi-annual dentist checkup, and I don’t have any cavities and my dentist said my teeth look great.
I always feel better when I have at least some makeup on. And I knew I was going to take lots of pictures with the baby, so I made sure to pack some makeup!
Here are a few of my favorite products:
Cushion Foundation–Iope Air Cushion Cover: I wear shade #23. This is so convenient for the hospital, especially after a c-section. I would do makeup in the bed, so this kept things quick and easy and clean.
Makeup Forever Matte Velvet Skin: An alternative to the cushion foundation would be this powder compact. I love this! It made my skin looking healthy and blurs the pores. And you don’t have to use powder to set it, so it’s super convenient to use at the hospital. I use shade Y245 Soft Sand.
L’Oreal Lash Paradise: My favorite mascara! I use the waterproof version!
Kiss Me Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Eye Liner: My favorite eyeliner! The fine brush tip makes it so easy to create a cat-eye!
Physician’s Formula Bronzer: Adds the perfect amount of color for a healthy glow. It smells so good too!
Honest Beauty Tinted Lip Balm: I love this tinted lip balm! It’s super moisturizing (which is essential when staying in a dry hospital room) and brings my face back to life! It’s sheer, but gives the prettiest juicy look. I have shades “blood orange” and “fruit punch”.
Going Home Clothes
Some people want to look cute going home for the first time with the baby. For me, comfort always comes first. I packed clothes accordingly.
You need to remember that you might still be in pain. I was since I had a c-section. Even getting in and out of a car was a process.
My hands and feet were pretty swollen after having a c-section, so I made sure to pack my Adidas Superstars which are super comfortable, and easy to slide on and off. I guess if I had my babies during the summer, I would probably have just worn my Birkenstocks home too.
Along the lines of swollen hands, I would suggest leaving your engagement/wedding rings at home.
Button Up Shirt/Nursing Top
Love these underwear! Super comfortable and didn’t bother my c-section incision! I wore them during my pregnancies, but also a few months postpartum too.
These are really nice quality, and provided good compression. And since they’re high rise, they provided some tummy coverage if I was nursing in public too.
I wore the maternity leggings from this company throughout my second pregnancy, and I loved it! These postpartum pair also have great reviews!
Blanket/Sleeping Bag and Pillow
My husband didn’t need a lot of things for the stay at the hospital. But since he had to sleep there, we brought a blanket and he slept on the couch next to my bed. My husband is not a picky sleeper (he can literally sleep anywhere), so I don’t think we even brought a pillow from home. He used one of the extra ones I had in the hospital room.
I think if we had a sleeping bag at home, we would’ve brought that instead.
Food and Snacks
When I told my husband that I was writing this post, and asked him what he wished we had taken, he immediately said, “SNACKS!”
The hospital only provides food for the mom during meal times. So my husband usually had to go out or go back home to get something to eat, unless someone brought him food. It’s a good idea to pack some snacks and maybe easy simple meals so that your husband can stay fed! Snacks are not a bad idea for yourself too!
I was surprised at how much the hospital gives for the baby. They gave us pacifiers and diapers, and they have swaddling blankets and hats. So, other than a car seat and clothes to go home in, you actually don’t need to bring that many things for the baby.
But these are some optional things that you could bring if you wanted to.
The hospital does give pacifiers for the baby. My hospital gave us the Philips Avent Pacifier. My first son didn’t really like these, so for my second, I decided to bring another one to see if he would like that one better. A mom friend recommended this HEVEA pacifier saying that these are the only ones her kids would take.
Unfortunately, even after trying these, my second son didn’t like either of these…both my boys were just not into pacifiers. But I’m glad I brought it along so that I had the option!
Props for Photos
I personally didn’t do a photoshoot at the hospital for either of our boys. We did that after we got home. But if you are planning on having a photoshoot, make sure to pack your props.
A car seat to bring your baby home safely! We used this Graco infant car seat for both our boys and loved it! The base makes it really easy to clip the car seat in and also remove it.
Car seat cover
I loved using a car seat cover especially when my boys were newborns. I felt like they were more protected from the elements, and also great for when they were napping too.
Going Home Clothes for Baby
Love these footed onesies with a zipper! With a zipper, not buttons!!! Buttons may look cute, but a zipper is so much more convenient for the bajillion diaper changes.
My boys were both winter babies, so they had some additional layers on top of the footed onesies.
Loved using these as an extra layer on their legs and feet.
Extra Miscellaneous Items
The last thing you want to happen is for your phone’s battery to run out and not be able to capture those precious first moments!
Camera with Extra SD Card
Obviously, you can use your phone for pictures, but I brought our camera to take pictures. Remember to empty out your SD card or your phone memory space beforehand. The last thing you want to happen is to not be able to capture important first moments of your baby because there’s not enough space on your camera/phone!
Just in case there’s some downtime.
Present for Older Sibling
I mentioned in my Ultimate Guide to Going From One to Two Kids LIKE A PRO post that we got some small presents for our older child “from the baby”.
Our older son was almost 2 when we had our second baby, so we got a small toy for him. These velcro fruits and veggies come with mini cutting boards and knives too. He loves these things! He’s 3 now and he still loves to pretend to cook with them. They have also helped him learn his fruits and vegetable names and colors too. A win all around!
We also got him a pair of shoes which he needed anyways, because he was outgrowing his old pair. But it was still exciting for him and he referred to them as “baby shoes” for the next few months because they were from the baby.
We loved these shoes (similar) because they look like laces, but they’re actually not! They’re stretchy elastic, so it’s super easy to put on and off.
Download the Free Printable Checklist!
Those are my hospital bag essentials! Did I miss anything? If you had some other hospital bag essentials, let me know in the comments!
I created this convenient checklist of everything you need to take to the hospital to have your baby. Just fill out the form below to have it sent directly to your email! Print it out and get packing!