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Packing for the Hospital: Labor and Delivery Style

For the first 7 months or so, you’re pretty much focused on buying all sorts of fun stuff for the baby: swings, toys, clothes. But before you know it, the 8th month creeps up on you (or for some, the 9th month sneaks right in under your nose) and you realize that you’re having a baby, in a hospital, which means you’ll need to pack for you AND another little person. Then panic sets in.
But fear not! As I’m nearing 34 weeks, the subject has been on my mind a lot lately and I’ve read lists and more lists to find the absolute essentials of what is really needed. It's a good idea to get your bag(s) packed and ready to go by the time you hit your 36th week. I was very surprised that my son decided to arrive 13 days early. After all, he was my first and you're usually over-due, right? ;)
For moms:

  • insurance cards/info (it helps if you’re pre-registered, so call your hospital and see if that’s possible!)
  • glasses if you wear ‘em (you may be more comfy in your glasses than your contacts if you wear those, but make sure to bring the case for either)
  • underwear - a few pairs of the most comfortable ones you own (for every day you’ll be there, I’d pack two)
  • slippers/socks for walking around in and keeping warm (I had a quick trip to L&D the other day and froze, so even if you’re having a summer baby, the hospital is cold)
  • pajamas and robe (comfort is key, but remember you’ll have visitors so you may want to hold off on the old tees for now, but be prepared for the possibility of that cute new nightgown getting ruined!)
  • sanitary napkins (the hospital will most likely supply these, but I prefer my own brand that I’m comfortable with)
  • nursing pads/bra (even if you don’t plan on nursing, the pads will come in handy with leaking and nursing bras offer more comfort/support)
  • all your favorite toiletries, miniaturized (comfort, again, is what you’re aiming for...having a little bit of home and your usually stuff will make you feel better over all)
  • lip balm/vaseline to kep your lips from drying out/cracking
  • hair dryer (see if your hospital supplies one; one less thing to worry about)
  • ponytail holders/headband (I love hair clips, but they are not comfortable when between your head and a pillow!)
  • something loose fitting to wear home
  • any personal items to make you comfortable (such as a pillow; be sure to make whatever you bring “yours” so it’s not confused with hospital stuff, such as a white pillowcase)
  • if you’ll be sharing a room, bring earplugs (I shared a room with my first and the woman next to me kept calling the nurses station all night... I was miserable!)
  • books, magazines, music (some labors do take a long time, some not, but better to be prepared)
  • list of people to call after baby arrives
  • CAMERA! With memory card and extra batteries (or charger)! (Pack this in advance if you can, it’s something that can easily be forgotten in the rush to get to the hospital.)
  • cell phone AND charger
  • clothes for your significant other if needed (since I have a kiddo already, my husband will be heading home after the fact to stay with him)

For baby:
  • going home outfit (or two!)
  • pacifiers (check with your hospital if they’re supplied)
  • diapers and formula if you have a specific brand you prefer
  • diaper bag with extras for the trip home
  • baby brush/comb (some babies are born with a ton of hair---like my son was!)
  • baby blanket (thickness according to weather, snow suit for cold-weather babies)
  • socks/booties
  • mittens (to prevent scratching)
  • cap(s)
  • baby book
  • car seat!


The important thing to remember about packing is that comfort is high priority, but don't try to pack your whole house. The more stuff you bring, the more stuff you have a chance of losing/leaving behind, and even not using. If in doubt, check with your hospital on what's supplied and what's not.


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Comment by Kay M. on May 26, 2011 at 2:33pm
Oh thank you Erin for such a comprehensive list. :)


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