Ever get the feeling that as a soon-to-be mom you’re drowning in… stuff? You’ve got the diapers, the onesies, the tiny socks, and even the freaky baby nose sucking device everyone’s raving about.
It’s wonderful, it’s exciting, it’s… overwhelming.
But by the end of your third trimester you’re (hopefully!) starting to feel like you’ve finally got things in place. And then you remember: the hospital bag.
You’ve gotten advice about most everything related to the birth, except the hospital stay, which can feel like a big cloudy mystery. What happens after the actual giving birth part? What do you even need?! Somebody help!!
Have no fear! We’ve got a handy-dandy checklist just for you. Even better, unlike other checklists that just keep going on…and on…and ON…this one won’t overwhelm you with 28 different “might be helpful, may not be, who knows?” suggestions.
It’s simple. Precise. It gives you the real down low on what you need and what you don’t.
This is the checklist for Minimalist Mamas and Low-Maintenance Ladies. It’s the key to your laid-back labor plan.
A Hospital Bag Checklist for Mama
Let’s face it, you’re stepping out into the great unknown of parenting.
How do you pack for a trip, when you have no clue what to expect when you get there? Fortunately, though, many of the birth recovery items will be provided by the hospital. I’m talking mesh underwear, pads that stay cool and help with swelling, and squirty bottles for after you pee.
Yes that’s right ladies, this is the super glamorous part.
These are the tools we’ve all used, so don’t let it freak you out! They are just a few of the hilarious birth secrets we sisters get to share!
The Maternity Bag: Your Clothing Items
I’m not going to sugar coat it for you, birth and recovery can be … er… messy. If you’re truly a minimalist at heart you can wear your hospital gown for your whole stay. My recommendation, though, is to bring several comfy nursing tank tops and cozy loose pants or (some surprisingly chic) nursing pajamas and an adorable robe in a size you wore at about 5 months pregnant.
Lots of hospitals provide non-slip socks for you to wear, but you might feel better having your own from home. You could choose to bring slippers, but if you do I’d suggest bringing an old pair you don’t mind tossing out if they get dirty. Better still? Bring some of your own five-star-rated fuzzy/grippy socks from home. Any little bit of comfort helps!
These must-have comfy nursing bras are perfect for those first few weeks of nursing and then to wear overnight. You’ll be changing sizes like crazy, so get something stretchy at first and then wait to get a cuter bra after things have settled down.
I personally find it a bit ewwww to walk around the hospital in bare feet. Grab some sweet mint green flip flops to wear in the shower or down the hall to take a walk.
Don’t forget your actual hospital bag! This leather bag is super durable, incredibly stylish (which means your man won’t feel awkward carrying it for you), has over 220 five-star reviews, and is currently on sale for 70% off. Sweet.
The Maternity Bag: Your Toiletry Items
Like I said before, the hospital will cover almost all your toiletry postpartum needs. That said, there are a few things you’ll definitely want to bring from home.
Even the hippie-est of chicks will want to take a shower after the whole miracle of birth thing. Make sure to bring a few essentials, whatever it takes to feel like yourself. Must haves include…
- An awesome lip balm (hospitals are dry!)
- Extra hair bands
- Dry shampoo
- Of course, a cute toiletry bag never hurts!
A Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
You’ll need surprisingly little for your new arrival. Most hospitals will provide diapers, wipes, and even extra clothing and blankets if you need them. Our checklist simply includes those few special items you’ll really want, without the unnecessary extras.
Bringing your baby home from the hospital is a HUGE event! A whole new life is about to happen! Start that adventure out by packing an adorable little onesie to take your new arrival home. Try one of these:
- Hello, I’m New Here Bodysuit
- Worth the Wait Bodysuit
- Hello, Ladies…I Have Arrived Jumpsuit
- Brand Sparkling New Onesie
Your little bundle of joy has just come from a warm cozy womb and will probably be a little chilly. This is your chance to bust out a cute new hat! Those newborn pictures are going to be AMAZING!
A Hospital Bag Checklist for Daddy
I’ll admit, I didn’t think about this as even being a category initially. Chances are, your husband might not either.
Not including it though, would be a big mistake! You see, making sure the things he needs have been packed ahead of time, will help him keep his focus on you. After all, this is the one time you can demand all the attention in the room and not feel one bit of guilt!
If there was ever a time for a fancy pants camera it’s now. Put Daddy in charge of pictures, and make sure there are some with you in them! (You may want to talk ahead of time about what body parts are allowed in the shots…just sayin’.)
It’s going to be a long day/night, and you won’t want to be left alone for long. Arm Daddy with lots of protein snacks so that he’ll have the energy to be your biggest cheerleader. (You should get wife of the year for remembering this, since you won’t be eating at ALL during labor.)
Check to see if your baby book has a spot for footprints, or just lots of extra blank pages to be creative like this adorable “First Year” memory book. If it does, you’ll want to enlist Dad to keep track of this task. It is MUCH easier to have the nurses help you than to try to do it at home.
A couple changes of clothes will eliminate that pesky trip back home to outfit daddy. Don’t forget to pack him an extra über-comfortable sweatshirt just in case you want to keep the room chilly. Most hospital rooms have their own thermostat to keep mom comfortable, but Dad might end up out in the (literal!) cold.
What’s NOT On Our Simple
Hospital Bag Checklist?
Our goal here is to give you the lowest stress packing experience possible, because who really wants to worry about their suitcase when they’re dialating? And while we’ll all have our own individual needs, there are a few things you might be tempted to pack that we think will just weigh you down. (Something you definitely don’t need right now… #amirite???)
- Nursing Pads or Nipple Cream: You likely won’t be producing enough milk yet to be leaking, and you won’t start to need nipple cream til you’ve nursed for more than a couple days. (That said, if you plan on breastfeeding, I would definitely have them on hand at home!)
- Boppy or a Nursing Pillow: They’ll provide plenty of pillows at the hospital. (Although again, it may be helpful to have it waiting at home…)
- Water Bottle: Every hospital I’ve heard of sends you home with a giant water bottle with their name on it. I guess so you can spread their marketing message to your Mom’s group???? #whoknows
- Birthing Ball: If you would like to use one during childbirth, check to see if your hospital supplies them before lugging it along.
- Baby Shampoo/Wash, Diapers, Diaper Cream, Wipes, etc, etc., all provided by your friendly neighborhood hospital!
Print Off This Free Hospital Bag Checklist!
We’ve put all this collected wisdom together for you (with some added essentials like phone chargers) into a printable checklist to give you even more peace of mind. We’d love for it to help you de-stress as much as you can while you count down these final days before baby.
Why is that a direct link and not behind a give-me-your-email wall? Because I don’t want to bully you into a friendship.
If you like the free download, why not subscribe to my weekly email and get a free copy of 101 Ways to Be an Awesome Mom?
Or, if you’re grateful, but not interested in subscribing, can you share this article with your social media pals? That works too!
From one working mother to another, thanks!
Your Hospital Bag is Packed…Now What?
Now that this big hurdle (the hospital bag) has been overcome, how are you feeling?
A little more prepared? Or still as nervous as heck? (That’s okay, you know. Every mother is nervous/exciting on this side of the pregnancy, no matter how many times she’s gone through it! It’s a major life shift!)
Since you probably have more time now then you will in the near future, why not do some light reading here at Mighty Moms to get ahead of the learning curve?
10 Hilarious Things About Childbirth Worth Laughing Over
Warning: Only read this AFTER you’ve experienced childbirth.
We ♥ honesty! This post contains affiliate links that provide extra money for our mutual coffee
habits addictions. Click here to learn more.
Holly has been a nanny, missionary, and a therapist, but right now is enjoying focusing on her number one client, her one-year-old son. She enjoys cooking, DIY home projects, listening to NPR, and reading The Little Blue Truck until she goes cross-eyed. Learn more about Holly here.