Oh the hospital bag. What to pack? What not to pack? How soon to pack? Ah! It can add to the feeling of overwhelm leading up to your baby’s arrival, especially if you’ve been Pinning your days away with Pinterest baby-prep. Or, if you’re like I was, you put no thought into it at all and then end up sending your family for errand after errand to grab supplies for you while you’re in the hospital (oops)!
But fear not brave mama! No matter what side of the spectrum you’re on, we’ve got you covered thanks to our wonderful community of Coco Moon mamas. We gathered their insights and put together a list of essentials and bonus items that you can refer to as you pack that handy dandy hospital bag.
- 2-3 pairs of comfy post-partum clothes
- A few pairs of cozy socks (hospitals are so cold)!
- Toilet paper (extra soft. You’ll thank us later)
- Hairbrush & hair accessories
- Personal blankets (so cold!) & pillows (you want to do everything you can to be more comfortable while you’re at the hospital)
- Swaddle blankets
- Cell phone & charger
- Lots of healthy snacks
- A robe, jacket or sweater
- Nursing bra or bikini top
- Breast pump (your hospital may provide one. Check out our Hawaii Hospital Guide to see if yours does)
- Newborn clothing (the hospital will provide clothes, but they’re so scratchy and who knows what harsh chemicals may linger on the fabric)
Newborn hat and socks (did we mention that hospitals are cold?
- Breastfeeding pillow
- Cord Blood Kit (if using)
- Shower towel
- House slippers
- Nursing pads
- Your preferred brand of pads or disposable underwear (though the hospital does provide)
- Dry shampoo
- Hydro flask
- Camera & battery charger
- Extra clothes for your partner
- Diffuser & preferred essential oils
- Cards, games or reading materials
One piece of advice that we heard time and time again from our mamas was to bring whatever you feel will make your time at the hospital more comfortable and “homey.” The hospital will offer some basic postpartum necessities, but having your personal items can really help you feel more “you” after labor, which is a huge help. At the same time, try not to over pack. There won’t be a lot of space in your room and you’ll be juggling a baby and car seat along with your bag when you check out.
Also, think through what you really want to have on hand for your newborn. With my first, the only clothes I brought for him were for his “coming home outfit.” Obviously they were super cute and photogenic, but he was stuck in the scratchy hospital clothes for the other days that we were there. One amazing mama from our community even suggested having a newborn and 3 month onesie on hand - she gave birth to a 10lb baby who only fit a 3 month sized onesie when he was born (kudos to you, mama!).
Another great tip was that many hospitals now offer newborn photography packages to capture the first few days with your baby. So having options for you, your partner and newborn for your first family photo shoot are wonderful to have on hand.
And if you’ve got pets at home, ask the hospital about bringing home the blanket your little one was wrapped in. You can use it to familiarize your animals with baby’s scent when you return home.
And lastly, remember that those days in the hospital can feel like a blur. But ultimately, they’re all about recovering, taking care of yourself, and creating unforgettable memories with your new baby. Don’t stress about what you forgot to pack, what your clothes look like, or anything else for that matter. Just relax, be proud of what you just did, and bask in the love of your little one.