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The Hospital Bag

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I know we've all still got a whole summer to go, but I'm a total OCD planner/list maker. For those that will be delivering at the hospital, have you started thinking about what to pack in the bag? I'm especially interested in hearing what everyone packs since I've never done this before!


My basic list is -





Clothes to wear home


Makeup kit

Baby's first outfit home

Purse (with wallet, cell phone, book, keys that always live in there)

Cell phone charger

Vitamin Water (I can't seem to get enough of the stuff)

Some kind of snack pack (any suggestions here?)


I know we'll also need to have the carseat with us, and I think I need to pack pads to deal with post-delivery bleeding? Anything else I should be sure to include? 

post #2 of 10

I'm not in your DDC, but I just saw your post on the community board and I thought that I'd add a few ideas since I've had both a hospital birth and a birth center birth.


1. Type up your packing list and post it on your fridge. Many of the items will need to be packed last minute (cell phone charger, camera and camera battery charger, purse, food items, etc.). We did this and it made it much easier, (and less stressful) for DH, who packed everything up.


2. I would add baby finger nail scissors to the list. (BTW, baby nail scissors work much better than nail clippers. You can find some on amazon.)


3. I liked Recharge, similar to Gatorade, but made with natural ingredients.


4. Snack ideas: protein bars (Odwalla brand is good), trail mix, fruit


5. Treats for the nursing team - (a recommendation from the Hypnobabies program, and confirmed by my sister, who is a doctor. You'll be treated better if you bring treats like cookies, brownies, or chocolate as a "thank you".)


6. Camera and battery charger


7. Laptop if you want to email pictures right away


8. Eye mask for the drive to the hospital. It will help you stay focused.


9. Sleep nursing bra, much more comfy than a regular nursing bra


10. Lanolin or other nipple cream


11. Disposable nursing pads


12. Swim trunks for DH (So he can shower with you. After the birth of DS1 I was very woosey and didn't feel safe showering by myself. You might like to labor in the shower too.)


13. Toiletries and clothing for DH


The hospital will give you plenty of pads. You'll want to have a large pack for once you get home though. Get the thick overnight type. You might also want to make sure you have a watch/timer with a second hand so that you can time the contractions when you are at home.


Another tip is to put an old towel in the car that you can sit on during the drive to the hospital (in case your water breaks).


One last thought: pack a sleeping bag or extra blanket for DH. The AC can be cold.


All the best to you!!

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hahaha how could I forget the camera!?


The swim trunks for my husband are a great idea too, especially since I want to be able to labor in the shower/tub.


And the treats for the staff - also a good idea. When do you give them out though? When you check in or after delivery, or when you check out?

post #4 of 10

I've packed several hospital bags now and I think it's actually one of my favorite parts.  LOL


A few things I do a bit differently, or things I add that I don't usually see on other lists:


I pack several small bags... one for "in labor", one for "my postpartum stay", and one for "baby" (DH packs his own bag with clothing and snacks for the birth and hospital stay though after the babe arrives he generally eats meals with our kiddos at home so he can re-stock his bag and grab stuff I might need).  That way I have a bag that is JUST labor aids and my DH or doula don't have to dig through non-birth related stuff, and I'm not super upset if that bag get's lost in the new baby excitement.  After the birth, DH takes the birth bag/dirty clothes to the car and brings in the two (also small) bags for the babe and myself.  At that point it's helpful to be able to say "grab the X out of the green bag" or "the Y is in the red bag" instead of jsut telling DH "I need the whatever" and leaving him to dig for it.  It also helps me stay organized in the hospital room and since I've found there's a surprising amount of paperwork associated with babies in hospitals (they give you copies of all sorts of things) it helps me organize "my" papers and "the baby's papers" so that I can file them later on.


Most of my packing list is pretty generic, but there are a few things (like the french press) that I don't see on most lists!


Birth Bag:

MP3 player with music

MP3 player with hypnobabies tracks

cameras (our digital camera but also one or two of those "disposable" ones you see in store check out lines)

batteries for anything that requires them

several boxes of coconut water (yummier imo than most laboraids, and provides a good electrolyte oomph)

thermos of Red Raspberry Leaf tea, super strong

thermos of Tom Ka Gai (I tend to throw up during labor and this soup is kind of "good in/not too bad out" lol)

pillow from home with snuggly flannel cover

lavendar eye pillow/hot pack

homeopathics, herbals, and flower essences for various birth and immediately pp issues

wooden massage thingie for back pressure

unscented vitamin e oil and a few different essential oils for scenting if I want (though keep in mind nut oils can trigger allergies, and anythign you put on your skin during labor will probably end up on your newborn so be aware that some essential oils aren't good for babes)

battery powered "candles" to use in the birth tub or general birthing room

homemade banner to hang on the wall as a focal point (and to cover the clock if there happens to be one)

really yummy chocolate to nibble on after the birth

home knit hat for babe to wear right after the birth


Shower Kit: in it's own little toiletry bag, I pack it in the birth bag for the post baby shower (or use during the birth) and then stick it in the postpartum stay bag.

toothbrush and toothpaste

hairbrush and hair ties

travel sized shampoo and body wash

travel sized version of my normal deoderant

eye drops (the single use style, they take up less room)


chap stick

Earth Mama Angel Baby bottom spray

small bottle of aloe vera gel (topical treatment for tears/piles, take internally to ward off constipation)

herbal tea bags for the sitz bath (or to put in the peri bottle the hospital should provide)


Mama's PostPartum bag:

MP3 player and batteries from the birth bag

clothing for hospital stay (usually a binsi skirt and other soft maternity skirts, breastfreeding friendly cotton tops, lightweight bathrobe, socks, but no panties... I really like the mesh panties the hospital hands out lol)

slippers and/or flip-flops for use in the shower

super duper overnight pads with wings for drive home

a Terry Pratchett book and a magazine or two

journal and pen to start baby book

Chocolate Peppermint Stick Luna Bars, Chocolate, and instant oatmeal packs (the staff can bring hot water anytime)

a travel sized French Press and GOOD coffee, RRL tea bags, PP tea blend (again, the staff can bring hot water), coconut water

lansinoh or nipple butter

aromatherapy room spray (usually just water and a little lavendar and tea tree oil)

tea tree oil antibacterial wipes

laptop, cell phone, camera, applicable power cords/chargers/batteries

empty bags... people bring gifts, there are dirty clothes to bring home, and all that sort of stuff


Baby's bag:

clothing for hospital stay (my babes are big and never fit the hospital provided outfits... I plan 2-3 outfits/day and a few hats)

a going home outfit and blanket (we swaddle with the hospital provided baby blankets till then)

bottom spray for baby (water and a little vitamin e oil to help get the meconium off)

boppy with cover (will launder the cover after use in the hospital)

diapers for the trip home (we use the hospital provided sposies till then)



For staff gifts, DH usually picks up a selection of bagels, muffins, chocolates, and nuts along with a "thank you for sharing in our birth" card and drops these off at the nursing station after the birth but before we go home... the last time, my kiddos made the card.  DH drops an identical platter/card off for the office staff at my care provider's office.  I try to make something for my doula (a cross-stitch version of her doula service logo, a quilt of baby hands, or in one case a copy of a book she needed for her midwife course), and I did make something for the family practice dr who attended my first birth (it's still hanging up in their waiting room 6 years later!).

post #5 of 10

It's recommeded to give the treats to the nurses w hen you check in if possible. You can make something in advance and then freeze it.


post #6 of 10

I know a few L&D nurses who adore getting little gifts from the families they attend... however, a few of them have pointed out that when the gift is given at the very beginning it feels more like a "bribe", as if the family feels like the staff will give them better service or be nicer to them if there is a gift up front.  That really struck a cord with me, and made me re-examine "why" I was bringing a gift to the staff.... for me, I decided my goal was to say "thank you" for their help and to bring them into the celebration surrounding the birth and for that, a gift after the birth but before I left was the most appropriate.  I know the birth books and websites usually say to give the staff a gift at the start (and many go on to say that that way the staff will be more "on your side" or friendlier, which kind of re-inforces what my friends were saying) and I think that's totally fine.... but it can't hurt to be mindful of "why" you're giving the gift.


~~full disclosure- I worked in public service for years and I'll admit that when someone brought a box of thank-you cookies or a bundle of flowers the other librarians and I were always thrilled, and it's true that we often worked just a little harder to find exactly what that patron wanted.  But this was at a major research library and the patrons who brought gifts tended to be people we'd worked with for days or even months... the cookies, cards, and flowers were thank-yous for services rendered that did tend to result in better service in the future becuase they reinforced an already existing relationship.  If a brand new patron with a difficult question arrived at the desk with cookie, I'm not sure it would have prompted the hoped for response.  Anyway, that's my background in the world of "professional" thank you and I'm sure it colors how I handle that situation.~~

post #7 of 10

I'm a first-timer, so I don't have many tips.  But, one of my friends that recently gave birth recommended packing chapstick - she said all the open-mouthed breathing during labor gave her very chapped lips.

post #8 of 10

I love the idea of the multiple little bags! That's awesome. Here are the items in my doula that can be nice for laboring mamas:

-birth ball, cover, & pump

-rice sock

-hot water bottle


-hair ties & bobby pins

-peppermint oil foot & leg lotion

-earth mama stretch oil

-labor massage oil

-lavendar essential oil & a spray bottle (to spray around the room as wombatclay mentioned)

-battery operated candles

-rebozo---AWESOME (and you can use it for babywearing afterwards slinggirl.gif)

-tennis balls in panty-hose (for lower back massage)

-honey sticks 


-comb for accupressure & for moms who like to have their hair brushed


Hope this helps! 

Happy Birthing! love.gif


post #9 of 10

I'm not having a hosp birth this time BUT I do still have a copy saved on my computer of my last "what to bring" list :)


2 Copies of Birth Plan, Prenatal Records

Insurance cards

Camera, extra batteries, charger


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Chapstick
  • Deodorant

Nursing bra

Clothes to go home in


Diaper bag

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Clothing
  • Nursing supplies
  • Extra Blankets


Rice sock

Hot/cold pack

Lotion & oils


CD player & variety of CD’s

Car seat in car

post #10 of 10

I love seeing all these good ideas!!

I love recharge during and after labor! 


I second the copies of prenatal records if you are a homebirth momma. I was a transfer last time and faced many many issues with the staff including the Dr that delivered not listening about my history even though my midwife was with me. I got a copy of the medical records and there were many people who kept saying I had received no prenatal care and some who said I did. I honestly think we went through excessive testing and even a course of antibiotics in my newborn because of the lack of communication there. So, even though I don't plan on going to the hospital this time, I will still have a hospital bag and a copy of prenatal records including which tests I had (or didn't have) and the results also. 

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