I never packed a hospital bag when I had Ben. If you recall, I thought I was seeing the doctor and was going to discuss my intense back pain but then there was an underground fire in center city Philadelphia and my doctors office had no power so they sent me to the hospital to get checked there. Later that day I had an emergency c-section. It was wild. Full story here.
So anyway, when I arrived at the hospital I had a backpack with a granola bar and my work badge and the book I was reading at the time. That’s it. On the bright side, the nurses all thought I was a seasoned vet of a Mom, being so laid back about my packing.
After I had Ben, my friend Christina went to my house and packed my hospital bag for me with her best guess of what I’d want. I mostly used whatever the hospital provided and I don’t even remember what Ben wore home from the hospital.
So as it turns out, you can pack almost nothing and it’ll all be okay! It will! I promise!
This time around, I wanted to pack my own bag and packed it at about 30 weeks because now I know, you never know what will happen. Here’s what I have packed in my hospital bag.
What I’m Packing for Myself
Slippers and Cozy Socks – They give you non-slip socks at the hospital but they aren’t great. My Mom bought me a pair of non-slip slipper socks last time and brought them to me. This time I’ll wear my own cozy socks and I’ll use these slide on faux fur slippers for any hallway walks.
Black PJ set – I mostly wore the hospital gowns (two at a time, one forward, one backward) for the first two days last time but I instantly felt better once I put my own clothes on. Plus I had to leave my unit and go down two floors to visit Ben so I wanted to be wearing legit clothes.
Hopefully our gal will be with us in our room so this won’t be a concern but I’m still packing a nice black PJ set in case I want to change out of the hospital gown. And when I say nice black PJs, please know that while they look like those Nordstrom PJs everyone has, mine were from “Santa” when I was living at home right after college i.e. my Dad picked them out for me at Kohl’s nearly a decade ago. They look really nice still though!
Holy Grail Compression Leggings – These waist compression leggings are THE BEST. I know everyone has some pair of Amazon leggings they swear by but these ones do insane things to your waist. After my last c-section, I really liked the feeling of being held in. These leggings do that.
I own three pairs and the black pair is coming with me, probably for the day we go home. I usually wore my belly band over these so the velcro wasn’t scratchy on my skin. More on why I wore a belly band postpartum here.
Tunic Length Buffalo Plaid Shirt – This one from Old Navy has been my best purchase this fall. I’ll probably wear this home from the hospital with leggings. It isn’t packed because I’m currently wearing it. I sized up to a medium to accommodate the bump.
Black Joggers – I found a cozy pair at Plato’s Closet recently that are a ribbed thermal. Perfect for the days before I’m ready to wear leggings.
Button front nightgown – This one from Target is perfection. Button front is necessary when nursing.
Dark Grey Cardigan – Most lists say to bring a robe but I don’t have a robe that I would want to bring to the hospital. I snagged a super cozy, thick, and long grey cardigan from Plato’s Closet last week for $3.50! It has pockets and it’s so warm. I’ll be packing that instead of a robe.
Nursing Bras – I don’t love any nursing bras but I’m bringing the ones I liked most from last time around. This one was the clear winner. The fabric was softer than the cheaper ones from Amazon (although I bought this three pack of nursing bras and it’s a good deal).
Nursing Tanks – I have two from last pregnancy and I just snagged these on Amazon – a three pack for $13.99 (at the time that I’m writing). I’ll wear these with my pants and cardigan. It’s a lot easier when your shirt is also your bra.
If they are more expensive by the time you click that link, download the Honey browser extension and put it on your droplist. I added these to my Amazon wishlist when they were $30 and got an email notification when they dropped to $13.99!
High Rise Cotton Briefs – The sexiest undies you’ll ever own lol. My best friend told me to buy these high rise cotton briefs after her sister-in-law insisted they were perfect for postpartum. She was right.
Make sure you put them away somewhere once you’re out of the postpartum phase or otherwise you may find yourself wearing them on laundry day when your kid is over a year old…
Belly Band – I don’t remember when I started wearing this velcro 3-piece belly band postpartum last time. When I feel comfortable enough, I’ll put it on.
I’ll definitely wear it for the ride home in the car because it was the only way I didn’t cry in the back seat of a taxi after I had Ben. The squeezing feeling of it made me feel like I was being held together with the braking and accelerating at every light across the city.
Bunny Ear Scrunchies – These bunny ear scrunchies were a HUGE hit when I shared them on my Insta story. I totally love them and originally bought them for those days and weeks postpartum when I want to feel put together but don’t want to wash my hair.
I put my hair in a top knot with a phone cord kind of elastic and then just put the scrunchie around it with the bunny ears in front. It makes my bun look much bigger than it is and makes it look like I kind of tried, even when I didn’t.
Toiletries and Makeup – My skin is super reactive and I’ll get a breakout to almost anything so I only want to use my usual stuff. I’m bringing my normal skincare routine – Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Face Wash in a travel bottle and my Maelove day and night moisturizer plus a good lip balm.
I’m also packing a washcloth makeup remover like this one because I don’t know that I’ll be able to bend over the sink to wash my face and I don’t think I’ve ever left makeup on overnight, ever. This way I can get a clean face from my hospital bed if need be.
I also wear mascara every day of my life no matter what. Yes, every day in the NICU with Ben. Every day. It takes me a minute to do and I feel naked without it.
I’ll probably have waterproof mascara, concealer, and some bronzer in my hospital bag.
Ya know, on second thought, I’ll probably just take the whole shebang because there’s a lot of sitting around in the hospital and babies sleep a lot so usually you have the time. I even had time in the NICU to throw on some makeup while pumping between feeds. Plus I’ll admit that I’m vain enough to want to look my best during this heavily photographed time of life.
Included in this category is the standard stuff too – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, etc.
iPhone Charger – Obviously.
My Legit Camera – Sure, I’ll probably have 1,000 iphone pics of this girl before we even leave the hospital but I’m bringing along my good camera too. I’m going to try to take my own newborn pics of her in the hospital. Nav got me the Sony RX100 V for my birthday and it’s such a dream to shoot with. Here’s more about why I got rid of my DSLR.
What I’m Packing for the Baby
Spearmint Baby Ruffle Zip Footie in Vanilla – This adorable footie was a gift from my friend Christina. It’s ridiculously cute and so soft. It’s a size 0-3 months so if she’s little, it may not fit. If it does, this will be her coming home from the hospital outfit.
Bow Set – I prefer small bows on small babies. I bought these teeny velvet bows from Amazon and these little knotted bows too. They’re all so cute and they pack so flat that I’ll probably just bring them all.
Caden Lane Swaddle Blankets – I got an Instagram ad for the Caden Lane swaddle blankets and instantly added them to my list. Christina also bought me two of them and they are to die for. So soft! I’m hoping to take some of her first pictures in one of them along with whatever bow looks best with her hair color. Yes I realize how absurd this sounds.
Long Sleeve Henley Onesie – I bought this long sleeve henley onesie on Amazon. It’s decent quality and I thought it would be too big initially but then I washed it and whoa, now it’s definitely newborn size. She’ll probably be wearing this under the swaddle above. It looks a lot like some of the offerings from much more expensive stores.
Long Sleeve Kimono Onesies – Bringing three of these (these H&M ones were our favorites with Ben) because we put them under footies or the going home outfit. H&M has very specific sizing so two are size 0-1 month and one is 1-2 months (just in case she’s big).
Two Extra Newborn Outfits – I don’t know why I’m even packing these but since I don’t know her size and we’ll be at the hospital for four days, it feels like I should.
Coming Home Outfit – I bought a brand new Cloud Island Sweater romper at the consignment store. It’s grey (looks just like this one) and it’s simple, warm, and cute. It’s newborn size so if the Spearmint Baby one above doesn’t fit, she’ll be coming home in this.
Baby Booties and Socks – For coming home. It’s so hard to find simple stuff and these knit booties are cheap and adorable. They look really high end!
Is this entirely too much stuff for the baby? Yes. Yes it is. But I didn’t get to pack for Ben. He didn’t fit in newborn clothes so for several weeks he wore the same 3 preemie outfits that a family member sent us. I feel like I get to be excited about all of this stuff this time around so even if I’m overdoing it, that’s okay.
What Doesn’t Fit In the Bag
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow – I know people swear they love the Boppy but the My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow PUTS IT TO SHAME. Ben was too small for the Boppy. It was too squishy and he fell down the crack between my body and the pillow.
A fellow NICU mom suggested the My Brest Friend and I bought it immediately. Game changer. I love that the surface is more firm and it has a little pillow area for the baby’s head. It clips around your body and is so secure, you could almost walk around your house (carefully) with the baby on it while breastfeeding (I may have done this when Ben was really teeny).
iPad Loaded with Downloaded Shows and Movies – I’ll be inpatient for four days so I’m sure there will be downtime. We’ll probably binge some Christmas movies and hopefully the new season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Nav already has a lot of stuff downloaded and ready to go. I say downloaded because who knows how good the wifi is so streaming may not happen. Downloading what you can is the way to go.
Nav’s stuff – He’s packing his own backpack and since we live less than two miles from the hospital and he’ll be back and forth to home (to hang with Ben), he doesn’t need much.
Snacks – We’ll probably pack a few things but the hospital is right in the heart of center city Philly so I’ll probably just send Nav out or GrubHub whatever I want to the hospital.
A book – This will probably fit in the bag and be thrown in last minute. I’m sure I’ll have finished the book I’m currently reading by then so it’ll be whatever I’m reading next.
What I’m Not Bringing
I’ve read about a million of these lists and having done everything SO minimal last time, here’s the stuff that I just don’t think needs to come to the hospital:
- A pillow – The hospital has plenty and post c-section, you basically sleep partially sitting up so it’s not like you need them to be perfect.
- A blanket – The hospital has blankets. If you get cold, ask for more.
- Pads – The hospital provides them. They’re about to charge your insurance $50,000+ so take all the free sh*t you can.
- Literally anything postpartum care related – They’ll give you all of that at the hospital. For real. Ask for an extra nipple shield and breast pads and anything else you want.
- Flip flops – They sanitize everything in the hospital. I’ll risk bare feet in the shower.
- Baby mittens – Baby mittens are not safe to sleep compliant. After working in a children’s hospital, I’m a huge stickler for safe to sleep. They can pull them off with their mouths and suffocate themselves. Just swaddle those arms down and you’ll be good.
- Diapers or wipes – Again, the hospital provides them.
- Bath towel – Don’t risk getting anything gross on yours. Yes, the hospital ones are small and scratchy. But they’re sanitary and they get the job done.
- Birth plan – My birth plan = have a c-section. Even if I wasn’t, I feel like birth plans often get women’s hopes up for how birth will be and it just doesn’t always work out like that (I’m very very aware of this given my first birth experience). Make sure you love your OB and they know your wishes and have someone ready to be your advocate/voice (a partner, parent, friend etc.) and skip the birth plan. But hey, if you’re in to birth plans or it helps you mentally prepare, then you do you.
- Birth playlist – Not my thing. Do they let you play music in the operating room? I don’t know but I’ll probably be too nervous and would tune it out anyway.
So that’s it! That’s what I’m packing. Have I forgotten anything? Is there anything you felt like was essential or you found really helpful? Let me know!