Having a Baby? – Ten Key Items to Pack for the Hospital or Birth Center

When having a baby (especially the first time) there is so much to prepare.  I never felt fully prepared and despite reading too many books never felt like I knew what to expect (even after reading “What to Expect” cover to cover).  An area that did help me tremendously was finding lists from other mothers who’d been through it before and lended their advice from real life experience.

Baby picture
The best item I brought to the hospital.   

Although this isn’t exhaustive I pulled together my top ten list of items I would ensure to pack for the hospital.

After two births and hospital stays I had my own opinion and also gathered some feedback from other mamas.   I am keeping it to ten for simplicity, but everyone has their personal preferences as well.   If I could only bring ten items this is what they would be.

Top Ten:

  • Phones & charger – You are going to want to communicate with family, friends and of course take pictures of your sweet little one.  Also not knowing how long your hospital stay will be you don’t want to forget the charger.  True story, my husband went to move the car while I was in labor.  Right after he left the doctors said I had to deliver right then and call him to get back right away (was glad we both had our phones)!
  • Carseat – As a new parent toting a car seat around is not second nature.  They won’t let you leave the hospital without one so this is definitely essential.
  • Toiletries  – Sure they will have some shampoo and soap for you, but make sure to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste for you and your partner.  For me, I had long hair so I loved having conditioner which they didn’t have at the hospital.  Lip balm is also key.  The air is dry and you will likely be doing a lot of breathing.  Another key is hair ties if you have longer hair.
  • Robe – Although I would maximize using the hospital gowns instead of your own clothes (for many reasons I won’t get into here), having a not too nice, light robe can increase your comfort.  A lot of the gowns are open and the robe can help you feel a bit more covered and comfortable.
  • Eye Mask – This was a lesson learned.  I had someone bring one to me in the hospital and for round two it was top on my list.  The hospital has a lot of bright light and sleep will be scarce so anything to help maximize your ability sleep is key.
  • Snacks – They will have some snacks for you, but I’d bring some items you enjoy just in case.
  • Going Home Clothes – Not just for you, but for baby.  I almost brought a sleepsack for him, but realized it needs legs for the carseat. It’s also a good idea to bring two sizes just in case your baby ends up a bit smaller or larger than you thought.  Whatever you bring for yourself think comfort first.  Chances are you aren’t going to want to slip into much more than yoga pants or sweats.  Also don’t forget a very comfortable bra.  Either a nursing bra or thin sports bra will work, but you likely will have some soreness if you are nursing.
  •  Nursing Pillow – Initially as you and your baby are learning to nurse getting more comfortable and using a nursing pillow can make life easier.
  • Folder – You are going to get a mountain of paperwork and it’s nice to have one spot to stash everything.
  • Essential Documents – Make sure to pack your license, any insurance info you need, in labor parking pass if you have one and a credit card or cash.

That is my list.  Are there items you would add?  Curious also if anyone had an experience of something they wish they had added to their list?

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