In my first pregnancy, I spent lots and lots of time ready hospital packing lists and talking to other moms to figure out what I should pack in my bag to take to the hospital. I followed a lot of traditional lists, and ended up with a hospital room jam packed with stuff, a lot of which I never used. I also ended up not having some things I really wished I’d had initially.

My goal this time around was to pack more thoughtfully, have less stuff, and make the stuff I had easier to find.

Since I wrote this before having my baby, but am just now getting ready to post it, I thought I would add some notes on what things I used, what I didn’t, and what I wished I had or had someone bring me from home.

hospital bagThese are my actual hospital bags – the rolling suitcase holds all of my things. Last time, I used a duffel bag, and I found rummaging around in it made things messier. With this bag, things should be easier to find and get out without making so much of a mess. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Plastic baggie with chapstick, lotion, hair ties, and some of those stretchy athletic headbands. The baggie is labeled so my husband knows that these are the things I will want for laboring. I used all of these, but the athletic headband came off at some point during hard labor/pushing. I didn’t notice.
  • Two nursing tanks and nursing bra. One tank would have been fine, except I spilled tea over one, so it was nice to have a back-up. Sadly, the nursing bra was a bust as I was too big for it by the time I left the hospital.
  • Nursing pads – I have a single pack of disposables and two pairs of reusable pads. Didn’t need.
  • Two pairs of underwear, different cuts. I love the mesh panties, but I’ll need something to wear home. I have two styles of underwear I’m hoping will be comfortable for wearing home; both are pairs I don’t mind throwing out, if needed. I only used one – the giant, granny-style, fold-down maternity undies were perfect for wearing for the first couple of days.
  • One pair of lightweight, long-sleeved PJ’s. I got mine from Target, and the top buttons down so I can unbutton for nursing (I plan to wear a nursing tank underneath) and button up for visitors. I love these. They were the perfect weight and when I needed to spot wash them, they dried quickly hanging in the bathroom.
  • Nursing gown. I packed the gown I wore after having C but didn’t like because it didn’t offer enough coverage. I thought I’d throw it in there just in case I have a c-section and don’t want to wear pants. I didn’t have a c-section, so I didn’t use these.
  • Zip-up hoodie for nursing gown coverage and/or to wear home if its cooler (I’m bringing this as a robe substitute, because it takes up less room in my bag and is more versatile). I didn’t use this either, since I loved my PJ’s soo much.
  • Going home outfit: maternity yoga pants, maternity/nursing tank. Super comfy.
  • Slippers Surprisingly, I didn’t use these. I wore flip-flops in, and either went barefoot or wore those.
  • Fuzzy socks Again, I’m surprised I didn’t use these. I might have it had been cooler out when I delivered?
  • Older towel (a friend who just delivered at the same hospital I’ll be in highly recommended this, or I would have left it out.) I used this every day and was very glad I had it. The hospital towels were thin, small, and a little scratchy. They were great for hair and drying places I was worried about blood, but it was so nice to have a towel to actually wrap around me.
  • My toiletries, deodorant, toothbrush and razor for my husband. Used them all.
  • Make-up. I purchased duplicates of all my make-up so I could keep it packed in my hospital bag. Last time around I planned to grab my make-up bag and bring it with me, but it ended up that my husband needed to get all of my bags for me, and I was without make-up and hair-doing things until my mom arrived, about a day after C was born. Used!
  • I wish I had packed my sound machine, but I had my mom bring it for me. I’m a fairly deep sleeper, but noises really bother me when it comes to falling asleep. We were in a room right across from the nurses station, so we could hear them talking and commotion, if there was any. Also, the clock in our room was super loud and distracting to me when trying to sleep. The sound machine didn’t cover it up, but it gave me a nice white noise to focus on and made me feel more like I was at home.

You’ll notice I’m bringing my Boppy this time. I know a lot of second-time moms don’t, but since nursing was a big struggle with C and I’m not an “experienced nurser,” I thought it would be really helpful. I didn’t have this the first time around, and wished I did. I used this every time I nursed in the hospital, except maybe the initial time after birth.

Under the Boppy is a small canvas bag that has mostly my husband’s things, including:

  • Money for food. Our hospital’s cafeteria is cash-only. Used more than once.
  • A pair of comfy shorts and t-shirt for sleeping in. Not worn, apparently sleeping in jeans isn’t a big deal to my husband.
  • A “nicer” t-shirt. Worn.
  • Socks. I have no idea if he used these or not.
  • Granola bars for us to share (one of the few easily portable and shelf-stable snacks we both like). We ate some of these, but there was also a small snack area for patients, so we got a lot of snacks there for more variety.
  • Coconut water for me to have after labor. I drank this as soon as I was cleaned up, and it was so nice.
  • Phone and camera chargers. Used.
  • Folder for taking home all the paper the hospital will give us. Didn’t use. Our hospital gave us a folder for all of our papers.
  • Camera. Duh.

NOTE: All of these things could have fit in my hospital bag (except maybe the snacks) if I hadn’t packed a towel.

I’m also bringing a flexible tote for carrying things into and out of the hospital, as we’ll probably loose and gain some things during our stay. Right now, the baby’s bag and a Big Brother bag for Colton are in it. In the baby’s bag:

  • Going home outfit (I have a warmer and cooler version of this since the weather here has been all over the place of late). He wore his Little Brother shirt home, even though it was too big, so he didn’t wear these.
  • “Little Brother” shirt and coordinating pants.
  • Outfit for hospital pictures. He wore his Little Brother shirt for this too.
  • One extra outfit I think is super cute. He wore this, and it was super cute with the matching hat and booties.
  • Cute knit hat for hospital wearing. Worn, but the hospital provided a super cute knit hat as well.
  • Miracle blanket (I contemplated not bringing this, but it is the only blanket I can swaddle with, so if the baby is sleeping in our room most of the time, I need it). Didn’t use. My husband shocked me with his swaddling ability.

NOTE: We didn’t have any fun outfits for C when he was born for a while (my husband brought our things but forgot the baby’s), and the hospital had plenty of cute clothes. I really only *need* one or two outfits, I just wanted to have more on hand because its fun.

In Colton’s Big Brother bag I packed some things that could be used at the hospital, but I also wanted things that would be fun, easy, and low-mess to use once we got home:

  • Color Wonder marker and paper.
  • Pack of plastic construction vehicles.
  • Melissa and Doug reusable stickers and color w/water pad.
  • Set of stamps (found for under a buck at WalMart after Easter)
  • Glitter crayons.
  • Chuck the Truck coloring book.
  • New book about Trucks.

I’m thinking we’ll leave everything in the car, except my bag, until after delivery, and we can leave C’s bag in the car until we know he’s coming to visit.

We’re not bringing all of our social security cards and other documents, as we didn’t need them last time, so I’m not anticipating needing them again. I’m also not bringing any reading material (which is on every single packing list I’ve seen) because I just don’t read during labor, or after the baby’s born. I feel like that might be unique to me, but if you’re planning a natural birth, you won’t be reading, and I was just so busy figuring out my baby and talking to visitors, there just wasn’t time.

I’m curious; are there any items you consider must haves in your hospital bag? Or is there something lots of people bring you find unnecessary?