It doesn’t actually take bags full of stuff to have a baby. Technically, you just have to show up, or not… if you’re staying home. The baby will come, no matter what you do or don’t have with you.
That said, I found bringing a few bags full of stuff with me to the hospital when I went in to have each of my 3 babies helped with my comfort level, and there will be some things you need if you plan to stay overnight.
3 bags and a stack of pillows may seem like a ton of stuff, but when I had my first baby 5 years ago, we practically moved into the hospital. A U-Haual would have been helpful. By the time I got to having my 3rd baby this summer, I’d narrowed what I would actually need and USE.
Of course, as with all things parenthood, there is no one-size-fits all approach. This is certainly not a definitive list of what YOU should take to the hospital to have a baby. Maybe it will be a good jumping off point for you, though.
My Bag- a Vera Bradley Weekender in Paisley Meets Plaid. It was 50% off this summer (and still is!). I’m not a huge VB fan except when it’s on sale. Half price makes the patterns prettier to me. As you can see, it holds quite a bit. I had it full to the max.
Nursing Bras - I showed up to the hospital in comfortable clothes, and a Bravado Body Silk Seamless black bra that I planned to labored in. I love that bra because it’s so soft and stretchy, though I’ll say that the soft cups inside of it wound up becoming sponges draped over my boobs after I labored in the shower. Not a huge deal, but I sorta wish I would have labored in the other Bravado bra I packed- the Essential Embrace (pictured above).
Personal Gown- After I had the baby, and got all cleaned up, I put on my Annie & Isabel gown (Isabel). Of course, the hospital would have provided me a clean gown to wear, but I must say this one was so lovely. No awkward opening in the back. It was clean and pretty and all mine. The top of the sleeves unsnapped for breastfeeding. It was a nice treat. I wore it for my first night before changing into some more traditional pajamas.
Pajamas- In addition to some wireless nursing bras, and a couple Bravado nursing tanks, I packed a few pairs of comfortable black pants and some nursing friendly tops. The key thing is to keep everything loose fitting, soft, stretchy, and DARK colors.
Some moms like to bring their own robe and slippers with them. Our hospital actually gave those to me as a gift! I used the slippers a bit, but didn’t use the robe at all while at the hospital. If you tend to get cold feet, you’ll probably want to pack some warm socks.
Toiletries- This next thing changed my baby-making life. I wish I would have had it for the last 2 babies! That gorgeous silver cosmetic bag is a Push Pack, and it is full of just about everything I needed (other than clothes). I used about 80% of the items it came with, from the toiletries to the Luna bar that I scarfed down in the delivery room as I held a fresh baby on my chest.
It’s full of top-notch products, too, from really fantastic companies. Seriously, every time I found myself in need of something (soft nursing pads, an extra pair of mesh panties while I waited on my nurses to re-stock my bathroom, chapstick, a pen) it was in there. This is a GREAT gift for expecting moms!
In addition to that, I had to pack my glasses, contact case, and saline solution. I also threw in a few ponytail wrappers. And one of my top post-delivery essentials- facial cleaning cloths. Because who has the energy to stand at the sink and wash their face? Not this mom. They are also great for cleaning curdled, spit-up breastmilk out of your cleavage. Just so you know.
Not pictured, but I also took my own large, soft, dark colored towel. It was nice to wrap up in it after my first shower instead of using the small, stiff hospital towels.
Some moms bring their own pads and extra large, soft underwear. Some even like using Depends instead of the pads the hospital provides. I’m not opposed to the stuff the hospital provides, so I never bother to bring any of that with me.
Going Home Outfit- This was a nursing-friendly maternity dress. It’s actually the one I took my maternity pics in. I didn’t pack it to feel “dressed up” on my way out of there, I just knew it would be comfortable and cool for the Texas summer weather. Those gold flip flops are the only pair of shoes I took with me. I wore them in the shower, and I wore them home. I also took my makeup because I knew it would make me feel more put together. I really only put it on 15 minutes before we were discharged, but it was nice to take a few minutes for me at that time.
For The Baby- We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl, so I did my best to pack some cute, gender neutral outfits. I also wasn’t sure of the sizing. My last baby was 9.9 when she was born, and we couldn’t squeeze her into the newborn outfits we brought for her. So I found some generously sized newborn sleep and plays from Target that I love because they unzip from the bottom instead of the top. It makes diaper changes so much easier.
I also purchased that soft, sweet blue and white stripe sleep sack and hat from BabyPint on Etsy since it would fit babies of many sizes. Then I threw in some onesies and a couple soft blankets. That striped blanket is from Little Hip Squeaks, and the muslin blanket is by Hippilongstockings.
Mam pacifiers and baby lotion also found their way into my bag since I knew the hospital either wouldn’t provide these things, or wouldn’t provide the brands I like.
For my first, I brought his baby book for the nurses to stamp his footprints in. Then I realized I suck at baby books and skipped that with the last two. Instead, we came home with keepsake footprints on a certificate from the hospital that I can put in their “baby box” (a lazy mom’s alternative to a detailed baby book).
Pillows- The hospital pillows certainly weren’t awful, but we were happy to have our memory foam pillows from home. The Boppy has been a must-have for life with a newborn since I had my first 5 years ago. This is the same Boppy I used with him, but a new cover I purchased from Etsy.
Snacks- Our hospital actually had delicious food, including warm cookies and milk delivered after “cuddle time” every afternoon. It was nice to have a bag full of goodies, though, especially since I delivered late in the evening after the cafeteria and gift shop closed. We packed it full of juice bottles, Powerade, snack bars, pudding, Jello, and (since I have an insatiable sweet tooth after delivering a baby) bags of small candies and chocolates.
Camera/Electronics- I filled my Shutterbag camera bag with my Canon 6D and Sigma 35 1.4 lens, along with all the chargers needed for that, our phones, and our tablets. One thing I didn’t bring that I would have definitely used is a small extension cord. I was on my phone so much there (taking pics of the baby, talking to family, reading while the baby slept in my arms) that it was hard to keep a charge, and there wasn’t an electric outlet near my bed.
Speaking of electronics, we skipped putting together a labor playlist this time, mostly because I found myself rolling my eyes at all the “soothing” music I used the last 2 labors. I guess I was over it. So we opted to just jam out to the Joshua Radin station on Spotify. It was a perfect, no stress alternative. When my birth photog asked for songs for our slideshow, I could vividly remember the two I chose playing while I labored.
I might have missed a few small things, but those were the big things I remember really getting use out of this last time around. I think, in general, most of them are items just about any mom can use or would like to have- especially those facial cleaning cloths, friends. Such a small thing, such a huge convenience.
If you’ve had a baby out of the home, I’d love for you to add what was essential for you in the comments! If you’re an expecting, first-time mom, I hope this post helps you come up with a good list of things to take with you.
Some of these items were given to me, some I purchased. All of them genuinely made their way onto this list because I found them useful and stand behind them.