I remember going in to the hospital when I was in labor with my first daughter it felt like we were moving in. I had everything I could think of that I “might” need for baby packed neatly into many bags. What I didn’t realize it that I wouldn’t even use most of it. You can always tell first time parents that enter the labor and delivery unit with all of their belongings.
The thing is, labor is messy, and you want to save all that cute stuff for when you are nice and settled in your own home. Not only that, but hospitals are filled with germs, especially now. I’m going to let you know just the essentials that you need to bring with you, so you can focus on just carrying that little babe out in your arms with little baggage. Your partner will also be happy that they don’t need to lug all of your belongings back and forth to the car!
Partner-toiletries, clothes, change for vending machine, fave snacks
Baby-car seat, going home outfit, blanket
The most important thing you need is slippers. Yes, you read that correct. Get yourself a cheap pair of comfortable slippers that you can throw away at the end of your hospital stay. I love these slippers from Amazon. They are easy to slip on and off, have good traction, and can be sanitized if you choose to keep them after your stay. Your hospital will give you slipper socks, but these bad boys are one size fits none, and super uncomfortable and scratchy. You don’t want to walk barefoot anywhere in the hospital, regardless of how clean it may seem. Everyone coming to visit you, as well as the staff, has walked through the entire hospital where all the rest of the germs linger.
Next thing you need is comfortable clothing for you. You will be wearing a hospital gown when you first come into the hospital until at least after you deliver. Save your cute stuff for home. Again, labor is messy. Don’t wear anything you don’t want to get blood or fluids on. If you plan to breastfeed, nursing tanks are going to be your favorite thing to wear. You will be doing a lot of skin to skin, so something that is easy to remove is best. The nurses will need to check your bleeding frequently, so stretchy pants work great, and are comfortable. Include a comfortable outfit for you and baby to go home in, as well. If you’re a type A, make it a matching one!
You will be fed at the hospital, but if you like certain snacks, make sure they’re in your bag. Anything that is going to make you feel more comfortable is great. The hospital will likely have snacks, but this way you have what you prefer on hand. And speaking of food, PLEASE make sure you EAT before you leave for the hospital. We don’t feed you until after delivery, and you will be starving if you have a long labor!
Your partner, or support person, can bring their own bag of toiletries, change of clothes, pajamas, favorite snacks, and some change for the vending machine if need be. Of course, their phone and charger, as well. They’ll need to take tons of pictures! Unless you’re being induced, there may not be a whole lot of down time to play games or watch movies, so best to leave all that at home.
Now for baby. The hospital is going to provide you with wipes and diapers during your stay, so the only ones you will need are if baby has a blow out on the way home. If you live close to the hospital, you are likely not going to stop to change a diaper anyway, so don’t waste space with these. Your baby will not be wearing much clothing in the hospital either, so save those cute clothes for home. If you are having pictures done pack that outfit, and a going home outfit only. The doctors and nurses need to easily assess baby, and will not want clothes on your babe anyway. The hospital will provide a shirt or onesie for baby, as well as a sleep sack or blanket. Just pack one for the ride home if need be. Remember that babies can overheat, so if you are delivering in the summer, your babe will most likely not need a blanket to cover up with in the car. You will want to install your car seat before your delivery. Make sure the base is installed properly, and only bring the actual car seat up with you. You will need to put baby in (by yourself) before you are wheeled out, so practice if you need to. The staff will “help” you verbally, but cannot do this for you for liability reasons.
The hospital will provide you with pads, disposable mesh underwear, ice pads, numbing spray, tucks, medications, diapers, wipes, burp cloths, and swaddles. Save all of your stash for when you get home, and take advantage of the hospital’s supply. If you have a nice nurse (like me!) they may even give you some to go home with. You’ll also be able to take anything home that is disposable and leftover in your room, depending on hospital policy.
Enjoy every moment. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Try to remember that the nerves and pain of labor are short, but the love for your baby is lifelong. You will get through this, and it will be wonderful. Welcome to Motherhood!
Don’t forget to read about what to expect when you go to the hospital HERE, and some tips on the postpartum period HERE.
Welcome! I’m Brittany. I’m a mom of two toddlers living in Northwest Ohio with my husband, Chris, and our two cats, Simon and Oliver. I’m a labor and delivery nurse, and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I love finding new ways that make parenting easier, while providing a fun learning atmosphere for my girls at the same time. In my blog you will find tips and tricks for dealing with pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. My favorite part about being a nurse (besides getting to welcome little miracles into the world, obviously) is being able to educate new Moms (and Dads) on how to care for their little ones at the very start. Parenthood is such a complex and exhausting journey that we need to have support from others who make us feel like we’re not alone. You are not alone here!