What do I need in my hospital bag?

As someone who packed entirely too much stuff for the hospital, and used approximately 50% of it, I’ve put together a comprehensive list of stuff you’ll actually use in the hospital (obviously, my opinion). I had a scheduled induction with Theo, so my packing list may be different from someone who spontaneously went into labor, or someone having a scheduled c-section.

Side note: I delivered Theo before COVID, so I am not sure of hospital protocols during the pandemic. I’d check with your specific hospital before you pack your hospital bag, to determine if there is anything you cannot bring with you.


Nursing Bra or Cami: 10/10 recommend these Bravado nursing camis from Target, they are for nursing but also great for skin to skin, and I can assure you these are the best tank tops that I have ever owned, and I will be wearing them long after I am done nursing!

Barefoot Dreams Cardigan: Mom spends a LOT of time topless in the hospital, especially if you are breastfeeding, so a nice soft cardigan to go over your nursing bra or cami is a must-have.

Signing the birth certificate forms, doing skin to skin in my cardigan

Extra long phone cord: You’ll be fielding lots of texts and messages, so make sure to bring a phone cord that is extra long, so you can be plugged in at all times. It might be hard to get in and out of bed readily, so this was a must-have.

Pajamas: Something soft and comfy to wear when you have visitors (although, this doesn’t matter in COVID times). Lake Pajamas is my preferred brand of jammies, and they even have maternity/nursing pajamas!

Going home outfit for you and for baby: I recommend some roomy joggers, a nursing cami, and t-shirt or sweater (depending on the weather). I am sure you’ll have a special outfit picked out for baby as well, and I am sure no matter what you have picked out, it will be too big for them LOL.

Carseat: they won’t let you leave until they see baby strapped in to the carseat, safely. The nurses can provide guidance, but they can’t strap the baby in for you for liability reasons. We chose the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35.

Toiletries: just the essentials – deodorant, a hair brush, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. That first post-baby shower is absolutely glorious. Oh, and one adult diaper so you don’t have to wear the giant hospital pad home. May I recommend Always Discreet? I wore them for weeks after I got home, and they even worked fine under yoga pants! Although, when you get home after having a baby, I can assure you that you will not be worried about panty lines.

Pregnancy Pillow: Hospital pillows suck. I was induced, so having the pregnancy pillow was imperative. I thought we had too much stuff so I didn’t pack it at first, but my mom brought it to the hospital for me and for that I am so thankful.

FridaMom Peri Bottle: I did not bring this to the hospital with me, but I surely wish that I did. The one that they provide you S U C K S. And this one will be your best friend, I promise.


What did I bring that I had no business bringing?

  • Kindle & iPad: any spare moments you have where you aren’t tending to your baby, or nurses aren’t barging into your room, you’re going to want to try and sleep.
  • Makeup: LMAO I do not even wear makeup on a regular basis, so I am not sure what I was thinking?
  • My own gown: I wore the hospital-provided gown for delivery because… ew, fluids (LOL) and did wear my own gown after my first shower, but I wish I had just brought some comfy jammies.
  • Post-partum supplies: I lived for the Fridamom post-partum supplies because they just made life easier once we got home (ice maxi pads & cooling pad liners, specifically) but you don’t need to drag them to the hospital with you. Just the one adult diaper & peri bottle will do. The hospital will supply everything else that you need.
  • Baby things: you don’t need to bring your own swaddles, diapers, formula, shirts, baby body wash, etc. The hospital will supply all of that. Your baby will spend a lot of time in just their diaper anyway, doing skin-to-skin with you or dad.

What were your hospital must-haves when you had a baby? What did you bring that you absolutely didn’t touch?

This post contains affiliate links.

Theo’s Birth Story

If you are being induced, this might be helpful for you to read!

Theo came via a fairly uneventful labor induction due to suspected cholostasis of pregnancy. When I was in the hospital, I had the idea to take notes in my iphone of the whole process. It’s fun to look back on now. I was honestly so scared of labor and delivery, but it was harder to be “third trimester” pregnant than it was for me to go through labor and delivery.

Side note: we did not take many pictures in the hospital, and I would re do this if I could.

On 10/22, I went to my routine 39w appointment (I was 38w6d). At this point, every week I cried because I did not want to be pregnant anymore. It was so widly uncomfortable. I am 5’3″ on a good day, so there wasn’t a significant amount of room in my torso to grow another human. I reported itchiness of my palms and feet at this appointment, and the doctor suspected cholostasis (a pregnancy induced condition in which your bile levels are elevated and this can be very dangerous for the baby). The doctor recommended that I go home, pack my bags, and come back to the hospital to be induced THAT NIGHT. I promptly rushed home and sobbed for a while because I had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.

Annnnyway, we left around 5 pm for the hospital and stopped at Wendy’s on the way, so that I could get a jr. bacon cheeseburger and a large chocolate frosty. I was admitted and the lovely nurse said that I could eat my frosty (or anything I wanted) until they started giving me pitocin. That was great news, since I had not finished my frosty yet.

At 6:30 pm, I was 1 cm dilated, and the first dose of cytotec was administered. Heavy menstrual-like cramps started at this point.

At 1:030 Pm, I was 1.5 cm dilated and the second dose of cytotec was administered. I also got some ambien, but I did not sleep through that. My contractions getting stronger and more regular at this point but still manageable.

10/23 (Theo’s birthday!)

At 2:30 am, I was still awake and still 1.5 cm dilated. I literally have these as my notes: “moved to birthing ball because hospital bed is uncomfortable AF. Getting Italian ice from the nurse. I’m bored.” Little did I know, I would never utter the words “I’m bored” ever again.

At 4:15 am, they started me on the lowest dose of pitocin, and increased the dose appx every 30 mins or so. I was FINALLY able to take a nap for about an hour and a half.

At 6:30 am, they checked me and I was dilated 2 cm. I was able to nap again for about an hour. They woke me up at 8:15 am and the midwife had a stick in her hands and asked if she could break my water. I said “umm… sure?” Little did I know, after your water breaks, that is when contractions get extremely painful. Apparently, you can ask for an epidural before they break your water. The more you know. Just ask for the epidural before they break your water. I asked for IV pain meds because they could give those to me quickly, and they did not work in the slightest so they began running IV fluids in preparation for my epidural.

10:00 am and my epidural was administered. SWEET RELIEF. Women go through a WHOLE lot to have a baby, and I believe the epidural is our gift from modern medicine. Another check at 11 am said that I was 4.5 cm dialated and I proceeded to take another nap (I love naps).

At 1:00 pm, I had another check and was 8 cm dilated. For anyone who says that epidurals slow down labor, that is fake news!

The 2:45 pm check showed that I was fully ready and began pushing around 3:00 pm. I pushed for about an hour, and then we met Theo!!

First photo with mama

Theodore James was born at 4:04 pm. 7 lbs 11 oz and 21 inches long, exactly one week before his due date. Thankfully there were no major complications or issues other than an 8 and 9 apgar score due to purple-ish coloring when born. He came out crying, pooped on the midwife’s shoe, and really made a great first impression. We were overjoyed, scared, excited, and just full of emotion.

First photo with daddy
The sweetest face I’ve ever seen

The next day, my elevated bile acids were confirmed through the lab work. Induction was the right choice!!

First family photo