Prepping for a Little One: Packing the Hospital Bags

hospital bag

The Bag.  Ironically, it’s a leather “Doctor” bag from Ralph Lauren that I purchased about a decade ago on sale.

Apparently, according to I should have done this at Week 32, but I am just now getting around to it- packing the bag for the hospital.  I guess what gave me a nudge was when my friend who was due May 8th had her baby this Sunday after her water borke.  Yup, three and a half weeks early.  Babies are sneaky little surprises when you find out you’re having one and when they decide to make their debut!  I just hit Week 36 today, so I finally finished wrapping up last minute purchases and actually bagging the contents.

I wouldn’t say I was neglecting this.  I am a hyper planner and have been reading blog posts and checklists and pages in pregnancy planners at the bookstore on the topic for months.  I have a note in the iPhone going, but I will say actually getting the items, washing the clothes, well I just did that.  There will still undoubtedly be last minute things to put in the bag.  If we have that eventful, “Babe! My water broke,” moment, then I am sure I will frantically be a hot, wet, mess running around, but I hope to pack as much as I can now.  Come to think of it, in just glancing over at this checklist from our Breathing & Relaxation class at the hospital, there are a few things I missed, STILL.  So pack early and checklist often!

hospital bag contents


The Boppy Pillow They recommend you bring yours if you are going try a hand, er, breast, at breast feeding.

I was lucky to have been able to borrow this from my sister in law, and I just purchased my own cover for $12.99 at Target.

Edit: I am hearing this may be a hassle more than anything, which I thought too.  One more thing I have to wash when I get home.

I may leave it and just fumble with a hospital pillow for a couple days.

belly bandit

The Belly Bandit.  For post labor.  I am strapping this baby on immediately to hopefully get that muscle memory going!

I found this the other day by accident at a Super Target near the maternity bras, and on CLEARANCE!  I was expecting to get one from a maternity store, but I happened to stumble upon it at Target- score!  I got it for $34.98, when it’s regularly $50 there.  I have seen versions as high as $80 elsewhere.  Recommendations:  try it on!  You want it to feel snug and have room to adjust tighter after baby, so take it in the dressing room!  Read the box for sizing instructions.  I am almost due so I may get larger, but this size is able to go on now and still get tighter.  The goal is for it to be TIGHT.

birth plan

The Birth Plan.  You should type some things up.  I wasn’t on the birth-plan-band-wagon until I progressed further into my pregnancy and realized after discussion with my spouse on certain things, after the classes, and after discovering that there are some things I hope/wish to do with my birthing and labor experience.  No, I am not planning to put my placenta in a smoothie, but things as simple as pacifiers or skin to skin contact, and many other things, should be addressed in writing.  Just don’t forget to show it to the nurses and medical team when you get there!  You don’t need a ten pager, but try to address how you want your labor to go- drugs or no drugs, what you want to happen after baby is delivered- bathe or skin to skin right away.  Google a few online for outlines.  Make sure your partner is aware of your wishes too in case, God forbid, something should happen to you to prevent you from communicating your wishes.

Photo for a focal point.  If you plan to have a natural birth, it might be a good idea to have a personal photo to focus on during those last few pushes, or during that long beginning labor.  Something to give you hope that there is indeed an end to the pain and you get a little one out of the deal.  A sonogram is nice too.

Notepad and pen.  This is nice o have in case you have visitors who bring gifts or you need your partner or someone to run home to pick items up, or you want to jot down first memories and experiences for later.

thank you giftsThank Yous for the nurses/doctor, or staff that made your stay special.  A nice box of chocolate or treats for them to share is nice too- I may get that later because who doesn’t love food!  These little nest favors have handmade shea butter soaps in the shape of bird eggs made by my awesome sis.  These were also the favors at my baby shower and I had a few extra.


Jammies for you.  I ended up exchanging that hospital green robe for this violet one.  Same brand, Gilligan & O’Malley, from my favorite place- Target.  It is so SOFT!  Plus as I mentioned before, it is long enough to cover the tush, and it has pockets.  I also bought a little yellow nightie with buttons, Earth Angels from JC Penney, and this is the Anne Klein pj set I posted about before from Nordstrom Rack.  I also have a nursing cami, also Gilligan & O’Malley from Target, and jammie pants, whale printed by Nautica from Ross, for options.  You never know how long or short your stay might be.  You can plan and set limitations on guests, but you still might want to look somewhat presentable if not for them, for YOURSELF!  I have been feeling especially more “girly” lately.  Perhaps because I am carrying a girl, hence the pinks and little floral nightgown.  I feel like they are soft and sweet and visually appealing for her!  I also packed a nursing bra, a couple pairs of briefs and a sleeping nursing bra.  I plan to leave hospital in the outfit I arrive in, probably a stretchy maxi dress.


Personals.  Of course you are in a hospital, if you plan to have a hospital delivery that is, so they will most likely have some of these items for you.  I think it’s nice to have your own options and items on hand though in case you need it NOW and can’t wait for the nurse to answer the call button, etc.  I have been using Palmer’s Cocoa Butter my entire pregnancy and it has been kind to me, so i plan to keep that supple skin going and plan to lather up after as well.  Remember that stretch marks can come from skin rapidly expanding or, SHRINKING!  Lanolin by Lansinoh is what I hear is recommended for sore nipples.  Hair ties, bands and pins for getting that hair out of your face during labor, of course I will probably arrive in a top knot/bun.  Panty liners and refreshing wipes (we’ll see how it all goes down there for sensitivity.)  Disposable breast pad liners, assuming breast milk is in (most likely won’t be enough flow in hospital to need them, but just in case!)  EOS lip balm, I keep hearing how great it is, and Preggie Pops hard candies for labor.  I hear your mouth gets DRY!

Toiletries. Deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner (travel size), lotion, travel nail grooming kit, comb/brush, makeup (minimal), and gum.

Still to Pack:

  • Flip Flops (for shower and walking around hospital room)
  • Heating pad
  • Coconut Water (heard it is really good hydration for labor)
  • Camera
  • Phone/charger
  • Laptop (maybe)
  • Snacks for post labor and hubby (thinking dry goods like trail mixes, bars and yogurt covered pretzels)
  • Massage oil for relaxation
  • Tennis ball or hand massage tool for relaxation
  • Change for vending machines before cafeteria opens and for hubby

And now for that newborn I’ll be getting to take home- FINALLY!  So technically all you REALLY need, according to the checklist from my class, is a “Taking Home” outfit, which they recommend a basic onesie, a receiving blanket, socks, a hat, baby nail clippers or emery board (why?! do these nails grow by the minute?!), baby book for footprints and the car seat.  I am definitely over packing her bag here and hope to scale it back some.  This is also NOT how I plan to pack her bag for an outing.  You would also love to think, wow I am due in May, weather will be warm. WRONG!  Not in Colorado!  Not if you’re early!  We just got dumped on this weekend!  Makes planning harder as far as blanket weights and clothing, car seat cozies, etc.  I am assuming I go to term and it is seasonal spring temps.

baby bag

The Bag.  A Nordstrom Rack score!  Rebecca Minkoff.

diaper bag essentialsEssentials.  These I plan to just keep in there all the time.  Aquaphor for preventing diaper rash.  In Infant Care class they recommend applying this at every diaper change to avoid getting a rash.  Two disposable changing pads.  The bag comes with a nice fold out one, but what about those other times when you’re in public and don’t want to put your clean pad on a dirty, germ infested changer and roll it back up to put in your bag?  DISPOSABLE!  Also, scented diaper sacks for dirty nappies.  Not so much for public, unless it’s tight quarters, but mostly for visits to homes.  Kleenex.  Clorox Stain Remover pen and Shout to Go wipes to prevent stains form blowouts and spit up, as much as possible anyway.  Also, a larger freezer Ziploc bag for dirty clothes.  I also plan to carry Lansinoh for the nips, an extra top for mom, extra outfit for babe, and breast pads but all of this is not needed for hospital.


Burp Cloth and Blankies.  A burp cloth by Aden & Anais (found at Ross randomly), flannel chevron printed receiving blankie from Target (love this modern set), a bamboo muslin swaddle blankie from Aden & Anais, (to use for swaddling yes, but also as a nursing cover) and a thicker “stroller” blanket for car seat by NoHi kids from Talulah Jones on 17th and Downing.  The hospital will provide blankies when we’re in there, but I want to use my things and get her used to her things right away.  Plus, if I am nursing I want to use comforting fabrics, prints in hopes they will aid the process.  Never know if you want a photo opportunity and want to throw down a cuter blanket too!


Newborn gear.  All that’s missing is a diaper!  They recommend these little side snap tops with built in mittens.  I bought a pack of two by Gerber at Target.  Sockies also from Target.  I should buy stock.  Newborn cap purchased a couple years ago from Gymboree on sale.  Again, the hospital will most likely put her in one of these tops and a hat, but I like knowing I have my own in case, in case of…I don’t know…and the socks and hat are just to give her a little character!

Now, onto the take home outfits.  Which one?!

baby outfits 1

Left to Right: Sun top and pants by Kissy Kissy ( a boutique brand) found at Aurora’s Kid to Kid Consignment shop, and like brand new!  BabyGap flats, a gift from a friend at my shower.  A little impractical for her first few days, but too cute not to at least try on!!!  Striped booties from a Dutch baby boutique in San Fran from way back in 2007 when I lived there.  Animal printed bamboo cotton sac by Kicky Pants from Little Me’s in Cherry Creek (the SOFTEST fabric ever!) and little pants to go underneath by Julia, also from Little Me’s.  I brought this sac because it is TEENY TINY and if I have a big baby, I hope to squeeze her in it at least once, if only for a quick pic!  Pants to go underneath, for car seat straps…


baby outfits 2

Left to Right: Jammies with watermelon embroidery from Nordstrom Rack, and striped pink knot hat from BabyGap.  White romper (also TEENY TINY) by Those Baby Basics, floral ear hat by Feather Baby from Nest Boutique on Larimer, and TINY socks by Circo, a gift from my neighbor.

Hope you found this somewhat helpful if you are in this stage yourself or plan to be some day.  If you have already gone through this, any tips or suggestions?  Did I leave anything out?  What did you pack?!  Let the count down begin- T minus 4 weeks!


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9 Responses to “Prepping for a Little One: Packing the Hospital Bags”

  1. christina Says:

    You are adorable! I love this posting–brings back lots of precious memories. Don’ forget to pack a snack for you and your hubby–hospital food does not always hit the spot after labor.

    • gschinagl Says:

      Hah- thanks Christina. Adorable? Too kind…YES- headed for a Costco run and Sprouts for those trail mix snacks and yogurt covered pretzels! Thanks for reading and the tip!

  2. Janelle Says:

    Oh, honey, where do i begin…way too much stuff! Take only essentials. Dark socks to deliver in, nursing bras, an outfit to go home in, deodorant for both mom and dad, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, chap stick, prego pops and breast pads. Good, sturdy underwear you don’t really care about if they get stained (sorry, gross but true). Wear the hospital gown for the same reason…plus, the hospital gets all the laundry! Leave the boppy pillow at home they are more hassle than anything, plus you don’t want hospital cooties on it. The hospital will provide you with pads, wipes for the baby, and diapers. Hospital blankets, and tee shirts…again the laundry! Take a toothbrush and toothpaste for mom and dad too…nobody likes dragon breath! I don’t think you will need the heating pad, or the laptop. I hope I helped…congrats and good luck! love ya!

    • gschinagl Says:

      Hey Janelle! I left toiletries off my list, as it is assumed I would bring deodorant and toothbrush, etc., but I’ll update my list so people don’t think I am a grungy little piggie! LOL! I was debating about the Boppy pillow as well! thought the same thing- like, one more thing I have to re-wash when I get home! I may just scratch that and fumble with a pillow for a couple days in there. I bought panties I don’t care about ruining, but yes, I know…things will be getting back to normal in places…I forgot, but I am bringing a couple pairs of slipper socks as well (one is actually a pair from the hospital when I had surgery once!) Thanks so much for reading and sharing your words of wisdom! Love you too!!!

  3. krystal Says:

    You’ve really got it covered! Snacks were nice to have… Or some change/ones for the vending machines- you’ll be starving once everything is over! (Dad will be, too!). I’m not a robe person, but I bought one just for post-delivery, and I’m glad I did! The emery board is great to have! Their little shirts sometimes have the flap to cover their hands, but to kill time, filing their nails is smething to do. She will pop out already needing a manicure, and I was not successful with clippers! The lanolin- our hospital provided me a tube., though I brought my own, too. The hospital provided lady products-sail boat sized pads(yup, you’ll need em! Panty liners won’t do much for ya!), spray bottle, antiseptic spray, witch hazel pads, ice packs, mesh underwear (I read about these, and brought my own bikni VS underwear- dumb! Ruin the throw away panties instead!). Consider bringing your nursing hooter hidder shield- you’ll be nursing while people are there- visitors, social security lady, photographer, Kaiser people… Room service… Custodial staff… Receiving blanket works great, too. Also, maybe bring your pump? The lactation specialist can make sure your shield size is best for you- I forgot mine and wish I would have had it. Last thing I can think of- GUM! after delivery, you will not be getting up to brush your teeth right away (well, I was afraid to stand up and walk around for a while, lol) and gum made me feel better after vomiting through the traditional phase 😀

    • krystal Says:

      *transition phase. I was one of the lucky ones that vomited through transition, and with many of my first pushes

    • gschinagl Says:

      Thanks Krystal! My sis said the same thing about pad size! I know the hospital will provide and their little post labor kit for mom too. I forgot to put change for vending machines, but it’s on my list- I’ll update that here. I was thinking gum too! I walked by a pack at Target yesterday and thought about it…I’ll grab some- thanks! I thought about the pump too. Some lists say bring it, some say don’t lug it, but that is one thing I really DO want lactation support with before I get home on my own. I can just bring it. I thought about nursing…I don’t have a Hooter Hider, but I plan to use the large swaddle blankie by Aden & Anais as a nursing cover. If I discover I need the neck strap, then I may invest in one. Thanks so much for reading and your thoughtful comments! Also, GREAT seeing you and baby Karah yesterday!!!

  4. Starr Says:

    Just stumbled across your blog, and am enjoying reading it 🙂 I’ve been a packing minimalist ever since I can remember, and I only wound up using half the stuff in my hospital bag. The three best items I brought? A zip-up sweatshirt (the room was freezing, even in July, plus being able to zip down for feedings was key), my lululemon wonderunders (awesome pre and post baby yoga pants) and my iPad. Oh, and our “good” camera. Everything else was totally unnecessary. Also, the outfits are super cute, but trust me – you will want baby in some button down/zipper romper or jammies at first. Getting things over/off their heads is scary as heck. Especially in summer, rompers with snaps are the way to go!

    • gschinagl Says:

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful response and feedback! I have since delivered our baby girl and she is one month old today in fact! Yes, my blog has been seriously neglected, AGAIN….oy vey….Thanks for reading!

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