Get tips from the trenches with this information-packed blog from the authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know, Heather Flett and Whitney Moss.

My Hospital Packing List

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Photo: Rookie Moms

I have been to the hospital for childbirth three times now and I’ve concluded that packing almost anything is a nice-to-have with the possible exception of a car seat for the babe. That doesn’t mean I arrive empty-handed, however. In fact, during my third pregnancy, I began tucking away little odds and ends into my hospital bag about two months before my due date. Just in case.

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Stuff for me:

  • Comfy but cute clothes to return home in. I packed a top and pants that I outgrew late in my pregnancy. Plan for dressing your 5 to 7 months pregnant self. NEWSFLASH: you will not be wearing any pre-pregnancy jeans coming home from the hospital.
  • Toiletry kit. Since toothbrush and toothpaste are on the MUST list, I packed a nearly-empty tube along with a new toothbrush. Other stuff, like soap and deodorant are great to bring along. I used the hospital shampoo and soap; some women really want their own. I’d rather bring a rubber band than try to style my hair.
  • Nursing bra. A very soft “night-time” nursing bra is handy. Your breasts will be going through a lot in the days postpartum and it’s nice to have the option of giving them a bit of support and coverage (when they’re not in use).
  • Flip flops. These shoes generally fit a swollen 40-week pregnant foot as well as swollen post-partum foot (mine actually got bigger AFTER delivery). They can do double duty as shower shoes.
  • Food. Hospital food is gross; it makes airplane food look awesome. A laboring mom often skips a meal or two during the hot action, but, unless she has a C-section she’ll be making up for the lost calories immediately afterward. It’s not realistic to bring a whole bunch of fresh food in your GO bag, but a LUNA bar or a Ziploc of cashews can bridge the gap until your partner figures out how to get you something real to eat.
  • An empty bag. Leave some extra space in your bag to bring home the freebies like diapers, pads, and baby care essentials.

Stuff for baby:

  • The cutest, smallest outfit we have. And done. The baby will be awarded with a swaddling blanket and a little hat while we’re still at the hospital.
  • Car seat. It’s the law. Leave it in the car.

Stuff for daddy:

  • The shirt. My husband has a special shirt that I like to look at, so I snuck it into the bag early. Why worry myself that it won’t be clean when I want him to wear it?
  • Other than that, I assume he’ll be free to go home and shower and change as needed.

Extra odds and ends:

  • Hospital paperwork. While I completed and mailed a pre-admission form earlier, the anesthesia form needs to come on the day of admission. It’s packed.
  • Treats for the nurses. If I can swing it, I’ll bake and pack some goodies for the hard-working staff. Yes, this is bribery. After all, they are wonderful people and I might swear at them. [True story: as Baby Sawyer was crowning, I offered the nurses cookies.]
  • Music and movies. I had hoped to create a birthing playlist and pack my iPhone with favorite songs along with a small speaker set.  Instead, I ran out of time and brought along some movies to watch.
  • Batteries and chargers. It’s best to bring a gajillion batteries since most of the outlets are claimed by medical equipment. If you pack chargers, remember to bring them back home with you!

About Heather

Heather Gibbs Flett co-founded RookieMoms.com to inspire moms to have more fun after her own challenges with rookie motherhood. Together with her BFF Whitney Moss, she also wrote "The Rookie Moms Handbook" and created a local site for parents in the Bay Area (510families.com).

Let's Hear It!

If I had to do it all over again, these are my essentials. What's on your packing list?

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