What to Pack in Your Hospital Labor and Delivery Bag

I'm a member of a few different mom groups on social media, and I see this question asked pretty frequently: "I'm pregnant and packing my hospital bag. What should I bring with me?" Now I'll preface my post by saying that every hospital is different; so, check with your hospital to familiarize yourself with their protocols and what they provide (or don't provide). The two hospitals that I've given birth at provided almost everything for my babies. From diapers and wipes to blankets and lanolin cream, they pretty much covered all of the bases. So, in my experience, unless there are a few things that you want to bring with you for baby (i.e. - a special outfit, blanket, etc.) you really don't need to bring much for your little one.

A newborn baby looks up at photographer Ashley Stack during a newborn photo shoot

I'll start with some things that I personally HAD to have; then I'll share a few things that are great to bring with you but you might overlook!


The essentials (insurance card, ID, birth plan, paperwork)

Don't forget your essentials the day of! The hospital will definitely want to make sure of who you are before heading up to Labor and Delivery. So be sure to pack a photo ID and your insurance card. You may also want to have a copy of your birth plan and any pre-registration paperwork that you may have filled out.


Infant carseat

Make sure to buy your infant carseat and install it ahead of time! This is a must have, so be sure to prep this before you're due!


Extra long phone charger (and your phone, obviously!)

Everyone wants to document this momentous occasion! So make sure that you pack not just your phone, but also a charger! (Preferably one with an extra long cord.)


Spill-proof water bottle

I didn't pack one of these for my first birth and had to use a water bottle provided by the hospital. I then proceeded to spill it all over myself during labor while I was trying to lay down and drink at the same time...do yourself a favor and pack a nice spill-proof one instead!


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Comfy pjs and warm socks

Make sure to pack some comfortable pajamas for your recovery. They don't have to be brand spankin' new or super fancy! Just make sure that you feel comfortable in them. If you're breastfeeding, make sure that the top is easily adapted for nursing. Also, bring some warm socks with you! It seems like hospitals are always cold; so bring some cozy socks to keep your toes warm!


Your own pillow and blanket

As long as we're on the subject of comfort, take my advice and bring your own pillow and blanket!! And your partner may want to bring their own, too! Yes, the hospital provides pillows and sheets; but realistically, you'll probably sleep a lot better with your own!



Erie newborn baby photographer Ashley Stack captures a mother holding her daughter on a pink fluffy rug


Your own toiletries

I don't know about you, but I'm picky about my toiletries. It really helped me during recovery to have my own shampoo/conditioner/etc. Be sure, if you wear contacts, to bring along your case and solution.


Going home outfit for you and baby

When packing your own outfit, just think comfort! Yoga pants or a flowy dress and nursing bra would be great. And when packing for baby, make sure to bring at least two different sizes. My first daughter was too big to fit into her newborn sized dress the day we packed up to go home!



Now, onto the things that were really nice to have; but not necessarily essential!


Cash

You may want to have some cash on hand while you're in the hospital. Your partner may want to hit up the vending machines during your stay, or your may need to pay for parking with cash.


Snacks

Hospital policies seem to vary when it comes to providing support people with meals. So I suggest bringing some snacks for your partner (and for you while you're in recovery).


Nursing pillow

I was happy that I had my nursing pillow with me during recovery; but honestly, it wasn't a necessity. If it's going to make you more comfortable, though, I say bring it!


Chapstick

So chapstick is definitely a necessity for me; but it may not be for other folks! But I was really happy that I had mine with me during labor and recovery!


A father holds his newborn baby in his hands at Hamot Hospital in Erie, PA during a photo shoot with Ashley Stack Photography

Camera and extra battery

I know a lot of people just take photos and videos with their phones; but you may want to pack the camera (and an extra battery) for the big day!


Extra underwear and pads

The hospital will provide some mesh underwear and pads for you; but you may want to bring along some extra underwear of your own. I've heard of women using Depends instead of pads. I haven't tried this, but it may be something you might want to consider!


Special outfit/blanket/swaddle for baby

If you're planning to have a photo shoot during your hospital stay, you may want to pack a special outfit for your little one. A beautiful and comfy option is a matching robe for mama and swaddle or blanket for baby!


A mother holds her baby and smiles at Erie newborn photographer Ashley Stack Photography during a studio newborn session

There are so many other things that you could potentially bring with you to the hospital for delivery; but these were the most important ones for me. I'd love to hear what helped you through delivery and recovery! And remember, every hospital is different and protocols can change (especially during Covid). So be sure that you're familiar with your hospital's practices!


If you're interested in booking a maternity or newborn session contact me here. I'd love to create a session for your growing family!


Until next time, take care and smile pretty!!

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