Hospital Bag Checklist: What You Really Need for Labor & Delivery

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I am Neyssa Lee a mother of six, who is planning obsessed, and uses photography to help you see the beauty in your own family’s chaos. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

Are you expecting? Save this Hospital Bag Checklist for when it’s time to bag your bags for the hospital!

After having 6 babies, I have honed in on what you really need on your hospital bag checklist when having a baby. I see the question of what to pack in the hospital bag come up often, so I thought I would share my must have items (and a couple “just for fun”)

A few details about my hospital bag checklist

When packing my bag I have only a few main focuses. The first is knowing that I will take (and/or have my husband take) plenty of photos. I also know what things my hospital provides for postpartum. Finally, I knew my husband could always leave the hospital to run home or to the store if needed. I suggest checking your hospital policies, especially in the given climate of the world!

Okay, this is in no particular order. Ready?

hospital bag checklist, what to pack in your hospital bag, newborn baby, fresh 48 photos

If you plan on nursing, a nursing bra or two is gold.

Right after baby is born I have been able to try nursing almost right away. Not having to mess with an uncomfortable bra helped a ton. I suggest packing a nursing bralette for labor and delivery and nighttime and a regular nursing bra for when I did photos and for on the way home.

Having a nursing bra helped me feel more comfortable while working with my baby to get into a nursing rhythm.

My favorite nursing bras are from Kindred Bravely.

Additionally, a nursing tank is a great item for your hospital bag.

You could definitely wear the hospital gown the entire stay. I chose to wear one during labor and delivery. However, the one size fits all gown was not comfortable or flattering. (You know me, always thinking about photos). I liked having a nursing tank with a robe (see next item) as it allowed for easy checks by the nurses along with easy access for nursing.

A regular tank top with a lower neckline works well too, as long as it’s easy to nurse in.

(While a t-shirt is an option as well, having more skin available for snuggling baby skin-to-skin was vital).

Another must have on my hospital bag checklist was a robe.

This may seem a bit of an “extra” item, but for me it was so valued. A robe kept me warm and comfortable while making it easy for me to nurse. I also appreciated the ease in covering up as visitors (and nurses and doctors and lab techs) would come and go from my room often.

Bonus, I selected a robe that photographed well for Fresh 48 photos and that I knew I would use regularly at home. (I still use both of my robes from my youngest two kids).

Next on the hospital bag checklist is a camera.

You had to see this one coming from the photographer! Even when I could have a photographer come to capture Fresh 48 photos, I still wanted to ensure high quality photos during those first hours/days in the hospital.

Don’t forget to pack that SD card and charger, too!

Bringing my laptop was also super beneficial in the hospital and would make my “must have” list.

I appreciated having my laptop as my husband and I would put on Netflix and snuggle the baby. Even with a TV in the room, I preferred my own laptop and streaming service. I also used my laptop to load photos from my camera and was able to edit photos to share right away (if I wanted to).

Again, this item requires a charger, too!

outfit for baby, what to pack in hospital bag

The most fun thing on my hospital bag checklist is a few photo worthy outfits for baby.

Whether you’re having photos taken or taking your own announcement photos, pack a couple of outfits for baby. I suggest having 1 or 2 extra just in case baby spits up on the outfit just before you take the photo. (That actually happened to us with Cohen as the moment we dressed her for photos she spit up everywhere. Luckily I had a backup option).

My favorite place for outfits for newborns is Lou Lou and Company. They are soft, stretchy, and button down the front making over baby’s head a breeze. The gowns fit best for babies of all sizes.

Another fun, but completely optional, thing to pack is a letter board. Use the letter board to announce baby’s name, birthdate and even birth stats.

While you’re packing for baby, toss in a going home outfit and a pacifier (if you choose to use one).

One more must have item for your hospital bag is a going home outfit for you!

This one is easy to forget. However, you’re not likely going to want to wear what you arrived in the hospital in. I packed maternity leggings and a baggy top & sweatshirt for going home. It worked well for both my C Section and vaginal births.

A couple of toiletries are good to idea pack in your bag, too.

This was something I was super minimal on. My must have items were a toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, chapstick and face wash. I also brought BB cream to put on to make me feel a little bit put together for photos, without doing much at all.

outfit for dad for fresh 48 photos

The last thing on the hospital bag checklist is a change of clothes for my husband.

I also packed a neutral t-shirt (again, think of those first photos with baby. The last thing you want is a neon green shirt or huge logo in all those first photos of baby and dad!). I also packed him a full change of clothes since he stayed with me overnight in the hospital as well.

Finally, there are a few final small things you may want to pack.

You never know what time baby will arrive. After not eating during labor I was always hungry (plus nursing made me SO hungry and thirsty). A few times baby came in the middle of the night when nothing was open. Having a couple of snack bars was an easy thing to pack.

And, last but not least, phone chargers was vital. Not only did I want my phone charged for all those first videos and quick snaps wI would take. But having my phone to call friends and family to let them know baby was here along with having a good charge to do all that middle of the night shopping for baby while nursing was key.

Is there anything you’d add to the list? What are you packing in your hospital bag? Or is there something above you didn’t think of?

As you’re thinking about what to pack in your hospital bag, you may want to start planning what your baby will wear for their newborn photos. Select outfits confidently with my What to Wear for Newborn Photos tips.

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