12.3.19 2

A First-Time Mom Packs a Hospital Bag

I’m a first-time mom attempting to pack a hospital bag, which basically means I know nothing about what I’ll actually use and what I won’t. Most everyone I spoke to in the beginning of this pregnancy said to have a bag ready by week 36. However, after our scare a little under two weeks ago, I’ve decided that it needed to be done now. NOW now.

Y’all wanna know what was sitting in my bag when I was at the hospital, being told we were admitting to have the baby?

A nightgown and a mthrfckn lint roller.

[basically what I had packed when we hit the hospital]

Mother of the year right here. 

Remember that scene in Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd uses the last of the cash for “just the bare essentials” and he comes out with a paddleball and a foam finger and pinwheels?

C’est moi.

As an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sort of packer, I’ve become accustomed to paying the weight overage fee when flying. I am a chronic overpacker. Like, better pack two weeks’ worth of underwear for a weekend trip in case I shit my pants repeatedly sort of packer. Should I pack three french horns or four sort of packer.

But undoubtedly, the worst part of vacation hangover is unpacking. THE. WORST. I imagine that quadruples when recovering from birth with a newborn to care for. Plus, we live about five minutes from the hospital. If I need anything I don’t take, someone can make a trip home. As much as I want to feel prepared as possible for an experience I know nothing about, I’m also (thank God) pragmatic enough to realize that I don’t have to get it 100% right the first time.

The Bags

We’re taking three bags: one for me, one for baby, and one for Dale. This just seemed like the easiest way to do it. None of the bags are especially large, and they can all be carried at the same time (if necessary). I’m taking this Vera Bradley bag that my mom got me last Christmas. I’m using my diaper bag for the baby’s things. Seems appropriate, right? My friend and co-worker Laura gave me the bag as a gift, and I love all the pockets. And Dale is taking a rolling bag so he can wheel my things on the top. Fun fact: Dale is writing his own post about dad bags! I’d listen to him — he’s been through this circus before and knows some stuff!

For Me: The Necessities

Here’s my issue: I read too much. I want all the ideas to be as prepared as possible (see above french horns). This makes me one hell of a lawyer, but a chronic overthinker. After scouring the internet and polling every friend I had, I finally had to stop and make a list with what is in front of me and what I know now, or else it won’t ever get done (see aforementioned nightgown and lint roller). So, without further ado, I present my hospital bag list of necessities.

My wallet. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it somehow. I need an insurance card, a form of identification, and something to pay folks with. This one is the important one.

My list of preferences. Like I said in this post, I prefer the term “birth preferences” to “birth plan.” It may just be a mental thing, but calling it a preference leaves for room for adapting than a plan does. 

Phone charger with an extra-long cord. It’s the life blood that keeps this group moving. Someone in my family perpetually has a phone that’s dying — usually me or my mom — but bringing one has literally zero downfalls. I actually have two in my hospital bag.

Snacks. I read that you burn as many calories during labor and delivery as you would running a marathon. Have y’all ever run a marathon? I have, and I would have never made it without snacks along the way. You can pry my Kind bar from my cold, dead hands because I’m not going to let my energy wane and my blood sugar plummet because I might need a cesarean where I 99.9% won’t aspirate on my protein bar. Hard nope. I’ll save the Crunchwraps for after delivery, but I will eat if I’m hungry.

Sleep shirt x2. My friend Cameron got me this one and I love it. It’s soft and cozy, it looks adorable and presentable for guests, and it buttons down the front, giving easy access for feeding. I loved it so much I went and bought another in a different color. I’m a sucker for comfy clothes already, so into the hospital bag it goes!

Pajamas. It seems excessive, but I thought I should pack a comfy set that included pants. I don’t know, I’ll get back to y’all on whether I used them. I bought these … they are same brand/flavor as the sleep shirts above. It’s ridiculously soft and I’m pretty sure I’ll wear them after Lil’ Bit arrives. They also come in a long sleeved-shorts combo and a short-sleeved/pants combo.

Socks x2. I love socks. I am an old cat lady. Fuzzy socks are my jam. At least one pair will have little grippies on them. I’m loving these from Kohls (and Kohls, IMO, has the best Black Friday shopping).

Nursing tank x2. I’m bringing two different brands. The first is from Target. I also chose this Jessica Simpson one for a few reasons. First and foremost, they’re so, so soft, and I think that will most likely be a priority after ejecting a human from my body. Second, Jessica Simpson has an … ample … chest herself, so I feel like that would translate well to my already … ample … chest.

Granny panties. Rawr.

Nursing bra x2. I found one from Burlington for $7.99 (score!), then I bought a set of these from Amazon.

Nursing pads. I just got these reusable ones from Target. I’ve obviously never done this before, so it’ll be a trial and error process. 

Vitamins. I love my prenatals. They’re natural and vegan and taste surprisingly good (not red Flintstone vitamin good, we’re not completely crazy). Unless there is a different vitamin I need to switch to in order to be more successful with breastfeeding, I’d like to keep taking them. I also have a vegan DHA supplement (as opposed to fish oil).

Toiletries bag. Tiny shampoo, conditioner, and body soap. Face soap and moisturizer. Face wipes for when I feel like a dirt grub. Deodorant. Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss. Chapstick. Lotion. Dry shampoo. A hairbrush. Y’all know what toiletries are. This is the bag I use! It’s pretty standard and isn’t anything gorgeous, but it feels like it fits a bunch and rolls up pretty small.

Flippers. For the shower. It just feels like a dorm shower, and I gag a little. I’ll keep them inside a gallon Ziploc, tucked into the front part of my hospital bag so that they don’t mingle with the others.

Laundry bag. This is a necessity for me, even on shorter trips. I hate the idea of my dirties mingling with my cleans on regular vacations, much less a trip to a germ-laden hospital. Toss all the stuff that was worn into that bag for immediate washing when we get home. 

A going home outfit. I love these pants from Motherhood Maternity. They are so great, in fact, I bought two more in the shorts version. Top-wise, I wasn’t super sure what to do, but I knew it should be something I could throw on over a nursing tank and something that would keep me warm (it will be winter, after all!). I packed my Barefoot Dreams cardigan that I got from the Nordstrom sale. 

Foldable bag. I hear they’ll give you some big girl diapers and the like when you’re discharged. Honestly, if I’ve paid for it, I’ll take it! I’ve got a zillion $0.99 bags from Marshall’s/TJ Maxx, so I rolled one up super little and shoved it in the outside pocket of my hospital bag to take home any new mom swag I might get.

For Me: The Extras

Shower cap. In case I want to get into some warm water while laboring. It’s vanity, and it could very well change once the time comes, but for now, I’m taking it with the idea I’ll use it. I have one that’s leopard and I look like a little old lady and I love it.

My own towel. I’m a freak, whatever, and possibly a little bougie when it comes to linens, but nothing makes me more upset than scratchy, thin towels. I plan on bringing a giant fluffy bath sheet from home. It’s probably not on everyone’s hospital bag list, and that’s cool! I just know myself, and I know that having my own soft towel will be something I’ll appreciate. 

My diffuser and a few oils. I’m crunchy and the smell of lavender calms me. It are what it are. It’s my party and I’ll diffuse if I want to.

Small bluetooth speaker. I do well with classical music, but I also made a Labor playlist. I filled it with songs that invoke very strong emotions in me (example: the Kacey Musgraves/Willie Nelson cover of Rainbow Connection). Music has the ability to soothe me quickly, so this was a no-brainer for me. I’d like to have that playing on low volume so I don’t just hear directives and beeping machines.

Heating pad. I’ve held a LOT of tension in my lower back during pregnancy. I imagine it’s from the sudden influx of weight on the front side that needs balancing. A heating pad has been a saving grace for me, so it’s a must-include in the hospital bag. To be honest, I should probably put it in the necessity category.

A curling iron. Look. We have a birth photographer, and I wanna look semi-cute for our first official pictures with little Dilly. This isn’t a necessity, nor would everyone pack it, but for me personally, I want it.

Makeup bag. Some people probably find this silly (like with the curling iron), and that’s fine! To each her own. I’m just someone who doesn’t think it’s silly. I married a photographer — photographer spouses can vouch, you tend to be more “on” when you get your picture taken frequently! Plus, I know I’ll feel better with a little touch up. If this isn’t for you, leave it out!

My own pillow and throw blanket. See above with the bath towel explanation. Plus, there’s something about having a comfort from home that makes a gal feel better. I love my pillows, and I ordered a brightly colored pillowcase to put on it (so it would never be confused with a hospital pillow). Also, I travel with my own blanket everywhere we go. I’m like Linus, I drag it around with me and sleep with it under my face. If I would take it on a plane to a luxury resort in Belize, I’ll take it for a medical procedure where I might need the comfort!

For Baby Dilly

Here’s where I get a little nuts. Since we don’t know whether Baby Dilly is an innie or an outie (*ahem), I’m bringing more options for him/her than I am for myself. We want to take an announcement picture, so I’m bringing a boy and girl outfit for that (most likely a swaddle and hat/bow), and then a going home outfit.

Announcement details. For whether this kid is a boy or a girl! Our friend Corey, who did the calligraphy on our wedding invitations, is helping us with an announcement detail.

Swaddles x2. Seems like I need that, right? Help.

Onesies x2. Well, really, x4. Two in newborn size, two in 0-3 size. Who knows how big Dilly might be!

Cutesy outfit. … but all the other babies have cutesy outfits! 

A hat and blanket. Dilly is a winter baby, and at some point, we’ll have to go outside to get home.

Baby book. I want Lil’ Critter’s handprints and footprints.

For Dad

Dale’s a smart adult and can be trusted to pack a hospital bag of things he’ll need — and he’s going to tell you exactly what he’s packing in his own post (which will be posted right after this one goes live)! However, I can guarantee “camera” will be on there. I mean … duh.

Extra credit: a “Just In Case” Bag

In case (God forbid) anything go wrong, a situation in which the baby or I have to stay longer, I made a just-in-case hospital bag to keep in the car that someone can just go grab. Extra clothes and underwear, a book, a simple onesie … you know. Just in cases.

Please, mommas. If I’m missing something HUGE, let me know!

Leave a Comment


  1. Abby wrote:

    For myself, I packed stool softener for my second delivery. They didn’t give me nearly enough after the first delivery. PJs / loose pants + top for when I went home. Don’t be like me and try to change into pajama pants too soon. It’s…not ideal. Books on a Kindle / kindle app too. It’s easier to scroll and nurse than hold a book a turn pages. Bring a going home outfit for the baby. And take everything (except the linens) at the hospital. Take. It. All.

    Published 12.3.19
  2. Ashley Peach wrote:

    Pack the mittens!! Our babe scratched his face on day 1 and you’ll want that sweet face to be beautiful for all these pictures!! Wouldn’t hurt to have some nail clippers or bite the nails with your teeth. Gross, I know, but their skin is so soft and sensitive…. I didn’t trust the clippers for a while!

    Baby socks, our room was a little chilly and babe will want to be nice and warm.

    Everything else looked great!

    Published 12.6.19