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What I Packed In My Hospital Bag

This post should really be titled What I Packed In My Hospital Bag And All The Other Crap We Brought. Because, really, my hospital bag was one of five bags we lugged into the hospital. Hello, my name is Chelsea, and I’m an over-packer. So today I’m going to share what I packed that was actually used and what wasn’t.

GREAT tips on what to pack for the hospital!

Let’s start with my actual hospital bag. FYI, I put Owen’s things in my bag because they took up minimal space.

Here’s what I packed that I used:

• Owen’s going home outfit
1 aden and anais swaddle blanket
toiletry bag (glasses, contact solution, face wash, moisturizer, etc.)
• emery board — I used this to file Owen’s nails down. They were too delicate to cut with baby nail clippers.
• toiletry bag for shower items (body wash, loofah, razor, etc.)
• makeup bag
• 2 maxi dresses
• fly away cardigan
• 1 nursing tank
• 1 flat bed sheet
• phone charger

hospital bag

I didn’t wear a lot of my clothes because, frankly, I didn’t want to risk getting blood on them. Not to be too TMI, but I bled while I was in labor (yay, cervical checks!) and everyone knows you bleed like crazy after giving birth so I didn’t want to deal with getting blood stains out of my nice robe or other clothes.

I put Owen’s things in a gallon storage bag because they were so small, and I didn’t want to have to dig through my bag for his items.

Since I had an epidural and then a C-section I was in bed for over 24 hours so I couldn’t get up and get dressed in my own clothes. And I didn’t care. I just had major surgery and I was a swollen mess from all the fluids they pumped into me so looking presentable was the least of my concerns.

The day after I had Owen I did put on my go-to black Maxi dress with a nursing tank and abdominal binder underneath. The next day, the day we were discharged, I wore another maxi dress with the tank and binder underneath.

We also brought an Ikea bag (love those things) with two pillows and a blanket in space saver bags (love those things too) and my Gia nursing pillow. I kept the plastic carrying bag it came in for when we travel, which was handy.

Brad used one pillow and the blanket to sleep on the hospital room couch, and I used the other pillow. No offense to the hospital but their pillows were horrible. I also brought a flat sheet that I used to cover up with at night. That’s all I needed because I was really overheated for a couple days after giving birth.

blanket and pillows

Everything fit perfectly in the Ikea bag.

ikea bag

I brought my laptop in my laptop bag so I could work on blog stuff while I labored. Brad brought the iPad to keep himself entertained. And I brought my camera in my camera bag so I could take photos of Owen in the hospital.

laptop ipad camera bag

I also packed a bag of snacks (trail mix, granola bars, beef jerky, etc.) that we put in Brad’s hospital bag. I don’t have a photo of those things because they were eaten. Sorry.

This is obvious, but we also brought Owen’s car seat. And our hospital offers free car seat fittings so we had him fitted and the tech went out to our car with Brad to make sure the base was properly installed.

Now I’m going to list the things I packed that I DID NOT use:

burp cloth for Owen (he never spit up because my milk hadn’t come in, and we didn’t use formula)
• extra onesie for Owen (we used the hospital’s– less laundry for me to do when we got home)
• extra nursing tank
• robe
• pajama pants
• extra cardigan
• nursing bra
• nursing sleep bra
• underwear
• pads
• nipple butter (my lactation consultant gave me lanolin)
• breast pump (but if you don’t know how to use yours I recommend bringing yours)

I have curly hair so I only wash my hair twice a week, which came in handy because the night before we went into the hospital I washed my hair so I didn’t need to wash and style my hair at the hospital.

I brought my own underwear, but I ended up wearing the oh-so-glamorous mesh undies for almost a week after I left the hospital. Don’t judge– they’re pretty comfy. Plus, I didn’t want to ruin my underwear.

I brought my breast pump but I never broke it out because I had used it before we went to the hospital (in an effort to induce labor but that obviously didn’t work) so I didn’t really need a lesson on how to use it. My lactation consultant did give me larger flanges to use with the pump though. If you don’t know how to use your pump I recommend taking it so your LC can show you how to use it and size you for flanges in case you need a different size.

And in case you don’t know this, your health insurance is required to provide a breast pump to you free of charge. I ordered a Medela Pump In Style through our insurance.

A few weeks before my due date, when I was getting our hospital stuff together, I put a post-it note on our master bathroom mirror with items listed on it that I would need to grab right before heading to the hospital like my eyeglasses, phone charger, camera, laptop, etc.– things I couldn’t pack in advance.

I also printed out instructions on how to care for Jack and hung them on our fridge. In case I went into labor and we needed our neighbors to feed Jack at the last minute I wanted to make sure they knew what to do.

And in case you missed it, here’s what I brought home from the hospital.

Check out my most popular baby-related posts below!

Follow Chelsea | two twenty one’s board Babies & Kids on Pinterest.
GREAT advice! What to take home from the hospital after giving birth and other advice.

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  1. Thanks for this! I just packed my bag last weekend, but we still need to add snacks. Did your husband pack a bag too (for his own clothes and toiletries)?

    1. Nope, I made him wear the same clothes and not shower. Haha, jk. 🙂 I mentioned his hospital bag in the paragraph about snacks.

      1. I’m enjoying reading your helpful hits on baby stuff!
        I wanted to ask where did you get your cheveron bag? It’s so cute!

  2. Kimberlee says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’m finally packing my bag tonight…and headed to the hospital to be induced Thursday night. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. Thanks again, love the blog 🙂

  3. I enjoy how thorough your lists are! I had my little guy almost 2 years ago and would have appreciated these back then 🙂 My question to you is about your breast pump comment. How did you find out that they are “required” to provide you a pump free of charge? Is this something new? I’m pretty sure when I had my guy you could purchase one through insurance but it was not at no cost. Just curious. Thank you!

      1. Also, you should know that Tricare does not issue pumps free of charge. For some reason they are an exception, so be careful with your wording there. I have a best friend in the military (Tricare insurance). I just ordered mine though, free of charge…yay!

        1. Yep Tricare as well and no free breast pump for me.

      2. Just to add to this, I called my insurance company (United Healthcare) to inquire and they gave me info for three different nationally contracted suppliers that I could order my pump through to take advantage of this.

  4. I normally don’t read baby posts (I will not be having children) but clicked on this one because of the bag in the picture. I love your duffle bag and your camera case. Did you make them? If not, where did you get them?

    1. The weekender duffle bag is by Vera Bradley. I don’t know if they make that specific pattern (Island Blooms) anymore, but you could probably find it on ebay if they don’t. The camera bag is from an Etsy shop called Darby Mack. Hope that helps!

  5. your local WIC office can help you get a breast pump too if your insurance won’t. or try looking on craigslist, e bay, or face book mom groups you would be surprised how many moms donate or sell barely used items.

  6. I love that camera bag! The fabric that whoever used to make it perfectly matches the gray zigzag Tula pattern. 😀

  7. HI! I just want to say thanks 🙂 for not being afraid of TMI. When I had my first son I had no idea about hemorrhoids or bleeding- especially the excessive amount to come afterward. You might think, “how do you not know that you bleed after?” my thoughts were “nobody told me about this?!” I was 26, college educated, married for 3 years before we decided to try to get pregnant and read basically every book on pregnancy. so seriously, how was that missed?!
    Anyway, my point is, nothing is an overshare because someone may not know! I wish someone had told me some of the gross, ugly parts to pregnancy that nobody wanted to talk about.

  8. where did you get the cute pink makeup bag?

  9. Where can I get that yellow, grey, and white chevron bag, it is so darn cute!

  10. Elyssa Baity says:

    Chelsea, three words for you: YOU. ARE. AMAZING. I’m 26, newly pregnant & although it was unplanned, have been preparing/wishing for children all my life. This post & the one that goes with it (about what to bring home) DEFINITELY helped me & taught me about the things no one is talking to me about right now. I wish I had someone like you in my support system that could help me with my questions & not think that I’m crazy for planning everything so early (I’m only 8 weeks). I just want this to be a great journey & I don’t want to miss out on anything. So anyway, thank you for writing these posts! You’re a life saver!

  11. Thank you for wriing this! I had my son 5 weeks early and didn’t even have a bag packed (because when I was admitted the plan was to send me home on bedrest, not have a baby) and in my bitterness and many days in the NICU I saw too many people with too many bags and it drove me CRAZY! So thank you for writing this! If you ask, the nurses have deodorant, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, etc also. 🙂 but my hubby brought mine later the first day.

  12. Just wanted to add that sadly not all insurance has to provide a pump the “grandfathered” plans will not which was so very disappointing. Im 35 weeks and depended upon my insurance providing one and just found out that they do not….

  13. The pink pouch is so cute! Where is it from?

  14. Haha Chelsea. Love your idea about overpacking. I’ve not seen someone use these many bags to carry essentials for hospital.
    You might want to look at some of our bags and suggest the best ones to others like us who likes to organize everything. If you are interested, I recommend you to check amyandrose[dot]com

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