What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag For Labor And Delivery, According To Parents

From robes to nipple cream and extra-long phone chargers, parents swear by these essentials for the birth of their newborn babies.
Ariel Skelley via Getty Images

The list of final preparations while awaiting a new baby, while thrilling, can be extremely long. From building a crib to stocking up on diapers, making sure everything is ready for the big day can feel overwhelming, to say the least. One important and, dare we say, exciting component involves packing the hospital birth bag.

For first-time parents, it’s easy to either over- or under-pack. It’s impossible to get a sense of just how much gear you’ll actually need during your hospital stay, and it can often be contingent on the kind of birth you have. We tapped parents from our HuffPost Parents social media channels on Facebook and Twitter to give us the scoop on their must-have hospital birth bag items, and their answers did not disappoint.

You may not need to bring a book to read or a stroller, but there are a few things that you’ll want to have by your side during those early days in the hospital that you might not have expected, like a file folder and hair ties. Turns out, there are quite a few things that can make your hospital stay feel a bit easier and more seamless, regardless of how long or short it may be.

Get your playlist queued up and ready to go and don’t forget some healthy snacks like granola bars, bags with nuts and berries and dried fruit. They’ll be absolute lifesavers between bland hospital meals!

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Facial cleansing wipes
These refreshing towelettes from Burt's Bees are great to have on hand during your hospital stay. They're a quick and easy way to give yourself a little pick-me-up and even have a lovely scent to brighten the senses.
Disposable nursing pads
Even if you plan on using reusable pads at home, having disposable nursing pads like these from Nanobébe at the hospital will help you feel fresher and you won't have to worry about running out.
A fresh pair of toothbrushes
Chances are you won't remember to grab your toothbrush as you scramble to get out the door. Throw a brand new two-pack, like this one from Colgate, into your birth bag so you don't even have to think about it. Grab some toothpaste while you're at it!
A personal fan
Fight night sweats with a portable personal fan like this one from Honeywell. It'll come in handy during hormone surges and the rigors of labor.
A delivery and nursing gown
If the thought of being in a hospital gown for the duration of your hospital stay skeeves you out, consider asking if you can bring your own. The Frida Mom gown has all the same functions as a regular hospital gown, but feels like regular pajamas. It has easy-to-use snaps, is tagless, has easy access for skin-to-skin and full coverage in the back.
Lanolin nipple cream
Lansinoh's natural lanolin nipple cream is a staple in any hospital birth bag. It soothes and protects sore nipples, offering relief from the discomfort of early nursing attempts. It's clinically tested and safe for babies, and new parents swear by it.
A bathrobe
Storq's delivery robe is as cozy and luxurious as it gets. It's simple, relaxed and easy, so you can throw it on and feel a bit more put together and covered up during your hospital stay. And since you can use it during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum, it's well worth the investment.
Sleep maternity bras
A must for middle of the night feeds and nursing in general, these Cakye maternity sleep bras come highly recommended by new parents. They're soft, comfortable and offer the necessary support.
A set of nursing tanks
Several new parents highly recommended bringing a set of nursing tanks like this three-pack from Old Navy. You can wear them under pajamas or hospital gowns to feel less exposed and a bit more supported.
A pack of high-waisted cotton underwear
Comfort is key, and these breathable cotton undies will save the day. They won't irritate a C-section scar, and the light, breathable fabric won't pinch or feel constricting. Pick up a 10-pack of Hanes undies and you'll be good to go.
A pack of hair ties
Several parents recommended packing hair ties, so you don't have to worry about what you'll do with your hair while you're in the hospital. Grab a fresh pack of Goody elastics and stash them away so they're ready to go when the time comes.
A warm pair of slippers
Keep your feet cozy with these warm, soft slippers. You want them to be easy to access, so make sure they're slip-ons with sturdy soles to keep you supported and safe on slippery hospital floors. These Hanes slippers are affordable and as cute as can be. Bonus!
Socks with grippers
If you prefer a sock situation instead of slippers, new parents recommend some with grippers, like these from Bombas. They'll keep you safe and sturdy while standing and walking and your feet warm and comfortable.
A pair of comfy sweatpants
Keep things cozy for your ride back home with a pair of easy sweats like these from Old Navy. Just be sure to size up for maximum comfort and snag a matching sweatshirt here.
A postpartum belly wrap
Tummy wraps like these from Belly Bandit can help to provide comfort after C-sections, ease back pain, help your uterus contract and strengthen core muscles weakened during pregnancy. They're especially helpful for those experiencing diastasis recti.
Soft towels
Hospital towels leave much to be desired. "The ones in the hospital are so rough, scratchy and too small!" Beth Mundy noted on Facebook. The Company Store's Turkish cotton bath towel is plush, soft and absorbent. You'll be thankful you brought it.
A reusable water bottle with a straw
Hospital water cups are tiny, and quite a few parents recommended bringing your own large water bottles from home. The addition of a straw to these Simple Modern bottles makes it easier to take a quick sip when you've got a baby in your arms or are in discomfort post-birth.
An extra-long phone charger cable
Outlets are rarely located in convenient spots within hospital rooms, so an extra-long charging cable is key to making your stay a little easier. This option from Talk Works is 10 feet long, so you can stay put as your phone charges.
A bottle of ibuprofen
Multiple parents suggested having a bottle of Advil or ibuprofen on hand should you need it.
A pair of soft pajamas
If the hospital allows you to change into your own pajamas, then having a comfortable, soft and warm set like these from Ekouaer is key. Size up so that the high rising waistband isn't too tight on your belly. The button-down top allows easy access for nursing, and several parents in our Facebook group recommended a black pair in case you bleed on them.
A travel toiletries kit
Hospitals do have soap and shampoo on hand, but they're pretty subpar. Several parents recommended bringing your own toiletries to the hospital so you can feel a bit more like yourself during your stay. Reusable and refillable kits like this one from Victek are a great option. Don't forget your face cream!
A file folder
You'll be going home with quite a bit of important paperwork, so make sure you slip a file folder like this one from Amazon Basics into your bag to keep everything safe and organized.
A packable Baggu bag
You're going to want to grab as many of the hospital goodies as you can on the way out, including diapers, mesh undies, diaper cream and more. Pick up a foldable Baggu tote to tuck into your hospital bag so you can whip it out and stuff it full of hospital freebies on your way out. This way, you don't have to lug an extra backpack or lose valuable space in your own birth bag to get as much as you can home.
A nourishing lip balm
Between the dry hospital air and the rigors of labor and delivery, your lips take a beating. Make sure you have a pack of hydrating lip balms at the ready to keep your lips soft and smooth.
A sweet going home outfit for baby
Nothing is more precious than a baby's first little outfit. Grab a simple, cozy and soft onesie from Carter's to keep them snug as a bug on their trip home.
A hydrating body cream
Hospitals are notorious for their dry air, and having a tub of richly moisturizing cream handy like this classic from Cerave will make all the difference in the world. It'll soothe your delicate postpartum skin, and your partner can even go the extra mile and rub it into your back and feet.
A roomy, flowing button down
This crinkly, lightweight buttondown from Free People is perfect for both a hospital stay or the trip back home. It has an oversized silhouette that won't feel restrictive, is made of soft material and has easy access for nursing and medical equipment.

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