Whole Parenting Family

What to Take to the Hospital

What do I need at the hospital or birth center? What don’t I need? I’m no expert with a mere two births under my belt (what does that phrase mean, anyway??), but here are my suggestions based on common wisdom and my experience.

*Don’t forget your doula!!

1) Clothing.

No, it is not a nudist colony. Yes, bringing your own clothing means you don’t have to wear the world’s worst outfits: hospital gowns. And have you seen their “nursing” gowns? They are hospital gowns with two slits for your breasts. Um, skin-to-skin, anyone? How can your baby optimize his latch when he can’t smell your milk through all the bleached cotton? Bring:

cotton robe (maybe 2) ((I got one at Target for not much–not full-length))

socks you like when walking on cold floors (2-3 pair . . . birth is a wet business)

nursing bras (for a little breast support)

yoga or sweat pants (for when you arrive and leave)

shirts that open in the front (I forgo nursing tops for the first long while–open up that shirt and have your unclothed baby on your chest!)

swimtop for water birth & swim suit for your partner

Don’t bother with underwear as they’ll provide you with these lovely enormo disposables numbers.

2) For your care.

gel pads for your nipples

nursing pads

heating/cooling pack (see mine here)

water bottles

food you can eat & snack on (let’s be honest, some hospital food is terrrrrrrrible)

playlist on a CD or your smartphone for labor

chapstick/lipbalm for those dry lips during labor and after

book or cards if you are stuck in the hospital with a long and slow labor (yup, that happened with baby number 2 for us)

shampoo & conditioner

soap you like the smell of

3) Baby.

lots of receiving blankets & swaddle blankets

your own diapers (we brought chlorine & bleach-free ones) & wipes (many hospitals don’t have wipes)

car seat & extra blankets

very few outfits–maybe two onesie & snuggle outfits to get home in (remember: skin-to-skin!)

your choice of baby shampoo or soap


  1. Leah on May 2, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    That list covers almost everything I brought. I would add a couple things as options. First, I brought two pillows from home and ended up using them during labor (for hands and knees) and as my main pillow in bed. My husband used the second pillow to sleep at night. The hospital ones were thin and uncomfortable. A nursing pillow might also be helpful, but I forgot to bring mine. I suggest the partner/husband bring everything he needs, including a blanket and some food, maybe even a movie to watch. My labor was quick, but the recovery process was filled with a lot of downtime for him.

    Excellent list though! It sticks to the important stuff.

    • Natural Mama Nell on May 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm

      Oh great point on the pillows! We brought them for SuperBoy’s birth, but forgot with SweetPea. And partners/husbands definitely need entertainment for the downtime postpartum!

  2. […] {Birth Plan: Why You Need One}, here {While You’re Birthing, Who’s Got the Kids?} and here {What to Take to the Hospital} about why you need a birth plan, and why your healthcare provider […]