What’s in my hospital “go” bag?

Nothing to disclose

It’s the day before my scheduled c-section. I’m anticipating a minimum three-night stay at the hospital as we welcome our second daughter into our family!

It’s going to be an exciting, chaotic time, and I want to do what I can to make myself as comfortable as possible at the hospital. Without bringing too much unneeded stuff!

A couple months ago, I started jotting down a list of what I want to pack for my hospital stay, and I have already packed what I am not currently wearing or using – like trial size toiletries, special PJ’s and spare underwear. But since I’ll be tossing things in last minute, the list will help.

Let’s jump in!


I had my older daughter in the month of June, in the heat of summer, so I purchased a bunch of oversized “house coats” from Walmart to wear at the hospital and at home. These house coats zippered up in front and were super convenient for breastfeeding in those early days. They were easy to put on and off since they zippered all the way down the front, and they didn’t bother my incision. I looked absolutely horrible in them, but they were worth it. Here I am in one of the house coats, in the hospital, a couple days post-partum:

This time, I’m having my baby at the end of winter. I packed one, short-sleeved house coat from last time – I’m also bringing a warm robe – but I want warmer clothing.

So I’m also taking an over-sized pajama set and a long-sleeved, button-down neck nightgown I got on clearance for $5 at Walmart recently!

Given the first day I will likely sport a hospital gown after surgery, I’ve packed three outfits for my hospital stay, as well as an outfit to “go home” in. To bring baby home, I’ll be wearing the biggest pair of sweatpants I own, and a T-shirt.

Other clothing essentials are underwear, nursing bras, socks, slip-on sneakers, flip flops for the shower and non-stick bottom slippers to get up and walk while I’m recovering.


Here’s where I am going to be realistic.

I’m having major surgery. I’m probably not going to shower for a day or two. With my first c-section, I was confined to bed for 24 hours, pressure cuffs on my ankles and a catheter in. I know I showered, but I don’t remember when or if I did it more than once.

What I do remember is feeling so wonderful after that first shower, even though it was a painful venture to navigate post-surgery. I remember how tough it was to stand up straight with my core cut. So I’ll pack the following, as well as some goodies for maintaining some semblance of clean without the shower:

As far as makeup, I didn’t wear any last time. I may not this time, either. But we’re having a photographer capture the precious first moments of my daughter meeting her little sister for the first time, and for those family photos, I might want to even my skin tone a little and add a little flush to my cheeks and lips. So I’m going to pack extremely light here – just what I would consider the essentials.

I find it much less stressful packing this hospital bag than I do packing my bags for any trips I might take; I spend a lot of time trying to decide what makeup to bring and ALWAYS over pack!

Some of what I’m NOT packing:

  • My contacts. I’l make due with my glasses!
  • Eye makeup
  • A separate face and body wash; I can use the Dove bar for both, saves me room!
  • Loofah – I fear it will get caught in my stitches, and a washrag seems more reasonable for post abdominal surgery
  • No/limited scents. With a new baby, I don’t want to overwhelm her with perfumes or heavily-scented body products.
  • Breastfeeding accessories like nursing pads, nipple shields or nipple ointment/cream. They provide that at the hospital.

For Baby

For baby, I know the hospital will provide so much; last time, they not only provided the diapers, clothing for hospital stay and swaddles/burp clothes, but I had creams and anything I needed to care for her in the room.

Breast feeding is strongly encouraged by our hospital (and others, I’m sure) so I was also given some breast feeding supplies like lanolin and a nipple shield.

With many of her care supplies accounted for during our stay, I’ll really only need to worry about her going home outfit! I decided on one sleeper in both newborn and 0-3 month sizes, as well as two outfits: One in newborn size, and one in 0-3 month size. My older daughter was able to fit into both outfits when she was born, at 9 lbs 2 oz. At my 37-week appointment, my doc told me to expect this baby girl will be a similar size. Oh boy. lol!

I’ve also packed a shirt for my toddler and a onesie for our new addition that are personalized with their names, and “Big sister” and “Little sister” for our “first 48” photos the day we have our new bundle. Otherwise, I’ll be doing skin-to-skin contact when I can, and she’ll be living in swaddles at the hospital.


The hospital will provide all my meals, but I will still bring a couple snacks anyway. I’ll likely bring granola bars, and I’d like to have some Welch’s Fruit Snacks on hand not just for me, but for when my daughter comes to visit.

There are also other necessities I’ll also need to remember, like:

  • Phone charger
  • A book. Something easy, nothing heavy! I don’t recall if I read during my hospital stay last time, but there will likely be a lull in visitors, and I recall having energy during the daytime, so I’d like to have the option. I packed “The Girl on the Train.”

What I’m most anticipating is introducing my 2-and-a-half-year-old to her little sister for the first time. I am expecting the worst – I am sure it’s going to be a lot for her to understand and take in. And when she realizes the baby is coming to live with us…well, I’m sure there will be some jealousy, too. But she’s a great kid, and she’s going to be a great big sister.

So one of the important things I did, to make her feel special, was buy her a present that I’ll give to her from the baby when she comes to meet her sister for the first time. I got her a couple books, including an “I’m a Big Sister!” book and an Anna and Elsa “Frozen” water bottle that says something about sisters on it. A small stuffed Olaf. Nothing crazy!

The nice thing about this hospital stay is that we live very, very close. We were a bit further away last time. So if we forget anything, my husband can run home.

I can’t believe this is all happening tomorrow! I can’t imagine life with two kids – even as I’m about to have two! – but I know there will soon come a time when I can’t imagine NOT having two.

My family is about to have a very special week! I’ve got some posts scheduled, but it’s possible I might go quiet on the blog for a week or two in the near future as I adjust to having the new baby at home.

If you’ve done a labor & delivery hospital stay – what else would you recommend packing?