Getting ready for baby: Packing for the hospital

The past few weeks have been about getting ready for the arrival of baby #2, due on January 26th. I have to admit, I have been much slower with getting prepped for baby #2.

I finally packed up my hospital bag last week and thought I’d outline the key items for me. When compiling this list, I looked at my friend’s super detailed excel spreadsheet, which was my only guideline with baby #1. And I also found a great guide from Urban Mommies, which is very comprehensive.

My list is a little more pared down- I thought I’d share as I know it took me a while to figure out what I needed! I’ve heard you can be released from the hospital as soon as 12-24 hours from delivery. With baby #1, we had a smooth delivery, but they kept us there for 3-4 days, so be prepared for either when packing your supplies.

Packing for the Hospital
– make sure you have registered to deliver at the hospital of your choice. You will typically do this through your doctor’s office. I had to send in a brief form to BC Women’s via my doctor’s office, so they know to expect me.

Essential items:
– BC Health Card and ID
– Form completed requesting a private room and/or extra benefits. If you have extended benefits, you would have your plan information included on this form
– Birth Plan, if using. At pre-natal classes, you’ll often complete a basic birth plan – IE , how do you ideally want to give birth, do you want an epidural, etc. It is good to write it down for your own use, but I found I didn’t really use it at the hospital with baby #1.
– Camera or smart phone – you’ll want to take a picture right away!
– Cell phone (and for me, my laptop!)
– Purse/Wallet – or stash some money in the bag.

– Hairbrush
– Toothbrush & toothpaste
– Travel size shampoo/soap/conditioner for post-labour clean-up (and your partner too)
– Face cloth & towel
– Any skincare/make-up that makes you feel like “yourself”
– Hair elastics/headbands
– Lip balm

– Nursing bra – it will get to use right away, and often!
– Soft Maternity Underwear or mesh underwear/single use panties – I had no idea about these, but they were marked as “must have” on my friend’s detailed spreadsheet. She had a difficult delivery so having mesh, single use panties were very important to keep her pain level down. You can get them at a pharmacy supply store.
– Maxi pads – another item I had no clue about at first, but you’ll need ’em right away!
– Nursing pajamas or a nursing t-shirt and sweats
– Some comfy clothes for post birth. I lived in my stained hospital gown for about 2.5 days before realizing I could change into my own clothes!
– Socks/slippers
– Hoodie, sweater, or something warm to wear in case you get cold

Nice to haves:
– Ear plugs or ipod w/ earphones. If you don’t want to hear other deliveries happening, I know many moms find this very useful.
– If you sleep better with a specific pillow or blanket, bring it with you!
– A few treats, or a friend who will bring them! – I have some chocolates stashed in my bag.
– Massage oil/labour tools – If you are planning to use any massage oil or other methods for delivery, these will be required items.
– Plastic/Mesh bag for dirty clothes – I always like stashing my dirty clothes in a separate laundry bag so I can dump it straight into the washer when I get home.
– Book or something to pass the time – You will have a reasonable amount of idle time, so bring something to read.

For Baby:
– Newborn Car Seat for ride home
– 2-4 receiving blankets
– A car seat support pillow (like this one) so baby’s head is supported. OR, if you want to avoid yet another “thing” just roll up a few receiving blankets and position around baby’s head. The nurses can show you how to do this. You really only need to do this until baby has more head control, so 3-4 months.
– A couple swaddle blankets if you want to start/practice swaddling with the nurses. Or bring one of the many cool swaddle blankets that make it easier like this, or this.
– A few diapers and baby wipes on hand, although the hospital typically provides these
– Hat/socks/scratch mitts for baby
– 3-4 Onesies for baby
– Jacket or warmer outfit for taking baby out of hospital
– Hand/food print supplies for your baby book – get that memory done at the hospital if you can. Case in point – I finally got an imprint of my son’s food and hand done…at 14 months!
– Baby carrier/sling
– If formula feeding – formula and equipment
– Nursing pillow (optional – I am not bringing one as they are too bulky!)
– Nipple cream – the hospital will provide this as well if you don’t have any. Apply often to protect them! I learned this the hard way!

For Husband/Partner:
-Some snacks/water
-Pillow/blanket and a sleeping bag. BC Women’s provides a foam mat. They suggest bringing pillows in a colourful case so you know they are yours and not the hospital’s
-Change of clothes & toiletries

For second child:
– A gift for the big brother/sister from the new baby: I have spoken with many parents and the #1 piece of advice I’ve been given is toΒ  have a small gift ready for your older child, as a gift from the baby. It makes them feel special and proud to be a big brother/sister. I’m hoping this works!

And that’s everything in my bag! If you have ideas on additional items to add, please comment below. Thanks!


  1. 1

    I wish I had brought a pillow just for extra support while sitting (4 days). FYI – If you are post-partum after c-section there is no “cot” for hubby…just foam on the floor so a sleeping bag may have helped? Probably not. I might add a facecloth and towel to your list (for you and/or partner). Wishing you a safe and healthy delivery for number #2 Angie! Best wishes!

    • 2

      Hi Jennifer – thanks for your thoughts! Yes, now that you mention it, I think my husband only got a foam mat our first time. The BC Women’s handout mentions a cot, but I think a foam mat is more accurate. And good call on the towels. I will update the list now. Thanks again!

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    Looks like we’re due on the same date with baby #2 πŸ˜‰
    I’m half way packing up my bag. I still need to add some essentials like toiletries, underwear, shirts and slippers… but I almost have everything else ready to go, including a present for my toddler son.
    Good-luck and best wishes on a quick and healthy delivery.

    • 4

      Maya – Oh how fun, we’re due on the same day! πŸ™‚ Congratulations on baby #2 for you as well! Thanks for your comment and have a safe delivery.

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