The Maternity Bag: What's Missing From The List

My friend, who is expecting in the next 2 weeks, mentioned receiving a copy of the Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy in a ‘new mommy’ gift bag.

Specifically, she mentioned a chapter on what they don’t usually tell you to bring to the hospital, most especially lip balm–there’s a lot of lip-licking and breathing/exhaling during labor!

Because many of us are excitedly awaiting Beta-chan’s arrival, what would be *the thing(s) they never told you pack *in the maternity bag in preparation for labor?

Sorta depends on what they did tell you to pack…

So, there’s likely to be some overlap here…

Disposable camera, in case the official camera goes south.
Yer basic makeup & toiletry minimals, so you can look a little better in those post-delivery pictures.
Ziploc bag for the jewelry, watch, pager, whatever that you forgot to leave at home so somebody can hang onto it for you.
Something to read, for both of you.
Change of clothes for the non-delivering one.
Charger for the cell phone.
Spare batteries for the camera, if there is one.
Phone list of all the people who need to be notified.

Pamper shampoo and body wash - for that shower after delivery.

Stupid books and magazines (pulp romance novels, pulp SF, People - that sort of stupid) for sitting on your butt in the sitz bath.

A stupid movie for putting in the DVD player in the room for those times when you can’t sleep, don’t have company and need to do something.

Any breastfeeding materials you’ve accumulated (book, boppie) if you are going to breastfeed.

The hospital will probably provide stool softener (mine did). You’ll need it. The scariest thing is the first bowel movement after delivery…

Tasty snacks…2 days with nothing but hospital food is a drag.

Yes. Food. Food that can be eaten with one hand. Muffins, trail mix, maybe sealed pudding cups? High-energy stuff.

Extra pillows! For delivery and after. Hospital pillows suck.

Comfy pajamas that will fit you at 5 months pregnant, but don’t look horrible, and that you can breastfeed in, if you’re planning to.
More as I think of it.

Here’s the list I used as a jumping-off point for my hospital bag… your friend won’t need all of this stuff, but it’s better to think of something and decide you don’t want it than want it and not have thought to bring it. Plus, the list is funny!

Also, I would recommend that hubby either pack a bag beforehand, too, or at least make a list of what’s going in his bag. This might be a “duh” thing, but we were so focused on what I’d need that my husband was running around while I was in labor, trying to think of what to pack for himself!

Depending on the hospital/country, personal care products like pads, diapers for the baby, etc. may or may not be provided. (this surprised my US-centric self)

Food: I was weird and had my kids in a freestanding birth center. We were encouraged to bring snacks for both of us, as they don’t have that pesky “no food in labor” rule. In fact I was required to eat while in labor the 2nd time to keep my strength up. Some bit about ketones in urine and effective muscle contractions. Oranges and cinnamon toast (the midwife made the toast - they feed the parents breakfast in bed once everything’s done) were great.
Even if you’re in a hospital that bans food for the mother, her partner might get peckish. I’m not a big fan of vending machines.

Something that didn’t readily occur to me right away the 1st time: Both my kids were born in winter and we live in a cold climate. Most of the new baby clothes I had received were gown-style. The three-point harness in the car seat would have been impossible to buckle up without hiking a gown up over baby’s hips. I had to go shopping for a pants outfit for baby to pack in the bag. Also make sure you know how to adjust/buckle the car seat and how to safely hook it up in the car well in advance. It’s stressfull trying to figure out the buckle adjustments with a brand new baby looking at you like *you *were the one that was born yesterday.

Footwear: I’ve heard many mentions that people appreciated warm socks while laboring, and/or slippers that they didn’t care about for after the baby is born. (hospital floors are oogy, and new mothers are drippy)

One indespensible item: the person designated to run back to the house/store/restaurant to pick stuff up for you.

Because you will forget something and you don’t need to pack everything including the kitchen sink and it’s not worth stressing over.

You ain’t kiddin.

-Candy to suck on (we used Jolly ranchers), since you won’t be able to eat
-Chapstick (used it a little bit)
-Hair ties/barrets - to pull your hair back so it’s not in your face
-Snacks for Dad (very important, so he’s not running out to get a hot dog and worried you’re gonna deliver)
-Pillow (brightly pillowcase or something that’s obviously yours)
-Nursing pillow (if that’s your thing)
-List of phone numbers for people you need to call
-Comfy clothes to wear post birth (items that you don’t mind getting messy, below the waistline). Undies (I think I bought granny panties to fit over all the stuff you have to wear ‘down there’)
-Makeup/toiletries - that first shower you can take is heavenly!
-Hairdryer (if you need one, or the hospital doesn’t have one)

We packed a mom and dad’s stuff separately, since we weren’t sure how much time dad would be at the hospital. We only lived 10 mins from the hospital, so dad spent 2 nights at home sleeping preparing the house etc. We did have a change of clothes/toiltries for him in his bag, reading materials (he read while I slept enjoying my epidural).

I didn’t read much, listen to all the music I brought, watch the DVDs we packed because post-birth I was so enamored with our little one and so tired that I mostly dozed off when I could. Our daughter stayed in the room with us (rooming in). Of course we were nursing, so every 90minutes (or sooner) I was feeding her or changing her… Then there’s all the medical people coming in to check on you, give you food check the baby etc.

For us, we came home with twice as much stuff as we went there with. The hospital gave us all sorts of goodies (bags with formula, magazines, new baby stuff). We also learned during childbirth class that we were allowed to take all that stuff off the cart that the baby comes down with (diapers, formula, thermometer, comb, bulb sucker thing) because they usually throw it out anyways. It’s yours, you paid for it really.

I think that’s it, I know I kept my list from the last time - we’ll be doing this all again in February!

My grandmother snuck bourbon in for my mom after my delivery. She mixed it in with her Coke post delivery. Apparently breast milk put me right to sleep…

I don’t think anyone listed this - nasal or saline spray. That hospital air is dry!

Also, after I had my second son, I felt absolutely amazing after delivery and had no desire to sit around in pajamas. I wore my maternity clothes, which were actually just plus sized clothes (from Lane Bryant). Cracked my doctor right up seeing me in such bright colors.

Congratulations! :slight_smile:

I was coming back to mention that problem of having so much stuff when you leave. You can’t put this in a gift bag, but it’s a piece of advice you might pass along…on the day you go home, it’s good to have an extra person come along, to help you carry everything out. Between the new baby, your overnight bag, the free diaper bag & other freebees you get, gifts that visitors bring for the baby, and a flower arrangement or two, it’s a lot of stuff to haul out. Our hospital actually gave us one of those huge plastic storage bins as “baby’s first toy box,” and we filled it up with stuff to carry out when we left.

The bit about taking the stuff is good to know, too…the nurses aren’t always clear about that, but it’s all yours.


Not for you, lady, for the father. Dude is going to be sucking down cup after cup of coffee to keep up with you, he’ll need it, his body isn’t swimming in adrenaline. Unless you want a face full of stink-o coffee breath when he’s trying to be supportive, shove some Altoids in there.

A roll of quarters (or dollar bills) for the snack/drink machine. The hospital cafeteria is probably open limited hours compared to the time you’ll spend there.

Oh, I had forgotten about that! My husband had been sick just prior to our oldest being born, so he was trying to maintain his strength for the duration of my labor, which meant he went to the cafeteria and had a bowl of beef vegetable soup. Imagine THAT puffing in your face during (back) labor. Yuck! And he took offense that I pushed his face away!

In addition to the list of people to call, bring a prepaid phone card. Many hospitals have rules about where you can use cell phones, so you may be using the hospital room phone to call people.

Woot! Thanks for the list. I’ll be doing it for the first time (in February, too!) :wink:


It’s been 26 years since I had my last child; and I still regret not packing a ball-gag for my then MIL. She was wringing her hands all through the labor and shreiking useful tidbits like “Remember to get rid of your cats before you bring the baby home. They’ll suck the breath outta the Baybee!!!” “Breastfeeding Is A Bad Thing, because it’s not sterile!” According to MIL, it was a freakin’ miracle my first two children didn’t expire despite Her Repeated Warnings.

I agree with packing something comfortable for you and the DaddyPerson to wear. And some nice clean socks for you to wear, because they keep hospitals so durn cold. You can never have enough receiving blankets for the baby, because babies are capable of producing alot of fluids from all their oraffices. And some kind of rolling massager that the DaddyPerson can use on your lower back.

Congrats to all the new Mommies-to-be.

I have to second (or third) food. FOOD FOOD FOOD. I was ravenous those first two days post-partum. Making babies is hungry work, then making their food is hungry work, too. I had a bag of snacks attached to my bed’s rail, so I didn’t have to get up to get snackies. And, the husband’s work send a huge basket of fruit and cheese and the like, so I was happy.