Our precious daughter Svea was born in March 2023 – our third child! So much about this third time around has been extra special. Not only are we more comfortable and confident in caring for a newborn, I feel like we are also soaking up the baby snuggles even more intentionally. Of course, there is something wonderful about having your first baby, and then having our second was so sweet, but I would have to say I’m really thankful that I just plain know what to expect more with our third. This extended to the packing of my hospital bag, too. I definitely err on the side of over-packing or wanting to be overly prepared, so I thought through this hospital bag as carefully as I could. And it looked different from how I packed my first hospital bag almost 6 years ago!
Today I wanted to share what was in my hospital bag for my third baby, but I also wanted to be sure to tell you what truly got used! Sometimes the things you thoughtfully pack just don’t end up being needed! Birth is a tricky situation to prepare for; you really can’t predict exactly how everything will go. The wisest thing to do is to prepare the best that you can and then just trust – trust God to care for you no matter what, and to trust the hospital, birth center, or your care team to provide whatever additional support or items you may need!
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If you’re preparing to give birth, my hope is that this list gives you some good items to think about, so that you can feel as confident and prepared going into labor as possible! I wish you the best!
What I Packed in My Hospital Bag as a Third-Time Mom (+ What Actually Got Used)
Let’s start with the bag itself! I’d seen another mom recommend this one as a nice travel bag on Instagram, and I thought it’d be great as a hospital bag. (We’ve also used it for travel since Svea was born, and I’ve really liked it!)
Bag // In the past, I’ve typically packed one bag for myself and one for the new baby, but this time, I put everything into this one bag and it worked really well! Easier to keep track of, too. (I just packed almost everything into gallon size Ziploc bags, which helped me to keep things organized.)
Portable Sound Machine (+ Charging Cord) // If you’re giving birth in a hospital, then there will just plain be more machines around, more staff coming and going, and more noise. For me, the beeping from various machines makes it extra hard to sleep. But a good sound machine can make a big difference! I pulled this one out and had it turned on during the nights I was in the hospital, or other times Svea and I were trying to nap. It was wonderful! (We have this brand for our older kids’ sound machine in their room and it’s a really nice brand!) This sound machine was a wonderful purchase because I actually still use it every single night for some white noise near Svea’s bassinet!
Phone Charging Cord For Mom & Dad (Extra Long Length!) // Since you don’t know where the nearest power outlet will be in your hospital room, it’s smart to have a phone charger with an extra long cord so you don’t have to get out of bed to reach your phone. (6 feet turned out to be a great extra long length!) I would also recommend bringing a phone charger for your husband, so he doesn’t have to plan to grab his charger in the busyness of getting out the door. And it’s hard to make sure everyone’s phones are always fully charged! I got a 6 foot Samsung charger for my husband’s phone, and one long iPhone charger for myself. We both used our cords quite a bit in the hospital, and I’ve really enjoyed my extra long phone cord since! (I use it to plug in my phone at night by my bed, because the long cord makes it easier for me to grab my phone while nursing.) Don’t forget an adapter like this one to plug it into the wall, if you don’t already have one!
Makeup Remover Wipes // I use these to remove my eye makeup every night. You can buy a pack of them, or a bag that has individually wrapped wipes for travel. I tossed several of the individually wrapped makeup wipes into my hospital bag and was glad I had them!
Travel Contact Solution (+ 2 Contact Cases) // I’m a contact lens wearer so I brought a travel size contact solution. I also packed 2 contact cases, because my husband is also a contact lens wearer and I didn’t want him to have to remember to grab his contact case from the side of the bed as we left for the hospital.
Granola Bars // I packed several granola bars so that either my husband or I would have extra snacks. We didn’t end up needing them, though, because I was busy ordering and enjoying the hospital’s food (ha!) and Bjorn wasn’t wanting the granola bars. So, while they’re a great idea, snacks may not be that necessary.
Travel Toothbrush & Toothpaste // Definitely used this!
LMNT Drink Mix // LMNT is something I’ve absolutely loved during pregnancy (and after!). It’s an electrolyte drink mix. I share about it in my Pregnancy Favorites post, too. LMNT is sweetened with stevia (it has less sugar than Liquid IV) and it also has potassium and magnesium. My favorite flavors are Watermelon, Citrus, and Raspberry. It’s quite salty – I mix one packet of it with about 4 cups of water. If you like the salty taste of Gatorade and you’re looking for a good way to hydrate, you may want to give LMNT a try! I brought maybe 3 of these packets to the hospital with me. I think I made one drink with it while there.
Beautycounter Travel Set // I really like my skin care regimen, so I made sure to have the travel set in my hospital bag. I used it and I’m so glad I brought it! It definitely helped me feel more like myself, especially when I got ready and put makeup on before we had visitors in the hospital.
Travel Size Dry Shampoo // I used this as well. It helped me feel more put together, for sure! (This is the brand of dry shampoo I use normally.)
Going Home / Photo Outfit For Baby // I’d say this item on the list is worth packing, although you have to approach it with loose hands, as an option and not mandatory. With our firstborn, our announcement photo ended up not being of her in her special personalized outfit; putting it on her made her pretty unhappy so we just stopped and didn’t force the outfit. The personalized onesie did work out for us with our second child, and it worked well with Svea, too! I love personalized outfits for new babies! If you’re able to make it work, I’d recommend packing a darling outfit for some photos. (The outfit I ordered for Svea was this one on Etsy.)
2-3 Sleepers For Baby // I packed several long-sleeved sleepers for Svea, which worked out well! In retrospect, I may have liked to have even 1-2 more! (My favorite place to buy my kids’ clothing new or used, ever since we had our first child, is Kidizen! You can get $5 for free using this link.)
Baby Hairbows / Headbands // Not needed or used, although we had one headband as part of Svea’s photo outfit, so we used that one.
Deodorant // Used this! 🙂
Travel Size Hairbrush // Glad I packed this, too.
Baby Hat // If you aren’t a fan of the generic hospital hats, then you may like to pack your own hat or two. We ended up not using the hats I brought from home – the hospital ones worked just fine. (After coming home, though, we’ve used a nice cable knit hat for Svea whenever she’s had to go outside.)
Handheld Mirror // I’m so glad I remembered to add this to the hospital bag! It’s really helpful, especially for putting on makeup when you’re tired or sore and don’t want to stand up in the bathroom to get ready.
Women’s Disposable Underwear // This was an item I’d heard another mom recommend for postpartum. I packed just 3 or 4 pairs of these. Although technically I didn’t use them while in the hospital, they ended up being a great item to use in the coming days and those first couple of weeks postpartum.
Newborn Velcro Swaddle // I brought one of our newborn size Halo swaddles that we’ve had for years – the kind with velcro – and I’m very glad I did. It was really handy to have another swaddle on hand to use!
Silverette Cups // I’d heard amazing things about the Silverette Cups. I really wanted to love them! Unfortunately, I didn’t feel that they helped me much…and they are pretty pricey so I was disappointed. I would’ve preferred the Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads that I’ve used in the past when breastfeeding my other babies. What really made a difference was the “wound dressing” gel things (yes, it’s called “wound dressing”!) that the lactation specialist at the hospital brought me. They’re not sold outside of the hospital, which is too bad, but the Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads are quite similar and very helpful with sensitivity/pain as you begin to breastfeed.
Carseat // It helps a lot to make sure to install the infant carseat in the car before the baby is born. That way, no one has to troubleshoot in the hospital parking lot.
** The items listed below were part of a short list I made of things to grab once I was in labor.
My Cell Phone
Knee Pillow // This pillow was a necessity for me throughout pregnancy. It actually replaced a full-body pregnancy pillow for me! It has been wonderful during postpartum, too, because it helps my body to feel aligned well for sleeping, even when my hips, legs, or back have felt sore. Although I’ve used a knee pillow during my other pregnancies, this was the first time I’ve brought it to the hospital – such a good idea! I’m so glad I did. For the times I was able to sleep on my side in the hospital bed, the knee pillow helped my legs and hips feel much more comfortable.
Makeup in Makeup Bag // I’m the kind of person who wears makeup pretty much every day, so I wanted to have it at the hospital, too. I’m glad I had it, because it helped me feel more put together!
Heatless Hair Curling Ribbon // I wasn’t totally sure if I’d utilize this while at the hospital, but figured I should bring it just in case because it’s something I use every day normally! And I’m really glad I brought it! Since it’s so easy to put in at night, it worked out well as not only a way to keep my hair out of the way, but it also helped me to feel a little more ready for my day on the second day. (You can get 10% off one for yourself with the code HANNAHBEEOLSON10 )
Large Thermos // I use a large cold drink thermos every day for my water with LMNT drink mix. (I’ve loved a simple one I found at Walgreens.) It turns out I didn’t end up using it at the hospital, but if you aren’t a fan of those big plastic drinking cups from the hospital, I still recommend bringing your own water bottle or thermos.
Glasses & Glasses Case // I put in my contacts before we left for the hospital, because I see better with them in, but I did want to have glasses on hand for those middle-of-the-night feedings! I’m glad I grabbed them!
Bluetooth Speaker // This is my very favorite portable Bluetooth speaker! Our family uses it multiple times a day. My plan was to play peaceful music on my speaker if I had the chance. I didn’t have the chance, haha! But it’s a great idea if you want to create a more peaceful atmosphere while you’re in labor.
There you have it! I hope this post was helpful to you, whether or not you’re a first-time mom! It always helps with peace of mind to think things through well and to make sure you at least have a general idea (or simple list) of what you’ll want to have with you.
**PS – Have you heard about The Present Mama Playbook?? It’s my online course designed to help you become a more present and peaceful mama with a home that runs smoothly, plus fresh perspectives on motherhood! UPDATE: *Enrollment for The Present Mama Playbook is currently closed. SIGN UP FOR THE WAITLIST HERE so you’re the first to be notified when enrollment opens again!!*