26 In Motherhood

Newborn Life: What I REALLY Used in the Hospital and the First Few Days at Home

Perfect for moms to be, this list gives an honest look into what you should pack for the hospital, and what to expect to use during those first few days at home with your new baby.

**If you’re hopping over from Pinterest, I’d love for you to check out my other fun pregnancy posts! You can read all about my first pregnancy, and first few days at home HERE. Thanks for reading!

Before I had Adeline, I researched and researched, asked and asked, and came up with the ultimate packing list for the hospital. And then we had her, and I used maybe a tenth of what I’d actually packed! I grossly underestimated the amount of pain and exhaustion and “yep, don’t care” that I’d be feeling. Now that I’m 10 weeks out, I’m here to share with you those things that I actually used and would recommend that you pack as well! I’m sure I forgot a few things, but these are the what I remember the most.

what to take to hospital for birth

photo credit: Kati Mallory

Hospital Essentials

  • Cell phone and charger – I took my nice camera too, but literally only took one picture the entire time. We used our phones for pretty much everything. If you’ve got a decent phone, it will take perfectly fine photos. Seriously, don’t stress. I, more than anyone, was worried about getting lots of high quality photos while in the hospital. But then I had my baby and literally did not care what device the images were taken on.
  • A BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER – Our sister-in-law is a child and family photographer and used to shoot hospital births as well. I’m so thankful we had her capture every second of our daughter’s birth. If she couldn’t have been there, I for sure would have hired someone to shoot it. Those images are beyond special to me, and I will cherish them the rest of my life. Everything goes by so quickly, and you will be so thankful to have at least a few pictures from the most magical day of your life. The images she captured of us meeting our baby girl for the first time are the most beautiful and raw images I’ve ever seen. You will not care one bit that someone is in the room with you taking pictures. She actually ended up helping Adam hold my legs during most of the pushing, so needless to say we are quite close now, ha!


  • iPad – husband may want this to play on, though mine would also suggest a GameBoy.
  • Your own pillow – I am so thankful I took my own pillow. I was so much more comfortable in bed.
  • Baby book – Nurses will stamp the baby’s feet, so if you have a page in your book for that you’ll want to have it ready.
  • Birth plan – I typed mine out and gave it to our nurse, just so she’d have an idea of what my preferences were. Of course, I wasn’t super strict about it or really all that serious about it. Baby’s safety and health is always top priority, regardless of what I wanted.
  • House slippers – Ugg moccasins are perfect! You’ll for sure want these in recovery.
  • Super soft robe – You will spend all of labor and delivery in a massive, itchy hospital gown. That next day in recovery, you will be so happy to throw on your own robe after you shower for the first time. I got mine from Motherhood Maternity, and still wear it today. (PinkBlush Maternity has some SUPER cute ones though if you’re looking to spend a little more for the sake of fashion) Be sure to buy it at least one size larger than you’d normally wear. Also, I pretty much wore my robe up until I got dressed to go home, so pick out something cute that you don’t mind taking pictures in! Also also, you’ll be so uncomfortable and feel so gross down in the lady parts that you won’t even want to put pants on with your robe. Trust. Me. That mesh underwear-icepack-padsicle concoction you’ll be sporting will make you just want to be naked around the clock. Plus you’ll still feel like you’re bleeding out every time you go to the bathroom, so best to not even mess with an additional layer. I think I was so sore and exhausted anyways that the thought of pulling on pants made me want to take a nap.


  • 1 pair of soft, loose fitting, flimsy lounge/sleep pants for going home – I wore a black pair of Gilligan & OMalley sleep pants from Target and they were absolutely wonderful. I actually wore them like, almost every day when we got home too because they were so comfortable. You will desperately want to wear something that’s soft and baggy, and easy to pull on and off over that adult diaper you’ve basically got on. Trust me when I say they feel like angel wings on your lady bits.
  • Maybe 1 pair of your own undies – I actually wore the mesh underwear home because I couldn’t even fathom putting anything else on. You may be able to get away with it depending on how your delivery went. I however, had basically sat on a grenade and was a-ok with stretchy mesh underwear for a few days. No shame there. If you do take your own underwear, be sure it’s a size or two bigger than normal (trust me, the pads and ice packs they give you are HUGE and those birthing hips of yours will not shrink back down for several weeks) and something you don’t mind throwing away.
  • Chapstick and a little bit of your makeup – A little powder and mascara will make you feel SO much better!
  • 1 nursing bra – I packed two different size nursing bras because I wasn’t sure which I would be most comfortable in. I also didn’t even put it on until we were about to go home. Your milk probably won’t come in until you get home, or a few days later like mine did, so you don’t even need to wear a bra in the hospital. You’ll be nursing the baby what feels like literally every five minutes anyways. And you’ll have your robe to cover up with as well. Side note – you will not care who sees your boobs. Nurses will be coming into your room around the clock and you’ll inevitably have your boobs out each time. Just make sure visitors knock before they come in, ha!
  • 1 zip-up lightweight sweatshirt/jacket – This was probably the BEST idea I ever had. You’ve seen it pictured a million times on my Instagram I’m sure. I wore this little jacket home from the hospital, and STILL wear it around the house while I’m home with Adeline. It’s warm, easy to nurse in, and comfortable. I’ve never cared less about how I looked than the moment we left the hospital after giving birth to a tiny human!

Getting some sun trying to bring down her bilirubin counts. Looking like a zombie in the process.

  • 1 button-up top – I packed a big button up flannel shirt as well, and even though I didn’t actually wear it in the hospital, I was glad I had it in case I wanted to change.
  • 1 pair of socks – I wore my house shoes mainly, but had a pair of socks packed. It gets chilly in those rooms so you may want socks!
  • Small toiletries, only what’s necessary, and your brush – You’ll get to take a shower, if you want to, and it is so nice to have your own shampoo, etc. They will give you body wash, at least my nurses did, that’s safe and gentle enough for “down there”. You will also be so happy to brush your hair afterwards, but don’t even think about blowdrying it or straightening it! (Who does their hair in the hospital, I will never know.) I packed both, but again, had no idea how exhausted I’d be. Taking a shower wore me out completely and it was all I could do to even walk back to bed. You will not care about your hair at that point. Which leads me to…
  • 1 or 2 cute headbands – Like I said, you won’t care about your hair and will just want it out of the way. Especially during delivery. Take some cute headbands and call it a day! I wore one of my running headbands from lululemon and it was perfect the entire day.


  • Face wipes – This is kind of a toiletry, but I had a pack of face wipes and I’m so glad I did. It was so nice to wipe my face off after delivery and before I could shower. It’s just so refreshing and will make you feel better.
  • Ear Plugs – Sleeping in the hospital is tough, and if you’re a light sleeper like me then it will be really tough. We sent Adeline to the nursery both nights so the nurses would bring her in and wake me up when it was time to feed her. Adam snores sometimes too, so having ear plugs helped me get at least a little better sleep. But really, you won’t sleep much to begin with.
  • Gum or mints – Yo breathe will be stinky guuurrrrll. For real. You won’t have time to brush your teeth during delivery, especially if you’ve gotten an epidural, so having a little something to freshen up that stinky mouth will be wonderful!!
  • Mittens for baby – Most likely you’ll keep the baby swaddled up nice and tight, but you may want mittens for the drive home. We put mittens on Adeline whenever she wasn’t swaddled so she wouldn’t scratch herself. As far as hats go, the hospital will provide them.


  • Lanolin – OH MY GOODNESS FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS BOOBS PACK LANOLIN! Lather that crap on after every single feeding like it’s going out of style. The nurses may give you a tiny sample of some, but take your own.
  • Boppy or Brest Friend nursing pillow – I took my Boppy pillow with us to the hospital, and only used it a few times. I felt like the pillow was a bigger hassle than anything. I ended up just holding her in my arms to nurse, and didn’t really use the pillow that much. But, I would probably still take it. When we got home though, the My Brest Friend pillow was a LIFESAVER, and I actually preferred it to the Boppy.
  • Outfit options for the baby – You’ll be offered a mini photography session in your hospital room, by Bella Baby. (At least that’s what they did at Baptist in LR) Obviously you’ll have brought your diaper bag with going home outfits for the baby, but bring a few extra cute little swaddle blankets, bows, hats, etc. that you might want to use.


First Few Days at Home with Baby Essentials

  • Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads Just trust me when I say this: breastfeeding is painful! Your nipples will hurt so bad. You will cringe anytime a piece of clothing even comes close to touching them. These gel pads can be cooled in the fridge and are a lifesaver! Seriously. I loved them and used them all. the. time. Your nipples have to basically callus over since they’ve never been used this way before. You will seriously sometimes feel like your nipples have shards of glass in them every time the baby nurses, and you will want to just die every time they latch on. So, having something cold and soft to put on right after is a huge relief. (With these, you don’t have to apply Lanolin, you can just put these right on after a feeding).
  • Lansinoh TheraPearl Breast Therapy Gel Packs Again, your boobs are going to hurt so bad! These gel packs can be frozen or heated up and then put right on your boobs. I would put them in my bra and they would stay in place until I was done with them. Real talk: once your milk comes in, you will be so engorged your boobs will feel like bowling balls and you will look like a porn star. Combine that with getting used to a little gremlin sucking on your nipple, and you’ll be miserable for a few days.
  • A shelf or basket in your bathroom – SERIOUSLY. Going to the bathroom after having a baby is a bit of a production, and somewhat terrifying. You’ll want somewhere easy to put all of your supplies – underwear, pads, ice packs, epi-foam, water spray bottle, etc. Be sure you make besties with your nurse so she sends you home with a huge bag of extra potty goodies!
  • A sense of humor – Yes, the baby is a big deal, but let’s be real. Your boobs and healing downstairs parts are going to be the main event for a few days. Just laugh about it and try your best to stay positive. It’s pretty miserable at first, but you will get through it!!! I did, and I never thought that first week or two was going to end! The first two weeks are the hardest, but after that nursing will start to get exponentially easier each week. During week two I had two plugged milk ducts and a small bout of mastitis, and that just about did me in. Just keep on pushing, and I promise in a few weeks you won’t want to cry every time the baby needs to eat! Eventually you’ll be able to laugh about how hard those first few days were! And, one day you’ll go to the bathroom and it won’t look like a murder scene. Then you’ll know you’ve really survived!
  • Comfortable lounge clothes that are loose fitting – For the first several days at home, and the first few weeks really, I pretty much only wore my baggy sleep pants and either my zip-up thin hoodie I mentioned or a button-up top like a flannel. I also would wear my maternity leggings and loose fitting tops for when we had to visit the pediatrician. Or when you think you might lose your mind if you don’t JUST GO TO FREAKING TARGET AND BE A HUMAN AGAIN.



  • A big water bottle, Tervis cup, etc – Breastfeeding makes you SO thirsty, and you won’t want to get up all the time to refill your cup so keeping a big glass by your side makes things easier.
  • Your mom/sister/SIL/aunt/girl cousin/best friend – You will so desperately crave having some female help. Your husband can only help and comfort you so much, but having another girl around will really be encouraging. My mom came and stayed for the first two weeks and I would have died without her!
  • Help in general – You and your husband (or just you, whatever your circumstance is) will NEED HELP. Ask for it, accept it, and ask for it again. You can’t do it alone. Adam and I are so thankful for all of the help we received, we would have really struggled on our own. Especially if it’s your first child and neither of you have any clue what you’re doing, which you won’t! It is really, really nice to have someone there to help with diaper changes, making meals, bouncing the baby so you can take a quick nap or shower, bringing you water, and just answering questions. If someone can’t be there right away, make sure you can have family or friends come stay the first few weekends. Those first few days and weeks can get DARK, and you will want all of the help and emotional support you can get. Baby blues are very, very real, and life with a brand new baby can be very, very tough.
  • Sound machine and Rock n Play – Adeline hated the swing at first, so the Rock n Play is what she slept in if we weren’t holding her. She also loved having white noise play, so the sound machine was always cranked up nearby. You’ll figure out pretty quickly what they prefer, and when you do, don’t change it! We tried the Pack n Play and her swing but the Rock n Play won out every time.


  • Avent Soothie Paci I tried to avoid giving her a paci until she was 2 weeks old, but a week in and I caved. You probably will too when nothing will make them stop crying. Adeline was a big sucker/self soother so the paci was a miracle worker when we finally tried it! Just make sure you only give it to them after a good feeding, or when you know they aren’t hungry. You don’t want the paci to be used instead of feeding them, which may be what they’re trying to tell you.
  • Hospital swaddle blankets – We loved these for swaddling at first, instead of the flimsy ones I had registered for. Our nurse was awesome and sent us home with several extras. You know the ones I’m the talking about, the white/pink/blue ones they give all newborns.
  • HALO Sleep Sacks – Pretty much the only actual swaddle swaddle we used and still use are the HALO Sleep Sacks. Adeline was always finicky on having her arms in or out, so these are great because you can easily do either. You can swaddle them with their arms out and still tight around their body or arms down like they were in the hospital. There’s also extra space in the bottom of the swaddle so they can still move their little legs around. Sometimes Adeline would scream bloody murder when we’d try to swaddle her and sometimes she wouldn’t. Usually though if we could deal with the crying for a few seconds while we got her swaddled, she would settle right down once she was wrapped up tight.

I’m sure I could think of more things, but that’s a pretty good list to start!

Just remember, IT WILL GET BETTER. I was so blessed to have so many amazing women in my life encourage me during those first few weeks and remind me that it will get better. This too shall pass. Cherish those tough days because they pass so quickly. One day, sooner than you realize, your baby will smile and it will all be worth it. Trust me because I’m there right now! I never believed it until I lived it, but the love you will have for that baby is unreal. You can do it, mama!! If I can, you can too.

What would you add to the list?

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  • Reply
    January 5, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    The robe! I bought some cute new pj pants and a robe from Soma- their sleepwear is crazy soft and I still live in it! I loved having some new cozy pj pants to lounge in. We couldn’t live without the miracle blanket swaddle either. I was just making a mental list the other day of hospital and newborn musts, and can’t remember any of them. Mom brain!! But also, lanolin!!! Such a lifesaver!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 8, 2016 at 9:40 am

      We haven’t tried the miracle blanket swaddle, we’ve just been doing the halos. Glad to hear you like it, you’re not the first person I’ve had tell me that they loved it!! Mom brain IS THE DEVIL! I’ve been crazy, my husband thinks I’ve lost my mind hahaha

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections
    January 5, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    What a GREAT list! Bringing my own gown to birth in was a must for me. The nurses looked at me like I was crazy, but I was so comfortable (and no it did not get ruined). Robe and slippers were such a must have. Lansinoh was not the greatest to me, but the soothie gel pads were! I was able to get one pack in the hopsital and had to BEG them to give me some to take home. I had no idea they were like $12-15 a piece!

    I think the stupidest thing I brought was like 4 outfits for Claire. I didn’t know what size she would be, though. I think I sort of regret not having a photographer, but at the same time, I don’t know if I’d even want to know what faces I was making! We did bring our good camera and got some amazing shots right after she was born thanks to a nurse and my husband. Very glad we did that!
    Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections recently posted…2016 IntentionsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Never Serious Blog
    January 5, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    I’m starting my packing list (because HOLY CRAP THIS BABY COULD COME AT ANY MINUTE NOW) and while a lot of this I had on the list (thank you Pinterest!) I totally forgot about my cute little baby book!! So thank you for the reminder 🙂

    Also, totally going to create my bathroom basket ASAP! That’s a great idea for keeping all your lady bit products organized 😉
    Natalie @ Never Serious Blog recently posted…The Umpteenth Christmas RecapMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 8, 2016 at 9:37 am

      Hahaha just a few more weeks!!! You’re 34, almost 35 right? I thought the same thing, but then she was 4 days late ONLY because we chose to have an induction at that point! Lord knows when she would have come on her own! Praying for you that you go into labor on your own, in God’s perfect timing and that your sweet baby boy is perfectly healthy and wonderfully made 🙂

      Bathroom basket IS A MUST! SO MUCH STUFF!

  • Reply
    Heather @Fit n Cookies
    January 5, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Oh a bathroom shelf. And the lansinoh. Ahh bringing back the memories, haha. Fantastic list! I only brought one sleeper and one going home outfit for her, and wish I had more (brought them in 2 sizes and really just needed newborn). I also didn’t use my video camera or real nice camera at all. Should’ve stayed home. I did shower and do make up and hair every day in the hospital, though. It made me feel better and less like a murder victim when I went to the bathroom 😉 I also used a sitz (I think spelling?) bath in the hospital and at home. Relief but gosh the first little while the whole down there area is just in pain.
    Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted…Upper Body + Squats WorkoutMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 8, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Hahaha those days were rough my friend! But we survived!! I’m so impressed you did your makeup every day! GO YOU!!!

  • Reply
    Katie @ Live Half Full
    January 5, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I actually got fully ready both days in the hospital. It felt really nice and made me feel more like myself. I also brought a nursing nightgown/robe which I loved. Other than that, I think you hit all the basics!
    Katie @ Live Half Full recently posted…January FocusMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 8, 2016 at 9:35 am

      That blows my mind! There is no way I could have gotten ready, you are a rockstar! Hope you are doing well!! Work starts SO soon. I saw your comment on Instagram, YES, we will have to help each other out!! Please please!!! I would love that!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Thankful I could help!!! Hope you can do the same for Adeline some day 🙂

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 8, 2016 at 9:34 am

      🙂 couldn’t have done it without you!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks for a detailed post with all these great tips!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 8, 2016 at 9:34 am

      You are very welcome Kathy!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Awesome list, thank you!!
    My little is due in January and I’m trying to have everything organized well in advance this time.
    Your gum/mints suggestion reminded me: when I was having my son (almost 13 years ago) I had such a long labor and when we were finally ready to start pushing, I asked my nurse if I could brush my teeth first. She was so surprised and said, “Yes, absolutely! And thank you!” Hahaha…I was terrified of breathing in her face. She brought over a fresh cup of water and clean, puke bucket for me to spit in. Best nurse ever lol!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      August 29, 2016 at 11:16 pm

      hahaha that is a great story! That’s hilarious! It’s amazing what sort of little things you realize you just NEED in times like these! Congrats on your little! Are you having a boy or girl? Or have you found out yet?

  • Reply
    October 10, 2016 at 5:56 am

    As Im preparing for my baby (37 weeks!!!!) I have been searching all over the internet for information on what you actually NEED and what parents actually use! I didn’t want to be stuck with all these baby items that just ended up getting pushed to the back of the closet! Its great to read this post and hear about some things you actually used with your baby =)
    Leigh recently posted…How to Prepare for Baby on a BudgetMy Profile

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      October 10, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Hey Leigh! I’m so glad it helped!! 37 weeks!! Eeek!! Any day now! I hope you have a wonderful labor and delivery!! Boy or girl?!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Oh my gosh, I stumbled on this post via Pinterest. I have a toddler and am currently pregnant with my second. I was trying to refresh my memory on some of these things, and you hit the nail on the head! I read so few blogs about childbirth that I 100% agree with (in regards to not caring how I looked afterward, breastfeeding being SO painful, and loving those mesh undies). Thanks for the refresher!

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 21, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      You are so welcome!!!! And congrats! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 28, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Great List! 38 weeks today with a baby girl, and can’t sleep so I’m up browsing Pinterest! Going to make a bathroom basket today and put my baby book in my bag…didn’t even think about that. This is my first and I’ve been pretty chill up to this point. The nerves are setting in though now! Eek! Just ordered the gel pads too. Thanks!
    Ps your mom’s comment above has me seriously crying on my couch. So sweet. My mom is planning on staying for two weeks too…thank goodness bc my husband and I seriously have no idea what the heck we are getting into lol.

    • Reply
      Sweet Miles
      January 29, 2017 at 9:45 pm

      I’m so glad it was helpful!! I remember being EXACTLY where you are!! 🙂 You are going to be amazing! Please please check back in and let me know how things are going once your baby girl arrives! You got this!

  • Reply
    Christina Ventura-DiPersia
    March 31, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Everyone is different. I did my hair and makeup as soon as I rested a bit after giving birth because it made me feel at least partially human again. I also wore my own clothes during L&D, so if people do this, be sure to bring a comfy skirt so they can do what they need to do 🙂

  • Reply
    Emilie Pasalic
    October 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    This post is old. But for me as a new visitor to your blog, this is still a good article. I came to this blog straight after reading this article. How are you and your little baby.

  • Reply
    April 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    Thank you so much for this list! It is so much detailed than those „official” ones and from the experienced mother! I know I will probably pack too much of everything anyway but your post opened my eyes a little on how little you really need. I am really afraid of breastfeeding and nipple pain. My breastfeeding book (I have this one: https://www.parental-love.com/shop/how-to-make-breastfeeding-pleasant-and-easy-pdf) says it should not hurt if the latch is ok. But good to know I may need something comforting right away.

    • Reply
      June 7, 2018 at 3:11 am

      Hi Martha! Thank you so much for mentioning S. Urban’s guide about breastfeeding! Having had a rough start to breastfeeding my first child, I got this book to reassure myself on my second child. I love this guide, there are so many tips for getting familiarized with breastfeeding before and after your child comes. Thank you 🙂

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