Hospital Checklist for Birth


NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

Flush with excitement about the impending hospital birth, many expectant mothers are completely bewildered by the decision of what to pack in preparation for the delivery suite. If you feel this way prior to your first baby’s arrival, just remember that you are in good company amongst other pregnant women!

In truth, many of the items you think you need, you don’t actually need. In this article, I will list the essentials and tell some raw truths about labor and postpartum care, which will hopefully help you achieve the best delivery experience possible and give you some peace of mind!

1) Depends

Yes. Not the most glamorous item, for sure! However, whether you deliver via Cesarean delivery or a vaginal delivery, you will experience a copious amount of bleeding after the birth of your child – equivalent to a very heavy period. This bleeding will continue for several weeks post-delivery (and can be worse following a Cesarean section). The delivery nurses will provide you with a pad which is woefully inadequate for this amount of bleeding.

You will need some large, “grandma” Depends – trust me! It will make your birth experience much easier! You need to swallow your pride and get on board with this. No one else is going to tell you!

2) Pumping Bra

One thing that vanishes quickly when you have a new baby is your modesty. It is true! Even though most hospitals provide private rooms (or operating rooms) for the birthing experience, you will be seen in various states of nudity by many different people during labor and beyond, from nurses, to physicians, and even perhaps some family members. If you would like to preserve some privacy following your birth process, you will need a pumping bra. Many newborns do not latch (this may take practice, sometimes over weeks), and pumping is required to produce milk and preserve supply. A pumping bra will help preserve modesty and also enable a hands-free experience as well.

I personally used this pumping bra:

3) Nursing Nightgown

Another must-have! A nursing nightgown is essential for comfort and also to provide ready breastfeeding access for baby. He/she will need it every 2-3 hours! I highly recommend this nursing nightgown from Motherhood Maternity:

4) Camera

An essential! Members of your care team in the delivery unit will take most of the birth pictures, but you will want the right choice of camera to preserve those precious memories for posterity.

I use this camera for my blog pictures, and this is the one we took to the hospital (although ANY camera will do!):

5) Snacks

You don’t think about this automatically. The thing is – if you arrive at the hospital at 5 a.m., you are not allowed to eat until delivery. The reason for this is due to the possibility of C-section. You may not deliver until late at night when the hospital cafeteria is closed. You will be starving if you do not have snacks, as will your significant other. A simple thing, but it’s vital not to forget this!

6) Infant Car Seat

This is a big one for baby care! You must have a way to get baby home from the hospital, and holding him/her in your arms is neither safe nor legal. I highly recommend the car seat be installed prior to arriving at the hospital. Your significant other will be too busy changing diapers and helping with the baby to do this prior to discharge. Especially if it is your first child, I especially recommend that you have your local fire station inspect installation to ensure all is correct.

7) Baby Neck Pillow

You would not typically think of this one. The baby is so tiny that its head will flop from side to side on the way home without the stabilizing influence of a neck pillow.


1) Breast Pump

This is NOT essential. Most hospitals provide (hospital-grade) pumps to new mothers for the duration of their stay. However, if you would be more comfortable with your own pump, you can certainly bring it. My all-time favorite breast pump is the Baby Buddha – see full review here! As always, the lactation consultants are your friends.

2) Fancy Outfit for Baby

Again – not essential. Most people take the official newborn pic while the baby is swaddled in the wrap provided by the hospital. However, if you have a special outfit for the occasion, go ahead and bring that. I would not recommend taking more than one as you probably won’t have time to take pictures of your newest addition in multiple different outfits.

Hope this post is helpful to new parents! Until next time!


Related Posts:

Best Portable Breast Pump Review

Pumping at Work (How-to Guide Plus Must Haves!)

What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 1)

What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 2)

What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 2)


NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

If you missed Part 1 of this post, please follow the link here.

Otherwise, without further ado, let’s begin Part 2 of “What to Buy for a New Baby”!

6) Activity Mat

Tummy time is essential to newborn development – and, of course, must always be closely supervised. A proper activity mat helps further this particular exercise. We loved this rainforest activity mat from Fisher Price; it includes music, hanging stuffed animals, as well as a large crinkled leaf for sensory development. You’ll be amazed how your newborn will learn to bat the hanging animals and respond to the new sounds when lying on his or her back on the activity mat. Our babies loved this!

7) Large Play Pen

As your child grows in the first year, containment will be key, especially as he or she becomes more active. A large playpen, large enough to give them room to crawl and move but large enough to contain them, is essential, especially if you need to do chores (keeping a close eye on them all the while, of course!). We used this large deluxe play pen from Fortella. It is foldable and transportable as well!

8) Bouncer/Jumper

Likewise, a bouncer or jumper serves a dual purpose, both for containment and to help strengthen the legs in preparation for walking. Our favorites are from Baby Einstein. The nice thing about this one is that it has numerous toys on the tabletop of the bouncer to entertain the baby and foster development.

9) Walker

Perhaps this is a no-brainer, but it’s a no-brainer for a reason. A good walker, such as this one from Baby Einstein, helps cultivate balance and strengthen the legs during early walking. Like the bouncer above, this walker contains numerous toys on the tabletop of the walker to keep the child entertained.

10) First Year Photo Frame

This is a sentimental purchase, but still essential in my mind! This wonderful first year photo frame, which we completed for both our boys, documents the child’s growth month by month with a picture from each month. It is a wonderful keepsake for years to come, a poignant reminder of how fast they grew during that critical first year!

Honorable Mentions

a) Mama Cheetah Swaddles

Our second child had great difficulty going to sleep without a swaddle during the newborn phase (our first did not). Our pediatrician recommended these Mama Cheetah Swaddles. They worked very well. The velcro is strong and was able to keep our baby from moving his arms, thus easing him into a restful sleep. He was only able to sleep 3 hours a night total; after we began using these swaddles, he slept a full 7 hours the first night.

b) Drying Rack

This drying rack was tremendously helpful. Although it is tempting to air dry your pump parts and bottle accessories on a simple paper towel, I’d highly recommend a drying rack such as this. It helps keeps these items cleaner and separated from your kitchen appliances and items.

c) Newborn Photo Session

Although some would argue this is not an essential item, I would beg to differ. We purchased a newborn photo session with our first son; we did not with our second (he was born during the COVID delta wave, and we were isolating). The photos of our firstborn, taken by a professional photographer, were priceless. It is so difficult to obtain good pictures of older babies and toddlers since they are so active. The sweetness and stillness of the newborn photos cannot be overestimated, and, since they are often asleep, the photographer can place them into an assortment of adorable poses. You will treasure these photos for years to come — I would highly recommend!


What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 1)

Pumping at Work Tips (How-To Guide Plus Must-Haves!)

Best Portable Breast Pump Review (with 10% Special Discount Code!)

What to Buy for a New Baby (Part 1)


NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I love. Please read my full disclosure here for more information.

In the months leading up to the birth of a new baby, excitement builds steadily. However, as delivery approaches, it is easy to feel anxious and overwhelmed as well! You’ve heard countless recommendations as to what baby will need, particularly in the first year. You may also be uncertain as to what you’ll actually need.

If you are expecting and are currently building your registry, or even if you are simply wondering what to purchase for someone else’s new baby, then this post is for you!

We’ll break this into 2 parts, detailing what I consider to be the 10 most essential gifts for a new baby, including some honorable mentions as well. I’ll cover the first 5 today.

1) Breastfeeding Pillow

One of the most challenging – but rewarding – parts of motherhood is nursing (if you are able to do so). It is difficult at first to figure out proper position, especially with a newborn who must be handled with the greatest care. One of the most crucial purchases is a breastfeeding pillow. Although a regular pillow will technically do, I found that it did not provide the best support for a delicate newborn. This breastfeeding pillow from My Brest Friend (below) attaches to your waist and provides a perfectly sized shelf upon which you can hold the newborn while he or she is nursing.

2) Pack ‘N Play

This multipurpose product can serve as a bassinet, changing table, play pen, and a bed. The bassinet section and the changing table can be used during the first 2 months in the upper part of the Pack ‘N Play. After the first two months, the upper part of the Pack ‘N Play can be removed, and it converts into a play pen for the later months. The lower part of the Pack ‘N Play also doubles as a bed for an older baby. The best part is that this product folds up easily and is transportable. A truly versatile purchase!

3) Sterilizer and Dryer

Whether sterilizing breast pump parts or bottles, this product was a Godsend for us. You simply pour a small amount of water into the base of the sterilizer, load the pump parts or the bottles onto the rack, place the cover, and press start. Although it has 3 settings (“dry”, “sterilize”, and “dry + sterilize”), we usually used the “dry + sterilize” function. It really is a large sterilizer, so it was amazing how many accessories you could fit onto this device.

4) Owlet Baby Monitor

Our second son spent 48 hours in the NICU following delivery, and naturally we were quite anxious bringing him home for the first time. The Owlet device helped reassure us. This device involves attaching a sock to your baby, and it will monitor heart rate and oxygen saturation for you. You download an app as part of the monitoring system, as well as a charging base. If the monitor goes off in the middle of the night, you can look at the app and see what your baby’s heart rate and oxygen saturation are at any given moment. Although there are some false alarms with this device, we were well able to overlook them for the peace of mind that it provides.

5) Baby Buddha Breast Pump

During my first pregnancy, I used the standard Spectra breast pump that was covered by insurance; I obtained decent milk output but was never able to form a large freezer stash. For my second pregnancy, I purchased the Baby Buddha breast pump. Total game-changer! In my opinion, this is the best portable breast pump. Not only did it double my milk output (I was able to fill 2 freezers full of breast milk!), but it was lightweight, totally portable, and enabled completely hands-free pumping. The pump, which has to be charged like an iPhone, is actually the size of an iPhone and can hang around your neck while you chase a toddler, fold clothes, etc. Although this pump is listed at $249.99 on the website, it is often on sale for $189.99. You can get a 10% discount when purchasing this pump at the website with this code – MAKEUPDIVA10. Please read my full review here.

Please stay tuned for Part 2!


Pumping at Work Tips (How-To Guide Plus Must-Haves!)

Best Portable Breast Pump Review (with 10% Special Discount Code!)