Chelcey Tate

Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed

Chelcey Tate
Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed
Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed via Chelcey Tate

Oh, the hospital bag ... something that caused me way more stress than it ever should have. In true Chelcey fashion, I waited until the last minute to put mine together, and I had such a hard time finding tips online on what I actually needed! No offense to any of the lists that have been put together out in the blog world, but every one that I read seemed more than a little excessive. Do you really need to bring 3 changes of clothes for yourself and your new bundle of joy? In my personal experience, absolutely not. Since Em was born at 11:40pm, we actually ended up having to stay a full extra day in the hospital, and I can say without a doubt that aside from snacks, gatorade, and our camera (yeah, we totally forgot that one), there's not a single thing that we missed! 

Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed via Chelcey Tate



This was one of my favorite things that we brought along to the hospital. It set a super comforting and chill mood in the delivery room, and provided good background noise when things got quiet. Sean put together a 4 hour playlist on Spotify and we just had it playing on a loop! We have this one + we use it all the time!


The last thing you want to be worrying about while you're powering through those contractions is how dry your lips are! I packed some Burts Bees Spearmint Chapstick because the mint flavor and scent does wonders for me when I'm feeling anxious, nauseous, or stressed. I was reapplying this stuff like crazy during labor & delivery, and the days following. 


I'm a smells kind of gal. I associate certain memories with different scents, and I find comfort, and can relax more easily, with some good aromatherapy. I also have the tendency to get really killer tension migraines, and I knew that I was going to want something comforting there. Plus, who doesn't want to be rubbed on a little bit to relax when you're about to push a human out of you? 😅 I took my favorite Aveda Blue Oil Rollerball, and a bottle of the best shower gel you'll ever use in your entire life. Like the chapstick, anything with a mint / eucalyptus / rosemary scent is my jam. 


This one is pretty self explanatory. I actually didn't end up putting my hair up until after we got into the postpartum wing after delivery, but having the option to throw my hair up in a top knot was definitely necessary! 


I could have cried when my nurse wrote that my diet was nothing but popsicles and ice chips up on my patient board ... I actually ended up forgetting my Yeti at home, and I was so bummed! It would have been so nice to not feel like I needed to quickly chomp down on the ice in fear of it all melting. This is definitely something you should add to your list! Oh, and speaking of the whole ice chips diet ... I can speak from experience that you definitely should not sneak a quick sip of Dr. Pepper while you're transitioning because you will end up throwing up all over yourself and giving your husband a heart attack. #truestory


I was blessed to have a relatively fast labor, but having a phone charger was a must. My phone was running low on battery once we got all checked in, and I would have been so upset had we not had a charger with us! I didn't spend a ton of time on my phone, but my mom, MIL, and Sean all wanted theirs to be charged for photos once Emmy had finally arrived! We also had a ton of family that tag teamed their way in and out of our room before things started moving along, and they definitely took advantage of it as well! 

Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed via Chelcey Tate



I've never been a robe kind of gal, but having and nursing a baby definitely changed that! I swear I lived in this one and this one from Pink Blush for a good week and a half postpartum! Things get pretty messy in the days after you have a baby, and since you'll be rocking those awesome hospital mesh undies, you might be like me and stay in your hospital robe for a bit longer than you originally planned. I stayed in mine until I knew that we had family coming to visit to see Emmy, and then I changed into my own. I stayed in the same robe both days, and never even touched any of the nightgowns or t-shirts that I brought with me. 


I bought a couple of nursing bras before Em made her big arrival, but honestly? I'm not a huge fan of any of them. The ones I've tried haven't been very comfortable at all, and the last thing you need when you're trying to heal up from having a baby is to be uncomfortable! Surprisingly, my favorite bras for the hospital and for nursing in general have been these sports bras from Calvin Klein! When I need to wear something other than a sports bra, these bralettes from Free People have been my go-to. 


You may not actually end up needing these in the hospital if your milk doesn't come in right away, but I'm glad that I had them on hand just in case! I was leaking all over the place months before I even went into labor so these nursing pads were definitely my friend. 


The basics are all you really need ... I went out to Target a week before my due date and picked up travel sizes of everything I thought both Sean and I would need. Toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, hairbrush, hair ties, and bobby pins. Oh, and dry shampoo! But let's be real here, I tend to have dry shampoo with me at all times because it's the greatest invention ever. 


If you're looking for someone who's going to tell you to put on a full face right after you've done the most difficult thing you'll ever do in your entire life, I'm not your girl. BUT, even as someone who doesn't wear make-up everyday, I was happy to have the basics. I was totally drained, and my face definitely showed it! I also wanted to feel as comfortable as possible for all of the photos that were being taken ... I ended up bringing concealer, mascara, bronzer. and a tinted lip balm all of which I was super thankful to have with me.

coming home outfit

In theory, you should be able to bring your pre-pregnancy clothes to come home in because there's no longer a sweet (giant) baby in your belly, right? Yeah, not so much ... I would recommend bringing either maternity leggings and a flowy top / sweater, or something equally as comfortable. I ended up wearing a t-shirt dress, the coziest cardigan I've ever owned, and my birks because my feet were still crazy swollen! Your belly will be the same as it was when you were about 6 months pregnant when you leave the hospital so be prepared! You're also more than likely going straight home after you leave the hospital (or in our case through the Panda Express drive-thru 😉) so no need to stress about what you're wearing when the only people you'll see are your husband, your baby, and the nurses on the way out who have seen too much of you for you to ever care about what you look like in front of them. 😅

Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed via Chelcey Tate



A comfy pair of sweats and a change of underwear / undershirt were all Sean really needed! He was so wrapped up in making sure that Em and I were taken care of that I don't even think he ended up using his extra change of clothes that we packed. He did bring a jacket that he ended up living in for our entire stay! That hospital room was COLD, and though I loved it because I'm always burning up, he was freezing. 


Toothbrush / toothpaste / deodorant ... that's pretty much the gist of it! Geeze, guys are easy. 😂

Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed via Chelcey Tate



I worried so much about having the perfect coming home outfit for Em, and much to my dismay the one I picked out didn't arrive in time ... I spent so much time sitting in her closet trying to find something cute enough worthy of her very first outfit, and then baby girl came out itty bitty! I could have sworn she was going to go right into 0-3 month clothes, and there we were at 3 months old still rocking newborns! Long story short here ... don't fret. As long as baby is dressed for the weather, you're fine! Emmy girl ended up coming home in a blush pink sleeper that I packed for her to wear in the hospital + a sweet floral hat, and it worked out perfectly! 


The only thing out of Em's bag that we actually used in the hospital were her swaddle blankets! She stayed in the little white t-shirt sleepers that the hospital provides the entire time we were there, and having her floral blankets there were perfect for any photos we wanted to take without having to put her in a full outfit! 


This one seems like a given, but I figured I'd add it to the list anyways! Pregnancy / baby brain is a real thing, people! We use this one for Em, and it works like a charm! Oh, and if you've never put a newborn baby into a car seat before, don't be afraid to ask for help! A sweet nurse came in who was certified in car seat safety and showed us exactly how to strap Emmy in. It may sound easy enough, but y'all, newborns are FLOPPY. 😂

Hospital Bag: What I Actually Needed via Chelcey Tate



I did end up having Sean bring all of my favorite shower essentials, but I honestly didn't end up using them. Looking back, I wish I had taken advantage of the shower that was in our room, but if we're being honest, I was barely able to walk around myself let alone stand up in a shower for a long period of time! It may sound super gross to not shower for a couple of days after you've had a baby, but y'all ... it was the last thing on my mind! I was totally occupied with my new baby girl, and any spare time I had was dedicated to sleeping as much as possible! Not to mention the fact that even with a shower you're not really going to feel truly clean until a few days later anyways. 


I can't even begin to tell you how much I worried about not packing enough for Em! I quickly realized once she was actually here that the hospital provided everything we needed and more ... I had packed 3 outfits, mittens, hats, and blankets, and the only things we actually used were her car seat, blankets, a little sleeper, and hat to take her home in! 


I packed, no joke, 3 nursing nightgowns, 2 robes, 3 nursing bras, 2 nursing tanks, a pair of comfy shorts, and a pair of leggings. What in the WORLD was I thinking? This is where personal preference comes into play, but I legitimately only ended up pulling 1 robe and a sports bra out of that bag for my entire hospital stay. Not to mention that I spent way too much money on "nursing clothes" that ended up being more of a headache than what they're worth. 

I hope this list ends up helping someone who's feeling as overwhelmed I was! A lot of this will be based on your personal judgement and knowing what you'll need to be comfortable, but be reassured that the hospital will provide you with everything that you truly need. Anything else you bring along is just helpful to make you feel as comfortable as possible! 


Chelcey Tate is a photographer, blogger and graphic designer based in Louisville, KY.