Having a Baby: When Mr. Disaster Recovery Packs The Hospital Bag

Welcome to Risky Baby Business, our Saturday discussion about pregnancy and babies, especially those on the high risk side.

Last week when we discussed tips to ease the stress of Labor & Delivery, we mentioned the hospital bag. In the comments, Angela McGill asked for me to share the packing list my husband made, though I’m not sure she knew what she was in for at the time.

When I say my husband, Steve, is Mr. Disaster Recovery, I’m not being snarky. He really is Mr. DR at work. It’s on his resume and everything. When you are in a certain segment of the Information Technology field, part of your job is to plan for disasters and outages. If you are in charge of planning data centers and the like, this skill is vital.

I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to be married to someone with strength in this area. If I’d been in charge of packing for the hospital, I would have ended up having to call up my girlfriends in a panic from the delivery room to “go get this!” or “OMG, I forgot that!”

It’s likely the Birth Plan would have made it, because I was focused on that, but items like underwear and hairbrushes would have been left behind if I was in charge. I’m just not wired that way. Lucky for me, my husband is so, between us, we’ve always stayed on top of about 90% of everything. (With the baby in the mix, that’s dropped to 60-70% of things, which is still better than I would do on my own).

Back to his list. It took him weeks to fine it down to everything he wanted but I’ve given you the entire list. Keep in mind that our hospital provided many of these items, much to our surprise. I’d recommend you take your birth bag packing list to your birthing class and have your instructor tell you which items your hospital provides. You’ll pack less. 

For your convenience, I’ve crossed out the items that were provided or unnecessary and made notes about various helpful items in green.

For Jen: 


a) Glasses (Contacts / Case / Solution) i) Bathrobe
   (I was so happy to have my own!)
b) Sun glasses j) Going home outfit
   (Be sure this is maternity!)
c) Pajama pants (several) k) Socks
d) Breast feeding tank top
(Due to C-section, these weren’t used)
l) Grip socks
   (Very helpful on slick hosp. floors)
e) Nursing bra m) Flip Flops
f) Maternity bras n) Big girl panties
g) Breast pads o) Sanitary pads
h) T-shirt / comfy shirt  p) Sweater / Sweatshirtq) Several comfortable nightgowns

 Toiletries: (Having my own stuff was SUCH a comfort!)

a) Hand lotion n) Mouthwash
b) Massage Oils o) Conditioner
c) Back massager (Tennis ball)
    (Not used due to C-section)
p) Shower gel
d) Hair clip (keep hair back) q) Dove Soap
e) Lip Balm r) Deodorant
f) Breath mints – Life Savers P-mint
   (white / individual / blue bag)
s) Hair brush
g) Tissues t) Hair spray
h) Toilet Paper (Tucks medicated pads) u) Razors
i) Make-up v) Nipple cream
(Holy mother of God, I would have died without this!)
j) Toothbrush & electric toothbrush w) Lanolin
k) Tooth paste x) Bag Balm
l) Dental floss y) Witch hazel
m) Shampoo z) Numbing spray or cream


a) Focal point l) Pens
b) Journal of labor and delivery
(Please. You don’t have time for this.)
m) Book
c) Ice / hot pads (rice sock)
(You have no place to heat these.)
n) Pad of paper
d) Facecloth (not white) o) Cell phone and charger
e) Spray bottle p) Pillow(s) (not white)
f) Nalgene bottle (didn’t need) q) Nursing Pillow
g) Small hand-held fan r) Prenatal Vitamins
h) Bath towel s) My prescriptions
i) Hot water bottle (didn’t need) t) Collace / gentle stool softener
f) Hair Dryer u) Dermoplast
j) Eye mask (this helped w/sleep) v) Tylenol / pain reliever
    (This is for your husband.)
k) iPod & Speakers u) Ear plugs

Bring cookies or some kind of treat for the nurses. (You’ll be surprised at how appreciated this gesture can be. We brought a 2 lb box of See’s candy.)

For Baby Girl:


a) One undershirt i) Hat
b) One outer garment j) Pair of booties
c) Several receiving blankets k) Scratch mittens
    (These saved us in the bilirubin tank – Baby Girl was jaundiced.)
d) One outer blanket l) Baby’s homecoming outfit
e) Blanket to take home to Hoshi m) Pacifier
f) Side-snap baby clothes n) Diapers
g) Burp cloths o) Diaper covers
h) Changing pads  

We saw this recommended and didn’t have enough time to do it, but we LOVED the idea:

“Birthday shirt” for baby to wear the day he/she is born. I like to make a special one that I fill in all the birth stats on once baby’s born. Then I take “birth day” photos in it to send out as birth announcements.


  • Camera – memory chips, batteries and charger
  • Camcorder – memory storage, batteries and charger
  • Baby book
  • Stamp pad (making sure it’s safe for baby’s skin – washable does not always mean non-toxic or skin-safe). Use it to stamp baby’s feet and hands into your baby book.
  • Purchase a copy of the local paper so she can look back and know exactly what was going on the day she was born


a) Diaper Bag f) Cotton pads
b) Baby wipes g) Sm. trash bags for dirty diapers
c) Diaper cream h) Several bottles w/ lids & nipples
d) Baby lotion i) Breast pump
e) Rubbing alcohol  

 For Steve: (Note how much shorter his list is. If you are NOT married to Mr. DR, make your own list of personal items and give it to him.)

Clothing: Toiletries:
a) Levi’s a) Toothbrush
b) Sweat pants b) Toothpaste
c) T-shirts c) Razor
d) Sweatshirt d) Shaving cream
e) Socks e) Dental floss
f) Grip socks f) Deodorant
g) Slippers g) Bathtowel (not white)


1.  Cord Blood Kit – Call to have picked up

2.  Large battery clock with a second hand to measure contractions

3.  Hospital Folder

  • Birth Plan – Several copies
  • Insurance cards
  • Hospital preadmission forms
  • Contact list

4.  Car Seat

5.  Head support inserts

6.  Cover for car seat to shade sun / rain

7.  Who are we letting into delivery room

8.  Who are we letting into Recovery room

  • Send out directions to Hoag
  • Directions on where to park
  • Directions on where to go once inside

9.  Laptop

10. Reading materials (Please. You’re too busy staring at your baby, caring for your baby, or sleeping…or having the whirlwind of visitors.)

11. Snacks (do you really want to run to the store each time you’re hungry?)

  • Protein bars
  • Trail mix
  • Cereal
  • String cheese
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Turkey meat

12. Water

13. Small Cooler

14. Champagne (non-alcoholic)

15. Cash / change

16. Several bags to transport hospital extras / gifts

17. Emergency directions

  • Name / Address of hospital
  • Directions to hospital
  • Map where to drop off
  • Where to go once inside
  • Jennifer’s full name
  • Copy of insurance card
  • Steve’s name and cell phone number

Are you tired? Because I’m tired just looking at all this. It’s unbelievable that he got all this to fit in two carry-on sized bags, but he did. I ended up having to have a C-section because I never dilated beyond 5.5 centimeters, so we didn’t use whole sections of this list. But with birth, you never know how things are going to go, especially when you’re high-risk.

If you’re still with me (and you’re not clutching your sides laughing or hanging your mouth open in shock) what do you think of THE LIST? Anything he missed or that you’d recommend for other first time parents? We’d love to hear about it!


About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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23 Responses to Having a Baby: When Mr. Disaster Recovery Packs The Hospital Bag

  1. Laura Drake says:

    H0ly crap, Jenny! I’m more amazed by his packing ability! I’d have thought a Uhaul truck would have pulled up in front of the hospital! I got tired just reading the list. . . those of you brave enough to do all this have my admiration.

    Makeup? Really? You brought makeup? You crack me up. If I’m going through all that pain, I want people to KNOW it! 😉


  2. Ha, I’m with Laura–make-up??? I looked like cr*p after 22 hours of labor and then an emergency C-section, and I wanted everyone to know it, LOL!

    Seriously, this is a great list; I will point out that non-high-risk women are scooted out of the hospital so fast they barely have time to pull up their maternity pants, but for those of us in the hospital for several days, it was wonderful to have my own toiletries (and yes, I took a little make-up, too).

    My husband is like yours, but he did discover he put his underwear on backwards when we had our first. It still cracks me up–this stoic, plan-everything German fellow!


  3. K.B. Owen says:

    O.M.G. I’m so glad I’m past this point now. Great list, Jenny!


  4. amyshojai says:

    Good gosh a-mighty!
    With cats and dogs, you just give ’em a blanket in a box. (Sorry…couldn’t resist!)
    (ahem) There’s a reason my “kids” all have 4 feet and fur. This is a great blog for folks who go the “human baby” route, and want to do it right with help along the way!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yeah, Amy, I’m with you on the blanket. I didn’t even need a box for Hoshi as she was too big. But, I also needed food, bowls, toys, leash and treats to go with that blanket. I’m just sayin… 🙂


  5. Julie Glover says:

    Jenny, I spent four weeks in the hospital on bedrest before my preemie baby came. I can say that having my own two-ply, cushiony toilet paper became a big deal after a few days. In fact, when I visit someone in the hospital who is going to be there for a while, I bring a little gift bag which includes hand lotion (because hospital air is so dry) and a quilted toilet paper megaroll. For an overnight, it probably wouldn’t matter, though. Great list!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s awesome, Julie, though I’m sorry to hear about the 4 weeks. Yes, we heard that toilet paper was a thing to hate in the hospital but ours wasn’t that bad. Still, I’d keep it on the list based on what everyone else has to say.


  6. Excellent packing list! I love the idea of a birthday shirt. I made a thank you shirt for my daughter’s first birthday gifts. It was a white onsie with “Thank You” written on it in pink puff paint. 😀 And I caught a great picture of my daughter doing her patented “stinker face.” Everybody loved the cards. If we’re blessed again, I’m definitely going to try out the birthday shirt.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s wonderful, Sonia. And I hope you do get blessed again – I know you’d like to be. I hope you post that picture at some point and tag me when you do. I’d love to see it.


  7. Crap! That’s almost what I remember of my home birth lists, where I had to supply everything. (Wonder if I still have that somewhere?) My hospital lists were much shorter, but then I didn’t stay in hospital long. Heck, was in and out in 36 hours with #4 and I had my tubes tied that time, LOL. Of course, that was also the delivery My Guy got to break the speed limit for a legit reason 😀


  8. Actually I was thinking there’s no way they will out pack me because I’m Ms. Disaster Relief. If I even think I might want or need it, it gets packed. My husband jokes that we move everytime we go away for a few days. My motto is I’d rather have it and not need it than vice versa.

    You did not! Everything was packed in two carry on bags? How? Clearly I have to rethink my strategy. I generally have one large suitcase and about four or five large book bags I use for everything. I even have a bag packed for the dog when she goes traveling with me, lol.

    Thanks so much for putting this up, it has been a while since I had my babies. When I asked Holly if she had thought about what she was taking she had no clue. I’m sending “The List” over to her. She will probably tell me I have to help her with it because I’m going to be her and John’s back up in the labor room. She knows me so well you see, :-).


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      My hubby has sheer packing talent. To be fair, his laptop was in his work backpack along with our papers and folders. Everything else went into two bags though. I have no idea how he did it, and I’m a great packer.


  9. Wow! I think we remembered the car seat for the baby and that was it. Then again, I was in and out of the hospital so fast I barely had time to get acclimated to my surroundings. Seriously, I can’t remember what we brought, but I know your husband is way more with it than mine!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Tameri. That’s about what I would have remembered – the car seat and the birth plan. But I had a much nicer time with him in charge. If I needed it, you can bet I had it.


  10. Extra memory chip and charger plug for the camera. plug in for cell phone.
    Do not disturb sign.
    mascara and under eye cover up for those pictures.
    You mention Hoag- so close to me, I chose the old Laguna Beach hospital now run by the careful nurses of Mission because it was closer to home, and A ROOM WITH an Ocean View for my focal point, OK I’m frivolous.
    Great list so organized. I feel confident you will handle the scouting trips, soccer away games and things we do in a foxhole with grace.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Ooooh, Caroline, a Do Not Disturb sign is essential. Hoag had one for our door, but I would have liked to have one that was personalized. I had the ocean view for my monitoring appointments, but for the delivery, I was chained to the bed or right near it because of all the equipment. 😦

      My nerves can handle all the foxhole activities, but I’ll need my husband to organize me. If the truth is told, he’d make a better team mom than I would, although I’d be aces at making the scrunchies.


  11. Marcia says:

    OMG! I’m lucky my husband was able to get the night off work! I had two C-sections, the first was a surprise. I was overdue and went in for a sono, found the baby had passed meconium and went straight to delivery. Fortunately I had a few things packed at home, but nothing like this. Second time was planned, still didn’t bring as much, but I wish I’d had a do not sisturb sign, just to keep the nurses out!
    You’re a very lucky woman having a man who thinks the way he does, not to mention lucky to be healthy and have a healthy baby girl. 🙂


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