What is a hospital bag for?
A hospital bag is a necessary piece of luggage for your time spent in the hospital, and its contents will help simplify getting ready to go home. It's also designed to be used while you're at the hospital.
A zipped hanging bag that has three separate compartments: one for toiletry items, one for clothing and personal items, and a smaller pouch for miscellaneous items, such as a purse or wallet or phone charger.
In addition to what you'll pack in your travel bag, make sure you have these twelve things ready by your bedside when it's time to leave the hospital:
- Bathrobe/housecoat - Look for a light cotton robe that ties securely with long sleeves that won't interfere with any tubes or cords attached to the patient. You may be asked to keep your gown on during transportation home, and it will be helpful if you already have a robe that ties in the front and allows you to maintain modesty.
- Slippers - Hospital slippers are usually made of paper, which makes them uncomfortable against the skin, flimsy for walking outside, and easily ripped by doorjambs. Bring your own slippers from home that will be more comfortable after an extended period of time wearing them.
- Socks/stockings - Even if your hospital stay is brief, don't go out with bare legs! Bring socks or stockings with thicker soles that will provide between feet and shoes/flip-flops.
- Nail Clippers - A must! Try to bring a pair that is small enough for easy storage in your bag and won't cause discomfort if the clippers rub against your skin while you're wearing them. If you can't find a nail clipper that suits this description, opt instead for a mini-toenail clipper.
- Shampoo/conditioner - Find something mild with an unoffensive smell so it won't interfere with any scented lotions or potions that may be prescribed by your doctor or lactation consultant after surgery. If you plan on bottle feeding, bring whatever type of baby formula will be best for your infant's age (newborn, premature, or older), and don't forget your bottles and nipples!
Bringing shampoo/conditioner with you ensures that you'll have the products you need, even if the hospital runs out of them. It's better to pack them in-patient than to use those provided by the hospital, as they may contain fragrances or other ingredients that could cause irritation on your skin and damage your clothes.
- Lotion - Pack a travel-size bottle and ask for extra at every nurse's station until you leave! You never know when a new patient will move into your room or when you'll find some left behind after someone else is discharged. If it's not possible, ask for wipes instead so that moisturizing can be done at your convenience, not just before your transport to the hospital.
- Hairbrush - Go for a wide-toothed comb instead if you have very thick hair, as a regular brush can cause breakage. Also pack an extra one in case the first gets lost along the way! Make sure it has soft bristles so that no hairs are pulled out or broken off by accident. If you have long hair, bring more than one brush so that you'll never be without one during your hospital stay.
- Nightgown/T-shirt - Wear loose-fitting clothing so that tubing won't get caught on anything and pull at the incision site or IV. It's much easier to walk around with a gown with a shirt over it, but if you want to wear your own shirt and pants instead, make sure they're loose and comfortable. Hospital gowns tend to be thin & flimsy so that they don't add any warmth or weight that may upset the patient. Bring something soft and cozy from home that will feel good against your skin after surgery.
- Cupholder - We all know how easy it is to spill while going through turns while driving! Having a cupholder in your bag at all times will secure your liquids and prevent any accidents. You never know when you'll need a drink, and having something to hold it all in is key!
- Money/ID - Set aside some money for lunch or snacks during your stay. Leave your wallet at home if possible so that nothing gets misplaced. If you are wearing scrubs, chances are your pockets won't have any room for wallets anyway.
Most of the time there's food around though, but it may be overpriced depending on where you're located. It is not advisable to bring important documents either, as this increases the risk of losing them while getting up multiple times throughout the day. Bring one ID card if necessary, but don't bring anything else unless it's sentimental and cannot be replaced.
- Chargers for phone/laptop - Hospitals generally have adequate Wi-Fi, but constant use may cause it to disconnect or slow down. If you plan on using your laptop for work, it's best to bring the charger so that you can do so without interruptions! Try not to spend too much time online though as this may interfere with the healing process. Just unplug and read a book instead if possible.
How to choose a good hospital bag?
What's your budget? A hospital stay may last a few days to a week and the check-in is usually only allowed 24 hours in advance, so make sure you pack everything ahead of time. Depending on the length of your stay, it may be worth it to buy an extra bag with wheels like this one or this one for more comfort.
Don't forget about comfort! If it's too heavy, don't bring it. You'll be hauling it around all day so make sure it's light enough to handle. Choose a color that matches the color of your clothes/pajamas because you won't want to have any mixups at this time. Keep in mind that you're already under medication and stress, so having things that are easy to deal with is key.
Make a plan! If you have a dresser or closet available to you, think about what items are absolutely necessary for your stay. Then pack the rest into another bag that can be placed in storage or left at home. This allows you to have everything you need without being too overbearing about it.
Think through all scenarios beforehand! Medical emergencies are unpredictable so it's best to be safe than sorry. Make sure the things in your bag/suitcase are all within reach in case something happens while traveling to or from the hospital. You don't want to have to dig around looking for an iso pad in your suitcase when one is already right in front of you in your bag.
Best 15 hospital bags for you
- CallMidWives hospital bag:
This bag includes a large outer pocket on the front of the bag, a place for your laptop on the side of the bag, and many other pockets to keep you organized! It's spacious enough to hold all your essentials AND still have room to spare. It also comes with a free call midwife duffle as an added bonus.
- Hospital Bag Essentials:
This bag is not only sturdy but it has plenty of space inside to fit everything you need for a sudden hospital stay. The straps are thick and padded so they won't dig into your shoulders while being carried around all day long. Not only that, it comes in various colors so there's something for everyone.
- QIMIAOBABY PU leather travel bag:
This bag comes in 2 colors and has plenty of pockets for all your needs. It has a large main compartment with additional small compartments inside both the front and back area of the bag. The price is also very reasonable!
- Large Duffle Bag:
Not only can you use this duffle as a hospital or travel bag but it will come in handy during any other time as well. Not only that, it's made with heavy-duty nylon fabric so you won't have to worry about tears or rips anytime soon.
- Oflamn 21 inch weekender bag:
This duffle bag is very spacious and can be used as a carry-on bag for those traveling through planes, trains, or automobiles! It has plenty of pockets so you won't have to worry about opening it up and having things fall out unexpectedly. The price is also very reasonable!
- Bear&Bark large duffle bag:
This duffle bag is also very large and can be used as a gym bag, travel bag, or even a hospital bag! It's made of durable abs fabric so you won't have to worry about tears or rips. The price is great too!
- Everest Extra Large Duffle Bag:
This duffle has plenty of space inside without being too bulky. There are two front zipper pocket areas as well as two side pockets for even more storage space. The material is very sturdy and won't rip or tear easily! Not only that, it comes in 3 colors so there's something for everyone!
- Rectangle Duffle bag:
This duffle has both a large main compartment as well as smaller compartments built inside the front and back area of the bag. It is made with heavy-duty nylon fabric so you won't have to worry about tears or rips anytime soon.
- HYC00 duffel bag:
This duffle bag is not only spacious but it has 2 mesh pockets on the side of the bag so you can store your water bottle or other personal items without having them fly all over the place during transit. The price is also very reasonable!
- ROLANDKAN large capacity duffel:
This duffle bag has a front and back zipper pocket as well as a heavy-duty handle and shoulder strap. Not only that, it's made with good quality material so you won't have to worry about tears or rips anytime soon! The price is great too!
- Dalix duffel bag:
This duffle bag is made of quality material so you won't have to worry about tears or rips any time soon. It has mesh pockets on the side for your water bottle, wallet, or other personal items. The price is very reasonable!
- GRAYWOLF large gym/travel duffel:
This duffle bag has plenty of space inside without being too bulky. There are zipper front and back pocket areas as well as 2 mesh side pockets for even more storage space. The material is very sturdy and won't rip or tear easily! Not only that, it comes in 3 colors so there's something for everyone!
- Vera Bradley women`s performance weekender:
This duffle bag is very large and spacious without being too bulky! It comes in many different colors so there's something for everyone. The material is also easy to clean and won't rip or tear easily.
- Tournasol weekender:
This duffle bag isn't only spacious but it has 2 side pockets as well as a zipper back pocket. Not only that, it's made with good quality material so you won't have to worry about tears or rips anytime soon! There are also other color choices as well if the grey one doesn't suit your fancy. The price is great too!
- Mollygan duffel bag:
This duffle not only has many different compartments inside but it also has a zipper front pocket as well as 2 mesh side pockets for even more storage room. The material is very sturdy and won't rip or tear easily! Not only that, it comes in 3 colors so there's something for everyone!
Where should I pack my items?
When packing your hospital bag remember to place the most valuable items (ID, insurance card, insurance papers)in the front pocket for easy access throughout labor and birth. This will ensure they are kept safe and secure for quick access during labor and birth. Place your phone charger cord in the side pocket for easy access.
Hospital bags are a very important part of labor and birth because everything that you may need throughout your stay must be packed beforehand. 1 out of every 3 women will give birth in the hospital so it is not an uncommon thing to pack a hospital bag.
To make sure your stay (and labor and birthing experience) goes as smoothly as possible, make sure to pack all necessary items for yourself and also remember to pack some things for the baby too! Remember to keep your phone charged at all times as this will be vital throughout labor and delivery.
The most valuable items such as ID, insurance card, insurance papers should always be kept within easy reaches such as in the front pocket or the top zipper section.