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What Do Hospitals Provide for Newborns: 23 Items You Don’t Need to Worry About Packing

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What does the hospital usually provide after birth?

Are you nearing the end of your pregnancy and wondering what exactly you need to pack and how to plan for your hospital stay?

This guide on what do hospitals provide for newborns will review the services you will receive in the hospital, the stuff they give you to take home, the stuff you have to give back, the stuff to make mom more comfortable, and a short list of the stuff you need to bring yourself.

If this is your first baby, this experience can be overwhelming and maybe even a little scary. The more you know about what to expect during a hospital birth and what to bring with you, the more in control you will feel.

Just take some deep breaths, and work with your birthing partner and medical staff to get through.

Good luck and enjoy these last few moments before your baby comes!

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woman in hospital bed
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

What Do Hospitals Provide for Newborns: The Services You Receive

Every hospital is different, so if you have questions, make sure you ask. And don’t forget to sign up for a hospital tour. It will make the day of your delivery go a lot smoother for new parents if you know a little about what to expect when you get there.

Hospital Room/Delivery Room

During your time in the hospital, you could be in one of their private rooms or a shared hospital room to use as your labor room. Then you may actually be moved to a separate delivery room (or an ER, if you are having a cesarean section). In some hospitals, you may actually have a private room that doubles as the delivery room, making your hospital stay a little less stressful.


Once your baby is born, you may be able to take advantage of room sharing. This is more common these days, especially if your hospital is part of the baby-friendly hospital initiative. This initiative provides support for mothers to successfully breastfeed their babies, one of which is to practice rooming-in 24 hours a day. Usually, they place a very tall bassinet near your hospital bed to make it easier to reach your baby.

However, that first night after giving birth, you may be completely exhausted and just want some sleep. There’s no shame in that, and your hospital should have a nursery available where you can send the baby for a few hours while you get a good night’s sleep.


NICU stands for neonatal intensive care unit. It’s a special part of the hospital that is equipped to care for ill or premature babies.

Not all hospitals have this area available. Check with your hospital before giving birth. It’s fine if they don’t have one. Just make sure you know where your baby will be cared for in those instances. It is possible that one parent may have to travel along with your newborn, and you may have to remain behind until you are cleared to leave.

Hospital Staff

One thing that can totally change your delivery experience is the hospital staff. You should be completely comfortable with your OBGYN. If you’re not, find someone who you can be open and honest with and someone who listens to you.

During labor and even after the delivery of your baby, the delivery nurses and postpartum nurses are going to be your support team. They’re there to help new moms and newborn babies.

They’re also the perfect people to designate as the “bad guy” if you need some time to yourself while you’re in the hospital. Family members love to visit new babies and sometimes they overstay their welcome. Just let the medical staff know visiting hours are over, and they’ll take care of it for you.

Lactation Consultants

Lactation consultants are not part of the traditional hospital staff and some hospitals do not have a lactation consultant on hand. If that’s the case, you can request a consultation with a board-certified lactation consultant.

If you plan on breastfeeding, you should take a breastfeeding class and get in contact with a lactation consultant to provide you with the most support during your journey.

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What Do Hospitals Provide for Newborns: The Stuff You Can Keep!

1. Diapers

Hospitals usually have newborn or size 1 diapers available for new babies.

If you’re worried your baby may be smaller than the diapers they have available, they’ll show you a quick trick of how to fold the diaper over to make it fit your little one.

Always, always, always take those diapers home. Any opened packs are fair game.

2. Wipes

Diaper wipes are something else you don’t need to be worried about bringing to the hospital.

Babies go through so many wipes, especially with those first couple of new baby poops. The hospital knows this and are more than happy to provide them during your stay and send you home with any opened packs.

3. Baby Hat

Oh, the adorable baby hats!

They put these little hats on your baby once you’ve completed your initial hour of skin-to-skin contact and they’ve run all their tests.

Usually, your new baby will wear that hat during his entire hospital stay and you can place it in his baby book once you get home. You may also want to ask for a second one to take home to your pets to get them used to the smell of your new baby.

A word of caution: I washed my son’s hat because it was kind of gross, and it came apart in the wash. Fortunately, they had given him two, so the other is still intact.

4. Baby Wash

A day or so after your baby is born, the nurses will give your baby his first bath. They delay the bath to keep the vernix intact to reduce infection, among other benefits.

They should show you how to properly bath your baby, the best ways to hold him and keep him warm.

They’re also going to get all those fluids out of baby’s hair.

And watching the nurse do this horrified me. She scrubbed that little baby’s head so much, I thought she was going to rub it off. Don’t worry, the neonatal nurses are used to working with tiny babies and know what they can and can’t handle, so your baby is in good hands.

If you or dad want to bath your baby, just ask. The nurse should be very welcoming of this, and she can give you any pointers she may have.

5. Formula

If you are not planning to give your baby breast milk or if you are having trouble breastfeeding, the hospital will supply formula to your baby and will send you home with a sample.

Try as many options as they have available to see which one suits your baby best. My son only liked this one and had a hard time keeping the others down.

If you are giving birth in a hospital that is part of the baby-friendly hospital initiative, they support breastfeeding moms, so you’ll want to make it clear that you are not planning to breastfeed or you’re okay to supplement with formula.

6. Bottles/Syringes

If you do leave the hospital with a formula-fed baby, they will provide bottles for newborns.

My plan was to breastfeed, but I was having trouble in the hospital and could only feed my son using a syringe, which they provided. And they sent us home with extra sterile syringes in case we needed them.

7. Pacifier

Since pacifiers can be a controversial issue, you as the parent should decide whether your new baby is given one in the hospital. One of the major breastfeeding mistakes is introducing a pacifier too early, so if you’re giving birth at a baby-friendly hospital, they will not give your baby a pacifier without your consent.

If you do ask for one, it should be a newborn pacifier and you will get to keep it.

newborn in hospital
Photo by Isaac Hermar

What Do Hospitals Provide for Newborns: The Stuff You Have to Give Back

8. Blanket

That cute new baby blanket you see in every hospital picture: you don’t actually get to keep that. (Although this may actually depend on the hospital.)

Not to worry, you probably got plenty of newborn blankets at your baby shower. Just pack one in your car, depending on the time of year. Remember not to put baby in too many layers, so he is safe in the car seat. Just tuck the blanket in around him when he goes outside.

9. Nasal Aspirator

Once your baby is born (while you are doing skin-to-skin time) the nurse will wipe him down, run tests, administer antibiotic ointment and the vitamin K shot, and possibly use a nasal aspirator to clear any gunk from his airways. They’ll probably keep one in your room during your stay, in case they need to use it again. It really depends on your hospital if they send this home with you, since it can be sterilized.

10. Hairbrush

At baby’s first bath, the nurse will use a special hairbrush to get the fluids washed from his hair. This brush is great at getting rid of cradle cap, so if they offer you one, go ahead and take it. But they may not, since they can be washed and reused.

what do hospitals provide for newborns: baby toes and legs in hospital crib

11. Changing Pads

The hospital has changing pads that are basically large puppy pads, so if anything gets on them, they can be thrown away. And you don’t have to worry about taking any changing supplies.

They don’t typically send these pads home. I did try using them at home and with as many diaper blowouts that happen at home, they’re not as practical. You can try using these instead, since they’re washable and they will keep your changing pad mess-free.

12. Breast Pump

If you are planning to breastfeed, I recommend checking with the hospital where you will be giving birth. They should have a breast pump (or a few) on hand for you to try, if you don’t have one.

If you’ve already purchased one or received one for free through your insurance company, and you would like instructions on how to use it, then you should bring your own. A lactation consultant will be able to show you how it works.

Otherwise, you can try out what the hospital has and ask for suggestions on which model you should purchase.

They may also provide you with a small manual pump, which is yours to keep.

mom and new baby in hospital
Photo by Isaac Hermar

What Do Hospitals Provide for Newborns: The Stuff Just for Mom

13. Nursing Pads

There’s no telling just how soon your milk will come in. It could be days after you are home from the hospital, or it could start even before the baby arrives.

Not to worry, the hospital will have nursing pads and will send you home with some, so you don’t leak on the way.

Use code SIP50 to get free washable nursing pads.

14. Nipple Cream

If you are a nursing momma, you will soon become best friends with your little tube of nipple cream. It’s unlikely that your nipples will be chapped while you are in the hospital, but it’s best to ask for some samples of what they have.

This way you have an idea of what may work for you. And you have some available when you get home from the hospital, if you didn’t purchase anything previously.

Related: Everything Breastfeeding Moms Need to Succeed

15. Nipple Shield

I will say the nipple shield was my savior when I started my breastfeeding journey, and I give all the credit to one of my nurses at the hospital. She saw I was struggling and offered me a nipple shield, and it changed everything.

You might not need a nipple shield to be successful at breastfeeding, so you might want to take the wait-and-see approach before buying one. If you are having trouble breastfeeding while in the hospital, either ask for one or ask if they have anything that could help you (since you may not remember exactly what it is when the time comes).

16. Peri Bottle

Sometime after giving birth, one of the wonderful hospital staff members is going to show you the best way for you to use the bathroom. And it’s not going to include toilet paper. That’s where the peri bottle comes in.

The peri bottle they give you at the hospital is great when you’re just learning what to do, and it doesn’t really matter if you make a mess. And of course, you get to take it with you.

But I suggest only using that thing in the shower (instead of a washcloth) and get this peri bottle instead. It’s made to be used upside with a bent nozzle, so you actually hit the parts you’re aiming for. It’s something you’ll come to love, but you don’t need to haul it to the hospital with you.

17. Witch Hazel Pads

Witch hazel pads offer a cooling effect to all your lady parts and any stitches that maybe itchy. Use what the hospital provides and take any leftovers.

18. Pain Relieving Spray

This spray is going to be your best friend after a vaginal delivery. I think it works actual miracles. Definitely add it to your postpartum care kit at home, but don’t be shy about asking for extras in the hospital.

19. Large Pads

No need to worry about bringing any pads to the hospital. The hospital staff will provide you with whatever you need, and you can take them home with you. I suggest taking as much as possible because nothing works quite as well as what you use in the hospital.

20. Mesh Undies

These are the least attractive underwear you will ever wear. That being said, these are the best underwear for this time of your life. They are snug without being uncomfortable. They hold the pads in place better than anything else.

And since they’re disposable underwear, you don’t have to worry about the mess. You won’t realize how much you love these until you run out, so take a bunch with you when you leave.

21. Donut Pillow

After a vaginal delivery, everything is going to be sore. The ride home from the hospital may be quite uncomfortable. I recommend taking a pillow to sit on in the car. But if they offer you a donut pillow, definitely take it. It will ease the pain and discomfort of stitches and hemorrhoids once you’re home.

22. Belly Band

If you’ve had a cesarean birth or you’re worried about diastasis recti (where your abdominal muscles can split), ask your delivery nurse about a belly band.

It’s made of a thin, stretchy material that Velcros around the waist. It’s a great way to support your abdominal muscles and back muscles when healing from childbirth.

23. Pain Relief

You don’t have to bring your own pain medication to the hospital. And honestly whatever you bring may not be strong enough to curb the pain.

Let the hospital prescribe you something and only use according to the directions.

Also take note that there may be a pharmacy located in the hospital where you can fill your prescriptions. It’s a great option so you don’t have to make any stops on your way home.

newborn baby in hospital
Photo by Isaac Taylor

What Do Hospitals Provide for Newborns: The Stuff You Need to Bring!

Car Seat

You cannot leave the hospital with a baby without having a car seat properly installed. The nurses will check before they let you leave, so do not forget this! Have your car seat installed and checked by a professional well before your due date, so you know it’s ready to go.

Birth Plan

If you are writing a birth plan, don’t forget to bring it to the hospital. Make a copy for the nurses and give a copy to your birthing partner, so they can advocate for you. It’s also a good idea to give a copy to your doctor at your last checkup, so they have a copy on file.

Going-Home Outfits

Some hospitals will provide clothes for the entire time you are in the hospital. You’ll want to check with your hospital ahead of time, so you know what to pack.

Regardless of what your newborn baby wears in the hospital, you’ll want to pack a special outfit for when you bring baby home (and a special outfit for you). Maybe it’s something that matches what you’re wearing or it’s something that you had monogrammed.

Hospital Bag

To make sure you have everything packed in your hospital bag, grab this hospital bag checklist for mom, dad and baby. Be sure to bring any comfort items that you use at home that the hospital would not provide. But leave those valuables safe at home. You’ll have a new little one to carry home when you leave.


There you have it: everything hospitals provide for newborns after delivery. Be sure to bring a separate bag for everything the hospital gives you. The less you have to bring to the hospital, the better. (It will fill up quickly.) You’re going to be leaving with one extra person, so you want to pack light and not worry about packing what the hospital will provide for your newborn.

Are you getting ready to deliver your baby and not sure what to expect? Leave your questions in the comment section below.

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What Do Hospitals Provide for Newborns: 23 Items You Don’t Need to Worry About Packing

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