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Special Needs Life

Complete Hospital Packing List for an Inpatient Stay With Your Child

We’re no strangers to the hospital life…our world was flipped upside down when our oldest was born. I very unexpectedly became a special needs mama to a medically complex little one. After days and sometimes weeks at a time of living at our children’s hospital, I now know exactly what to put on our hospital packing list for an inpatient stay.

Soon I’ll be packing for our seventh hospital stay with our son and this time I wanted to share my complete hospital packing list for mamas who may have an inpatient stay coming up and aren’t quite sure what to bring for their child or for themselves. I’ll also share some links to our favorites in case you need some recommendations!

I’ve also got my full list on a FREE printable for you down at the bottom, so you can have a checklist handy as you pack. Just scroll down and click the link!

So let’s get to it!

This post may contain affiliate links. That means we may make a small commission on items purchased through links in this post at no extra cost to you!

What to pack for your child:

Sound Machine:

I didn’t think of this one till like our fourth or fifth admission and I really wish I would have thought of it from the get go. A sound machine really helps drown out all the alarms, monitors beeping, hallway noise, nurses coming in and out….Sleep is hard to come by in the hospital but a little white noise can sometimes help your child (and you!) get at least a little more rest. Just be sure to put your name somewhere on your sound machine! Our hospital keeps a few on hand for patients who are sensitive to lots of noise and a nurse almost took ours on accident….

My favorite is the Hatch, here it is on Amazon. And this portable one has become a new fav with my newest baby, and it’s a little less expensive than the Hatch.

Cord-friendly pajamas

Your child will likely live in pajamas while they’re admitted since they’re comfy. But you’ll need to bring some that are adaptable to lots of cords, like leads, a pulse ox, IV’s, whatever monitors your child may need to be on. And that will vary by your child’s age!

During my son’s first couple of years, I used snap-up or zip-DOWN sleepers, so that all the wires would either fit between the snaps or I could zip them down to his feet so they wouldn’t be up in his face.

Those little side-snap onesies like these on Amazon are perfect too!

Once he got a little older, I started bringing pajamas that had a button-up top and comfy bottoms. He was gifted these from Amazon for his last surgery and they are so cozy and soft.

I also bring him a couple of plain, oversized tees with comfy pants. They’re comfy for him, but I really love them for when early morning chest X-rays are needed…if it’s a plain shirt (no graphics) they don’t usually have to take it off, which makes it so much easier.

Super grippy socks/slippers

You obviously only need these if your child is walking! But if they are, they’ll need something slip-proof to wear for hallway walks.

Bombas slipper socks are one of our favorites. The nurses all loved them and they’re such great quality. I also really love these grippy socks from Cat & Jack…they are really soft and super grippy, just not quite as warm!

Diapers & wipes/underwear

I’m specifying this one to say that if your child is in diaper, call your hospital and ask if they provide diapers and wipes. Ours does and it’s one big thing off my list!

Pillow & warm blanket

Hospital pillows are pretty awful so having their own pillow from home can help your child feel a little more comfortable.

We also bring our son’s favorite warm, fuzzy blanket since he hates the hospital ones. It’s a nice comfort item to have from home anyways!

Favorite bottle/cup/water bottle

This one especially if they’re very particular! Having their favorite can help encourage them to drink when you need for them to!

Favorite books/toys/activities

I went overboard on this one one time and my son barely played with any of it. Our hospital has amazing Child Life Specialists and they always bring books, toys, and activities to lift his spirits, so the newness of those definitely outshine stuff from home. Now I only bring a few of his absolute favorites.

A tablet or iPad is also a great idea, whether to watch favorite shows and movies or to play games. Our son’s tablet has lasted us years and is filled with lots of great learning activities that he loves…you can find it here on Amazon.

Snacks

If they’re on solids and won’t be on dietary restrictions while inpatient, you may want to bring some of their preferred snacks along, especially if they’re a picky eater.

What to pack for you:

ID, insurance cards & child’s SSN

These go without saying, but they can be easy to forget. So make sure you put them on your hospital packing list, double check they’re in your wallet and that you actually PACK your wallet lol

Long charger cord

Open outlets can be hard to come by in a hospital room, so having a long cord can be helpful if the only available plug is across the room.

Pillow & warm blanket

Your own pillow can help you get a little more comfy in that recliner or makeshift couch bed. It can also get pretty cold so a nice, warm blanket is a good thing to bring along.

Sweatshirt

Be sure to throw a jacket/sweatshirt/sweater in your bag, it tends to get a little chilly in the hospital!

Slippers

Slippers to wear around your hospital room or some comfy shoes you can quickly slip on for hallway walks or trips down to the cafeteria.

Towel and shower shoes

If you know you may be there for a while and going home to shower isn’t an option, I’d bring a towel and a pair of cheap flip flops to shower. The hospital towels are tiny and useless and a public shower will never be clean enough for me to go barefoot lol Maybe just throw them in your car just in case!

Breast pump and storage bags

If you’re breastfeeding or pumping for your child or a younger sibling at home, you might want to take your own breast pump. Most hospitals have them available but they only have limited flange sizes, so I always bring my own pump!

Toiletries

Don’t forget to add the basics to your hospital packing list, like toothbrush & toothpaste, dry shampoo, skincare, makeup, etc.

Keeping up with my skincare routine is one of the little things that helps me feel more human during a long hospital admission.

Entertainment for you

Laptop, iPad, books, crossword puzzles, card games, coloring books…bring something entertaining for downtimes.

Water bottle

A nice, big water bottle that you only have to fill a couple time a day and that keeps it cold is nice to have on hand. It’s not always easy or convenient to get yourself something to drink, but there’s usually an ice/water machine available where you can fill up.

Travel laundry detergent

This one is mainly for those extended stays when you need to wash clothes and can’t get home easily. But my son tends to have some nausea and vomiting every time we’re there now, so having some detergent on hand makes it easy to throw his clothes and blankets in the wash real quick. But if your hospital is close to home, you may not need to worry about this one.

That just about covers it all!

Here are my links to a full hospital packing list that you can download and print so you have one handy while you’re actually packing! One for baby and one for toddler/young child!

Watching your child go through medical procedures is the hardest thing, but I hope this list helps and takes a little stress off your preparation.

Download a copy of the list or pin this post to save it for later!

Have friend and family who want to support you while you’re in the hospital and not sure what to tell them? Check out my post 5 Great Ways to Support a Family Whose Child is in the Hospital.

Kalie Thomas

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