This Is What Newborns Wear in The Hospital

Last updated on 19 November, 2022

Expecting a new baby and wondering what your newborn will wear in the hospital? Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know.

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What Newborns Wear in the Hospital

As your due date approaches, you may be wondering what your newborn will wear in the hospital, and what you need to pack for the baby’s stay. If you’re a first-time mom, knowing what to expect can help ease some of the anxiety that comes with having a baby. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect your newborn to wear in the hospital.

In most US hospitals, newborns are swaddled in hospital blankets with only the diaper on underneath. If your baby is cold, the hospital may provide a hat and soft (either short or long sleeve) white shirts with side snaps to put on your baby as an additional layer before swaddling. This minimal clothing is generally enough, so you won’t need to bring any additional clothes for your baby’s stay in the hospital apart from a going-home outfit.

That being said, you can call your hospital (Labor and Delivery wing) to see if they have a list of items they suggest to bring with you. In most cases, they will only need you to bring an outfit for your baby to go home in since they provide all the clothing your baby needs in the hospital. This is actually a great thing because it saves you from doing unnecessary laundry once you go home with your baby, so it’s one less thing to worry about. But if you don’t want to use hospital baby clothing, you can definitely bring your own, just keep it minimal.

Why Your Newborn Needs Minimal Clothing During Your Hospital Stay

Having your newborn baby in just a diaper underneath the hospital receiving blankets makes sense for several reasons. Here are just a few of them:

  • Frequent Medical Checking. During your stay in the hospital, doctors and nurses are going to check your baby’s weight and perform other checks and assessments including a hearing screen, blood test, reflexes, and muscle tone checks. Some of these checks require taking your baby’s clothes off every hour or so, so it’s best to keep your baby dressed in minimal clothing (naked under the swaddle or just with the side snap shirt) to make those checks easy, and also in case of any emergency.
  • Easy Diaper Changes. Your baby will go through a lot of diapers in the first days, so having no pants to take off and put on makes for easier diaper changes.
  • Maximum Skin to Skin contact. Skin-to-skin is a huge bonding moment for you and your baby, and it’s also great for your baby’s health. It helps regulate their body temperature and heart rate, plus it’s just really calming and wonderful for both of you. Wearing just a diaper makes it easier to do skin-to-skin, especially when feeding your baby or cuddling.
  • Lets the Umbilical Cord Dry. In the first days, while your baby’s umbilical cord is still healing and falling off, it’s important to let it air dry as much as possible. Dressing your baby in just a diaper helps with this and prevents unnecessary irritation.
  • The Wards are Kept Warm. Even if you’re due in the dead of winter, the postpartum wards are kept warm to ensure the health and safety of babies and moms. This means that your newborn doesn’t need many layers of clothes. A long sleeve baby shirt, a hat, and a blanket are more than enough to keep your baby snug and comfortable during your stay in the hospital.

Other Items Hospitals Provide

In addition to your baby’s clothing (side snap (kimono style) shirts and hats), there are other items for your baby you can expect to be provided with during your stay in the hospital. These items include:

  • Diapers. If you are in the US, you won’t need to pack any diapers in your hospital bag. Your baby will wear a diaper throughout their stay in the hospital. The type of diaper will depend on the hospital’s preference, but they will most likely be disposables.
  • Wipes. You’ll also have wipes to use for diaper changes and any other times you need to clean your baby.
  • Pacifiers. Many hospitals will also give you a pacifier for your baby to use. This can help soothe and calm your baby, but you can skip using them if you plan on breastfeeding.
  • Receiving Blankets. These are the blankets that your baby will be wrapped in when they’re not in their clothes. They are usually made from a lightweight material like flannel.
  • Formula.  If you are not breastfeeding, the hospital will provide you with formula for your baby.

These items are generally given away by the majority of hospitals in the US, but every hospital can be a little different. I would recommend that you call the hospital where you plan on having your baby and ask them for an accurate list so you can be sure.

You can also try to sign up for a virtual or in-person tour of the hospital. This can give you a chance to see what the delivery rooms and postpartum wards look like, as well as ask all kinds of questions related to labor and delivery.

Remember that you are paying for all the items provided by the hospital anyway through your insurance, so you may as well use whatever they offer you during your stay! It can make your life a lot easier in those first few days and nights, and also save you some money on disposables like diapers and wipes.

Items You May Need to Bring for Your Baby

Now that you have an idea of what you don’t need to bring for your baby, you can see that there is not much left for you to pack for your baby. Let’s go over the things you will need to prepare for your baby and other optional items that are by no means necessary but may be helpful during your stay :

Going Home Outfit(s)

When it comes to picking a going-home outfit for your newborn baby, there are no set rules, feel free to dress that cute little baby up! Just keep in mind that shirt-pants combos can be tricky to manipulate (at least in my experience) and may irritate your baby’s umbilical cord site as well. I would go for onesies and zippered sleepers myself, but ultimately it’s up to you!

Even if you assume that your baby will be on the smaller or the bigger side, it’s safer to pack going-home outfits in newborn size and in 0 to 3 months size, just in case. Also, make sure you bring an extra outfit because accidents happen and even if things go smoothly it’s nice to have two outfits to choose from when it’s going home time!

If you’re not sure what to pick for a going-home outfit, you can’t go wrong with the onesie/footie sleeper combo, and just add a hat and blanket when you’re leaving. This combo works whether you’re due in the colder or the warmer months just adapt how warm the sleeper and blanket are to keep your baby comfortable. And be mindful of not bulking up your baby with regard to car seat safety.

Car Seat

A car seat is necessary if you are planning on going home from the hospital by car. You will not be able to leave the hospital without one. Make sure you set it up before your due date so you are familiar with how to use it and that it is installed correctly.

if you’re due in the cold, this warm car seat cover that zips up and closes can be a lifesaver. It will create a heat dome around your baby and will shelter them from the elements even if you are going home with a stroller in minus temperatures.

A pro tip if you are discharged from the hospital on a very cold day is to have your partner get the car ready and heating up while you finish getting dressed and ready to go.

Not Necessarily but Helpful Items for Your Baby

Once you have gotten your going-home outfits and car seat ready, you are actually set to go. But here are a couple of items that you will be glad you brought with you to the hospital:

  • A Velcro Swaddle. Although hospitals provide you with receiving blankets that make for absolutely good swaddles, you may find it easier to use a Velcro swaddle that you can put on quickly and easily.
  • Newborn electric nail file. Newborn nails can be long! having an electric baby nail trimmer in your bag will smooth everything out, and make your first encounter with your baby much more peaceful.
  • Camera and Photo props. If you want to take special pictures of your baby’s first moments of life, you can bring some cute photo props to the hospital with you. They can be as simple or as elaborate as you want. A letter board, headband, or special swaddle blanket with a hat can make your baby’s first photos that much more special.

Final Thoughts

This post was specifically dedicated to your baby’s clothes and items you will need for your baby, but I would suggest that you don’t forget to make yourself comfortable during your hospital stay!

You will be glad you brought your own comfy pillow, toiletries, snacks, and a going-home outfit (the comfier the better) for yourself as well. Oh, and don’t forget your phone charger!

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The purpose of this article is informative and educational only. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babycious may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content.

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