As a first time mama to be, there is a lot of unknown. From the time you find out it seems like you have a never ending to do list! Prepare the nursery, register, get your hospital bags ready, prepare for postpartum. Plus, there is all the research & decisions that go along with all of these to dos. The hospital bag seems to be one thing that mom’s need a lot of help with, myself included! I have done SO much research on this topic. I’ve asked you all on stories, read countless articles & posts, & asked just about every one of mama friends their opinions. I’ve put SO much time into today’s post & I am so excited to finally share it with you all. Today, I am sharing my hospital bag packing list broken down by category. I’m also sharing more details to help you with packing including a checklist you can print off or save! It’s a long post, but I want it to be a great resource for you all.
Hospital Bag Packing List
Below I am sharing my hospital bag packing list. I’ve broken it down by category: for mama, for the room, for baby, & tolietries. I also have a packing checklist at the bottom of this post that includes all of these + what you need for Dad or whoever will be going with you as your support person. I’m including more info below each of these graphics so be sure to read through for more info & specifics. Each of the graphics are shoppable, so if you click on any of the items you see below you’ll be taken straight to that product’s page.
I want to preface this by saying that obviously the hospital will have everything you absolutely NEED. I have had friends go into unexpected labor & not go in with anything but the clothes on their back. However, if you can bring things to make your experience & time there more comfortable & less stressful, then that is really what this is about. I tend to air on the side of ‘if it zips, it fits’ when packing & always would rather have things I don’t end up needing rather than really wanting something & not having it. Of course, you can always have someone bring you items you forgot, send someone to grab you something, or get things delivered. I’m a planner type, so I want what I want & plan to keep my bag in the car just so I’ll have everything & have one less thing to stress about. With that said, let’s get into my hospital bag packing list.
First things, first, a roundup of items for Mama either during or after delivery. You’re probably the one packing the bags & you’re definitely the one doing the brunt of the work on delivery day, so it’s important you have what you need!
Weekender Bag: I’ll honestly end up with this weekender bag & a rolling suitcase. I have no shame in my overpacking game. I hear it’s great to have extra room so you can easily take anything for postpartum you want home with you. I’ll put our joint items in the weekender bag for easy access & then our clothing & clothing for baby in the rolling bag.
Delivery Gown: I included a delivery gown because I’ve heard hospital ones can be uncomfortable + aren’t the cutest. This has both snaps on the back for easy access for nurses & doctors (hello, epidural) & on the front for skin to skin & breastfeeding. I’ve heard dark colors are your best friend in the hospital, so I obvi went with black. This one is under $20 & can get to you quick thanks to Prime.
PJs: More black for obvious reasons after delivery. A pair of button front PJs that are cozy & lose, but give you easy access for nursing if you plan on trying that in hospital, are highly recommended! I’m also bringing a button down PJ dress to bring in case any pants, even loose fitting ones, don’t sound appealing after delivery.
Robe: Not only a great thing if you get cold, but good to have to wear in the room in addition to PJs. Your girl normally loves a big, fluffy, white hotel style robe. However, you’ll have just given birth & will have all sorts of things still happening so opt for something on the darker or patterned side!
Slippers: This pair is a steal & have bottoms with a good grip, which is important when you think about hospital flooring. Some people prefer socks with grips on the bottom, so those are a great option, too. If you are walking the halls or just have feel that are cold usually, this is great so you aren’t having to put on real shoes. If you do wear some, an easy slide sandal is a great option.
PP underwear: I’m bringing my own to the hospital because I hear they are much more comfortable to wear. You’re definitely going to be wearing PP underwear after birth for all the other things you’ll be needing down there + just for comfort (especially if you have C-section) so, may as well pack a few!
Belly Band: This is personal preference obviously, as some women never even use these postpartum, let alone in the hospital. However, I hear this is great for getting your uterus to start shrinking back down & to just feel more supported after delivery, so I’m bringing mine along. I researched these a lot & this one had the best reviews.
Compression socks: You still have a lot of extra fluid & blood running through your body after you give birth, so having compression socks if you are prone to swelling is helpful. I’ve been wearing these every night during my second trimester & in my third to help keep swelling down & plan to continue to do so in the hospital & postpartum. Especially because I’ll be giving birth in the middle of the Texas summer! If you really swell, look into these slippers you can put in the freezer!
Stool Softener: Real talk ladies, the first BM after birth is supposed to be rough, whether you had the epidural or not. This was the number one thing that one of my girlfriends recommended I have. In fact, she said her doctor recommended she start taking it preventatively before going into labor. I checked with mine & she said that is fine to do so I’ll be taking her advice.
Nursing Bra: If you plan to try nursing or pumping in the hospital, having a nursing bra will be so helpful & convenient. I’m going with a comfy bralette option in the hospital, but have a few others at home. This hands free pumping bra is another one I bought that would be great to have! I’ve also heard it’s great to have a nursing tank. I’ll talk more about these in a postpartum post I’ll work on, soon.
Nursing Pads: Some friends have said they started leaking colostrum & were so happy to have these in the hospital just so you don’t feel gross with more liquid all over you. Some women’s milk may come in while they are in the hospital still depending on their bodies & how long their stay is, so throwing a few of these in your bag is nice just in case.
Heating Pad: You continue having contractions after birth & this is supposed to really help! It can also help your uterus start shrinking back down & with all the inevitable aches after the hardest thing your body will likely ever go through.
Going Home Outfit: Something loose & comfy is key. You’ll still have a belly when you go home (think Kate Middleton leaving the hospital with her newborns) & likely won’t be back in pre-pregnancy clothes for quite awhile. I kept looking for a white dress, but a friend suggested I go with a more neutral or even black color just in case! Don’t forget to pack shoes. I am packing sandals in case my feet are really swollen so I don’t have to worry about my feet not squeezing into shoes. Some say they just wore home what they wore in, which is a great option & saves space, too!
For the Room:
Sure, your hospital delivery room isn’t the Ritz Carlton, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a few things to make it feel more comfortable for you & your partner. After all, you don’t really know how much time you’ll be spending there when you go to check in!
White Noise Machine: Obviously you can play white noise on your phone, but hear having a travel one you can move around the room & not waste your phone battery even more is helpful. We got this travel one for baby so figure we may as well bring it.
Liquid IV: Staying hydrated is so important always, but especially when your body is recovering! It can also help with your milk supply. I absolutely love putting these in my water. It helps one glass provide the same hydration as three & is nice to switch up the flavor. If you order from their site, code: ALOPROFILE will save you $$ & get you free shipping.
VAVA Nightlight: I got this because I’ve heard it’s essential for late night feedings & the same applies in the hospital. If you’re up & want a little light, but don’t want to blast bright hospital lights, then this is great to have in your bag.
Blanket: A blanket for you both you & Dad is a must have. First, it will make you cozy & two, hospitals can be chilly. I’ve heard some Dad’s are legit sleeping on a couch or chair in the hospital, so having a blanket for them will be important! I always feel more at home with my own & you can’t go wrong with the softest blanket, the Barefoot Dreams blanket. Plus, it’s machine washable, which is key in case anything gets on it!
XL Phone Charger: This has to be the number one most recommended item to bring. Which makes me laugh! But, supposedly you may end up without a plug close to your bed & it’s not always easy to get up so you want to be able to charge & use it to take photos & communicate with friends & family.
Snacks: We’re bringing a few of our favorite healthy snacks like RX Bars & Made Good granola bites, but are also going to bring some candy & other items to have. I hear you’ll definitely want your own preferred snacks in your room! Also, bring some cash for vending machines. You can obviously order food to be delivered, have someone drop food off, or send Dad on a food run, but having some snacks you prefer in the room when you get hungry (which I hear really kicks in as medicines wear off) will be so convenient.
Travel Diffuser: I absolutely love diffusing essential oils. They immediately shift my mood & set the vibe. I snagged this little portable diffuser online so that we could bring one to have in our room during & after delivery!
Essential Oils: I’m bringing Lavender, Peppermint, & then two blends- Sleep & Ceremony. Lavender is so calming to me & Sleep will be great to try to catch any Zzz’s. Ceremony has Clary Sage, which along with peppermint is supposed to be good for labor.
Water Bottle: I touched on above how important it is to stay hydrated. Having your own water bottle, especially a big one with time stamps, will help you keep track of how much you’re drinking & prevent too many trips to refill.
Sleep Mask: I’ve heard that a lot of time hospital staff comes in your room at all hours of the day & night + turns on the big bright lights, so having a mask handy so you can catch some sleep any time you’re able will be so helpful. I love these silk ones!
Pillow: Just like having your own blanket from home, having your own pillow is key for comfort. Make sure Dad packs his, too! I love the silk pillowcases on mine because they not only feel so luxurious, they help you stay cool & help your hair & skin.
Firestick: Bringing a Firestick or a laptop that you can watch shows or movies on is supposed to be a game changer. You obviously will be in the hospital for at least two days, so having a little entertainment that makes you happy is a great way to pass the time!
Towels: I was on the fence about this one, but ultimately decided to include it. Towels & washcloths for you & Dad will help you be more comfortable & feel more at home. I’ve had some friends who say they just wanted to wait until they got home to shower because they were going to feel gross regardless (if just staying two nights) & others who say they couldn’t wait to rinse off. Depending on how long you find yourself in the hospital, you may not have a choice. May as well throw some towels in your bag just in case!
I have a few friends who have said they loved having a portable bluetooth speaker for playing music during labor as well.
You can’t show up without things for the main reason you’re there, right?! There are a few things that will be great to bring for your sweet little one that I’m rounding up below.
Outfits & PJs: A few outfits for baby in the hospital in a variety of sizes is important. You never know what their size will be when they arrive & want to be sure you have something that fits! I’m packing some easy little knotted gown sets & some zipper onesies & pajamas.
Announcement Card: A name or baby announcement card, sticker, tag, or whatever you want to use is great to bring with you! It makes for a cute picture & way to announce that baby has arrived. I ordered this one off of Etsy You can customize the fonts & it shipped really fast.
Hats, Mittens, Bows: Mittens are great in case baby’s nails are sharp so they don’t scratch their sweet faces. Hats or bows depending on if it’s a boy or girl are great to have, too! They help keep baby warm & are so cute on them. I love this set of hats & mittens for little boys.
Going Home Outfit: Whatever you decide baby will go home in, make sure you bring something with pant legs to make it easier to get them into the carseat. The gowns are so cute & easy, but are supposed to make the car seat situation more of a challenge.
Baby Blanket: A sweet blanket to keep baby warm, especially when you’re heading home is something a few friends told me to pack. It’s also nice for pictures!
Pacifiers: If you plan to use a pacifier right away, bringing a few of those + clips has been recommended, too. I’ve read it can be great to wait until you establish a decent latch or hang on breastfeeding to introduce them, but may bring one just in case! Better to have it & decide not to need it than want it & not have it, right? That’s the theme here.
Baby Book: I wasn’t even planning to get one of these, but figured I won’t regret having it. If you bring it to the hospital, you can have them do the baby’s footprints in it while there! I’m throwing a pen in our bag, too in case there is anything else we want to be sure to include while we are there.
Nursing Pillow: This is yet another thing I wanted to avoid bringing, but I had so many moms say that it made getting the hang of breast feeding so much easier, so I figured why not. Worst case, we’ll have another pillow to help make us all more comfortable.
Car Seat: You’ll definitely want this for taking baby home! Having the base set up & ready to go in the car is a must. You can have your local fire station check to make sure that you installed it all correctly. I’ve heard the Doona is great to bring, too if you are using that. We’re bringing a few car seat covers that are multi-purpose, too!
Toiletries are definitely all personal preference. There are a few non-negotiables, but then I feel like other things depend on not only your personal experience & recovery in the hospital, but your personality type. I have friends who wouldn’t dream of snapping pics with their little one fresh faced & others who would cringe at the thought of putting on makeup. To each their own, but below is a general idea of what I’m bringing after chatting with friends & knowing myself.
Clear Organizer Bags: These are an Amazon find that come in 3 different sizes & I feel like they are a must! I love them for travel or just day to day organization. Seeing everything that is in them without having to dig through bags (or having your husband do it for you trying to find something) is a game changer.
Mouthwash: Great to bring in case you just don’t feel like you have it in you to brush your teeth. No judgement.
Deodorant: Night sweats are said to set in quickly after birth, so this will help you feel fresh between showers & is just a daily must have.
Hair Ties & Hair Clips: If you are laying down a lot clips can sometimes be uncomfortable, but I love how easy they are & that they sort of make me feel put together. Otherwise, these hairs ties don’t break or stretch & are the best!
Dry Shampoo: I’d like to avoid washing & drying my hair at the hospital if at all possible, so dry shampoo will be a must so I don’t leave look like a giant grease ball.
Shower Essentials: If you do plan to shower, bring what you’ll want: shampoo, conditioner, & body wash. I doubt a razor will be top of your mind, but you do you & whatever you need to feel good! If you’re good with your hair air drying you can skip a blow dryer, but if not bring one with you. Remember, hospitals are not hotels so they likely aren’t going to have all the little amenity type things you may want!
Nipple + Lip Balm: Both are essential & I love that this is a two-for-one. Chapstick or a lip mask (I love this one) was probably the second most recommended item after a long phone charger, so be sure to pack your favorite one or two. Nipple balm is important if you are going to start breastfeeding or nursing to start out on a good note! I’m also packing some of the belly oil I’ve been using & some body lotion just to keep my skin extra hydrated.
Skincare: I’m as boujee as they come when it comes to skincare & love my Gua Sha + Microneedling tool & all the other things in between, but I am keeping it relatively simple for the hospital. Basics like face wash I can use morning & night, makeup remover balm in case I put on makeup, moisturizer, & eye cream are in my bag! I imagine I’ll feel very puffy & would love a face roller & such, but that & a face mask will be something to look forward to when I get home.
Makeup: This is personal preference of course, but I am bringing an abbreviated version of my makeup routine with me. I love this serum as a light foundation that gives a glow + has SPF. The little palette I included is perfect for on the go because its bronzer, highlighter, & blush in one. I’m bringing a few other things like brow products (duh), mascara, & a little lip color, but am keeping it pretty simple. Some days I feel human & more productive from putting on makeup & others it’s the last thing I want to do, so at least if I want it I will have it.
Hair Tools: If you are someone who feels more put together when their hair is done, bringing a curling iron, straightener, blowout brush, or hair dryer may be important for you. I doubt I’ll curl my hair, but hey, maybe I’ll want to so I’ll bring something along just in case. I am definitely packing a hair brush though!
Makeup Mirror: I think I’m going to bring a little travel makeup mirror with LED lights with me to have on the tray over my bed in case I do want to get ready & that way I can do it lying down. This would also be nice for skincare or anything else so that if you aren’t feeling good, you don’t have to be standing too long.
If there are any other toiletries you use, be sure to pack those! I wear contacts so I’m packing an extra pair, some solution, & a case. I’m also going to throw in my glasses & my night guard (sexy) last minute, too.
Whether your husband is coming, your baby Daddy, your mom, or a friend, having a few things to keep your support personal comfortable is important, too. My husband is as low maintainence as they come, so we’re keeping it very simple for him!
- A few comfortable outfits to wear around the hospital.
- A going home outfit.
- Pillow, Blanket, & Towels as touched on above.
I am including a checklist below that you can either print off or put on your phone to easily reference! We are going to leave anything ‘unchecked’ that we need to grab last minute & also have a written note by the door with things we need to remember to grab (like my mouth guard & glasses) that I won’t be keeping in our bag ahead of time.
If there is anything you feel like I missed on this list or that you loved having (or would have loved to have), please comment below so that everyone reading it can see & consider adding it to the list. I’ll definitely do a revamp & follow up after I get back to let you all know what I used or didn’t use. Hopefully this hospital bag packing list was helpful! I know for me I felt very overwhelmed at first, but once I started ordering & checking things off the list I felt much more prepared & ready. It’s always better to have your bag(s) packed early! Stay tuned for a postpartum roundup & post on my diaper bag, too. In the mean time, check out our nursery design, our baby registry, & my first trimester essentials + second trimester recap posts. XO