Hospital bag title slide

Packing a Hospital Bag: What You REALLY Need and Why

Are you tired of reading the endless hospital bag checklists on Pinterest wondering what you will ACTUALLY need on delivery day? If so, this post is for you!

Having recently had two little ones myself, I can totally relate to the overwhelming flood of emotions one feels towards the end of pregnancy. First, there is all that love, anticipation and excitement of finally getting to meet that little person who has been growing inside of you for the past nine months. Then, there is all the nervousness and fear surrounding the actual event.

Being the meticulous planner that I am, I remember spending hours reviewing those hospital bag checklists I found online and wondering if what I had already packed was enough. However, when the time came to actually take the bag to the hospital, I found a lot of the items that I had brought to be unnecessary. Needless to say, I was a lot better at packing the second time.


Sister's maternity Picture


This post was actually inspired by my beautiful sister. She is 36 weeks pregnant today and making the last preparations to meet her little girl in a few weeks. Unfortunately, we live a few thousand miles away from each other and I am not able to be there with her for the big event :'(

Since hospital bags have been a recurring topic of conversation for the two of us lately, and I am sure some of you might also benefit from an honest sisterly talk on the subject, I decided to share this information with you.

Here is a list of the indispensable items in my hospital bag and why I couldn’t live without them…



  1. 1 Set of Comfy Breastfeeding Pjs. While the hospital gowns will do just fine for the delivery part, it is definitely nice to change into comfortable pajamas when you get a chance to shower. Also, the nursing top is a lot easier to manage than the buttons on the hospital gown. (If you end up having an emergency c-section, like me, you will probably need an extra set of pajamas due to the prolonged stay).
  2. Personal Toiletries. Toothbrush, deodorant, lotion, hair products, comb/brush… Although most hospitals will have the basics available upon request, using my own products and scents helped me feel a little more like myself.
  3. Going Home Outfit. For me this was just my pajamas with a robe over it. After having my unplanned c-section, I just wanted to feel comfortable. In fact, my entire wardrobe for the next three months consisted basically of pajamas 😉
  4. Comfy House Shoes. While the hospital will provide you with some “grippy” socks to wear, they usually aren’t the most comfortable things to walk around in.


  1. SOOTHIES by Lasinoh. This is not a sponsored post… This product really made all the difference in the world for me. The first few days of breastfeeding can be extremely painful. These cooling silicone pads provided me with unparalleled soothing relief. This is definitely one item that I tell all my pregnant friends about.
  2. Breastfeeding Pillow. Because breastfeeding is not as easy as it looks in the movies. While babies are born with a natural sucking reflex and can even squirm all the way to the mother’s breast if left on the mother’s chest, there is much learning to be done for both mom and baby when it comes to breastfeeding.  Finding the right position is not always easy and having a breastfeeding pillow to help provide support can make a big difference. I know it certainly did for me.

I had nipple cream in my original list but my sister-in-law, who has been a labor and delivery nurse for a few years now, informed me that recent studies show that nipple cream may not be as helpful as we thought after all. The current suggestion seems to be expressing colostrum/breast milk, rubbing it on the nipples, and letting it air dry to help with the dryness and soreness. You can always ask the lactation consultant at your hospital for the more information on this subject.


  1. Cute Going Home Outfit. Because you want to take some nice pictures to remember the occasion and so that you can have something to put on your baby’s memory box 😉
  2. Car seat. Because even if you are walking home, they won’t let you leave the hospital without it.


  1. A Change of Clothes. Most of the time Daddys can use the shower in the room if they would like. So, If the daddy is planning to stay in the hospital the entire time, I suggest bringing at least one change of clothes.
  2. Pajamas. Will come in handy if he plans to sleep in the hospital.
  3. Toiletries. Same reason as mommy above.


Additional Items:

  1. Phones and phone chargers. Because you will probably be making lots of phone calls to your family and friends and getting lots of supportive messages on your social media pages
  2. Camera (and memory card, and charger). To record all the details of the joyous occasion.
  3. Snacks. Because who knows how long your are going to be in labor. Unless you can get your friends and family to bring some in, it is always nice to have something for daddy to much on. When and what you can eat usually depends on the type of delivery you have and whether or not you had anesthetics (i.e. epidural).

Optional Items you might consider:

  1. SMALL Comfy Blanket. Because sometimes hospitals rooms can get quite cold and if warm blankets aren’t available having a small fleece might help you get through.
  2. Favorite Playlist or TV Show. If you think listening to a particular song or watching your favorite show will make you feel happier, more relaxed, and consequently help you cope better with the whole delivery process, take it with you. Since most places I know do not have DVD players in the room, that means bringing your own laptop and charger, or iPod/mp3 player. Most hospitals nowadays also have free WiFi available to their patients. If you are not sure about the WiFi options at your hospital, you can call them and ask the the front desk. (you can thank my sister-in-law for this suggestion ;D)

Things you will probably NOT need and why:

  1. Extra underwear for mommy. I know this sounds weird but hear me out.  The moment you are admitted into labor and delivery they will have you remove your undergarmets, and once the baby is born, the hospital will provide you with a few pairs of disposable mesh underwear that will be big enough to fit the large pads you will need right after the delivery. Also, they are likely to get soiled fast and you don’t want to be collecting soiled underwear to take home to wash.  If you need more than what the hospital has provided you can usually just request more.
  2. Diapers and wipes. The hospital will usually provide you with appropriately sized diapers and wipes for your newborn for the duration of your stay. If you have doubts about this, you can contact the hospital or ask during a hospital tour, which I highly recommend, prior to delivery.
  3. Extra Clothes For Baby. Most hospitals will provide shirts, hats, and blankets for your newborn for the duration of your stay. Unless you want to take pictures at the hospital with special outfits, you can just use the hospital outfits so you don’t end up going home with a pile of laundry.


Hope this helps!

What do you think of this list? Am I missing anything? If you have already been through it, what is the one thing in your hospital bag you couldn’t live without? Please share your thoughts and answers on the comment section below.






13 thoughts on “Packing a Hospital Bag: What You REALLY Need and Why

  1. Very thorough! I’d like to add CHAP STICK into the toiletries list. The hospital air is so dry and all that labored breathing you’re doing drys out your lips haha Don’t forget hair ties either! I know you posted like hair brush and what not but lest someone not think of it and have sweaty hair stuck to their neck and face lol Also anything you plan to use for labor like a yoga ball, massager, music, etc. & if it makes you feel better your birth plan (even though we all know it goes out the window lol). And I dont remember if I read it or not but any paperwork you may need and any ID’s/insurance/debit cards for you and your spouse. Totally optional but a nice treat basket or some snacks for the nurses is always appreciated as well 🙂

    1. oh yes you are totally right about the hair ties and chap stick. I do remember my lips being chapped. Also, IDs and insurance cards are certainly a must. Thanks for the great suggestions Leah!

  2. Yes to snacks! Labor is a lot of work and hospital food is not appetizing or nutritious, so pack your own nuts, dried fruit, instant oatmeal, etc.

    I was so glad I took a robe for added warmth and to cover with when people visited or I left my hospital room.

    Comfy pj’s pre-baby may include leggings or stretchy pants but post-delivery comfy pants are loose fitting.

  3. – Sometimes you need like dollar bills for the vending machines for the dad’s if they forget to bring snacks.
    – Slippers for the shower if your stressing there longer than eexpected
    – Pajamas that have buttons or zipper or robe if planning on breastfeeding. Easily accessible ?
    – Car seat already aassembled in the car.

    That’s all I could think of besides the ones you listed?

  4. Thank you for this! I have been feeling the same as you about some of these exhaustive lists. I would need three bags to get all of that to the hospital! This is a perfect list for those of us who just want the essentials and I so appreciate it!

  5. So I was the crazy person who also typed out the baby’s name specifying first middle and last. One of our children has two first names and our first born was a III. It made me feel better if someone else had to write it or fill out my paperwork or if I was unable to do it, that it would be correct.

  6. YES! This is a fantastic list!! One more thing that I brought is a journal to record the delivery story. But everything is spot on!! You don’t need most everything on those other lists.

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