The Items You Actually Need for Your Hospital Bag

July 29, 2019

Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack for the Hospital for Delivery

It’s almost go-time and you may be thinking it’s probably about time to get serious and pack your hospital bag. But what do you really need to bring to the hospital?

In all honesty – not much! The hospital will provide a lot of the things that you really need (e.g. those “fancy” mesh granny panties and all of the other self-care items you’ll need post-birth).

That being said, there are a few things that can make your hospital stay much more comfortable.

Two nights (or maybe more if you have a c-section!) with a new baby, in an unfamiliar environment can be strange and overwhelming, so it is definitely nice to have a few comforts from home, even if you don’t necessarily have to bring them.

Here are the items I made sure to pack for both of my deliveries.

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What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Mom

1. Cell Phone Charger

Your labor could be really long or really short (lucky lucky!), but either way, you’ll want to make sure you have a charger for your phone (and one for your partner too!), in order to keep in touch with friends and family, take tons of pictures and videos, and to enjoy any little moments of down-time.

2. Slippers

Hospital floors are cold, you guys! They will give you socks, but if you have a comfortable pair of slippers that you love, pack ’em up and bring them.

3. Robe

Another one for comfort. The rooms are cold, and a comfortable robe to cover up with is definitely nice to have.

4. Breastfeeding Friendly Tops and Pajamas

Newborns feed very very often (see here for my sample newborn schedule to get an idea of just how much), so you’ll want to have tops or dresses that are button down or easy to slide down/up.

I also don’t love hospital gowns, so I packed my favorite nursing friendly nightgowns as well (I legit own five of these — they’re that good!). Consider sizing up one to make sure they are not too tight on top.

Related Reading: The Best Nursing Friendly Tops & Dresses

5. Nursing Bras

Unless you plan on hanging out in a hospital gown or pjs the whole time, bring at least one nursing bra with you.

Having had two very close together, I’ve basically lived in this nursing bra and this one (racerback is key!) for the last 2+ years. They’re both incredibly comfortable, so they are great for those last few very pregnant weeks, and of course, for postpartum.

6. Nursing Pads

Aaaaah, nursing pads are so necessary if you’re planning to breastfeed! As you start to figure out how to nurse your little one and your body is adjusting your milk supply to fit baby’s demand, you may find that you’re leaking milk…everywhere.

I quickly found that leaking through my tops and bras was very uncomfortable, so I invested in some nursing pads as fast as possible. After having my son and trying a few different brands, I found these pads to be the best, handsdown, and made sure I had plenty stocked up before my daughter was born.

7. Favorite Toiletries

Taking that first shower after delivery can be a little bit daunting, but also oh-so-glorious. The hospital will have everything you’ll need – soap, shampoo, conditioner – but if you have special products that you love, bring them!

Adjusting to life after an event as major as birth — and also having a new life to care for while you’re healing — is a big deal. Anything that helps you feel normal and like yourself is worth bringing.

Confession: I brought a flat iron, a travel hair dryer, makeup, and all of my own bath stuff, and you can bet I used all of it! (But also, don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, contact lens solution, and all the other everyday essentials.)

Want to make sure you have everything you need, but like writing it all down? Get a free, detailed, printable checklist to help you pack everything you, baby, and your partner need for the hospital.


What to Pack in Your Bag for Baby

1. Baby Keepsake/Memory Book

I am admittedly a big scrapbooker/memory keeper, so having a baby/pregnancy book was important to me. It’s amazing how quickly you forget the little details, so the second time around, I made sure to bring mine with me to the hospital so that I could jot down anything I actually wanted to remember (not much! haha) from the delivery.

I used this memory book throughout my pregnancy for both of my kids, and loved it.

Also, a great tip a friend gave recently, is to ask the nurses to put your baby’s footprints and/or handprints in the book. I somehow never thought to do this, but it’s brilliant!

2. Swaddle/Outfit for Newborn Photos

You can check beforehand to see if newborn photos are an option at your hospital, but some do offer photo services. I purchased a gorgeous swaddle from Milkmaid Goods (their selection is vast and the quality is wonderful). Posh Peanut also has some beautiful options and gets great reviews. Etsy is also a great place to search!

Related Reading: Last Minute Things You Should Do Before Baby Arrives

3. Going Home Outfit

Bring two options – one in newborn size and one in size 0-3 months. Often times your little one may surprise you and not actually be so little! So in case they don’t fit into the teeny tiny newborn size, it’s a good idea to have another option.

Must-Haves for Dad

1. A Pillow and Blanket

Most hospital rooms will only have a (very small) couch/lounge chair for your partner to sleep on. Make sure they pack a bag of toiletries and clothes, but also bringing a pillow and blanket can really help make that tiny couch just a tad more comfortable.

2. Bottle of Champagne/Sparkling Cider

I 100% did not feel like drinking anything post-delivery, but I did have a sip of champagne after doing the ceremonial clinking of glasses to celebrate our little one finally arriving. (My labor with my son was 36 hours y’all. I deserved it.)

The second time around, I knew to request my husband pack sparkling cider. 🙂 It’s a very big moment. Enjoy it!

Is there anything I’ve missed? What are your must-haves for the hospital?

Related Preparing for Baby Articles

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: Everything You Need for Labor and Postpartum


  • Kale @ December 20, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    What a great list! This list would have really helped me YEARS ago!
    I am glad you are helping mommas today. 🙂

    • Lisa December 21, 2019 at 11:10 pm

      Aw, thank you! I am hopeful this helps at least a few mamas out there.

  • Christine December 20, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    I love that this list is short and to the point. This is exactly what I want to bring with me for baby #3 (including keepsake- I’m a big scrapbooker too lol) so I’ll be bookmarking this for when I pack!

    • Lisa December 21, 2019 at 11:20 pm

      Scrapbookers unite! haha! I’m glad this is on the mark for you too – and congrats on baby #3!! It’s so easy to overpack or forget something that seems obvious, but after a lot of research and actually experiencing those hospital stays, these were the most important things for me.

  • Shalona December 21, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    I only wish I had this list before I went into labor. I waited to long and my lil one came 2 weeks early. . . So, no hospital bag for me. Ha!! This is a great list tho!

    • Lisa February 13, 2020 at 11:51 am

      Oh man! That is rough! lol. The hospitals can surprisingly provide quite a bit though, so I hope you did ok!

  • Dawn December 23, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Pillow and blanket are essential! Those hospital beds are not very comfy!

    • Lisa February 13, 2020 at 11:52 am

      Yes – they can be super awkward and uncomfortable! And the couch for my comment. haha. Maybe it’s a tactic to make you completely ready to leave after 2 days!

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    Welcome! I’m Lisa – a mom of two, figuring out this mom thing and sharing what I learn along the way. I love affordable, easy fashion, finding new ways to organize, and sharing all things motherhood. I’m so glad you’re here!

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