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A Comprehensive Guide to Packing Your Hospital Bag

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So, 3 months ago was my second time around packing my hospital bag when we were expecting our baby boy.   When it comes to the 2nd rodeo, you generally fall into 2 camps.  Those that wish they packed more the first time around and those that felt so much of what they brought the first time wasn’t needed.  I kind of fell into the second.  I believe strongly in the 80/20 rule (you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time) which I admit doesn’t stop me from overpacking…over and over :).  The below list covers the basics and some of the extras depending on your comfort level. 

For Mom:

  • Nursing bra- if you elect to breastfeed there’s really no better staple. It gives you support and easy access to the breast for nursing.
  • Nursing tank tops or flowy tops (2-3)- I didn’t have any interest in wearing a hospital gown all day and night so changing into a nursing tank or a loose fitting shirt made me feel more at home while still providing easy access for breastfeeding.
  • Yoga Pants (1-2)- or anything with a forgiving stretchy waistband. The pregnancy belly doesn’t go down instantly and you’ll want something comfortable to wear in the hospital.
  • Socks (even better if they have grips on the bottom)(2-3)- it’s cold in hospitals and these will keep you comfy and prevent you from slipping on the tile.
  • Wraps/sweatshirts- for the above reason, truly, hospitals get so cold and though I delivered in May in Florida, I still wore long sleeves.
  • Flip flops- trips to the bathroom/shower/down the hall are so much easier with a slide on shoe
  • Comfy undies- trust me, you’ll want the granny panties.
  • Snacks- the hospital will provide your meals but when you get hungry a small bag of nuts or granola bars help hold you over and are more convenient.


  • Toiletries- there isn’t anything that makes me feel more human than taking a shower. It’s one of the first things I do when I’m allowed to after delivery and it always made me feel so refreshed.  The hospital showers will generally have a soap and shampoo but I think it’s just so much nicer having your own toiletries.
  • Deodorant
  • Travel shampoo/conditioner
  • Face wash or facial cleansing wipes
  • Body wash
  • Face/body lotion
  • Make-up
  • Hair clips
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Brush 


  • Ear buds- tune out extra noise or just relax with music. Even if it’s not your thing they take up very little space and give you some options during labor.
  • Phone and charger- pictures, pictures, pictures! Plus you’ll want to update family and friends via text or social media when you feel ready. 
  • Camera (and all the accessories including charging cords, batteries/wall chargers, camera cards, etc)- for documenting your little ones arrival; it’s truly amazing! 

For baby: 

  • Swaddle blankets- (Lulu Love!! :)) Seriously, though, they’re a go to for every mom for a reason. They keep babies snug, warm and cozy as they attempt to adjust to life on the outside.  The hospital will provide you with a very basic set, but it’s fun to have your own and ones that reflect your style.
  • Going home outfit/hat- a soft and cozy pajama set is a classic (bonus if it has the sleeves that fold down to mittens)- baby nails are jagged and easily scratch the face. I’m a big fan of multi-purpose baby products.
  • Car seat- ok, it doesn't go IN your bag, but it’s required by law to have one when you leave the hospital. It doesn’t have to be in the room but it has to be in the car when you pull up. 


  • Baby book for footprints- I was glad this was suggested to me. When they’re doing official footprints they can stamp them in your baby book (if you forget it can also be glued in on a loose sheet of paper).  We did it for both of our kids and were happy we did. 
  • Cord blood kit- if you elect to go this route, bring it when you check in to the hospital.
  • Gift from baby to sibling- totally extra but we thought it was cute to have a gift for our daughter from the baby (we got her dress up shoes and crowns). It added some fun to the day and made her feel included.


Things the hospital provides (you can check with your hospital during your tour or ask a friend who has delivered there:

  • All of your postpartum care essentials: water bottles, maxi pads, disposable undies, numbing spray, spray bottle, tucks pads, etc.
  • Linens: washcloths, towels, sheets, pillows- I have several friends who brought their own pillows/pillowcases if you’re particular about those.  Our hospital also had packages where you could upgrade your sheets and towels for a fee. 
  • Baby essentials: diapers, washcloths, baby’s first hat, Vaseline for circumcision if you elect, swaddle blankets, baby shirts, pacifiers, nipple shields, formula if needed, etc.


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