Knowing what to pack in your hospital bag can be tricky – especially for first time moms. There are lists everywhere – each a little bit different. On the one hand, you don’t want to pack too much stuff and have to carry it around. On the other hand, you don’t want to find yourself in the hospital room wishing you packed something that you didn’t. This hospital bag packing list has everything that you need.
As we get ready to welcome our newest little one, I’ve been working to put my hospital list together and get my bags packed. We learned a lot about what to pack the first time around – things we were glad we brought and things we wish we had brought.
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Hospital Bag Packing List
To make things simple, I’ve put together a list of EXACTLY what’s in my hospital bag. I’m a list person, so this list is broken down for Mama, for Daddy, and for Baby. I’ve also included some extra things that we didn’t pack, but you might want to depending on your hospital and preferences. (And if you’re wondering, I’m making this list just as much for you as I am for me. I make packing lists for almost every single trip we go on – including the trip to the hospital.) Just a head’s up though – this list is extensive. I don’t want you (or me!) to forget anything!
Hopefully this list will help you feel prepared and ready before you need to go to the hospital!
Typical hospital stays for labor & delivery are two-days, three days for c-section (confirm this with your doctor to be sure about your own hospital). So, you’ll need things for at least a couple of days.
- A comfortable robe. Many people prefer to wear their own robes instead of the issued hospital gown for delivery. Delivery is mess though, so I saved my robe for after. I love Target’s Gilligan & O’Malley PJ line and used an older version of this robe in the hospital with Little. I still use it all the time and plan on packing it this go around, too.
- Soft, comfy pajamas that allow easy nursing access. I have this shorts/top set that I love (another Target fave).
- Nursing Bra/Sleep Bra – I usually end up using sleep nursing bras but you might want to take another bra if you prefer.
- 2-3 Nursing Camisoles + Comfy cardigan – This seems to be the easiest combo for me during the day. I just toss on sweater over the camisoles, and feel pulled together, but still comfortable and easily able to nurse.
- 2 pairs of stretchy, comfortable pants. My favorites are yoga pants with a fold over waist (since the waist can also be unfolded to go over your tummy if you like).
- 1 comfortable, loose fitted shirt. Although, I just stayed in nursing tanks and cardigans.
- Going home outfit – This is up to you. I’d pick comfy pants and a loose fitted shirt or a dress. Something comfy that you are ok taking pictures in if you choose.
- Socks, shoes, slippers – Personally, I really like the hospital socks, but you’ll want to pack a couple pairs of your own plus shoes that you can easily walk around in. And if you wear slippers, throw them in the bag, too!
- Granny Panties. Frankly, you might not even wear these. I always just wear the underwear from the hospital, but if you want to pack your own, just make sure you don’t pack your nice undies. Just don’t.
You’ll want to have all your everyday toiletries in a bag and ready to go. For me, my list looks like the following, but it might be different for you. After labor and delivery, I felt like a whole new person when I was able to take a shower and wash my face, put on clean clothes, and a little bit of makeup. It makes a HUGE difference. This is a time when all those travel sized toiletries come in handy!
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, & mouthwash
- Contacts, glasses, contact solution
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Face wash & moisturizer (Face wipes are a great alternative here since you can use them from the comfort of your bed!)
- Body lotion
- Any everyday make-up that you’d like
- Hair dryer, & hair brush
- Extra hair-ties
- Lip balm (Burt’s Bees is my fave!)
- Maxi Pads – I ended up using the hospital’s pads, but they were really uncomfortable with my first, so I packed my own just in case for my second.
- Book/magazines, something to do if you end up in labor for a while and are able to read.
- Your own pillow – admittedly not a necessity, but it made a big difference for me. My own pillow was way more comfortable than the standard hospital pillows. Just be sure to have a non-white pillow case so it doesn’t accidentally get mixed up and lost with the hospital pillows.
- Water bottle. Your hospital will likely provide a big hospital cup that they’ll keep full of water for you, but I like to also have a back up water bottle.
- Snacks. Labor and delivery is HARD WORK. I was so hungry after delivering Little and while the hospital provides daily meals for mom, it is really helpful to have your favorite, healthy snacks on hand for in between and those middle of the night nursing sessions.
- Nursing pillow. If you plan on nursing, it can be helpful to bring your own nursing pillow. It’s totally not required, but if you’d like it, make sure you bring it. My favorite nursing pillow is the My BrestFriend Pillow. It literally went everywhere with us when Little was a newborn and I’m excited to be able to use it again this time around.
- A folder for paper work. Make sure you have your ID, insurance cards, birth certificate application, any hospital forms, etc. in a place that is easily accessible. This actually is really important. Don’t forget this.
Full disclosure: Hubs takes care of this part of the packing for us.
- Phones & chargers
- Camera, battery, & charger
- Video camera, optional
- An extra power cord or surge protector. This will allow you to keep multiple things plugged in in one place even if there are limited outlets in the hospital room. Hubs thought of this with Little and it was really helpful.
This is the shortest list. Actually, you can get away with packing nothing for the baby other than a car seat if you really want. The hospital will provide diapers, swaddle blankets, wipes, little onesies, and hats to keep your baby safe and warm during the whole stay. We even brought Little home in his hospital issued onesie. We’re packing a few extra things for the new baby though since he’ll be born in the winter.
- 2 sleepers – I want to have a warm, cozy sleeper for coming home & I haven’t decided which is my favorite.
- Booties/socks – since it will be cold, I’ve packed these sweet little booties. (Be still my heart!)
- Sleepsack. Packing this only because I am not great at swaddling with blankets and this was so helpful for Little. Since the baby will be in the room with us, I wanted to have a sleep sack on hand in case it will help us sleep.
- Baby book for memories, if you want it. I actually just packed a couple 4×6 pieces of cardstock paper for extra handprints and footprints that I’ll put in photo albums at home.
- Car seat. This is actually the only thing you absolutely need for baby. You’ll have to have a car seat installed correctly in order to go home. This is the one that we use and we really love it.
This list is also pretty simple. But, we’ll add it just in case.
- Clothes for 2-3 days
- Underwear & socks
- A comfortable hoodie or pullover
- Blanket and pillow for sleeping (the hospital will likely provide this if you forget it)
- His own toiletries. I just let Hubs pack his own, so I don’t have a great list for this.
Final Thoughts & Tips
I know this list seems overwhelming. So many things to remember. But, I really think that if you just go down the list, you can easily fit everything into a great weekender bag.
To make packing easier, I recommend using something like packing cubes to keep everyone’s things packed separately but in the same bag. We actually just bought these packing cubes from eBags and used them for the first time over Christmas and they were so helpful. I had heard of them before, but after using them, I don’t think I can go back – especially when we pack for the whole family!