What Should You Pack In Your Hospital Bags?
Updated: Oct 21, 2020
So many women wonder what is necessary in the hospital and what is not, and honestly, it’s completely up to you what is important.
I have decided to make a list of exactly what I packed in my hospital bags and why it was important to me, to give you an idea of what you might need.
You can also download our Hospital Bag Checklist!
It was important to me to make separate categories for each person and what the bags were for. This made it much easier for my husband to find things for me instead of digging through every bag for what he needed.
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The Labor Bag!
With my daughter who was born in 2017, this was the only bag we brought into labor and delivery and then my husband was able to go out to the car after to grab the rest of the bags for the maternity ward. Since Covid doesn’t allow anyone to leave the hospital once they enter, all of the bags had to come into the hospital with us, including the car seat. My poor husband looked like a pack mule walking through the hospital.
Since my son was born in my car (If you want to read the story, click here), I didn’t actually need a labor bag. I still brought it into the hospital though because we used these items in the maternity ward as well.
1. iPad with charger
You don’t get very many options on TV in the hospital, especially since most of us use Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc., this just gave us more options of what to watch using the free hospital WiFi.
2. iPhone and Watch Chargers
My husband and I have Apple watches, so this applied to us. Also, if you own them, try to pack the extra long phone chargers since the outlets are pretty limited in the hospital room and your bed is not up against a wall.
3. Clean shirts
Make sure to pack a clean shirt for yourself and your birthing coach (husband, partner, etc.) because you never know how long you will be in labor. You will probably be wearing a hospital gown, but they do give you the option of wearing your own clothes on the upper half of your body during the labor process.
I love wearing my own slippers in the hospital. All they give you are these thick socks that keep you from slipping, but I was so much more comfortable walking the halls wearing my own slippers. Just make sure they have a hard sole so that you don’t slip!
5. Fuzzy Socks
Again, they give you these super thick socks that keep you from slipping. I did wear those until my husband pulled my slippers out of the bag, but having your own fuzzy socks to wear can make you feel more comfortable.
Some women love to labor with their own robe instead of the hospital gown because of pictures or they don’t want to risk exposing themselves while walking around. Although I would suggest switching to the hospital gown for the actual birth so you don’t ruin your robe.
7. Hair Ties
If you have long hair, these are a must! Labor can be long, and sweaty, so having a way to pull your hair off of your neck is a must!
The hospital does not care about your birthing coach. They do not care if they are tired, cold, or hungry. The hospital only cares about the mom and that baby. Make sure to pack a blanket for your birthing coach. They will need to rest too, and if you are in labor for a long time, a blanket would be nice to get some sleep.
A lot of people would argue about bringing your own pillows. Before Covid, I would not have packed pillows and I would have just brought the boppy pillow. However, I wanted to have something to be able to put my face on without feeling like a million people put their face on the same pillow. I ordered two pillows off of Amazon along with two zip up pillowcases and we put them inside the car seat to bring into the hospital. My husband and I both had clean pillows to sleep on and since the hospital doesn’t care about your birthing coach, they will have a pillow to sleep on.
10. Shower Shoes
You will take a shower before you leave the hospital, but you may also use a birthing tub or something similar while in labor.
11. Granola Bars
Mom, you can’t eat these while you are in labor, but your birthing coach can. This will allow you to have snacks for when you are starving at 2am nursing your brand-new baby and the cafeteria is closed.
12. Water Bottle
You will be very thirsty while in labor. They will bring you a giant cup with a straw, but my Yeti™ bottle kept the water so much colder.
The Overnight Bag!
I like to create subcategories within this section for each person. This pregnancy, I had to add in my daughter who was staying with her grandmother since she had to be packed ahead as well.
1. Nursing Bras
These are necessary for the breastfeeding mom who is just trying to figure out how to get her new baby to latch, stay latched on, and not have any clothes in the way. Nursing bras are the best invention and you will continue to wear them until you wean your baby off. I wore mine during pregnancy too, so you don’t have to wait to purchase them.
Not necessary and you don’t have to pack any if you don’t want to, but I did just in case. The hospital gives you these stylish (kidding) mesh panties that go halfway down to the knee. They are disposable and rip easily, but they are great right after birth because they are so thin and lightweight, and they do not dig into your body. I did purchase pairs of the disposable mesh underwear for home from Amazon and I’m glad I did.
3. Maxi Pads
The hospital will supply these as well along with the ice packs from heaven, but I packed some in my bag just to have with me. I know a lot of us like our own brands.
4. Breast pads
Nursing mamas, you will need these! Your milk with come in and you will leak. A milk covered bra is not comfortable. There are disposable breast pads and reusable breast pads, so you have choices.
5. Nipple Cream
Breastfeeding can be painful in the beginning sadly. You can help this by buying a good nipple cream that will help to prevent cracking and bleeding.
6. Nursing Tanks
Unless you plan on spending your whole time at the hospital in the hospital gown (which is totally fine too, you should wear what you are comfortable in), you will want something to wear that still allows you to nurse your baby easily. Nursing tanks unsnap to expose your breast easily without any hassle. These nursing tanks through Undercover Mama would be perfect for learning how to nurse.
7. Loose Pants
I do not like dresses unless they are for a special occasion because I am not very ladylike. This required me to pack pants to go home in. You could have stitches in different places and an extremely tender stomach that still makes you look like you are 6 months pregnant. You will want something that will not dig into your stomach when you sit in the wheelchair and the car.
Some women prefer to wear dresses home because they will not squeeze your stomach and you can just slip them on easily. If you would like a nice dress to go home from the hospital in, take a look at these dresses from Undercover Mama. My favorite part about these dresses is that you can nurse in them with ease.
9. Shower Kit
This will vary by person since we all have our own shower routines. My shower kit included shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, Chapstick™, and lotion. You may need contact solution or a special face wash; just make sure you include what is important to you to feel like a human being after your shower.
My husband packed his clothes, but they pretty much consisted of t-shirts, shorts, socks, underwear, flip flops, and a shower kit. Make sure your birthing coach packs what they will need to stay with you overnight if that is their plan.
When you leave from the hospital, you will have another person with you who will need to be dressed, so make sure to pack a bag for them. I just put their tiny clothes in our bag.
1. Newborn and 0-3 month Onesies and Outfits
It’s important not to just pack newborn sizes because some babies don’t fit in newborn sizes when they’re born. Both of my children did, but I’m only 5ft tall and my husband is 5ft 6in, so we are lacking in the height division. You may want to pack more than 1 of each too since you will probably want to dress your baby for the few days you are in the hospital. Make sure not to pack anything important so the hospital can't remove the item from your baby and lose it. Pop on over to Amazon to find many different outfits to bring your baby home in.
2. Receiving Blankets
The hospital receiving blankets are old and worn and you will not be taking them home with you. Pack some of your own for pictures and to use.
3. Burp Cloths
Always have a burp cloth nearby even from the moment your little one is born.
4. Socks, Mittens, Hats
You need to keep your baby warm after they are born so these items are very important. The hospital will give you a hat, but that is normally all they give you. These little Newborn hats from Undercover Mama would be perfect for photos.
After two kids, I still have not mastered the receiving blanket swaddle technique. We had it easy with Velcro swaddles and just never could get the blankets tight enough to stay. Bringing our own swaddles to the hospital made it easier to take care of the babies on little sleep.
6. Monthly Stickers/Items for Photos
If you want to take special pictures of your baby right after they are born while you are still in the hospital, make sure to pack these items.
7. Car Seat
Make sure you have the car seat base installed properly into your car weeks before your baby is born. The hospital will not let you take your baby home without a proper car seat. My favorite car seat brand is Britax because they are at the top of the charts for safety, but there are so many options. You can find many different Car Seats on Amazon to choose from and you will get them for the best price.
As I had already stated above, you will need to pack your older children’s bags ahead of time as well so they are packed and ready to go when you go into labor. We had our daughter’s bags ready and with ours, so when her grandmother arrived, she could just grab the bags and go. One less thing I had to worry about.
There you have it! All the important items I find necessary to pack in your hospital bag. Your bags will be slightly different, but this will give you a general idea and keep you from forgetting anything important.
If you are looking for a checklist to follow, download our free Hospital Bag Checklist!
Head on over to my post "Must Have Essentials for After Giving Birth" to see other items you may want to invest in!
What did you pack in your hospital bags?
Feel free to comment below!