Will helped me pack my hospital bag this past weekend and knowing that it’s ready and waiting as soon as I go into labor has given me great peace of mind, even if I just wind up staring at it by the door for the next three (or more 😬) weeks! I scoured countless blogs and polled several girlfriends as I was putting together my hospital packing list and I feel pretty good about everything that’s coming with us. We’ve taken several classes at our hospital over the past few months and were pretty surprised by some of the items mentioned in our childbirth preparation class (I couldn’t believe people hang their own twinkle lights in their delivery rooms for ambiance?!) so I like to think my list is comprehensive without being too over-the-top. But of course only time will tell! 🙂

design darling hospital bag packing list



I’m sure this list will sound excessive to some of you and insufficient to others — that’s definitely how I felt reading other people’s lists so we just did what felt comprehensive but still manageable to us! I tried to squeeze everything into my extra-large LL Bean tote but unfortunately I’m not Mary Poppins so we’re bringing an additional medium tote for the remaining items (which I guess isn’t too crazy if you think of it as packing for a 2-4 night trip!). The medium tote is actually one of our diaper bags and is personalized with baby’s name on the other side… excited to finally share his name with you when he arrives! I’d love to hear from any moms reading the #1 thing you were happy to have with you in the hospital. I can’t say I have a ton of leftover space in my bag at the moment but maybe I can convince Will to save a little room in his bag for any last-minute additions. 😉

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59 thoughts on “WHAT’S IN MY HOSPITAL BAG

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  1. Just two things to add. I agree with other that you should definitely have options to wear that are not pants. I could not have imagined wearing pants for several days postpartum. I would also make sure you have a onesie for going home that is kimono style. A friend told me this, but putting a onesie over a newborn’s head is shocklngly intimidating. Also, I just wore the hospital gown and the hospital underwear the whole time because I didn’t want to ruin my own things. Finally, take all of the disposable underwear and chucks pads home that you can!

  2. Looks like you’ve got it all covered! The one thing you may want to consider would be a button up nightgown instead of pjs with pants? The doctors and nurses come in a few times/day to check on how you’re healing, especially if you needed any stitches, have an unexpected c-section, etc., and pj pants really aren’t practical for this? Believe me, you won’t want to be removing pants while you’re all comfortable in bed! I’d recommend bringing one with you, just in case! And return it if you don’t use it. 😉

  3. Pack an extra (empty) duffel bag for all the things you will acquire from the hospital. Seems crazy but we took home SO MUCH STUFF, no shame! I’m talking like 100 diapers, multiple travel wipes, blankets, baby hats, items to help you heal, etc etc. The staff is happy to give it to you so I say take as much as you can!

  4. Reaching out as a non-mom, but who would like to have kids one day. This questions is probably a litle out there and hopefully no one judges me… but,

    So much of this seems VERY scary/almost embarassing to me as a human who hopes to give birth natrually to kids. My best friend is a L&D nurse and thinks I am insane, but is there anyone to talk to about the process? I know you went to classes, did they provide emotional and psychological support? Rolling around on a table naked and exposed is my WORST nightmare. The sound of ice packs down there makes me cringe.

    A hands-free breas pump? I feel like unless I am home alone, I would never ever use that as I would be too embarassed. Will this feeling go away once I am a mom? Did you experience any of these feelings?

    1. I think you could definitely talk to your OB-GYN about these fears! The classes were more to provide basic information about the options available at the hospital where we’ll be delivering but I’m sure there are more personal resources available if you need them. I can’t speak to how I’ll feel once I’m a mom but I guess a lot of my concerns about childbirth, recovery, etc. have taken a back seat to how excited I am to just meet our little one! And I derive a lot of comfort from knowing how many women have done all this before me and lived to tell the tale!

    2. I had the same thought about being naked during delivery, and I asked about it at our class and the nurse said you won’t care, and she was right. Somehow during pushing I lost my whole gown and pooped several times on the table, and I didn’t care one bit! You are doing to hardest and most amazing work of your life, and you definitely go to another place mentally.

    3. Tayler – I’d recommend some reading to ease your fears 🙂 At the beginning of Ina May Gaskin’s book “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” she shares many women’s birth stories. That alone might help you feel better about the process! I might also recommend chatting with a local doula! xo.

  5. I wouldn’t worry about the pump, hopefully you won’t need and can just nurse, if separated from
    Baby the hospital has all you need to pump. I loved a pretty robe and black pajamas pants with my two. For this next baby I’m tempted to splurge on lake pajamas but honestly black pajama bottoms and a nursing tank is perfect! Also wanted to do my hair and makeup after my post birth shower to feel human.

  6. I brought really nice pump hand soap and it was a luxury. The hospital soap smells yucky and dries out tour hands, and there is a lot of hand-washing!

  7. Oh snacks! Haha. Hospital food in New Zealand isn’t the greatest. I had bliss balls and protein bars to keep me going, and lactation cookies as well.

  8. would also recommend a bottle of peppermint oil–it can really help with nausea. It was the only thing that helped me, and I had no nausea throughout my pregnancy. I also wouldn’t bring the pump, hands-free pumping bra, nipple butter, or Haakaa pump. Even though you plan on breastfeeding I would definitely have some bottles on hand. I had to unexpectedly start giving formula and didn’t have any bottles on hand. I would also recommend researching lactation consultants now. Breastfeeding is hard! My lactation consultant offered an appt called a “fourth day checkup.” unfortunately hospitals send you home just as your milk is coming in!

  9. Towels!! Bring towels for you and your husband. The first shower you get to take will be the best shower of your life and it’s nice to have your own towels. The hospital provided ones are tiny and feel like sandpaper.

  10. Highly recommend Sitz Bath Spray by Morherlove! I loved it and used it through 1 mo postpartum. Small spray bottle, can pop it in your diaper bag or handbag.

  11. Snacks!, nursing pillow, button up PJs/shirt, phone charger, pen/notebook!
    Chances are pretty good your hospital will provide you with a lot of stuff (pads, socks, mesh underwear, pump) and a lot you won’t need until a few days postpartum. I have that baby book and it’s great, but probably one of the last things you’ll want to do while in the hospital recovering and getting to know your baby

  12. Excellent stuff! I definitely second snacks for both you and your husband. Our room had a mini fridge which was awesome! My baby was born at 9:30 pm and the cafeteria closed at 7. I hadn’t eaten all day so fresh fruit tasted so good. I also took my breast pump and I was happy to have it… I started using it right away and the nurse was really helpful showing me how to use it.

    For your husband, he should bring pillows and blankets (our hospital was so slim on these and my hubby was pretty uncomfortable). Bring extra pillows for you too, and put them in colored pillow cases so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital ones.

    For baby’s going home outfit, remember his umbilical stump will still be there, so I went with a kimono top and pants with a little hat and socks and a baby blanket for the car ride home if it’s cold. In the hospital they really are just in a diaper and a swaddle blanket that they provide… they come out of a warming closet so they are so toasty! They also provide diapers and wipes for you in the hospital, and they will give you a ton of stuff too. We got a tiny tub for sponge baths, thermometers, a mini cooler, and formula to take home.

    For your going home outfit, pack a pair of loose pants (or a loose dress) in addition to whatever else you have. I did NOT do that and ended up with a c-section. Not what I planned at all and my doctor said no tight fitting pants (not even yoga pants) for the first two weeks. I was also not thinking I would like the mesh underwear they provide but they are actually really comfortable. Ask for extras and extra pads to take home if they don’t offer them to you (they should though).

    Finally, are you bringing an iPad or anything? I watched the second season of Mrs. Maisel while I was waiting!

    So exciting! Congratulations!

  13. Our postpartum ward was SO hot! The nurses said they heat it for the babies, but I was totally expecting it to be too cold. Each hospital is different, so be prepared for both.

    I echo leaving the pump behind and lots of the postpartum care as well as diapers – utilize what they give you, and even stock up to bring some home, too.

    We were super happy we brought our own pillows. I bought inexpensive black king-sized pillow cases for use on standard pillows, which allowed me to fold over and tuck the excess in to ensure the entire pillow was covered (go with a colour that is dark or vibrant so they don’t get mixed up with the white and/or muted colours the hospital uses). My husband appreciated the pillow and blanket I packed for him, because the hospital provided a thin little mat and a top sheet for him to sleep on – that’s it! I used my extra pillow to prop baby up when nursing and to cocoon myself on the bed haha – the nurses were willing to bring me more pillows, but the hospital ones are quite thin, so I enjoyed the mix.

    Our hospital feeds the mom very well, but dad doesn’t get any food. We packed an entire backpack of snacks for my husband and while we didn’t go through them all, he appreciated it. He was going a little stir-crazy in the room, so he also went down to the main floor to get a hot meal for himself, but would have been fine with what we had packed. However, I’m in Canada and we don’t have to pay for pretty much anything in the hospital (unless we upgrade rooms and some services), so that’s likely why there isn’t food for the dad (he’s not the one admitted to the hospital). It very well may be different in the US, since the health care systems are so different.

    I also recommend planning to keep baby in diapers and swaddled for the duration of your stay – the nurses will be checking baby so often, and skin-to-skin is so important that you really don’t get them dressed until you’re ready to leave. We had an outfit in NB and 0-3 for both genders since we didn’t know ahead of time. We also didn’t love the hospital blankets for swaddling, so we used the one muslin blanket I had packed. This next time I will probably bring a second muslin swaddle and use them exclusively instead of attempting the hospital blankets.

  14. Snacks!!! For you and Will. You never know if the cafeteria will be closed when you get hungry, and you don’t want to be stuck with only the vending machine options. Also a couple of gatorades or coconut waters — you’ll need to replenish lots of fluids and electrolytes in those early days!


  15. I wouldn’t bother bringing any baby clothes except for something to go home in. (More than likely he will fit into a newborn sized outfit but I guess you never know haha) The doctors constantly are needing to check the baby so having them just in a diapering swaddle is usually the way it goes. Plus skin to skin is essential. I agree with the velcro swaddles — some hospitals even provide them now! Good luck!

  16. Hi there! I’ve enjoyed following your journey and I’m so excited for you! You have a great list and I’d echo what others have said about bringing velcro swaddles, a sound machine, wipes (if hospital doesn’t supply), and pacifier (a few different options can’t hurt!). Also agree with the consensus on leaving your pump at home!

    My full list is here: http://milkandrolls.com/2019/03/27/hospital-bag/

    Good luck these next few weeks!

  17. I would pack a button front short nightgown, I had a c-section 8 years ago and was given these mechanical compression leg warmers that would not allow for pj pants. Anyone know what they are called because I cannot remember for the life of me?
    I would also bring a cooler full of your favorite water and snacks, lotion, and body wash.

  18. A good list!! The only thing I’d add if your planning on nursing are lactation bars, personally I ate nourisher milkful bars. I swear they helped my milk come in faster. And a bonus they are a quick snack to munch on during those late night/early morning nursing sessions!

  19. It’s a great list! I highly recommend The Breast Friend – I’ve had 2 babies and this thing literally was attached to me the first couple of weeks for both kids. Bring to hospital for sure!


    And you probably don’t need your pump for the hospital. While it may be helpful to have the LC show you how to use it, you’ll want your milk to come in and want baby to the boob every 2 hours (pumping in addition to that will confuse your body and potentially create an over supply issue).

    You’ll learn SO much once baby comes and find your grove, but if you’re able, have a lactation consultant come to your house when you get home from the hospital. Best $200 I’ve every spent.

    You guys are going to be great parents!

      1. Third for the My Breast Friend. It’s so much better than boppy when you’re learning to BF. You can get the cover in navy terry :). Also don’t see anyone else mentioning dry shampoo.. if you have an epidural you may not be able to shower for a few days.

  20. Snacks that you can eat with one hand. You will get so hungry and thirsty while nursing so anything that you can open/eat and drink with one handed! Also, not glamorous but Depends were a serious life saver. seperate things in labor bag and post partum bag- make sure hubby knows where everything is!

  21. I think we’re due around the same time! This is my first but I was told my milk might not come in while I’m
    In the hospital, so I didn’t pack a hands free pumping bra. I also threw in extra blankets for the baby (one heavy, one light) and a pacifier because I was told the hospital wouldn’t supply one.
    Oh – and a headband (the sporty kind) in case I get really sweaty during labor 🙂

  22. The two things we didn’t bring and had to ask my mom to bring to us while we were in the hospital were a baby carrier (our baby cried nonstop if not constantly held, so this definitely made things easier, especially when we needed to pack up to leave the hospital with short notice), as well as Velcro/easier swaddles, so I’m very glad to see you have that on your list (you have to unswaddle baby so often for diaper changes as well as doctors checking vitals, so we got very sick of wrangling the traditional swaddle blankets very quickly).

  23. I would definitely bring your own pillow for you and your husband as well as a blanket for him. Anything to make yourself more comfortable in bed was worth it. I would also suggest bringing an empty bag (i brought my longchamps tote) to take home anything the hospital gives you. We ended up bringing home diapers, mesh undies, formula (my milk came in slowly) , a swaddle blanket, etc. The nurses at our hospital were very generous with extras of stuff to take home

  24. Definitely bring your own pillows! I got dark gray pillowcases so they didn’t get mixed up with the hospital’s by nurses or anyone else.

    I loved having one of those quick-cool sports towels for during active labor, and would have loved to have a mini portable fan. We couldn’t control the temp in our room and I was so warm during labor! A white noise machine would have also been helpful since hospitals are so loud!

  25. Best wishes in the days ahead! A few things I found incredibly helpful when my daughter was born last year were…

    – SwaddleMe velcro swaddles. We gave up on the standard swaddling method quickly! These make life much easier
    – a pillow (with a colorful pillowcase, so it doesn’t get mixed with hospital linens!), blanket, and towel — x2, one set for you, one for your husband!
    – Always Discreet Boutique underwear (basically adult diapers, but “sleek” and so much better than the weird mesh underwear hospitals give you)
    – Eberjey robe
    – Baby Footprint “Clean-Touch” Ink Pad (from Amazon). I delivered at Yale, and they no longer take babies hand or footprints. I made my own for her baby book (we have the Peeps book too!)
    – Boppy nursing pillow

    Things I packed and didn’t use at all included:
    – black postpartum underwear. I used the Always underpants for the first month post-birth and then went back to my normal Hanky Pankys
    – breast pump
    – the numerous sets of baby clothes I packed. She was swaddled until we left and then wore one footie + a hat
    – diapers and wipes. The hospital provides them!

  26. One thing I used the most was a water bottle/straw cup. The hospital cups are tiny and would have to be refilled constantly!

    (I brought books/ magazines and an Ipad and never used them, too much going on, we just watched tv to pass time mindlessly while we were waiting)

  27. I had my son last September, so I couldn’t be more excited for you and this magical time! Your list looks great, but I would definitely leave the pump, undies, nipple butter/pads, nursing pillow, and diapers at home. The hospital will give you everything you need, and you can actually stockpile some extras to bring home with you! Make sure your PJs are button-down or otherwise easy to manipulate; you’ll be nursing a lot and being checked on by nurses constantly, so you won’t want to have to fuss. I recommend bringing a Velcro towel wrap, it’s not the chicest, but I found it SO helpful post-birth to be able to be hands-free. I also highly recommend bringing some individually wrapped snacks for your L&D nurses. As you’ll soon find out, these people are saints, and having some “thank you” treats on hand will go a very long way! Good luck and congratulations again!

  28. A suggestion based on a difference I noticed between my first two (born 10 years ago) and my newest baby born last year…. some hospitals if they are especially “breastfeeding friendly” won’t supply your baby a pacifier. If you want your newborn to have a paci (I did, and nursed all 3 for a year each), throw a couple in the bag just in case!

  29. Two things for baby – a Velcro swaddle and a portable white noise machine. We gave up on the hospital blanket swaddling very quickly. And we ended up using a white noise phone app – a portable machine (marpac room) is way easier and will get you through the hospital to the car and home.

  30. You don’t need to bring your pump. You likely won’t need to pump in the hospital and if you do, the hospital has way more efficient hospital grade pumps than anything you can buy. Some goes for the undies. The hospital will supply you with all the mesh disposable postpartum undies you need. They’re hideous but super comfy and large enough to hold the giant pads and ice packs that you’ll need to wear post delivery. Good luck!!

  31. I suggest pillows and a towel! Buy cheap pillows from Target and toss them when you’re done – literally anything is better than the hospital pillows. Hospital towels are also tiny and super rough – definitely bringing my own next time.

    I also suggest leaving your pump at home – highly unlikely that you’ll need it and if you do the hospital has plenty on hand you can use (including pump parts). So not worth lugging your own!

    Also I’d never bring twinkle lights either but no need to shame those that do 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for the tips! And definitely didn’t mean to shame anyone — I just couldn’t believe they’re so mainstream that our hospital included them in their official packing recommendations!

    2. I had a doula and the first thing she did during my labor was come in and hang up twinkle lights. My husband and I both looked at each other and thought we had way overpaid for what we weren’t sure! That said, the twinkle lights soon put me in a much better mood than the harsh overhead hospital lights. I immediately calmed down and was able to breathe through the pain in a way that was not working previously. All that to say, don’t knock it until you are on the other side:)

      Also like others have said, you don’t need your pump or nipple butter. You aren’t there long enough to use either. BRING YOUR OWN PILLOWS. Someone said this already, but your husband will especially appreciate this. Also, your mother is right–hospitals are freezing. Blankets + socks + slippers + cozy pjs and sweaters:)

  32. Bring your own comfy pillows (for your husband too!). If you want to save some room, the hospital will provide a breast pump if you even need it. Also, magazines / reading material and maybe even an iPad for entertainment in case there’s lots of downtime. And a mini champagne bottle, just because.

  33. I just had my first baby 3 weeks ago and I think your list looks pretty good! You have some things packed that I wish I had with me! The only thing I would add would be a bath towel (we didn’t bring one and wish we had, the hospital ones are so so small and scratchy), and maybe a pillow too. You may be able to leave your pump at home- the hospital likely has one you can use if you need it. And the Haaka is amazing!

    Good luck, so exciting!