Preparing for Baby: Hospital Bag Must-haves

what to bring

I remember when we were taking our childbirth education class before having M and the instructor had us go around and say one thing that we had left to do to get ready for baby.  For several women in our class, the answer was the same: pack the hospital bag.  This wasn’t something I had really thought much about so I panicked a little, did some research and in typical me fashion started writing a list of what I needed to pack.  I decided I would take 2 bags with us to the hospital: one for me, and the diaper bag filled with everything we would need for Miss M.

Boppy pillow, M's bunny aka my labor focal point, M's packed diaper bag!

Boppy pillow, M’s bunny aka my labor focal point, M’s packed diaper bag!

In doing my research I kept seeing the same advice over and over… don’t overpack or you’ll end up with all kinds of things that you won’t actually use.  While I heeded this advice to some extent, I still ended up taking things I didn’t need.  And so, I’ve come up with a list of what I deem as being “must-haves” for your hospital bag.  Hope it’s helpful! 🙂

Mom’s Hospital Bag

For labor:

  • Insurance card/driver’s license (my advice would be to pre-register at the hospital!)
  • Sports bra/swimsuit top (if you plan to labor in the tub…which I HIGHLY recommend!)
  • Headband/hair ties
  • Chapstick
  • Breath mints
  • Focal point
  • Relaxation items: CD, aromatherapy/essential oils, massage tools
  • Camera/video camera – take way more pictures than you think you would want…you can always delete them but can never go back and take them if you don’t!!

After baby’s born:

  • Yoga Pants
  • Comfy shirt/sweatshirt
  • Robe
  • Slippers/Flip flops (easy to slip on to walk around your room or the halls)
  • Socks
  • Extra panties (don’t bring nice ones, they’ll probably get ruined)
  • Nursing cami/bra
  • Shampoo/conditioner/body wash/toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Hair brush/hair dryer/straightener
  • Make-up
  • Pillow
  • Nursing pads/sanitary pads/Lanolin cream
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama Bottom Balm and New Mama Bottom Spray
  • Nice outfit for coming home (you’ll be taking lots of pics!)
  • Laptop/magazines (in case you want something to do)


Hubby’s Hospital Bag

  • Snacks
  • Stuff to drink
  • Laptop/books/magazines
  • Extra clothes (if planning to stay the night)
  • Personal hygiene products: deodorant, shower stuff, etc.
  • Cell phone charger
  • Cash/change for vending machines – the hospital we delivered in had a “Refreshment Room” with all kinds of stuff for the family, but not all hospitals have these


Baby’s Hospital Bag

  • Hand mittens/booties
  • Cute hat – you’ll want baby to stay warm but those little hats the hospital gives you aren’t the cutest!!
  • Blanket – again to keep baby warm but avoid having to use the standard hospital ones
  • 2-3 outfits (more if you plan on having newborn pictures taken in the hospital)
  • Pacifiers (if you plan to use a certain style)
  • Baby wash/shampoo for first bath (if you don’t want to use Johnson’s & Johnson’s)
  • Boppy/nursing pillow
  • Nursing cover
  • Baby book – our nurse was awesome about giving us tons of extra footprints for M’s scrapbook, memory box, etc.
  • Gift for baby to “give” older siblings (I’ll be giving some great ideas for this in my “Friday Find” post this week so check back!!!)

Things most hospitals provide:

  • Diapers/wipes for baby
  • Body wash/shampoo for baby’s first bath
  • Receiving blanket
  • Hat for baby
  • Sanitary pads for postpartum
  • Tucks pads/Antiseptic spray for postpartum
  • Formula (to supplement or formula feed if you choose)
  • Pacifier (the standard green silicone “Soothie”)
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Baby comb/brush

Ours also provided:

  • Lotion (for me) – baby shouldn’t have lotion yet
  • Snacks/beverages for me and the family in a “Refreshment Room”
  • Tubing/accessories for my breast pump
  • Breast pump to use while in the hospital if needed/wanted
  • Lanolin cream

Printable Checklist:

Complete Hospital Bag Checklist

Well, there you have it!!  And here’s my best piece of advice: pack your bag early and have it in the car or by the door!  That way no matter when the time comes, you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re ready or forgetting anything, because unlike me (who went a week late), you might go early and then you’ll be prepared! 🙂  Happy packing!!


**For more information on preparing for baby, check out my first blog in this mini series entitled Baby Registry Must-Haves








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