What’s In My Hospital Bag?

If you’ve ever given birth, odds are pretty good you received a handful of “packing lists” from your mom friends that include all of the essentials for your hospital stay. As a first timer, I had absolutely no clue what I would need for the hospital so I relied on my mommy friends to help me pack (shout out to LRT for the most thorough and helpful packing list ever). Who knows if I’ll need or use all of these items but I’d rather over pack than under pack!


Soooo, what’s in my bag?

Hospital Bag Packing List

For Mom

  • Pajamas: Button up front shirts for easy nursing
  • Robe, Slippers, Flip Flops & Socks: The hospital floors aren’t exactly awesome to walk around on so you may want to pack slippers that you’re okay with tossing afterwards.
  • Yoga Pants (Maternity)
  • High Brief Granny Panties: Make sure to get a size bigger than you normally wear. 
  • Maxi Pads: The hospital will provide mesh undies with extra thick pads (and send you home with extras). If the mesh panties aren’t your thing, a less bulky option is Always Overnight Ultra Pads with Wings (offer good protection but isn’t too thick).
  • Go Home Outfit
  • Nursing Sleep Bras: Go with the kind that come in small/medium/large sizes and wait to buy actual nursing bras until your milk comes in because your cup size will change. 
  • Nursing Tanks
  • Pillow: Don’t use a white pillow case so your pillow doesn’t get stolen by the hospital.
  • Toiletries: Lotion, Makeup & Wipes, Shampoo, Body Wash, Face Wash, Blow Dryer, Toothbrush, Deodorant, etc.
  • Nursing Pads & Lanolin
  • Chapstick, Gum, Hard Candies, Hand Lotion, Hair Ties/Bobby Pins: Have nearby for during labor.

For Dad

  • Slippers
  • Pillow, Sheets & Blanket: Again, make sure you don’t bring a white pillow case so his pillow doesn’t get stolen by the hospital.
  • Comfortable Clothes
  • Toiletries

For Baby

  •  My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: The nurses will show you how to nurse with the pillow you are going to use at home.
  • Baby Blanket/Swaddling Blanket: Use the hospital blankets for swaddling so you don’t get yours dirty. Then use your nice blankets for pictures in the hospital and for the car seat on the way home.
  • Go Home Outfit.: Of course you need one cute outfit for bringing baby home in! No need to bring lots of extra clothes for the hospital stay – the
    nurses are already familiar with the hospital onesies and it makes for
    less laundry once you get home.
  • Accessories: Bring any beanies, bows, mittens, hat, socks, etc.
  • Bottle: If you have to start pumping in the hospital, having the bottle you plan to use at home is helpful (especially if you plan to breastfeed) so the lactation nurses can show you how to “deep latch” a bottle nipple so baby has a smooth transition from bottle to nipple.
  • Soothie/Wabbanub Pacifier
  • Toiletries: If you plan to use any special lotions, bring them. Otherwise the hospital uses Johnson & Johnson (not recommended by pediatricians for newborn’s delicate skin).
  • Car Seat


  • Wallet: Make sure to have your drivers license, insurance cards, etc.
  • List of People to Call
  • Camera & Charger
  • iPad & Charger
  • Docking Station: Nice to have music during labor so it’s not super quiet.
  • DVDs, Magazines, Journal, etc.
  • Snacks and Bottled Water: Gatorade, Trail Mix, Pita Chips, Goldfish, etc.
  • Extra Duffel Bag: For raiding the hospital cart! 
  • Nurse Treats: To thank your nurses for taking care of you! 

For our nurse treats I tied “Thank you for helping with our little peanut” tags on peanut M&Ms. If you have extra time to spare before going into labor to make “thank you gifts,” I highly recommend it! All of my nurse friends have told me how much it means to them to be appreciated…plus it automatically makes you one of their favorite patients, right?

Am I missing anything? What were some of the most useful items you packed for the hospital?




  1. Jessica Osborne
    April 23, 2014 / 11:41 am

    I love the little treats that you made the nurses! So thoughtful!

  2. Jillian Manesh
    April 23, 2014 / 12:05 pm

    pinning this for the future!! so excited for you 🙂 xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  3. Jo
    April 23, 2014 / 12:14 pm

    I love the timing of you being two weeks ahead of me because you're always posting useful info about the next thing that's on my "to do" list! Your list is pretty much the same as the ones I've received from friends. A few other things that have been mentioned to me are to bring a portable power bank in case your hospital doesn't allow you to use their sockets for charging phones/cameras/etc., and if you bring your baby book page(s) they can do your baby footprints for you!

    • Jo
      May 5, 2014 / 1:17 pm

      Hey! Now havin life experience- I wanted to add something that no one had ever told me! Bring your checkbook, $12 birth certificate or baby and you need check or money order! My parents brought us a check for this, as we didn't have any on us!

  4. Julie
    April 23, 2014 / 12:41 pm

    You are the cutest. Those thank yous are adorable.

  5. Caitlyn {Home Sweet Ruby}
    April 23, 2014 / 12:45 pm

    Yay so exciting that you're so close to meeting our little one!! Love the nurse treats!

  6. Chrissy@SimpleJoysBlog
    April 23, 2014 / 1:05 pm

    All great essentials! Can you tell is where you got your bags? Love them both!

    • Carolina Charm
      April 23, 2014 / 1:07 pm

      The monogrammed bag is really old – a gift I got back in college. The bigger bag is from TJ Maxx Homegoods and was $12! I still see these bags there all the time (at various locations too) so I bet you can find one. It's a huge bag – perfect for the pillows, sheets, etc.

  7. Annie {Home of Malones}
    April 23, 2014 / 1:06 pm

    So I promise you, the mesh panties will be your best friend!!! haha. They are awesome. But it is nice to have some granny panties for when you return home! Love your M&M favors for the nurses. They will love you for that. So cute and great job packing!! Let the countdown begin…

  8. Cherish
    April 23, 2014 / 1:12 pm

    Leave it to you to have super cute favors for the nurses. : ) Can't believe she will be here so soon!!

  9. Mandy
    April 23, 2014 / 1:42 pm

    You're getting so close!!! Cute favors for the nurses! So excited for you!!

  10. Jessi @ Jessi's Design
    April 23, 2014 / 2:12 pm

    This is so fabulous and I hope you know that I totally pinned the nurse's thank you idea- so so cute! Countdown is on! xoxo

  11. Mindy
    April 23, 2014 / 2:46 pm

    Such a great list! I totally agree with buying the nursing bras in s/m/l sizes, I wish someone had told me that ahead of time! One more thing you may want to bring is your baby book…the nurses will put baby's footprints in it when she arrives 🙂

  12. BLovedBoston
    April 23, 2014 / 3:01 pm

    You have seriously thought of everything!! I'm keeping this saved for future use!! And the little treat for the nurses – so sweet!

  13. Brittany Fry @ The 26th of August
    April 23, 2014 / 3:10 pm

    This is so helpful! I am not expecting yet however when I am I am definitely referring back to this. I love the little favors you made for the nurses, how sweet of you!!!

  14. Shayna @ The Fancy Yancey
    April 23, 2014 / 3:23 pm

    EEkk! So much stuff! But, I'm sure it's all necessary & like you said, better to be prepared than not! A great list though for sure!!

  15. Kelly Elizabeth
    April 23, 2014 / 3:39 pm

    Okay, these peanut M&M's idea for the nurses and hospital staff… will move mountains!!!! Everyone is totally going to love you when you get to the hospital!! They are Adorable!! 🙂

  16. Tess
    April 23, 2014 / 3:54 pm

    I love the idea of bringing nurses treats. Whenever I visit new moms in the hospital, I always bring a tray of goodies for their staff as well. And, I think the thought about bringing a docking station to play some music is a really good idea. It can relax you – or pump you up if you need a little extra!!

  17. Bliss and Blunders of a Newlywed
    April 23, 2014 / 3:56 pm

    oh my goodness! This is SO helpful!! Will definitely be using this down the road when I need it!!

  18. April of A. Liz Adventures
    April 23, 2014 / 5:57 pm

    YES! Love this post. I have a lot of the same things packed (obvs … haha). One thing that I put in my hospital bag that I thought was a great idea was a folded-up empty tote bag. That way, I can STEAL EVERYTHING from the hospital, muahahahaha. But seriously. It's definitely so I can do that.

    • Heather
      April 23, 2014 / 8:45 pm

      Trust me, if it's opened in your presence, you're being billed for it so you might as well take it home!

  19. Hope @ Hope in a Blog
    April 23, 2014 / 6:03 pm

    It's getting really, real girl!!! And LRT for the win as per usual ;)! Xx.

  20. Sara
    April 23, 2014 / 6:04 pm

    Great list!! The only thing I would add are bath towels- 2 for mom and 1 for dad. I don't know about your hospital, but ours had thin, small, miserable towels! (And two for mom bc the first one will get dirty!) They are bulky to bring with you but SO worth it, trust me! I would also bring a bag for your dirty clothes to keep them separate from your clean clothes 🙂 I brought two Baggu bags since they fold up so small and easily expand.Good luck with everything! I seriously thought labor -albeit painful- isn't as bad as I thought it would be because you're seriously just so excited and happy to meet the little baby! 🙂

  21. Kyla Shaw
    April 23, 2014 / 7:31 pm

    What a great list! I'm an L&D nurse and so many people bring bags and bags of non essential stuff, but this list has all of the necessities. The nurse treats are so cute, what a great idea! It's always nice to feel appreciated, plus we love to eat 🙂 Good luck with the last few days/weeks of your pregnancy and delivery!

  22. Jackie
    April 23, 2014 / 7:55 pm

    It is an amazing feeling when patients and their families show appreciation for the work that we nurses do to care for you or your family members! If I had someone give me those m&ms with that card, I would probably remember them for a long time!

  23. ashley
    April 24, 2014 / 1:26 am

    As a nurse and a patient, I recommend you pack a small (soft carry type) of cooler with water bottles, coke/whatever you want to sip on for 3-4 days. The unit can give you a bucket of ice to fill it with once you arrive. You will be thankful that you don't have to wait on staff to bring you more ice/fresh water everytime AND your nurse will love that she isn't constantly running back and forth. Typically, they are happy to provide you with ice and gingerale/juice to put in your own cooler! Also, everyone forgets baby mittens and those nails are long! Bring slippers that you are okay with throwing away after your stay. The hospital floors are DISGUSTING. you will never ever see a nurse kneel on the floor or as a patient walk around in slippers/socks. We see what hits those floors. Flip flops or slippers you don't mind tossing are your best bet! Same for your pillow. Don't take your favorite because you DO NOT want to bring those hospital germs home with you. In the case of any of my family going in, we also buy a $10 target pillow and donate/toss after the stay! Pillow cases are easy to wash so you're safe there! Same for boppy, don't let it hit the floor or on furniture. Keep it in bed with you, or in a bag when you're not using it!

  24. Rachel
    April 24, 2014 / 2:30 am

    Great list! I love your peanut treats and I know the nurses will too! Only thing I would add is an extra duffel like April said! I took home tons of diapers, mesh underwear (AMAZING!), and onesie shirts, along with a hundred other things I can't remember! As for nursing, I found that the nursing tanks were all I wanted to wear in the beginning. So much easier than bras and way comfier. OH! And I just thought of one other thing. Do you have a "lovey" for Caroline? Someone bought one for M and suggested I sleep with it before she arrived, and then to keep it by her in the bassinet at the hospital so she can smell you when she's in there. I also love having newborn hospital pictures of her with her lovey that she still carries everywhere now at 18 months! So excited for you!(also…random, but if you're delivering at Presby, they wouldn't let me have gum or hard candy during labor, said it was a choking hazard?)

  25. Sara Elizabeth
    April 24, 2014 / 3:19 am

    I love that you remembered the nurses in such a sweet way!!!! Adorbs!

  26. Kristy Mays
    April 24, 2014 / 9:19 am

    I would recommend flip-flops foe the shower as well. I over packed with our first last Spring but I can tell you one of tjest things I brought was a mini fan. It was no bigger than my hand and I bought it at the Dollar Tree for $1. My husband held this and my hand during labor. I became really hot during labor and the fan provided me just the relief I needed. I will definitely be bringing it for any future deliveries.

  27. Caley-Jade Rosenberg
    April 24, 2014 / 11:56 am

    Love this post and always so helpful for expecting mamas. I remember packing per the lists I received in my last pregnancy and i didn't end up using half the stuff I took as the hospital provided a lot more than we thought… I'm about to start packing my bag again this weekend xP.S. Love the nurse gifts, such a cute idea!

  28. Elena Ridley
    April 24, 2014 / 4:28 pm

    Sounds like you've got just about everything!! Best of luck to you! Love the idea of the treats!!

  29. amanda
    April 26, 2014 / 4:43 am

    Our hospital requires babies to room in, which meant that a small light had to be on at all times and the temp had to be at a certain degree. I brought a very small plug in fan that I could aim just on myself because with the room temp and hormones, I was hot! My second go round I added a night light. I couldn't sleep with the light they made me leave on, but they were okay with my small night light-much better for everyone. And, i agree with the previous person who said baby mittens-I had to send my mom out for some. We also use angel dear loveys and I started sleeping with them a few weeks before. I tucked them up under me while I was nursing and snuggled them up by my boys when they were snoozing-wasn't long before they loved them and they were a great comfort. A friend also suggested honey sticks-if your practitioner won't let you eat during labor, honey sticks can provide a great, natural energy boost.

  30. Brooke
    April 27, 2014 / 5:02 pm

    I brought my own towel and hair twist towel. The hospital ones are small and not soft. I was SO happy to have my big, fluffyTowel with me!

  31. Nat
    April 28, 2014 / 7:08 pm

    Sounds like you have it covered! Also bring a nightgown just in case you end up with a c-section- you won't be able to put anything with a waist band near your incision site.

  32. Katie
    May 12, 2014 / 5:53 pm

    This is extremely helpful!! I haven't really looked over any of these list yet, but do have them! I also really like the thank you gifts for the nurses. That is a really neat idea!

  33. sanam arzoo
    July 1, 2014 / 3:57 am

    I really love reading and following your post as I find them extremely informative and interesting. This post is equally informative as well as interesting . Thank you for information you been putting on making your site such an interesting. Charming and fabulous handbags

  34. Liz Janusz
    January 14, 2015 / 12:01 am

    Where did you find the tags for the candy? Would you be willing to share? I am due in 5 weeks and would love to bring those for my nurses as well!!

  35. Jenna
    September 2, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    do you have a link to the printable to use on the bags of peanut M & Ms?? This is the cutest idea! I'm getting ready to have my 3rd baby. I've always regretted not doing something like this for the nurses. They provide SUCH GREAT care and I want a small token to thank them!

  36. Jason Miller
    June 7, 2016 / 9:12 am

    I agree with Jenna. Also have my 3rd and never had done this for the nurses. Any chance you can email me a copy of the tags you used? ms_mercado@hotmail.com

  37. Unknown
    July 6, 2016 / 6:28 am

    Hi Christina, I just love your nursery and your thank you gifts for the nurses? Where did you get the printables? They are so sweet!

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