The Essential Hospital Bag Checklist

When I was about 8 weeks away from having my son, I was so excited that I already had my hospital bag packed and ready to go. Well, two hospital bags… I ended up WAY overpacking (like I always do) so I have now narrowed down my list to things that were actually useful. Looking back, I’m glad that I had it packed and ready to go so early because after going in for my 36-week appointment, my doctor told me that I would be induced the next day. If you’re a planner like me, then this list of essentials is for you.

For you:


Unless you want to use 3 hospital pillows and still feel like you are laying on a piece of paper, then I suggest you bring pillows for yourself and for your partner. I was so uncomfortable after giving birth (duh) and having a pillow on either side of me and behind me really helped me get comfortable. Also, it sounds weird, but having that “home” smell near me was comforting.

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2. Slippers and/or comfy socks

The hospital gives you socks to wear, but I ended up wearing my own comfy socks with rubber gripping on the bottom to prevent slipping, of course. You will be getting up to go to the bathroom a lot, and going to the bathroom at a hospital without shoes just feels yucky. That’s where the slippers come in handy.

3. Nursing tank/nursing bra

I am a breastfeeding mom, but the t-shirt nursing bra is amazing even if you don’t choose to breastfeed! Especially for those sore boobies the first days after birth. I got the black nursing tank because if you use nipple cream it might start to stain depending on which one it is, and the black doesn’t show stains. They are so stretchy and so soft. I LOVE everything Motherhood Maternity Brand — pregnant or not. If you are breastfeeding, these are must haves for the hospital as you’ll be feeding your little one around the clock. They un-clip at the top for quick, easy access. Click on the links below to see my must-haves!

Motherhood Maternity Stretchy Nursing Tank:

T-shirt Nursing Bra by Warner’s:

4. Leggings

I did not think to bring leggings and wish I would have. I brought sweat pants, which were not supportive enough to hold all of the stuff I had goin’ on below if you know what I mean. Postpartum undies, witch hazel pad, ice pack pad, regular pad, bed pad, all the pads. So instead of sagging like I did, do yourself a favor and bring some leggings. It will hold it all up better. I also brought shorts just in case I got hot, but it was freezing the whole time.

5. Easily accessible night gown(s)

My night gowns are definitely my favorite purchase of all time. They are button down and gave my little one easy access to my boobs. They were also super soft and comfy to sleep in. Motherhood Maternity always has many options, but I found mine at Target. Some people say to bring a robe, but I prefer a night gown because a robe just exposes me every time I toss and turn which irritates me having to fix it every two seconds. I brought two because I stayed three nights, but you may only need one. (You never know, things get messy). I gave birth in the hospital gown that they provided so I could save my cute night gowns from the mess.

6. Nipple cream

If you’re breastfeeding, you will NEED this after every feeding. Some hospitals will write you a prescription, but I brought my own so it was already on hand. I recommend one with lanolin in it, rather than the all natural stuff. Everyone is different, but the all natural didn’t help me as much as the Medela with lanolin. All nipple creams help with dry, cracked nipples; but lanolin helps with the tenderness. The tenderness for me was the worst part. Even the shower water hitting me hurt. Once I got the cream with lanolin I felt so much better. I’ll include a link to the cream that worked best for me below:

Medela Tender Care:

7. Shower shoes

You’re probably going to want to shower when things slow down a bit. It felt amazing to shower, but…. hospital shower. Nuff said. Bring shower shoes or sandals that can get wet.

8. Toiletries

Toiletries for me included toothbrush & toothpaste, contacts (even though I wore my glasses most of the time), hairbrush, face wash, travel size shampoo/conditioner, and a sensitive skin Dove bar of soap. I also brought my tinted moisturizer so I didn’t look like a complete zombie in pictures, but that’s up to you.

9. Going home outfit

Unless you want to wear your night gown home and walk down the hallways in it, then you probably want to bring an outfit to wear home. Nothing special, just a comfy nursing top and leggings or something similar. I wore my slippers home for shoes. You’ll most likely just be walking to the car and going straight home.

10. Phone charger and extension cord (optional)

Don’t forget your phone charger!!! If you’re like me, you’ll be taking hundreds of pictures of your baby. Also, it gets boring in the hospital room. I was induced so I enjoyed having my phone to keep me entertained while I waited for the magic to happen. Some people say to bring an extension cord as well because the outlets tend to be far away from your bed. For me it’s not that serious and I don’t mind letting my phone charge away from me for a bit, so that one is based on your preference.

For baby:

This is where I made a mistake. I WAY overpacked for my baby because I was excited of course, but you really don’t need anything for your baby. The hospital provides anything and everything. I had a diaper bag full of extra clothes, blankets, diapers and wipes. The hospital provides all of those things and I say to take advantage of that. Take the diapers, wipes, and blankets that they provide home with you!! I forgot his first blankie and I’m still mad at myself for it. The only things you need to bring for your baby are:

1. Announcement outfit

This is the outfit that you put on your baby so you can take pictures and post on social media to say, “hey everyone, we had a baby!” Of course for my picture I had to put his Lou Lou & Co. hat & gown on. These gowns are THE BEST. They tie at the bottom to make for an easy diaper change, they’re super soft, and just the cutest. Money well spent.

2. Going home outfit

Pick out an outfit (or two because things happen) that you want your baby to go home in. The hospital provides a white t-shirt, but you’ll want something cute and comfy for them. I just put him in some cute footie pajamas to keep him warm.

3. Car seat and car seat cover

Don’t forget your car seat! They will help you ensure that your baby is strapped in correctly before you leave. Car seat cover was great to keep the cold breeze off my baby and kept him warm. It also doubles as a breastfeeding cover, blanket, and much more! You WON’T regret this purchase. The classic black & white striped can’t be beat. Cute and multi-functional? Yes, please. I’ll take two!

Copper Pearl 5-in-1 Multi-Use Classic Stretchy Cover:

Optional: Boppy pillow

My Boppy pillow has been great for the 6 months I’ve had it and it’s been put to use for many things. It’s great for breastfeeding the first month or so to lay your baby on for support. I honestly didn’t need it at the hospital because I just used regular pillows, which is why I listed as optional. Here’s mine:

For your partner/support person:

I’m just going to keep it simple. Toiletries (toothbrush, contacts, etc.), comfy clothes for however many nights you’ll be there, pillows, blanket, and SNACKS. My husband had to sleep on a very uncomfortable couch bed type thing, so he needed all the pillows he could get. It gets cold in there and the hospital blankets are thin so he brought his own blanket. Lastly, he wanted all the snacks. This is because the hospital provides meals for you, the patient, but your partner is just kind of over there starving the whole time watching you eat (after birth).

I suggest making your list in your phone notes and packing about a month ahead of time. I hope this list helps all you moms-to-be!


2 thoughts on “The Essential Hospital Bag Checklist

    • Yes!!! They’re the best! I used a Paci as well, even though they kept telling me not to give it to him and made me feel guilty 😅 Thanks for reading!!


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