Most popular things to pack in your hospital bag (that you’ll actually use!)


Hey there, soon-to-be parents! Getting ready for your hospital stay during childbirth can be both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking, especially when it comes to figuring out what to pack in your hospital bag. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pro, having the right essentials can truly make a world of difference in your hospital experience.

Feeling a tad overwhelmed about what to bring and what to skip? No worries! We’ve got your back. We’ve delved into the nitty-gritty and compiled a list of the absolute must-haves for your hospital bag. We’ve even sorted them into neat categories to make your packing process a breeze. From comfy clothes and toiletries to things that’ll keep you entertained and snug, we’ve covered all bases to ensure you’re well-prepared for this special chapter.

So, let’s dive in together and make sure you’ve got all the goodies packed for your hospital bag – because being well-prepared means more focus on the beautiful moments ahead!

1. Essential clothing and accessories

When packing your hospital bag, it’s important to choose clothing and accessories that prioritize your comfort throughout labor and recovery. 

What to pack

  • Comfortable nursing bras and tops
  • These are a must-have for breastfeeding moms. Look for styles that provide easy access and support.

  • Maternity underwear and pads for postpartum bleeding
  • During the first few weeks after giving birth, you’ll need extra-absorbent underwear and pads designed specifically for the postpartum period. And even if you have a C-section you’ll still have postpartum bleeding, in which case, you’ll still need the maternity underwear and pads. While the hospitals usually provide mesh underwear for your stay, it’s always better to carry your own, in case you don’t like what the hospital provides.

  • Socks and slippers with good grip
  • Walking around during the early stages of labor can help progress the process. Make sure to pack socks with grips on the bottom to prevent slipping, and comfortable slippers to keep your feet cozy.

    Tip: It’s important to prioritize comfort when choosing these items. Opt for fabrics that are soft and breathable, such as cotton or bamboo, to keep you cool and comfortable during and after labor. Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time in these clothes, so choose wisely.

    Additionally, consider packing a cozy bathrobe or a comfortable nightgown for after delivery. These can make breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with your baby easier while providing you with a sense of comfort.

    While sometimes overlooked, the most important items to pack in a hospital bag are related to identity and money. Driver’s licenses, health insurance cards, at least one credit card, and social security cards (unless you have your social security memorized) are must-haves. While you likely will not see a bill from the hospital during your stay, you may need your partner to purchase something on your behalf.”

    2. Essential toiletries and personal care items for your hospital bag

    When it’s time to pack your hospital bag, make sure you don’t forget about the toiletries and personal care items that can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel during your hospital stay. 

    “Favorite toiletry items are the next most important item to pack,” says Dr. Cook, “While the hospital will usually provide you with necessary care items, it makes a world of difference to have your favorite lotion, body wash, or shampoo with you. Thirdly, comfort is key.  Bring your favorite pajamas, slippers, and a few outfits that are soft and loose.”

    What to pack

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Freshen up and feel more awake with a toothbrush and toothpaste, especially after labor.

  • Travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
  • Save space by packing travel-sized versions of these items for a quick and refreshing shower.

  • Facial cleanser, moisturizer, and lip balm
  • Combat the dry air in hospitals with your own facial cleanser, moisturizer, and lip balm to keep your skin feeling good.

    By having these toiletries in your hospital bag, you’ll be ready to take care of yourself and feel more comfortable during your stay at the hospital.

    3. Entertainment and distraction

    Labor can be a long process, so it’s important to find ways to stay entertained and distracted. 

    What to pack

  • Create a playlist of soothing music or podcasts
  • Listening to calming music or engaging podcasts can help you relax and take your mind off the pain.

  • Pack a tablet or laptop
  • During the early stages of labor when you need a distraction, watching movies or shows can be a good option.

    Remember, every labor experience is different, so choose activities that you enjoy and feel comfortable with.

    4. Electronics and chargers

    It’s important to bring the necessary electronic devices and their chargers to ensure you’re prepared for any situation. 

    What to pack

  • Your cell phone and charger
  • This will allow you to stay connected with your loved ones and capture special moments throughout your journey.

    Tip: Make sure you pack an extra-long phone charger because you don’t know where the outlets will be in the room, and if you want to have access to your phone from bed, this will be helpful.

    Most of the items in a hospital bag are intended for use after the baby is born. However, if there are items that you consider essential during the labor process (such as music or essential oils) make sure to pack those as well. Please inform the hospital staff of your desire to use such products, as they won’t be permitted if they violate hospital policy. Finally, while it won’t fit in a diaper bag, you will need to bring a car seat to the hospital. The staff won’t discharge you until they know you have safe transportation for the baby.”

    5. Snacks and drinks

    During labor and recovery, it’s important to stay nourished and hydrated to keep your energy levels up. Packing some healthy snacks and drinks in your hospital bag can be a lifesaver when you need a quick boost. 

    What to pack

  • Energy bars
  • Opt for bars that are high in protein and fiber, which will provide sustained energy. Look for options that are low in added sugars and have a good balance of nutrients.

  • Trail mix
  • A mix of nuts, dried fruits, and seeds is a great option for a quick and easy snack. It provides a combination of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates to keep you satisfied.

  • Fresh fruit
  • Pack some easy-to-eat fruits like apples, grapes, or berries. They not only provide essential vitamins and minerals but also help quench your thirst.

  • Crackers or rice cakes
  • These light and crunchy snacks can help satisfy cravings without weighing you down. Choose whole-grain options for added fiber.

    Tip: While you’re at it, you can also pack something for your partner to have as a snack in case they get hungry.

    Drink ideas

  • Electrolyte water
  • Labor can be physically demanding, so it’s important to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating. Pack some electrolyte water or sports drinks to keep yourself hydrated.

  • Herbal tea bags
  • A soothing cup of herbal tea can provide comfort during labor. Chamomile or peppermint tea can help relax your mind and ease any nausea.

    Remember to consult with your healthcare provider about any specific dietary restrictions or recommendations during labor. Packing a variety of snacks and drinks will ensure that you have options that suit your taste preferences and dietary needs.

    By having these snacks and drinks readily available in your hospital bag, you’ll be able to nourish yourself throughout the process, keeping your energy levels up for the journey ahead.

    6. Postpartum essentials

    Recovering after giving birth is a crucial time, and having the right postpartum essentials in your hospital bag can greatly enhance your comfort and well-being. 

    What to pack

  • Witch hazel or aloe wipes
  • Don’t forget to toss a pack of these in your hospital bag. Witch hazel or aloe wipes are a must-have for soothing and cooling those sensitive areas. They’re perfect for gentle cleansing and offer a refreshing touch during your recovery. From soothing stitches to cooling down after delivery, having them on hand is like a hug for your post-baby body. 

  • Comfortable nursing nightgown
  • After delivery, you’ll want to feel relaxed and comfortable. A nursing nightgown made from soft, breathable fabric will make breastfeeding easier while providing you with the comfort you need.

  • Perineal spray or sitz bath
  • To help alleviate discomfort from perineal tears or episiotomies, consider packing a perineal spray or sitz bath solution. These can provide soothing relief to the affected area.

  • Nipple cream
  • Breastfeeding can sometimes lead to sore or cracked nipples. Having a lanolin-based nipple cream on hand can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing.

  • Extra underwear
  • Don’t forget to pack a few pairs of comfortable underwear that are specifically designed for postpartum use. Look for options that provide support and can accommodate maternity pads.

    Remember, every person’s postpartum experience is different, so it’s important to tailor your hospital bag to meet your specific needs. Pack items that will make you feel comfortable, supported, and cared for during this special time.

    8. Baby essentials

    When preparing for your newborn’s arrival, it’s important to pack a few essential items in your hospital bag to ensure your baby’s comfort during the hospital stay. While the hospital will provide basic necessities, having some items of your own can add a personal touch and make the experience more familiar for both you and your baby.

    What to pack

  • Newborn diapers
  • Packing a few newborn diapers can be helpful, especially if you prefer a specific brand or type for your baby. It’s a good idea to have some on hand in case you need them before the hospital provides them.

  • Swaddle blanket
  • A soft, cozy swaddle blanket can help keep your baby snug and comfortable during their time in the hospital. Swaddling can also help soothe newborns by recreating the secure feeling of being in the womb. Although hospitals typically provide swaddle blankets, you can always bring personalized swaddles or more fashionable baby blankets for pictures.

  • Going-home outfit
  • Choose an adorable outfit for your baby to wear when leaving the hospital. Opt for something comfortable and weather-appropriate, considering the season and climate—either a comfortable dress or sweatpants and comfortable shoes to leave the hospital in.

    What’s the right time to start packing your hospital bag?

    “I can speak from personal experience that not packing a hospital bag soon enough is a major mistake,” says Dr. Cook, “My son was born prematurely, and I hadn’t even begun to think about the contents of my hospital bag by the time he came into the world. I had to rely on my husband to pack the bag, which was stressful for both of us. I usually advise the parents in my medical practice to pack that bag by 30 weeks gestation, just in case.”

    What to pack for breastfeeding?

    According to Dr. Cook, “There is no need to pack a nursing pillow.  When it comes to breastfeeding, the most important resource a first-time parent will benefit from is access to a lactation consultant. Similarly, there is no need to bring a breast pump to the hospital.”

    She suggests that if you are advised to pump breast milk for your baby, a hospital-grade breast pump will be provided to you. While packing photo-friendly mom and baby going-home outfits are a trend, it’s okay to pass. I didn’t have a set outfit for either of my babies, and they both looked cute coming home for the first time.

    What mistakes to avoid when packing the hospital bag?

    “Another mistake is packing too many things for the baby,” says Dr. Cook, “Those sweet little loves do not need very much after they are born!  Furthermore, essential baby items, such as diapers or a pacifier, will be provided by the hospital.”

    “I’ve seen parents bring stuffed animals, multiple thick blankets, and more outfits than I can count to the hospital.  To be honest, the hospital staff will probably advise you to keep most of those items away from the baby for their safety,” she says.

    Remember that while it’s great to have these items ready, you don’t need to stress about overpacking for your little one. The focus should be on ensuring you have what you need while keeping things simple and manageable.

    Pack your bag ahead of time and have a backup plan in case you go into labor earlier than expected. While having a well-prepared hospital bag is important, the most essential thing is to stay flexible and focused on a safe and healthy delivery.

    Happy packing!


    You may also like


    Stay in the know

    Sign up to get sleep tips, exciting product updates, and special offers right into your inbox.