What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

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Don’t head for the maternity ward without these must-have items.

By Lauren Lisle

Packing your hospital bag isn’t like packing a regular overnight bag—though labor and delivery is quite a trip. As moms who have birthed a fair amount of babies, we’ve come to love and rely on certain products to help make the hospital stay more manageable and comfortable. Keep scrolling for our list of essentials to help ensure you’ve got everything you need.

Duffle Bag

First and foremost, if you’re in need of a quality travel bag to start packing, look for one with plenty of space and plenty of pockets to keep everything organized.

Try it: Luli Bebe Monaco Travel Bag

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Photo ID, Insurance Card, and Any Other Paperwork

This could include important health information, insurance enrollment forms, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) paperwork, or anything else pertinent. Don’t forget to also have the name and number of your child’s pediatrician on hand, plus your preferred pharmacy if anything needs to be picked up before bringing baby home.

Birth Plan

Bring plenty of extra copies for health care workers on all shifts.

Toiletries

Bring all the essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. We also suggest tossing in a pair of earplugs if you’re sensitive to noise at night. And if you plan to have a partner there with you, pack a few travel-size essentials for them, too.

Nursing Bra

A stretchy bra that snaps open and can support your enlarged breasts while you navigate breastfeeding is a non-negotiable—bonus points if your pick can also assist with hands-free pumping.

Try it: Kindred Bravely Sublime Hands-Free Nursing & Pumping Bra

BUY NOW | $60

Nursing-Friendly Pajamas

Even if you opt to wear the provided hospital gown during labor and delivery, you’ll still need something cozy to sleep in while recovering. A tank with front snaps makes it easier to breastfeed while also having your vital signs checked, which happens frequently during your stay.

Try it: Pact Maternity Organic Sleep Set

BUY NOW | $65

Maternity Robe

It’s nice to have something to throw on if you get cold or for when visitors arrive. And if you’re into mommy-and-me fashion trends, you’ll love the matching robe/swaddle options available here.

Try it: Posh Peanut Maternity Robe

BUY NOW | $65

Slipper Socks

Technically any socks or slippers will do, but socks with special gripping soles will prevent you from slipping while walking the halls during labor, or while on your way to the bathroom post-birth. Also, hospitals can be chilly, so you likely appreciate the added layer of warmth.

Try it: Bombas Gripper Slippers

BUY NOW | $45

Nipple Balm

Your nipples may be sore, dry, and cracked while establishing breastfeeding. An organic balm that’s safe for baby’s consumption will go a long way in helping you ease the ouch.

Pro tip: Nipple balm can also double as lip balm, which you’ll also want to have on hand.

Try it: Lansinoh Organic Nipple Balm

BUY NOW | $15

Disposable Underwear

Your birth facility will likely provide you with extra-large maxi-pads and (super sexy) mesh underwear, but if you want to feel a bit more secure, a pack of disposable period underwear may do the trick. (If you never reach for a pair at the hospital, you’ll definitely find use for them once back at home dealing with postpartum bleeding—especially at night.)

Try it: Rael Organic Cover Overnight Underwear

BUY NOW | $12

Peri Bottle

After using an upgraded peri bottle for postpartum bathroom breaks, we will never go back to the hospital-supplied version. This model boasts a wider base for holding more water, a retractable nozzle for travel, and a more concentrated spray for better cleaning.

Try it: Bodily Peri Wash Bottle

BUY NOW | $16

Dry Shampoo Paste

Reap the benefits of dry shampoo without breathing in chemicals or making a powdery mess. A paste is a better option while baby is nearby, ensuring it only gets on mom.

Try it: R+Co Dry Shampoo Paste

BUY NOW | $29

Face Cleansing Wipes

Let’s be real, there will be times you do not want to make the trip to the bathroom to wash your face. Bring some wipes to help keep you fresh and clean.

Try it: Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Wipes

BUY NOW | $17

Baby-Safe Hand Sanitizer

You may not be able to get up and wash your hands as often as you’d prefer. Keep a bottle of gentle, fragrance-free sanitizer nearby to use when needed before holding your newbie. (This can also be offered to your visitors who can be a bit too grabby.)

Try it: Honest Hand Sanitizer Spray

BUY NOW | $4

Hand Cream

All that washing and sanitizing are bound to make hands uncomfortably dry. A moisturizing hand lotion made with quality, gentle ingredients will provide relief and peace of mind.

Try it: Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve

BUY NOW | $15

Baby Sleepers

You’ll need a few for your days and nights at the hospital, plus a set for going home. Opt for a fabric that’s light and breathable if planning to swaddle to avoid overheating.

Try it: Solly Baby Sleeper Set

BUY NOW | FROM $38

Infant Towel

Hospital linens are often scratchy, stiff, and uncomfortable. Bring an infant towel to make baby’s first sponge bath a softer, cozier experience. (We love this one because it’s a quality towel that doubles as a sweet keepsake. It even has a place to monogram your babe’s name and their birth date.)

Try it: Sodateru My First Towel

BUY NOW | $23

Water Bottle

A large canister will keep you hydrated through labor and during breastfeeding when a mom’s thirst is often constant, and an added straw can come in handy when you only have one hand to use for drinking.

Pro tip: Some hospitals still have strict COVID protocols in the common areas of maternity wards, meaning you may not be able to fetch more water whenever you want, so go for the bottle with more ounces.

Try it: Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Reusable Water Bottle

BUY NOW | $50

Extra-Long Phone Charger

Hospital beds can be far away from electrical outlets. Do yourself a favor and buy a charger with extra cord length to keep your cell phone within reach. You can also opt for a wireless battery charger if preferred.

Try it: Charge Cords 10-foot Charger

BUY NOW | $29

Wet Bag

These are great for stashing soiled clothes and other items to keep your hospital bag clean and sanitary.

Try it: Bumpkins Waterproof Wet Bag

BUY NOW | $19

Comfy Clothes

When you’re (finally!) heading home, consider wearing something that’s roomy and fuss-free. While this breezy romper may have been made for sleeping, we think it’s the perfect postpartum blend of comfort, style, and efficiency with easy access for breastfeeding.

Try it: Athleta Nighttime Bliss Romper

BUY NOW | $64

Roomy Shoes

Your feet may be swollen from IV fluids, making a spacious sandal a great option for your walk to the car after being discharged.

Try it: Birkenstock Eva Sandals

BUY NOW | $50

Some other items to possibly include are:

Birthing Ball and Pump

There may not be a ball on-site for you to use; if it’s part of your strategy for labor, don’t chance it and bring your own.

Bottles and Baby Formula

If you have a preference of what type of bottle or kind of formula your little one will use (if different from what your hospital provides), make sure to bring these items as well.

Baby Shampoo and Wash

Same as above; if you want your baby to be bathed with a certain kind of soap, toss it in your toiletry bag.

Snacks

Different birth facilities have different access to food, whether it’s surrounding restaurants, an in-house cafeteria, or vending machines. Having packed snacks will ensure you have some form of nourishment no matter the circumstances.

Entertainment

Labor can last a while, so consider bringing a book, your tablet, some headphones, or whatever else you enjoy using to pass the time. After delivery, you’ll probably be staring at your newborn the entire time (or resting because childbirth is an epic marathon), but it can’t hurt to have it as a backup.

In terms of things you don’t need to bother bringing with you, hospitals and birth centers will typically supply new parents with plenty of diapers, wipes, and burp cloths, so leave your stash at home.

Moms-to-be are typically encouraged to start packing their hospital bag during the third trimester, somewhere between 32 and 35 weeks of pregnancy. But if you’re eager to begin sooner, do it! It’s important to relish whatever points of pregnancy make you excited to get to the finish line and meet your baby. Happy packing!

Offers Page

Want free stuff?

(Not a trick question!) We’re sharing the love with top-brand giveaways and prizes, exclusive product offers, and over $500 in mom-approved free gifts! Find gear, sample boxes, online courses and much more up for grabs.

Learn More