Hospital bags are hard to pack. Everyone has something different they said they couldn’t live without but someone else says the same thing isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, it’s a completely personal thing.  You really won’t know what YOU needed until you’re already in the hospital with your first baby.

Well I went a little nuts while I was pregnant. Instead of traditional “home” nesting, I “information” nested. I researched until my face was blue, I created list after list of anything that could be made into a list. And then I created this entire “Baby Binder” of all of my lists (which you can get right here!) All that to say, I read a million blog posts on what to pack in your hospital bag and then packed every. single. item. I had an entire suitcase full, a full-to-the-brim diaper bag, and an overpacked husband bag. We used maybe twenty percent of everything I packed.

So I have put together my list of the essentials. I would recommend packing these things, then adding a few other items you think you may need. But trust me, you are going to get gifts, and flowers, and somehow all of your stuff will multiply at the hospital. Make it easier on yourself when it comes to discharge: don’t overpack. If you desperately need something you left at home, send a friend or your husband to pick it up after baby is born.


Mama’s Bag


  • Loose PJs– I wore cheap men’s undershirts and running shorts that were a size up from my normal size. If you are having a c-section or are concerned about hurting your stomach, pack something with a very gentle waist. I liked my running shorts and tshirt because I didn’t feel like I was wearing pj’s when people were visiting me.
  • Underwear– I got a cheap pack of full coverage Hanes underwear that I switched into by day two. The mesh ones at the hospital are fine but by day two (and going home) I was pretty ready for slightly more normal underwear.
  • Nursing Bras/Sports Bras– If you plan on breastfeeding, bring a few nursing bras with you. If not, a few really comfy sports bras are a necessity!
  • Comfy Socks/Slippers– You don’t really want to walk around hospital floors barefoot. Enough said. You may also end up wearing the slippers home depending on how much your feet may swell.
  • Flip Flops– I didn’t choose to take a shower while still at the hospital – kinda wish I had. If you do choose to take a shower, you’ll be glad you have your flip flops!
  • Book– There is a lot of downtime in the two days you are at the hospital. While some of that you take naps and learn to feed baby and have visitors, it’s nice to have a book to read in the down time.
  • Phone Charger– Go to Walmart and get an extra, and if you can, get the super long cord. It’s just better to not have to try to remember it on your way out the door between contractions and the extra length helps reach all the way to the hospital bed.
  • Toiletries– Toothbrush and paste, shampoo and conditioner, some facial wipes, deodorant, a few hair ties, and maybe a tube of mascara should do it. You just had a baby. No one is expecting you to look perfectly groomed and you probably won’t feel up to perfect grooming.
  • Camera and Charger– If you use a camera besides your phone (I own this DSLR and absolutely love it), make sure it’s fully charged and packed with the charger packed as well. I loved getting pictures of everyone who visited holding our little man.


Hubby’s Bag


  • An extra set of clothes or two– typically, hospitals keep new parents for at least 48 hours after their baby arrives. Your hubby is probably going to want to change clothes a time or two.
  • Comfy PJs– Sleeping in just boxers is out of the question in a hospital room where nurses are coming in and out constantly. Make sure he has some comfy pj pants and a tshirt.
  • Underwear and socks– Underwear is obvious. Socks are so that he doesn’t have to wear shoes all the time but isn’t walking around on a hospital floor barefoot.
  • Book, Earbuds, and a Tablet– There’s a lot of downtime for dad while mom is figuring out breastfeeding or being check on by the nurses. Having a few forms of entertainment will help keep him from getting too restless.
  • Phone Charger– Again, just buy extras. It’s better than accidentally forgetting them!
  • Toiletries– Toothbrush and paste, deodorant, and body wash.
  • THE BABY BINDER– I completed the whole baby binder, but Chris was in charge of getting it to the hospital and following the information in it. The baby binder had my birth plans, contact sheets, and all of my lists on lists of information.
  • Snacks– Most hospitals only feed mom. Your hubby will be grateful for some yummy snacks once in the hospital. And if you bring your own, you won’t spend a fortune on vending machines and the cafeteria.


Baby Bag/ Diaper Bag


  • 5 to 7 diapers and a pack of wipes– The hospital will provide these but as you are already packing the diaper bag, you might as well pack it for after the hospital as well instead of having to repack once you get home.
  • Nursing cover, breast pads, and nipple cream, if breastfeeding– You probably won’t use the cover while in the hospital. Most nurses and lactation consultants will have you just pull everything off from the waist up while learning. But it’s helpful to go ahead and have in the diaper bag. I leaked a ton so breast pads were necessary. And as far as nipple cream goes, I found that coconut oil worked best for me and was oh so important those first few weeks of nursing.
  • A cute outfit or two– Not actually necessary but oh so very fun. You’ve been getting all of these adorable little clothes so it’s fun to get to put them on baby sooner rather than later.
  • Socks– Little feet are super cold all the time. So tiny socks help! We also just used socks instead of investing in mittens to keep baby boy from scratching himself.
  • Hats– They have the hospital hats but it’s fun to have some that you picked out.
  • Pillow/Boppy Pillow– Quite honestly, I hated the boppy. I found it uncomfortable and awkward. I just used a normal pillow to learn to nurse. I’d say bring the boppy if you have one, but be willing to switch to a normal pillow.
  • Burp cloths– Babies  always have some sort of liquid coming out of something. I used burp cloths constantly and for everything.

Get a printable checklist of this in my FREE baby binder set! It’s an entire set of all of my lists from hospital lists, to baby registries, to contact flow lists ready to be printed and put into your own baby binder!


  1. This is a great list! I think so many people over think packing and end up bringing way too much. You really covered all the necessities. I found that when I packed for my second child’s birth I packed a lot quicker, because I knew what I really needed.

  2. This is a great list. I know people getting ready to have a baby will find this hugely helpful!

  3. The best part about your list that most lists forget is DAD’s bag! I totally forgot to pack for dad. None of the lists mention him at all. We ended up in the hospital for a week and he had to run home for clothes at least twice.

  4. I wish I had this when I was pregnant I never knew what to pack and over packed so much!! thanks for sharing.

  5. Love this! I packed SO MUCH in my own hospital bag. It became ridiculous – ha! If I ever have another baby, I’m definitely just bringing the essentials!
    I especially love your tip to just buy extra chargers for phones (and make sure they’re extra long!). If nothing else, you have extras at home for when you lose them…which we do, all the time. 😉

  6. Will definitely be saving this for the future! Such great tips!


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