What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Go-time is going to be little, um... chaotic. To help ease the last-minute panic, we've put together an extensive list of everything you'll want (or might want, or might think you might want) for during- and after-labor.
OK, don't freak out! This list looks long and overwhelming, but you likely won't need every single one of these items, or even most of these items. Some items won't apply to you at all. But they're listed here just in case you may not have thought of them yet, or in case mommy brain makes you forget. Some things on the list are very obvious, and others are a little more obscure.
It's a good idea to have your go-bag ready by week 36, just in case baby decides to debut early! You don't want to be scrambling last minute to get everything you need. Try to pack things you won't need to use before baby comes, so you aren't constantly unpacking and repacking.
Opt for travel-size items whenever possible!
Keep your anticipated length-of-stay in mind and adjust as needed. For c-sections, you may be in the hospital for 3-4 days, so you'd want 3-4 changes of clothes for yourself.
Be sure to check with your specific hospital to see what they'll provide for you and what their policies are as far as what you can/can't bring in!
- Dry shampoo
- Makeup - if you wear it
- Makeup remover
- Face wash
- Lip balm - hospitals can be incredibly dry
- Hair ties/headband/bobby pins
- Hair straightener/curling iron
- Stool softener
- Extra absorbent maxi pads - you'll get some at the hospital but you may prefer to use a brand you already like
- Toilet paper - hospital TP is just not good, let's be real
- Bluetooth speaker
- White noise machine
- Phone chargers - ones with really long cords are best!
- Firestick/Apple TV
- Portable fan - battery operated or rechargeable, and ideally one that clips to something so you don't have to hold it
- Extension cord/power strip
- Camera + memory card
- Night light if you need one
- Spotify - okay, not an electronic, but electronic-adjacent. Labor can last a long time, so scope out some playlists in advance to keep from having to hunt for music in between contractions.
- Socks - non-slip!
- Slip-on shoes
- Flip flops for the shower
- Sweatpants - and trust me, you'll want to wear dark colored clothing on your bottom half
- Ear plugs
- Sleep mask
- Face mask - because COVID
- Water bottle + straw
- Padsicles - well, don't pack these for the hospital, but have them ready at home for after!
- High-waisted underwear
- Adult diapers - the hospital will likely give you some, but you might prefer your own
- PJs that button up the front
- Going-home outfit - as casual or as nice as you like!
- A jacket or sweater
- Baby wipes - in case you're not up to showering immediately
- A large towel - for post-shower. Yes, the hospital will give you a towel, but odds are it won't be great... or soft... or big enough.
- ID/Driver's License - you won't be driving, but it's a good idea to have it with you
- Glasses and/or contacts, if applicable - and if you're a contacts wearer, make sure you have any cleaning solution, eye drops, plungers, etc. that you might need!
- Sugar-free hard candy or lozenges - to keep your mouth from being dry during labor. Sugary candies will make you thirsty.
If You're Planning to Breastfeed...
- Nursing tank
- Nursing nightgown
- Breast pump
- Nipple cream
- Nursing bras
- Nursing pads
- Swaddle blanket
- Going-home outfit - in 2 sizes, because newborns are unreliable
- Footed onesies
- Car seat
- Pediatrician's contact info
- Bottle & formula, if not breastfeeding
- Gallon-sized zipper bags - to keep smaller items in your bag organized
- Large empty bag - to carry home anything the hospital may give you
- Pillow - yes, the hospital has pillows, but having a pillow from home can be really comforting. You may want to take a pillow case you hate for it, though.
- Blanket - same as the pillow
- Snacks - for you and for your support person
- Quarters/cash for the vending machines
- Cash for the hospital cafeteria - always good to have cash on hand just in case there's any issues with credit card machines or ATMs.
- Any medical insurance information you might need
- Pen & paper - for taking any notes or writing down reminders
- Any daily medication anyone might need
- Photo props - if that's your kind of thing, then make sure you have everything you'll want!