Packing Your Hospital Bag: What do you REALLY Need?


Now, I don’t consider myself an expert at all things birth, but I have done this once before. And the one thing that I can clearly remember from my last go round at this: I seriously, seriously over-packed my hospital bag. I think that this is a mistake a lot of first time Moms make, and we’re left completely overwhelmed with…crap. Of course, every experience is different and some women may need more things than others, stay in the hospital longer than others, etc–but one piece of advice that I always give when it comes to packing your hospital bag is this: Take out about half of what you’ve packed, and go from there.

So, what do you really need to pack in your hospital bag? I’ve broken down a pretty minimal list, because you typically don’t need much, and the hospital provides a lot.

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In my Toiletry Bag

That first shower that you’re able to take after giving birth is life changing, and I remember feeling like a brand new person that next morning. We were discharged the following afternoon, so I was the only one who showered and I didn’t bring many toiletries for my husband besides toothpaste, his toothbrush, and deodorant.

  • Toothbrushes (in holders) for my Husband and I
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant for my Husband and I.
  • Contact Case & Contact Solution
  • Body Wash
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • A Loofah
  • Chapstick
  • Multiple Hair Ties
  • Hair Brush

(I also plan on bringing a small makeup bag with some of my every day essentials for my Birth/Fresh 48 Sessions with my photographer…because I’m not having no brows in my photos).

For Baby

One thing that I didn’t realize when I packed my bag for Grayson, and I think that a lot of first time moms don’t realize as well, was 1. We wouldn’t even stay in the hospital for more than 24 hours (birth with zero complications) and 2. The hospital provides most items for baby until you’re ready to leave. Truthfully, you don’t need to bring a ton for them unless you have specific preferences, and thankfully the hospital I chose uses the brand of diapers that I do.

  • Coming Home Outfit
  • Car Seat
  • Blanket/Swaddle. Only because I wasn’t a fan of the swaddles that they used in the nursery, but they do provide a blanket.

If you want to bring your breast pump, nursing pillow, etc. — you totally can, because lactation support will come in and help you figure out the best breastfeeding plan for when you get home, and you can get used to doing it with your own items.

Aaand that’s it. Seriously. If you live somewhere where it’s cooler (even during the Summer), you can bring a blanket or two and maybe a swaddle. It really depends on how long you stay in the hospital, but they typically do a good job of providing the items you need.

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For Yourself/Partner

  • 1-2 Pairs of DARK pants. (Again, this is dependent on how long you stay in the hospital, but I made sure to have a few pairs of loose fitting comfortable black pants to wear once I was able to wear normal clothes. (Dark colored, because…blood. Lol).
  • 1-2 Loose Fitting, Comfortable Shirts
  • Comfortable Robe
  • SOCKS AND SLIPPERS! I’m a weirdo who didn’t want my feet to touch the hospital floor–I even showered in socks. So, I make sure to bring several pairs of comfortable fuzzy socks and some durable slippers. It can be beneficial to bring a pair of compression socks as well, because your feet can get swollen after giving birth.
  • 1-2 Changes of clothes for your partner. They’ll be exhausted and put through the wringer as well, so make sure they have everything they need to at least feel fresh. This includes packing their toiletries in with yours!
  • PILLOWS! Hospital pillows freaking suck, and you don’t want to use them. Trust me. Blankets too, if you’re picky about that! (They can also be low on/stingy with their linens, so you may want to bring some towels from home).
  • Underwear. I’m a big fan of the mesh underwear that they give you in the hospital, but if you aren’t–totally bring your own! I always buy some one size too big, to accommodate the gigantic pads that I’ll be wearing for the next 6 ish weeks. But, I only use them once I get home.
  • EXTRAS

    These are random things that we sometimes forget to pack, especially if we’re rushing out the door. So, I like to make sure these items are packed early and stay in the bag at all times prior to leaving for the hospital.

  • Phone and Camera Chargers
  • Batteries and Battery Chargers
  • Portable Battery Charger for Phones (and make sure it’s already charged!)
  • Extra Memory Cards, if needed. This may just be a “blogger thing”, but I wanted to make sure that my camera would ALWAYS be ready to use. No worrying about the batteries dying or running out of space on my memory card

Of course, everyone’s hospital stay is different, but I like to plan for the absolute best case scenario–me leaving the hospital as soon as possible. If for any reason you have to stay longer than you planned or packed for, you can always send a family member or a friend to pick up some essentials from home for you! Good luck, and happy packing!

What was one ESSENTIAL item you needed in your hospital bag? What is something you didn’t pack but ended up needing?

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