9 Must-Have Items for Your Hospital Bag… and a Few You Can Live Without

Hospital Bag Must-Haves

You did it! You got pregnant and survived months of morning sickness, fatigue, restless legs, swollen feet, and all the other glamourous things that come with creating your own human. Now its time to head to the hospital and evict the person who has been using your bladder as a trampoline for the better part of a year. So this is the hot question: What should you pack in your hospital bag?

Hospital Bag Must-Haves Birth Pregnancy Labor Delivery

Here are 9 essentials and a few non-essentials.


Hospital pillows aren’t usually the greatest. I highly recommend bringing a pillow from home. If you’re going to be stuck in a bed, you might as well be comfortable. Also, bring your significant other a pillow too. You never know how long it is going to take your little miracle to make their appearance. You’ll be the star of the show and poor dad will be sleeping on a rock hard chair or bench sans pillow. They may not fit in your hospital bag, but you will want them.


This one seems obvious, right? Well, think again, because a lot of new moms are so busy thinking about baby and the impending labor and delivery that they pack too lightly in this area. I know I did.

You will of course need the beautiful hand-selected “going home” outfit in your hospital bag for your bundle of joy. You will also want some things for yourself to wear home. This is where I screwed up. I didn’t bring anything for myself to wear out of the hospital. I ended up going home in the same worn over-sized pajamas that I’d already been wearing for days.

Now, what clothes you will want to bring will depend on how you personally feel. I was pretty content to lounge around in a hospital gown all day until they forced me to leave the hospital. Some women feel better getting out of that god-awful gown and into their own adorable clothing as soon as the cord is cut. To each, their own.

I recommend having some comfy socks or slippers. Bring some loose fitting pajama pants. You’ll want them to have a looser fit because you never know how a birth will go. I ended up with an emergency C-section and was thankful to have pants that I could adjust where the waistline fell. Also, I didn’t want any fabric pressing on my incision. Another thing is that just because the baby is out, doesn’t mean the belly goes away. Some ladies get lucky, but most of us walk around for months looking vaguely pregnant.

Clothing for Daddy

This one is another area where I goofed. Being a first time mom, I assumed that you go into the hospital on one day and have the baby, then go home the following day. Sometimes that happens. However, birth can always be unpredictable. For example, my husband and I checked into labor and delivery on a Sunday night for a planned induction. I assumed that the baby would be there sometime early the next day. HA! After 46 hours of labor, a failed induction, an emergency C-section, and the required recovery and observation time, we didn’t leave the hospital until Friday evening. That’s a lot of days for poor hubby to go without a clean change of clothes. Definitely should have had some clothes for dad in my hospital bag.


Another thing you will definitely want in your hospital bag are some items to make you feel like a human being again after the baby is born. What you will need to bring will greatly depend on you and your routine and level of maintenance. I am pretty low maintenance ordinarily, and after 2 days of labor without drugs, I couldn’t give a flying…well, you know…what I looked like or what anyone thought about it.

You will of course want the basics: shampoo/conditioner, body soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, a brush, and some hair ties. I know some women can get by with just that. Some women prefer to bring a blow dryer and straightener for their hair and an arsenal of makeup. I can’t blame these women at all because there will be a million photos taken. I wish I didn’t look like such a swamp monster after my son was born.  Go with what works for you.


Don’t get me wrong, ladies. All modesty FLIES out the window when you’re having a baby. I’m pretty sure most of the hospital and half of the parking garage saw my lady business while I was having my son (bad window placement by the hospital architect) and I honestly wouldn’t have cared if the Dalai Lama, the Pope, and the President would have been in the room taking flash photography.

I wish I would have brought a robe though, in hindsight. I think it would’ve served to make others around me feel more comfortable. We had a lot of visitors and my lax attitude probably weirded some of them out.

Boppy Pillow

These pillows are typically referred to as breastfeeding pillows. Even if you chose not to nurse, this pillow will come in handy. Having a baby is exhausting, and having the extra support for your arms can be a huge help. Because of the c section, I had a hard time holding my son. I felt a little bit like my insides were about to be on the outside. The pillow was the only way I was able to really hold him for the first couple days. This may not fit in your hospital bag either, but I still recommend dragging it along.


Bring whatever technology you need. Phones, tablets, laptops, mp3 players, cameras…whatever you may need, bring it. You will have some time on your hands, and these can provide entertainment and distraction.

Make sure the chargers for said electronic devices are also in your hospital bag. Nothing sucks more than missing capturing that adorable baby because your phone just died from playing too much Candy Crush between contractions.

Also, you may want to bring a small extension cord. Many charger cords are very long and if you’re stuck in bed from unexpected surgery, you’re going to want your phone, and you certainly aren’t prancing across the room to get it.


Now we get down to the nitty-gritty. If you’re planning to nurse, you will want a comfortable nursing bra. If you aren’t planning on nursing, you will want a snug fitting sports bra. As for underpants, you’re going to want to leave your cute lacy garments at home. Trust me. Most hospitals will provide you with these weird mesh underpants (google it, they’re literally mesh). If that’s not quite your style, go for something soft, comfortable, and large. Think Grandma’s favorite on this one.


Yes, you read that right. Diapers. Adult diapers. I thought it was crazy at first too, but after so many moms swore up and down that it would be a huge hassle saver, I gave in and tried it. It was a lot easier and there was a lot less worry on my part about anything leaking anywhere. Especially the first few days, this tip will be a godsend.

There are many other things you may bring with you in your hospital bag, but these are the things you’ll be most thankful for having.

Check out the Things You Need on Your Baby Registry HERE!


Check out What You DON’T Need on Your Baby Registry HERE!

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About Lisa Wingerter

I'm a 32 year old, married, stay-at-home-mom from the Metro Detroit area

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