It’s so hard to know what to pack in your hospital bag – what you’ll legitimately need, and what you won’t need at all. I’m a third time Mom, and this list has been made through trial and error.
My first baby, I brought a lot of things I didn’t need (like toys. I seriously packed baby toys), but by baby number three, I had it down pat.
Learn from my mistakes – here is my ultimate guide on what to pack in your hospital bag. I’ve got the things you legitimately need (nursing pads, for example), and things you don’t need, but are nice to have, such as dry shampoo.
(Dry Shampoo, FYI, is a game changer when people are coming to visit new baby, or you’re taking photos and you want to look like a human, but don’t actually want to wash your hair because you’re exhausted and just gave birth to a tiny human.)
Things that are nice, but not needed are marked with an astrix * – I’ve got it packed in my hospital bag, but it doesn’t mean you need to if you don’t think you’ll get value out of it.
Please note this post probably contains affiliate links – if you purchase an item, I may make a small commission, at no cost to you.
Top Tips from an Experienced Mom
A super important thing to note when you’re packing is that hospitals definitely vary with what they provide for baby.
Some hospitals provide diapers, formula, and the super sexy mesh undies. Please check before hand – these are essential items. You don’t want to lug them around if you don’t need them, but you definitely can’t afford to be without them.
I also recommend packing separate Labor and Post Birth Belongings into two separate bags for ease, and making a separate bag for baby. I would also suggest packing your hospital bag when you hit the third trimester, in case your baby decides to make an early arrival.
What to Pack For Labor:
– Your birth plan, if you have one
– Large water bottle, for Mom and Dad. Grab a massive one.
– A large tee shirt – or an oversized night dress – If you don’t want to be naked in labor, this as a good way to ensure access to .ahem. the business end, while keeping the rest of you covered.
– A robe* – a lovely robe is wonderful to walk around in when you are in labor (particularly if you are having an induction and are walking to try get things moving) and is great for breastfeeding.
– A spray bottle. No seriously – it’s your new best friend. It’ll help cool you down in labor, but more importantly, if you tear or graze (or are just generally sore…), you’ll be able to spray yourself with water when you pee. Yes – it really does help, and is my absolute favorite hospital bag item to pack as its a total game changer postpartum. Whenever my friends ask for hospital bag advice, this is always my first suggestion. Buy the spray bottle!
– A solid music play list – Make a music play list that will make you happy and play it while you’re in labor. Many moms – myself included – swear by this, saying it adds to having a positive birth experience.
– Massage oil* – My husband became a masseuse for my labor. If you’d like a massage in labor (it’s a good idea as it helps reduce labor pain!), this is helpful. I’m a sucker for back rubs! I love this brand.
– Camera – You’ll want photos of the moment your beautiful sweet baby entered the world.
– Chapstick* – I got such dry lips from the hospital air con and kicked myself for not bringing a chapstick last time. I would recommend chucking one in your toiletry bag, just to be safe.
– Phone & charger – You’ll want to ring and tell everyone when baby is here!
– Baby’s first outfit and one back up – when you’ve had skin to skin time, it’ll be time to dress baby. My husband had to rummage through our suitcase holding up outfits asking “Is it this one?!” I definitely recommend you pack labor and post birth bags separately to avoid the hassle.
– Swimmers for Dad* – if you’d like your support person to be with you rubbing your back in the shower or bath, they need to bring swimmers. L&D Nurses are cool with lady parts, but aren’t interested in seeing boy bits.
What to pack for your hospital stay post birth – For Both Mommy & Daddy
– Comfortable, stretchy dark clothes x3 – Go for breastfeeding friendly shirts, button cardi’s and jackets and maternity leggings.
I tried to pack jeans and was mortified when I was still huge and they didn’t fit. Your tummy is going to stick around for a while (I didn’t expect it happens to everyone, along with some other postpartum surprises) so wear clothes that are comfy, and make you feel good. Dark helps counteract any actual stains.
– Flip Flops for the shower – Because, ew.
– 1 Nursing tank top
– PJs x 2 – If you bleed through your pajama pants, take it from me that you will definitely want a fresh set to put on.
– A comfortable maternity bra x2 – milk coming in can really hurt, so make sure you’ve got a bra that you’re really comfy in (no underwire). Take a second one in case you leak all over the first. You want to make sure they are breastfeeding bras, like the one below, so you can feed easily. The clip makes all the difference.
– Toiletries bag – Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, deodorant, body wash and dry shampoo. I also packed foundation and mascara, to pop on for photos – of course, that isn’t necessary and is entirely personal preference.
– Snacks – These are for Dad. The last thing you need is Daddy leaving to get food when you need support.
– A Pillow from home* – Your hospital has pillows, but bringing my own in made me feel more comfortable.
– A spare bag, to put dirty clothes in.
What to pack in your hospital bag for baby
– Four long onesies – ZIP! You don’t want to waste your time with buttons. I would have two newborn size, and two 0-3 months as you never know what size bub will be!
– 4 Singlets
– Going home outfit – Nearly every mom loves to dress their sweet babe in a special outfit to leave the hospital.
– Swaddles – Our hospital provided them, but I wanted to use my own, along with a special blanket. I personally have used Love to Dream swaddles with all of my babies and absolutely swear by them!
– Beanies – to keep bubs head warm when they’re teeny.
– Car seat – And it needs to be preinstalled before you go home, or you might find that the hospital won’t let your baby home.
There we have it! I hope you enjoyed reading my full guide on what to pack in your hospital bag, tried and true from a third to Mom. Hopefully this has helped clarify what you need to pack in your hospital bag, and what you can safely give a miss. For information on what you actually need for your baby (and what you really don’t need), head to my guide here.