BABY | What To Pack For Your Post-Birth Hospital Stay

I’ve seen quite a few questions online lately from moms-to-be on what to pack when going to the hospital. There are a lot of lists out there, and they are pretty overwhelming if you really think about all of the things they’re telling you to bring.

I’ve written my list here with explanations on what I brought, what I used, and what I didn’t need.

I was lucky to have had a normal pregnancy. I mention this only to clarify I’m not talking about stay in the ICU/NICU, or otherwise. Even still, I was a nervous nellie about going into labor early, so I had my bags packed at 36 weeks. This proved helpful when I went into labor a few weeks later and we had to grab and go.

The first bit of advice: Know yourself and what you might actually use.


  • What I wore to the hospital is what I wore home: Pea in the Pod maternity leggings, tank top, maternity 3/4 length-sleeved tee shirt, flip flops.
  • I gave birth in June, so I don’t have any winter-weather things on here.
  • I ALWAYS have hair ties on my wrists, so they’re not on my list. You’ll see a variety of hair-holding products on other lists (hair ties, head bands, bobby pins, etc.). Just bring what you’d use over the course of a few days, and maybe an extra. Unless you’re going to “do” your hair, you’re not going to need a menagerie of hair products.

Below is my list that I compiled based on all of the lists I read (and believe me, I read a lot of lists).

  • Bold means I actually used it.
  • Regular text means I brought it but didn’t use it.
  • Italics means I had it on the list but didn’t end up bringing it.
  1. Purse (containing photo ID, insurance card, credit card)
  2. Car Seat/Base
    1. They watched us put her in the seat in the hospital room, and came down to the car with us to make sure it was installed properly. Needless to say, you’re not leaving without this.
  3. Clothes for all of us
    1. Bathrobe (thin cotton)
    2. Nightgowns (2) – (these were actually just maxi-dresses from Target)
    3. 2-3 changes of clothing for me
      1. I brought clothes but didn’t wear anything other than what I wore to the hospital and the maxi-dresses/nightgowns
    4. Slippers
    5. Fuzzy socks (2)
    6. Regular socks (2)
      1. I didn’t use any of the slippers or socks. The hospital provided non-slip socks and I ended up wearing those the whole time.
    7. Nursing bra (2)
      1. Only wore this on the way home. Too much going on with the breasts to bother with bras while in the hospital.
    8. Nursing pads (10)
      1. See above.
    9. “Maternity” underwear (cotton “full-butt” panties)
      1. I didn’t use these for a few weeks, actually. I used the mesh underwear they provided at the hospital for a while, and transitioned slowly to regular underwear.
    10. Flat shoes/flip flops
    11. Going home outfit for baby
      1. Onesie (I brought two, a newborn and a 0-3mo in case she ended up being big), kimono top, footed pants, two receiving blankets (didn’t use), two hats (only used one), three swaddles (didn’t use)
    12. 2-3 changes of clothing for my husband
  4. Toiletries for me and my husband (towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, scrub, lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, basic makeup, deodorant, other minimal essentials) 
    1. The hospital provided us with two thin towels, and if I remember correctly an all-purpose wash. I didn’t ask for any other things since we brought our own, but you could probably pack lighter and not bring towels.
  5. Technology
    1. iPod dock
    2. iPod
    3. Tripod
    4. iPhone
    5. Camera
    6. Extra batteries for camera
    7. All chargers (camera, phone, etc.)
  6. Cash
    1. Specifically change for the vending machine if the cafeteria is closed.
  7. Snacks (granola bars, fruit snacks, mints, sugar free Werther’s)
    1. I brought these thinking “I’ll be so hungry during labor!” Silly me forgot that I wouldn’t be able to eat anything in case I had to go into surgery. But, we did eat these once she was born and it was nice to have a snack before room service was delivered.
  8. Journal
    1. I had been journaling during my whole pregnancy so I wanted to have this on hand. I wrote in it when she was sleeping to capture whatever emotions I could through pencil and paper.
  9. Reusable bags
    1. To bring the goodies home from the hospital
  10. Baby book
    1. I brought this to get her inked footprints on the book’s page. I could have brought the single page but didn’t want to get it crunched in transit.
  11. Name of pediatrician
    1. The hospital will want to know who your pediatrician will be, so try to have one picked out before you get there.
  12. Nursing pillow
    1. Never used it. I don’t use it at home either.
  13. Birth plan
    1. This was a standard questionnaire from hospital that I filled out. No one ever looked at it or asked me about it. I did it so I’d know what my preferences were in case someone asked since, without it, I might not have had a solid answer to give.
  14. Adult diapers
    1. I read somewhere to wear one on your way to the hospital in case you bled/etc. onto the car’s seat, so I had them on hand. I didn’t wear one to the hospital and I didn’t end up using these until a while later when the large hospital pads/mesh underwear ran out.
  15. Breast pump
    1. I’m not sure why the lists said to bring this since the lactation consultant couldn’t have cared less and never actually looked at it. Plus, I wasn’t ready to pump until about 2 weeks later.
  16. Baby manicure items (nail clipper, file)
    1. They have these at the hospital. Not necessary.
  17. Pillows with bright/unique case (2)
    1. They said if you bring your own pillow, be sure to have a case that’s colorful or it may get mistaken for a hospital pillow.
  18. DVDs
    1.  We didn’t bring anything to entertain us because honestly, we had someONE to entertain us. Plus, the TV in our room had a lot of movie channels.
  19. Emergency contact list
    1. Wouldn’t hurt but I didn’t bring one.
  20. White noise machine
    1. They suggest having one of these might help you sleep but really, you’re not going to get much sleep anyway. Just embrace it.

Of course your list will probably differ quite a bit, especially if you’re a first time mom. I packed more than I could have ever used, “just in case.” It’s hard not to. But, hopefully my experience will help keep your bags lighter!


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