What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag : A Hospital Bag Checklist

New York, New York
April 22, 2020

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Wondering what to Pack in Your Hospital Bag? With just under one week until my due date, I have been focusing solely on one thing, what to pack in my hospital bag. As a self-confessed over-packer, I know that it’s certainly not the time to be overpacking for two big reasons. First and foremost, all mama’s have advised me that overpacking for the hospital is a big no-no in the first place. And second, to be completely honest, I don’t want to bring much to the hospital because of COVID-19 contamination.

Whatever I bring must either be washed or thrown away, so my hospital bag quickly went from “cute” essentials to easy wash disposable essentials. Sure, I will bring a few things that make me feel comfortable, but that hand-knit receiving blanket, the newborn photo looks, cute stuffed animals for bebe, and aromatherapy diffusers are all entirely out of the question at this point. I have one mission as you may have read in my recent “Our Evolving Birth Plan” story; labor at home as long as possible, deliver the baby at the hospital, and get the hell home as soon as I can!

That being said, I’ve been going through my hospital bag list with a fine-tooth comb because hospital policies are also changing, and I don’t want to bring anything that may not be allowed. Definitely check with your hospital about what to pack in your hospital bag as policies are different from hospital to hospital. I’ve been swapping things out here and there and adding items based on all of the helpful suggestions that were shared from so many mama’s via Instagram stories.

You guys suggested three items in my stories that I wouldn’t have thought of so I’m happy I asked. First was an extra-long phone charger, two eye masks, one for me and one for hubby – and my pump!

I hadn’t even considered bringing a pump!

…but it was a great suggestion considering I don’t know how long I will be in the hospital for. I recently picked up the cordless Elvie Pump. I was going between a few but based on feedback from friends, decided on Elvie because it’s wearable, lightweight, and cordless which I can only imagine is helpful when you’re starting to breast feed. It’s also “smart,” and you can track pumping sessions with your Elvie app. I’ll report back on this in a few weeks once I get started on using it.

Another tip that surprised me was not about what to bring with me to the hospital, but what to bring home with me from the hospital. Lots of you suggested that the not so chic elastic undies come in very handy. I ordered this Freida Mom Postpardum Recovery Kit for a backup, which also has these in them, but from what I’ve heard from each of you and so many friends, the hospital ones are better. A few more items people said to take home with you? Witch hazel pads and lidocaine spray they give you.

I’ve broken my list of what to pack in your hospital bag into 5 categories for what you will need for pre-labor, labor, after delivery, and for baby and the return home.

Putting this together was reminiscent of putting together my checklist for summer camp. Anyone else feel that way? Friendly reminder, this is my first time doing this. So if you’re reading this as an experienced mama, help us all out and leave a comment with any essentials you think I am missing here.


My hospital backpack (Also bringing a suitcase with everything else in it)

Binder with all printed medical records from pregnancy

Copy of ID card/Drivers License

Copy of Insurance card

Birth preferences (mine includes pertinent details – not a “plan” – like doctor, doula name and numbers, cord clamping instructions, medical intervention details, postpartum care and newborn care instructions)

Copy of Hospital Registration (normally your doctor will do this but make sure to have a copy)

Gloves to wear to hospital

Mask to wear to hospital

Disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces in room

Hand sanitizer

Your own pen to write with instead of using one everyone else touches

Pillows for car ride and hospital

Extra Long cell phone charger

Small tripod to have phone free standing for family or doula to FaceTime since they’re no longer allowed


Cozy Robe

Snacks (Rice-cakes, nuts, dried berries, Gatorade, Smart Water, Kind Bars)

Birth gown with back and chest access

Birth ball

Flameless candles

Socks with traction grip

Bed sheets

Eye masks for him and her because hospital lights can be harsh

Massage oil

Flip-flops (to toss) instead of slippers


Nursing Pillow

Labor delivery hospital gown

Comfortable Nightgown (Also bringing this one)

Nipple cream (lanolin)

Pads/underwear/Adult diapers

Breast pads

Nursing Bras

Personal towel

Personal toiletries (don’t forget lip balm and hair ties)

Going home outfit


1 Footed onsie with front open so nothing has to come in contact with her face going over her head

1 Hats

2 Pairs of Socks

1 Mittens

2 Receiving blanket/swaddle

2 Burp cloth

1 Pacifier


1 Large black trash bag to put all dirty hospital things in to wash immediately when I get home

Car seat cover (to protect from germs when leaving hospital)

2 Extra towels (suggested by doctor to place baby on top of towel instead of directly on car set to protect from germs/virus spreading)


Shop the post


Some say not to bring a pacifier but it’s a lifesaver and nipple confusion is very rare. My mom had 7 kids and all nursed and took pacifiers. I suggest dr browns or MAM. I used dr browns when my daughter was born two years ago. About to have another baby in July! Usually your milk doesn’t come in so you may not need your pump. I’m doing a mix of my medela PISA and the Elvie this time around as well as nursing. Good luck!

One of the best thing I brought in the hospital was my air mist with essential oil scent of your choice, it changes the atmosphere of your room and especially the smell it takes off the hospital room smell, my nurses and guests notice it whenever they come in and they loved it. Here’s the link of what I have Lemon 300 ml Cool Mist Air Humidifier Ultrasonic Aroma Essential Oil Diffuser for Office, Home, Bedroom, Living Room, Study, Yoga, Spa; White Wood Grain with Multiple Lighting Options https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071CKC69S/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_nLaREbZNN1XN4

Also, you can bring your own wireless speaker if you want so you can listen to your choice of songs or song list while your in and after labor.

Iam told a portable hand held mist fan and is very handy to have at labour x

Don’t forget your own towel for your 1st post birth shower. Hospital towels are tiny and terrible! I’m on baby #5 and towel and my own pillows are my top 2 must haves!

If you are breastfeeding you won’t need a pacifier until baby is at least 4 weeks, it can confuse baby when latching & reduce your milk supply x

So frustrating that you have to think of things like masks, etc! You have a great list!
Wanted to mention a mistake I made. I was gifted a Mommy and Me hospital gown/onesie for the baby. Well, I wore my gown during labor and it was a mess, and then I changed into a hospital down right after labor. I should have just worn the hospital gown for labor and then changed into my own. Wanted to mention in case you wanted to save yours for any pics after.
I also have the Elvie pump. I took breastfeeding classes before birth and they said it wasn’t necessary to bring a pump, since they have one if needed. Your situation is obviously different than mine a year ago, so maybe you wouldn’t want to use a hospital pump during this time. My milk didn’t come in until I got home (like literally I can tell you the moment, it’s like wtf are my boobs going to burst…I recommend heating pads for that). Anyway, back to the Elvie. I liked it but ultimately switched to my spectra. It’s convenient, but it seemed to me like you could go about your day while pumping. Not the case. It leaked all over me. Basically I had to just sit still. I also was fortunate to have a decent supply, so I would often have to pause and empty the bottle and then restart. Because of those reasons, I switched to my spectra 1 with the kiinde system and that worked better for my situation. I did find the Elvie fairly easy to clean, and it’s convenient to throw in your bag.
Good luck and I hope everything goes smoothly! Congrats!

Would really recommend pillow cases for the dirty clothes to go in! I’m currently working out of a hospital in the UK and put my dirty clothes in a pillow case then into a trash bag. As soon as I get home I can grab the filled pillowcase and that can be put directly in the wash. That way I’m not handling my uniform.

This is the best nipple salve! They also make wonderful postpartum supplies for mama and baby toiletries too! All organic and non toxic. Is Freddie allowed to be at hospital?!

Hi Jenny! As a mom of 2, from both of my hospital experiences I would say you need more clothes for the baby. With my youngest, who is now 8 months I took with me 3 bodies (front opening, you really don’t want to put anything over her head at the beginning), 2 pairs of footed pants, 2 footed long sleeve onsies, 2 hats, a cardigan and a sleeping sack with a zipper in front (which I would definitely recommend for the first months! I used a swaddle blanket instead with my first and really loved the sleeping sack the second time around). With all that I didn’t have enough and my husband had to bring us some more things. Specially since you don’t know for how long you will have to stay, better safe than sorry xx

Hi! I haven’t had a baby myself, but what I’ve heard from people around me is that they always recommend bringing some knee-high socks to wear during birth (with or without traction grip). They say they’ve felt a bit less vulnerable and exposed. You bring what you want, just thought I’d forward it 🙂

I would add straws for drinking your drinks as it will be easier for Fred to help you whilst in labour. I’d be cautious about wearing long items and would advise separates which are easier to take off and won’t get get caught under you. Lastly look for car seat covers versus towels which could get in the way of the car seat belts which should sit flush against the baby. Oh and really lastly, For the baby: a little cotton hat and gloves. Enjoy the moment and remember your breathing – it really helps!

Loading cart ⌛️ ...
powered by chloédigital