What to Pack for the Hospital When Having a Baby

Preparing for Arrival

The time is officially here! It feels like we have been counting down to this little one’s arrival for much longer than 9 months! I am excited to share with you my hospital packing list!

We’ve checked almost everything off our Bringing Home Baby Checklist, and now it is time to get our hospital bags ready.

Learning from Past Pregnancies

Both of my previous babies were born in the hospital and if things go as planned, our newest will be as well.

Knowing that you are going to be away from your home and place of comfort can make you feel like you need to pack everything. Before you know it you might find yourself like me with my first. I had a large bag for myself, another for my husband, and even another for that baby that wasn’t even born yet.

But as a soon-to-be mom of three, I will let you in on a little secret… you don’t need as much as you think. And in truth, you won’t WANT as much you think. So by keeping your packing simple, you will save yourself time and energy before and after baby’s arrival.

Reasons to Keep Packing Simple

1. The hospital provides quite a bit

Each hospital is a little different but all hospitals provide supplies of some sort for baby and mama. If this is your first time delivering at a location, give the labor and delivery department a call. Ask them what is typically provided for birth. Our hospital provided all of this:

  • Diapers for baby. Enough to cover our stay and we still went home with two bags of newborn diapers.
  • Wipes. Just like the diapers, we had enough to cover our stay and then some.
  • Post-partum supplies for mom. From pads to peri-bottles the wonderful mesh panties, the hospital will provide
  • Clothing and blankets for baby. Most hospitals will provide receiving blankets and simple shirts for baby to wear if you would like.
  • Breastfeeding supplies. If your hospital has an active lactation department they will often provide nipple creams, gel pads, and perhaps even pumping supplies.
  • Labor and birth tools. I will be having a doula who will provide the extra tools for pain management during labor. Additionally, our hospital provides music, birth balls, squat bars, and aromatherapy.

Finding out what your hospital will provide will help to eliminate these supplies from your own packing list. Now of course if you are wanting to use different items, you will need to pack those, but otherwise, you will be covered.

2. Post-partum unpacking

When you head home after the birth of your little one, all that you packed (and then some) will go home with you. By keeping your packing simple and light, you will reduce what needs to be unpacked when you get home.

Those first days home need to be about recovering and bonding, not about getting things put away. If you keep your packing minimal you won’t be searching through bags looking for things you need in those precious days.

3. Limit what goes to the hospital

Labor and delivery aren’t always without panic and hurriedness. We’ve all seen the jokes in shows of mom being pushed into the hospital in a wheelchair and dad bogged down with bags. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that to be the start of my birthing experience.

The plan is to keep our packing as light as possible so our transition into the hospital is smooth.

My Simple Hospital Bag Packing List

When it came to packing for the hospital this time, I decided to focus on what would be most beneficial for our labor, delivery, and recovery.

This list is what I will be bringing to the hospital but remember to pack in a way that reflects your needs and your birth plan.

The Essentials

  1. Hospital forms, ID, and insurance cards
  2. Copies of your birth plan

For Mom

Hospital packing list
  1. (2) Nursing Tanks or comfy tops: if you plan to breastfeed the nursing tanks will make nursing easier. No matter how you plan to feed, make sure your clothing post-partum is comfortable for you.
  2. (2) Yoga pants/comfy bottoms: Those first few days will be all about comfort so no need to break out anything fancy.
  3. Nursing bra
  4. Undies and Socks: now is the time to break out those good ol’ granny panties. Post-partum is messy and well, you’ll want the coverage. Having socks is great for cooler rooms.
  5. Toiletries: To keep this part simple I purchased travel-sized toiletries. This will save me from having to pack larger containers and will keep me from forgetting anything.
  6. Chapstick
  7. A pillow and blanket from home: The hospital will provide bedding but it is comforting to have something from home.
  8. Flip flops: For the shower or just walking about. Flip flops are great because they are easy to slip on and at the end of the day if they get gross, they are easy to toss.
  9. Camera, SD card, charger, tripod, laptop, and laptop charger
  10. Cell phone, charger
  11. Journal: I love being able to jot down notes about those first few days.
  12. Belly Binder: this binder has been with me through all my births. It is durable and helps you feel supported post-partum. Even moms who are not c-section mamas can benefit from this core support.
Hospital packing list from an experienced mom

For Labor/Delivery

  1. Snacks and water bottle: Birth is a marathon and keeping fueled and hydrated is a priority.

For Baby

Hospital packing list for baby
  1. Blanket/swaddle: I make each of our little ones a blanket so this will be brought for pictures and snuggles
  2. Nursing pillow: Personally I enjoy having my Boppy Pillow after birth for nursing.
  3. Pump (if desired)
  4. Coming home outfit
  5. Sleeper(s): I will be bringing 2 sleepers as our hospital does not provide full-length clothing, only small shirts for baby.
  6. Wild Bird Sling: I love babywearing and I want to get started asap!
  7. Carseat
hospital packing list for baby

For Partner

  1. Clothes
  2. Toiletries
  3. Pillow and blanket from home
  4. Cell phone and charger


  1. Sibling gifts: when Asher was born we planned a special gift for him “from” Ellery. It was a great way to introduce the new baby. We plan to do the same this time around.
  2. Treats for the birth team: Everyone loves snacks and treats so I have prepared a basket of small goodies for my birth team.
  3. Shirts/Props for hospital pictures: A sweet friend of mine made shirts for the kiddos and I am excited to include them in some pictures after baby girl is born.

Aside from the Hubs things and the gifts/treats, all of this fits into a single duffle bag. This means one bag will be coming into the hospital and unpacking when we get home won’t be overwhelming.

The ultimate hospital packing list

Pack what will benefit YOU

At the end of the day packing for birth is as personal as your birth itself. Lists like these should be merely a guide. Remember to pack items that will be helpful and useful for your birth journey. Each item you pack should be packed because you find it necessary for your birth plan.

What do you plan to include?


Hospital packing list


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