Hospital Bag Checklist: What Do You Really Need to Pack?

Grinvalds / Getty Images

Grinvalds / Getty Images

When mamas to be go into nesting node, organizing becomes instinctual! High on your priority list should be packing your hospital bag…but don’t leave it ’til the last minute! By 36 weeks you should focus on what you need for yourself and the new baby. I recommend using your rolling carry on luggage. It will make your life so much easier than a duffle bag, especially if you are arriving to the hospital in the throes of full labor.

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag

Must-Haves For Mom


Paperwork:  Your ID, insurance cards and any other important documents. Keep these in an easily accessible place so your partner can easily find them as you are admitted. You may be too busy concentrating on your contractions.

Nursing Bra: If you’re planning on breastfeeding, be sure to have a bra to ensure easy access.

Pajamas/ Loungewear: If you are having a c-section or are spending more than one night in the hospital for any reason it will be nice to get out of the hospital gown and into your own clothes.  Bring a robe, sweatshirt or sweater too if you have room. 

Slippers or anti-slip socks: You’ll most likely be walking up and down the hallways and you’ll want something on your feet.

Underwear: Trust me when I tell you to bring your own. The hospital will supply you with some mesh underwear that are pretty uncomfortable, so bring a few pair that you don’t mind tossing. Or better yet, bring disposables like Depends.

Cell phone charger:  Be sure you have your charger handy. Besides needing a phone for obvious reasons (calling, texting, and updating your social accounts with your exciting news) you’ll want your phone ready for those first precious photos. 

Toiletries (The works): Bring body wash, shampoo, and conditioner for that all important first shower after labor. Deodorant, toothpaste, and a toothbrush are necessities along with a hairbrush and hair ties. Don’t forget the lip balm and moisturizer – hospitals are dry, and

Going home outfit: Don’t expect your body to bounce back immediately. You may still look a couple of months pregnant so skip your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans and pack a comfortable maxi dress or leggings and a tunic. 

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