5 Things You Need for the Perfectly Packed Hospital Bag

hospital bag packing

“I’ve had my hospital bag packed for months!” my patient proudly exclaims to me.

It’s almost a badge of honor and the stuff of movies—packing the perfect hospital bag and having it waiting and ready by the door.

So what exactly should you pack in the hospital bag? Here are my labor and delivery nurse recommendations for packing the perfect hospital bag:

Image via Flickrpenelope waits


Laptop or tablet. If you are a first-time mom, labor can take some time. As in, 14-16 hours time. And if you are being induced or plan on an epidural, your labor may be extended even longer. Some women actually find the early stages of labor, while uncomfortable, tolerable in terms of pain and find that they are actually a bit, well, bored. You might want to pass some time catching up on your favorite show or keeping your blog readers updated on your labor.

Image via Flickr/ thms.nl


Snacks for your partner. While you most likely will not be eating during labor, your partner will need to stay nourished and hydrated in order to provide you the best possible support. He or she may be too concerned to leave you to forage for food while you’re in labor, so be sure to throw a few portable snacks into that bag – a granola or protein bar and some juice or Gatorade should do the trick. I’ve seen one too many dads just about hit the floor, so prevention is key! If you’re anything like me, feel free to sneak a few treats for yourself in there for after the baby is born. Chocolate covered raisins, anyone?

Image via Flickr/ bigal_60714



Shampoo and conditioner. Just last week at work, I was helping a new mother up to the shower and asked her if she had brought any shampoo or conditioner she wanted me to set up for her. She looked at me blankly. “Oh,” she said. “I didn’t even think to bring that stuff — I was just thinking I was going to a hotel!” Unfortunately, a hospital is not a hotel. And while the nursing staff often chips in and provides their own shampoo and conditioner to patients, toiletry items aren’t usually part of the package – and if they are, they come at a price. Hospitals will bill you for every last thing you use, so if you have some extra hotel shampoos lying around, toss them into your bag, just in case.

Image via Flickr/ lindsay.dee.bunny


Baby clothes and blankets. This one might sound like a no-brainer, but a lot of people think that you can take the baby clothes and blankets that the hospital provides you with home. While I can’t speak for every institution of course, I know that in our hospital, linens are not provided at discharge. Our hospital washes and reuses all the baby onesies and blankets, so it might get kind of difficult to replace them after each and every delivery. Plus, and I say this with all due respect for my profession, but you don’t want to take hospital linens home – yours are much nicer.

Image via Flickr/ Rita H Cobbs



A touch of home. After I had my third child, my sister came to visit me in the hospital and brought me my very favorite scented lotion. I can’t explain it, but slathering myself in that familiar and comfortable scent made me so happy. It was a small bit of pampering after a rather rough pregnancy and I will never forget how comforting it was to have a small touch of home with me in those whirlwind first few hours. When I think back to my son’s newborn days, they are intermingled with the lovely scent of Moonlight Path. I encourage you to pack something small, whether it be your favorite pillow or blanket, or a scented lotion, to bring touch of home to your hospital stay.  

Did I miss anything? What would you recommend to pack for the hospital?

Image via Flickr/ The Classy Kat



{Related: 15 Tips for Saving Money on Your Summer Vacation}

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5 Things You Need for the Perfectly Packed Hospital Bag

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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  1. Rebekkah says:

    I have until June 3rd but I like to be prepared and love all the advice on what to pack especially the toiletries thing wouldn’t have thought of that

  2. LIZ says:

    i brought my pilates ball to help my go tru pain

  3. Holly says:

    i have had csections with every child i make sure i bring a soft wash cloth with me because the hospital ones are really rough and actually made it so much more uncomfortable to wash the incision at the hospital when i had to remove the tape

  4. Mrs. Wing says:

    When i had my first son, i brought my mp3 (other music) with me. A shirt with the smell of my cats on it. I already have my bag packed, and i still have until June 19th.

  5. Acventers says:

    I still have about a month – so I haven’t packed a bag yet, but will probably do so within the next few weeks.

  6. Misty says:

    Robe, chargers for electronics, book, List of numbers for hubby to call, toiletries, snacks for hubby. Camera! extra socks and outfit and blanket for baby and don’t forget the carseat!

  7. And also a charger for all of your electronics (nobody likes or wants a dead battery at this special time). but this really helped me out. Thank you 🙂

  8. Heather says:

    Bring slippers too. The stockings the hospital gives you are so uncomfortable and not very warm. A robe is nice too to keep warm and keep everyone from seeing your butt when you have to walk around. Make sure the robe and slippers are not expensive though so you can just throw them away if they get blood on them.

  9. Tia says:

    Brush or comb and a pair of comfy pjs (easy open front for breastfeeding). Hospital gowns are not fun to walk around in once you start exercising.

  10. my baby boy is due on July 12 and one woman reccomended that i pack a nail file. i am not sure if it is just because i am going to be a first time mom but i say it is a great idea. In case one of your nails chips you can just file it down so you don’t end up scratching your brand new baby.

  11. I couldn’t see the list earlier, but it’s back now. My advice is pack a few entertainment items (laptop/books) just in case–with our 3rd baby we thought delivery would be so fast (really–actually worried about making it to the hospital given 1st and 2nd), we barely had any of that stuff–and we were waiting for our little man for 6-8 hours. Also, with the 3rd I remembered to bring some cute clothes for the professional baby pics they come to your room to take, but a matching blanket for backdrop would have been nice too, and I forgot that they also want Mom & Dad in some of those… so don’t feel bad bringing some items to make yourself (and your partner) look good, and maybe even a cute and comfy nursing top/gown. And don’t forget your tech to keep everyone up to date and capture your own memories–camera/phones with chargers! I definitely agree with the snacks for you and partner, the hair band, and personal toiletries for both of you as well–that pretty much rounds out my list, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot with the 4th coming soon!

  12. Kristy says:

    I can’t see any list. Only links to other articles.

  13. LeAnna says:

    I had all of this stuff in my bag when i had my son in January, and didn’t end up usining the laptop and snacks during labor. We didn’t have time! Lol. While most first labors are, like she said, 14-16 hours…mine was 3.5. We were definitely not expecting that. Lol. Don’t know if I could have handled a longer one. Though to put it into perspective: I was dilated at a 4-5 for 2+ weeks

  14. Geena says:

    if you have long hair, I recommend a scrunchie.

  15. Emily says:

    This is definitely the most helpful and practical list I’ve seen. I remember packing a bag for my first, and probably not needing anything. I would suggest a change of clothes for hubby if he plans on staying at the hospital until you are released.


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