The Hospital Bag: Less is More

packing tips for the hospital bag
Image via Jessica Lynn

For my first pregnancy, my bags were packed and ready to go at a moment's notice — from the beginning of the third trimester. A bit extreme, I know, but I didn't want to be scurrying around my two-story house, throwing things in a bag at the last minute.

The result of being a little too prepared was that my “bag” was really a carry-on suitcase — expanded to the max — and several extra bags (one for snacks, one for electronics, one for my husband, etc.), and they were all packed full to the brim like we were about to embark on a two-week vacation. I scoured the Internet for “hospital bag lists” and followed them to the letter, throwing everything I thought I might need into a bag.

Basically, I had no idea what I was doing.

This time around, I'm taking a less-is-more approach. I still have a suitcase (because there's no way I'm going to lug a bag with me when I can wheel something behind me), but everything I need for my husband, the new baby, and myself fits snugly inside with room to spare.

Here's what fills that perfectly packed bag.

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Image via Target


I basically raided the travel-sized section at Target and picked up shampoo and conditioner, a loofah, body wash, face wash, deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

hospital bag nursing tanks
Image via H&M

Nursing Tanks (x 2)

I'm bringing two since spit up and blowouts are a drag, and I want a backup just in case I need an extra. I basically lived in these the last time. (These tanks from H&M are my favorite!)

hospital bag maternity sweater
Image via Target

Long-sleeved Sweater and/or Cardigan

To cover up when visitors come over and in case it's chilly in our room.

{ MORE: 5 Unexpected Ways a Doula Can Provide Support }


hospital bag yoga pants
Image via Old Navy

Comfy Pants (x 2)

A pair of gauchos and maternity yoga pants since I still looked/felt at least six-months pregnant when I left. (Yoga pants and gauchos from Old Navy.)

hospital bag nursing bras
Image via Target

Nursing Sleep Bras (x 2)

One to possibly wear in the pool for laboring and another clean/dry one for later. (These from Target are comfy.)

hospital bag yoga shorts
Image via Old Navy

Yoga Shorts

To wear while laboring or after delivering.

hospital bag flip flops
Image via Target

Flip Flops

To wear in the shower and around the room. I'm not sure how well they clean the floors, and I don't want to walk around with bare feet.

hospital bag non skid socks
Image via Amazon

Non-Skid Socks

To keep my feet warm and so I don't slip if I'm holding the wee little one.

{ MORE: What to Do When You're Scared to Give Birth }


hospital bag nipple cream
Image via Amazon

Small Bag with the Extras

Hair brush, chapstick, mints (because sometimes you forget to brush your teeth — lesson learned from last time), nipple cream (I know they'll probably have some, but this is my favorite, so I'm taking it with me), extra hair ties, anti-bacterial sanitizer, face wipes (to wipe off the sweat — labor can be like running a marathon!).

hospital bag water bottle
Image via Amazon

In the Front Pocket

Birth plan, family contact info, my favorite water bottle, cell phone, a book/Kindle — just in case there's downtime (one can hope).

hospital bag snickers
Image via Snickers

Can't leave out my partner in all this. For him, we're bringing:

  • Electronic stuff: Laptop, phones, chargers, camera, etc.
  • Set of clothes: It'll be nice for him to change clothes, too.
  • Toiletries: Toothbrush, (he'll use my toothpaste), and deodorant.
  • Some loose change: The hospital has on-call room service, but sometimes you just need a Snickers.
hospital bag baby onesie
Image via buy buy baby

The most important part of the hospital visit is the new little one coming home with us. I'll be bringing the following for the baby:

  • Coming home outfit: The same one I wore home from the hospital and the same one my daughter wore home.
  • Two onesies: Not really necessary, but I can't resist teeny weensy little clothes. I'm taking a cute little number that says “Love Bug” on it and another that says “Little Sister.”
  • Cute accessories: An adorable headband and an itty-bitty hat for the hospital photos.
  • Car seat: This will stay in the car, but I'll put it on the list.
  • Blanket: This will also stay in the car for the ride home.
hospital bag packing tips
Image via Jessica Lynn

That list is a vast difference from the first time around, and I feel good about it. I'm skipping the ginormous Boppy, and I'm not bringing any “care” items for myself; the hospital will have all I need until I get home (yup, huge mesh undies and all).

With the exception of some lipstick that will be in my purse, I'm skipping makeup, and I don't see a personal need for a robe or nightgown.


The only other big item we're taking is a yoga ball (our hospital doesn't provide them), but it'll stay in the car until I decide if I want to labor on it or not (last time I didn't want to even look at the thing).

{ MORE: 7 Essential Tips To Feel in Control During Childbirth }

What do you think about this list? Did you over-pack the first time, too? Is there anything vital I'm missing?


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What do you think?

The Hospital Bag: Less is More

Jessica Lynn is days away from popping out her second child—another girl—and is counting down the minutes until she can bend enough to tie her own shoes again. When she’s not dreaming of drinking wine again, she’s trying to keep up with her active almost-two-year-old daughter. She’s an accidental southern girl living in Georgia, thanks to the military; her husband just returned from his sixth deployment, and she’s extremely happy to have him back home in time for the birth. Jessica's ... More

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  2. Jennifer says:

    I completely agree! With my first I definitely over packed. The “list” said to bring your own pillow, pump, boppy, diapers, laptop… a plethora of things you don’t need (sort of like the registry list at places like babies r us). Second baby I took pretty much exactly what you did in a medium sized duffel- and that duffel had room for snacks for me and daddy. Don’t over pack.

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