What to pack in hospital bag before baby

The first time I went to the hospital to have my baby I packed entirely too many unnecessary things in my hospital bag. Most sat there taking up space that should have been for things I actually needed. Here are some helpful things to think about so that you’re prepared.

First things first: What kind of bag

You will want to have a separate list for you and the baby as you both will need different things. Depending how long you stay and personal preferences will determine how big your bag will be. I honestly feel a small duffle bag or carry on bag/luggage will do. I am a c-section mama for both of my births so I knew ahead of time I would spend minimum of 2 days at the hospital and a small bag sufficed.

Now most recommendations keep in kind for c-section recovery is however 3-4 days. I pushed to be released both times after 48 hours and since thankfully there were no complications they obliged. It will all depend on your delivery, doctor and hospital policies.

For you the mama

You will absolutely want a nice, long, comfortable gown. I made the mistake of packing pants with an elastic band and it was awful. If you have a c-section whether planned or unplanned you will not by any means want any pressure on your abdomen therefore pants are unbearable. At least for me it was. This was true for a couple weeks afterwards as well.

I chose a knee length gown with a matching robe. You will want the robe for privacy especially if you have visitors. It will also come in handy when you need to walk around the floor. Trust me the nurses WILL make you wall around the floor. Ha ha.

It will also give you privacy from the oh so huge pads you will be wearing. Sorry to warn you. And lastly hospitals are kept very cold regardless of time of the year. So you’ll be glad to have it once moving around out of your bed covers.

Nursing Pillow

Again I learned this one the hard way. My sister actually had to run to Target to get me one! I personally love my Boppy pillow and you best believe I brought it with me to the hospital the second time around. You won’t have to worry about propping pillows around your gorgeous new, but really small bundle of joy. Even if that really small bundle of joy is actually 10 lbs. Eeek true story.

Also keep in mind you may need to try different latching positions so the pillow helps tremendously with that. But don’t worry there are also lactation consultants to help you at the hospital if needed.

It will also free your hands! I remember asking for a sandwich in the middle of the night because I was so hungry but not wanting to move my baby since he was nursing and fell asleep so comfortably. I didn’t have to. With the nursing pillow it allowed my arms to rest or eat or drink water.


What were helpful to add to your hospital bag were the following:

  • Hair brush
  • Hair tie
  • Make up remover wipes
  • Chapstick/lip gloss
  • Travel size lotion
  • Travel size body wash
  • Travel size shampoo

Now some of these will depend on your comfort level with the hospital items. I personally did not care for their bath products. Unlike the baby items, my hospital did not provide recognized brands so I preferred my own and 3 little bottles wouldn’t take up much space.

Now to bring or not to bring make up? I did both times as I wanted to look decent for when family came to visit. Honestly I didn’t use it really. The first time I was too in pain to care and the second well no visitors were allowed unfortunately.

I had my baby at the beginning of COVID so hospitals stopped allowing visitors which also meant no 48 hour photography that I had planned. If you are getting photos done or perhaps have a much less complicated birth to where you are more comfortable then you’ll actually want to look refreshed. Heck get your best friend to help you!

Lastly don’t forget your phone charger and your camera if you’d like. As well as any other electronic such as a tablet. You’ll hear everyone tell you to rest but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be too mesmerized and star struck by your new bundle of joy to sleep. The adrenaline is also a very real thing!

Now what NOT to pack:

Since we’re on the topic of what I brought and did not use. I would NOT pack the following in your hospital bag:

  • Toothbrush or toothpaste
  • Underwear
  • Pads
  • Socks
  • Soap
  • Any baby products such as diapers, body wash or wipes.

The hospital provides all of these and I can’t stress this enough; the mesh underwear is heavenly! It is the most comfortable thing you will wear regardless of how you gave birth. The second time around I asked for extra to take home AND I bought some from Amazon since recovering from c-section again didn’t want any pressure on stomach.

And as I mentioned above, the hospital provided  brand name baby products like Huggies and Johnson and Johnson. You will of course want to verify your local hospital does as well.  It’s entirely possible it can vary from hospital to hospital.

Now for baby

Extremely soft onesies. 3 should do. Keep in mind they’ll take baby several times for tests and bath so you’ll want to dress him or her after day 1.

Mittens! Newborn nails are sharp! And they absolutely will scratch themselves in a second. I strongly recommend these that aren’t too tight and don’t come off easily. I can’t tell you how often most of the mittens come off so easy which is exhausting to put back a million times.

An adorable SOFT take home outfit.

I brought this knitted outfit for my first son that was super cute but not so comfortable. Newborns skin is so so delicate. Think an outfit that’s buttery soft! Also consider a back up in case of any blow outs or spit ups. If you’re a first time mom this will be something you will do for years! Ha!

If you are looking for recommendations on must have top 5 baby products, you can find those here.



Scroll to Top