Postpartum, Pregnancy

What should I pack in my hospital bag?!


At some point during your pregnancy, this becomes a frantic thought that spins around and around in your head. If you’re anything like Karen, you may be anticipating being in the hospital for the next several months and pack your entire house. Ok, so that was a little tongue-in-cheek (not really, just ask Zach), Karen really did pack far too much. Kristin was much more mindful of what was necessary while in the hospital, mostly because she obsessively read recommendations on what to bring.

Read on for our own recommendations – and let us know if we forgot anything you think is essential!

What to bring for you:


  • Birth Plan if you created one (it’s helpful to put your partner in charge of this)
  • Driver’s License/Identification
  • Insurance card
  • Clothes to go home in – Kristin double-dipped and used the same outfit she came to the hospital in…you are not that much smaller when you leave, even though you birthed a baby!

Nice to Have

  • Comfy pajamas/Robe – you’ll likely be in a hospital gown throughout your labor and right after the birth, but it is really nice to get in “regular” clothes after you shower and sleep
  • Lip balm – it gets dry in those rooms!
  • Toiletries (contacts, glasses, saline, toothbrush/paste/floss, razor, brush, shampoo)
  • Hair ties
  • Tech – phone, iPad, chargers, headphones
  • CHARGERS! It’s no use having your iPad with you to watch your favorite Parks & Rec episode if you run out of battery
  • Camera – if you have a nice one you want to use, otherwise your phone will work
  • Pillow with a unique pillowcase on it – that way it won’t get mixed up with hospital’s plain white ones
  • List of baby names

If you plan on breastfeeding

  • Boppy pillow – some hospitals provide you with a nursing pillow but it is nice to have your own so you can learn to breastfeed with yours
  • Nursing bras and pads – you can go with a nursing tank instead if you’d prefer, no one really expects you to wear a bra while you’re there

What to bring for baby:

  • Car seat (really this is the only thing you ABSOLUTELY need to remember for baby)
  • Going home outfit for baby – gotta get those cute pics!

What to bring for your partner: (for more detail on Karen’s list, see below!)

  • Change of clothes – at least underwear…you’re going to be there for a while, they deserve clean clothes too!
  • Toiletries – toothbrush, deodorant
  • Snacks – if you’re like us, you won’t be very hungry during labor, but they probably will be! You can also take a page out of our books and kick them out of the room to get food. 🙂

What NOT to bring?:

  • A ton of clothes – Karen lived in the hospital gown for the first day or so. Even after that, you’ll probably just want to be in PJs.
  • A bunch of food – if you have stuff you know you’ll want ASAP after birthing that baby, by all means, bring it. But the hospital will feed you and visitors will be glad to deliver food.
  • Slippers – the hospital will give you grippy socks
  • Pads, ice packs, underwear – They’ll give you matress-sized pads and blessed ice packs while you’re there, ask your nurses for extras to take home!!
  • A breast pump
  • Jewelry – Keep in mind you may swell up after birth, Kristin even left her wedding rings at home just in case
  • Books, magazines, etc. – stuff like this seems like a great idea since you may be in labor for a while, but more likely you’ll turn on tv or watch something on your phone or tablet…so reading material turns into heavy junk in your bag

*As a fun bonus, Karen is a bit of a nut and even made a “Hospital Packing List” for Zach. Yep, she had a lot of time on her hands. Note the things that have since been crossed out. These items were brought along but now looking back, these items were not used at all and were an extra thing to lug around.

Zach’s Hospital Bag:

  • Clothes, pajamas (warm and cool – unsure what the temp would be like at the hospital), boxers, socks, comfy shoes
  • Swim Trunks (some people like to get in the birthing tub with their partner, Zach did not end up doing this, nor would it have been helpful for me while I was in the midst of laboring)
  • Toiletries (Toothbrush/paste/floss)
  • Shower stuff (we lived close enough that Zach preferred to go home and shower rather than shower in the hospital room)
  • Pillows with unique pillowcases
  • Blanket
  • Phone and charger
  • Video games
  • Movie/TV shows: (I was induced, so we had a lot of downtime. This is not the case for everyone – Kristin and I actually discussed this and she said that she didn’t have that same downtime. To be honest, having DVDs was a bit much and nowadays with streaming, Netflix was sufficient)
  • Board Games (Nope – they take up a lot of space and really, your brain is not in the place to want to play board games. Also, any time the baby is not needing you, you just want to rest.)
  • Magazines (Maybe a book, but see the previous comment about board games. It’s just one more thing to bring.)
  • Snacks/Food
  • Beef jerky
  • Cheese
  • Crackers
  • Fruit
  • Bottled water

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