Hospital Bag Checklist – What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag-What Moms Really Need

I am 4 babies in at this point – and every time I think to myself ” I need a hospital bag checklist” when it comes time to pack that bag. I think every mom, no matter how many babies we have had, sort of worries about what to pack in their hospital bag.

It’s totally normal.  So now that I have had 4 babies I am updating this post – talking about what to pack, and what not to pack. C-section or vaginal.  I have done it all, and hopefully can guide you through the next steps.

This post may Contain Affiliate Links – originally written 7/19 updated 9/20

A Hospital Bag Checklist

Those few days in the hospital having a baby and recovering are filled with lots of aches and pains and the last thing you want is to ‘not have’ something you wanted.  I am a list person so a hospital bag checklist was a must for me!

That said – one of my biggest pieces of advice for moms is DON’T STRESS.  The hospital has everything you NEED, and in most cases if there is something you wanted someone could likely bring it to you in exchange for baby snuggles!

I am updating this post after having my 4th baby.  I have had 4 babies in different seasons, and the last one ended in a pretty bad emergency c-section.  Because of that I felt like this post needed to be updated with info that would help moms NO MATTER how the delivery of their baby goes.

mom packing hospital bag

What Should You Pack in Your Hospital Bag – Breaking Down the Hospital Bag Checklist

Okay so there are needs and wants.  Some people want to look picture perfect and get great photos in their time in the hospital.   Other people just want to bring only what they need for their time there.  There is no RIGHT way to do it.

 I will tell you that I am a bit of an in between.  Comfort and function come first, but I also blog and take pictures as my job, so bring a little of that stuff too.  I will make sure to break that down in this post!

pregnant mom in nordstrom pajamas

Most Important Thing – Paperwork!

You need insurance cards, drivers license, and pending the hospital sometimes forms pre filled out.  Be sure you have also registered if you need to online – sometimes that makes it easier and quicker when you arrive.

Another thing on the printable list is to have cash – this can be helpful for yourself or your partner to grab snacks in the vending machines.

baby girl goldie
shown – sign, and headbands that are linked

What to Wear:

For yourself clothing is the biggest thing!   Remember – the hospital has almost everything you NEED.  I am going to break down EXACTLY what I take in the clothing department on your packing list, but my suggestions are to keep things easy, comfortable, and stick with black bottoms.


I have felt really different after each baby, so I always bring a pair or shorts or PJ pants and then leggings.  I never know if I will prefer the feeling of one over the other, so I just like to have both.  Either way I suggest black just incase there are any bleeding issues.

 One thing I would suggest is a nightgown as well.  This one from Target is great.  After my 4th I had a c-section and had to wear compressors on my legs (I have had a blood clot after 2 of my other kids, so it was extra important.)  Having on a night gown made that a bit easier.  All in all – options are great, so you may as well throw one in.

Nursing Options

A great nursing tank is wonderful at the hospital.  I personally never did a nursing bra while there just stuck with the tank tops that kind of had the built in bra feature and forgot the bra.  You are topless and nursing so much of the time there really is no point.

I linked these pajamas below – but they are great for nursing a baby without buying nursing specific pajamas.

mom in nursing tank with newborn baby
wearing favorite nursing tank


You also want to bring slippers or sandals for walking around the hospital halls.  If you want bring some comfortable warm socks (but the hospital also provides those!).

I also always bring underwear for the way home.  I rock the mesh panties from the hospital during my stay, but I prefer to leave in my own.  That is optional, but in the images below are the postpartum panties that I have purchased for this time around.

One thing I will note – Buy panties that come in several different rises.  When I had Goldie via c section for a while I only wanted really high waisted underwear because anything else really bothered my incision. 

mom postpartum
This was right after my 4th with a whirlwind c-section. I had my blanket that is linked.

A light weight robe can be nice – again optional but I did really like that when I showered after having my babies.  I ALWAYS suggest that moms take a shower, wash and dry and fix their hair and do all of that before they go home.

Take a bit of time while tests are being run and the baby is being checked out to just take care of you, but keep in mind that it might be painful and you might be slow moving so having a robe for ease after is sometimes better.

Another item I brought after each baby was a belly binder of sorts.  I never used a technical one for postpartum but just basically Spanx!  Now keep in mind if you are having a scheduled c-section that will be given to you, so don’t worry about buying one.

big sister holding baby sister
Boppy pillow is especially helpful for siblings to hold baby

Last, is to bring something to wear home.  I normally wear leggings, a tank and either an open sweater (BUT NOT IN THE SUMMER) or a kimono.  I like to have something covering my lumpy pad-butt in leggings, but by no means think its a fashion show.

Go comfortable, and understand you will likely have barely lost any weight when you leave.  Just have something you feel comfortable wearing home.  (Sometimes due to the IV fluids I leave the hospital feeling puffier and bigger than when I arrived….which never feels great, but its a reality!)

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You want to have your phone chargers of course.  Other than that, I think bringing a laptop or iPad for watching tv shows is nice, and I always bring my nice camera and charger!  Another fun optional item that we may bring this time is our daughters Polaroid camera and film to take some fun pictures.

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Bring anything toiletry wise that you would bring on a 2 day trip.  I bring all my hair stuff because honestly you will have some down time with the baby getting tested and checked in the nursery. It is really nice to get fully showered and ready one time with help from the nurses watching the baby before you’re home and on your own.

The packing list will have this broken down better incase you want a full breakdown!

As a side piece of advice, one thing I always do when I am prepping my hospital bag is buy extra of almost all makeup.  I know that sounds excessive, but I love that when I get back from having the baby I have a backup of all my favorites for those newborn days.

One thing to make sure you have is CHAPSTICK – your lips can get really dry in the hospital.

To see all my makeup and beauty product favorites check out this page.

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mom with newborn baby

Other Somewhat Necessary Items:

A blanket from home can be really nice while you’re there, and I personally think you should bring your boppy (or other similar) pillow.  I also always bring my babies baby book to get a second set of footprints done right in the book.

For my favorite blankets I always buy Saranoni.  Seriously, I feel like I am a blanket hoarder, and they are the BEST.

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Newborn baby hospital bed sign

For the Baby:

I pack my bag, then a separate diaper bag for the baby when I come to the hospital.  Typically I do some kind of bag for me then load the diaper bag up for the baby.

 Understand that 99% of this is ALL OPTIONAL.  They will have everything you NEED for the baby.  That said, I always bring at least 1 swaddle blanket, 2 outfits, and a hat or headband.

Depending on the going home outfit sometimes that includes shoes and such, but I suggest 2 outfits for heading home is because with Jack we did just 1 and he pooped all over it before we even left haha!  So start the backup packing life.

(as a side note – no its not in your bag, but I will also remind you that you need baby’s carseat to leave the hospital)

baby boy dressed to leave hospital

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Some other fun optional items include:  Anything for announcing the name, and doing fun photos.  I am doing this adorable banner from Glitter party co and SO EXCITED ABOUT IT. (don’t forget a roll of tape if you go this route).   I also am doing the name bow below.

 Like I said above, the baby book is optional, but I personally think such a great way to track those first days.  This time around I went with this one and it is my favorite baby book of the 4 I have so far!

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The hospital bag checklist below can be printed and set aside for you to use when it comes time to pack!

PRINT HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST HEREprintable hospital bag checklist

And because I know that sometimes what we really want is just to click and pack – so below is what went in my bag, as well as the bag itself for baby number 4.  This is my true round up of what moms really need in their diaper bag.

What real moms need in their hospital bag round up image

What Was in My Hospital Bag

1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |  12  |  13  |  14  | 15  |  16  |  17  |  18  |

19  |  20  |  21  | 22

  1. Slippers – I packed my Ugg slip on slippers and loved them.
  2. Blanket – these are by far my favorite blankets ever – the best blankets!
  3. Bag – I have two of these bags and stand behind them being the best bags for all things – I use them all the time to load up with stuff for my kids to go places – so it is a bag that will serve you well after.
  4. Belly Binder type spanx – I feel like it is worth noting that this is not to ‘get skinny’ – I just personally liked the feeling of being more sucked in because the loose belly feeling was hard for me.
  5. Nursing Tank – this was by far my favorite tank with Goldie and it can be worn pregnant too.
  6. Nursing Bras – I bought this three pack and they were SO COMFORTABLE.  Hands down the best nursing bras I have ever tried.
  7. Newborn photo set 
  8. Pajamas – these are the best ever! Honestly these are my favorite pajamas for nursing and even just in general!
  9. Baby book – I love having a baby book.  I always bring it so I can get foot prints!
  10. These are my favorite shorts for under dresses but were great under night gowns and such too! They help keep things felt sucked and tucked but also keep you cool.  I wore them a lot under dressses for the postpartum time too.
  11. This is my toiletry bag – I love it and it is simple.
  12. Postpartum leggings – leggings are my go t0 and these are my favorite!
  13. Robe – this is the robe I have and I seriously love it.
  14. Boppy pillow
  15. Tank Tops – these are the best 3 pack of tanks for nursing.
  16. These headbands are one size fits all – they are the best the whole first year and fit newborns which I can’t say is true for a lot of headbands.
  17. Camera – we brought our kids camera to the hospital and it was so fun to capture some special pictures!
  18. Diaper bag – I have been using this diaper bag since my 3rd.  I swear to you I have tried them all and it is the BEST bag.  I have a full review of it here if reading more about the bag would be helpful!
  19. Lily Pad Breast Pads – These breast pads are seriously the best ever.  I have used them with all 4 kids and they are great.  You just wash them each night.
  20. External charger – this was one thing that I swear was the best thing to pack with my last baby. Sometime there isn’t a plugin very convenient so I brought this external charger fully charged and it changed my phone the entire time I was at the hospital.  It was especially helpful with my 4th when I had a c-section because when my husband was gone I could still charge my phone.
  21. Dyson hair dryer – I know this is a splurge, but this has been my fav item for years.  That said I stand behind packing your blow drier if having a good one helps.  IF NOT don’t pack one – your hospital probably has one!
  22. Carseat – we splurged and went with this carseat with Goldie and it was the best, but either way make sure you bring the carseat you have for baby.

Hopefully this helps you with what moms really need in their hospital bag, and gives you fun ideas of what to pack.  Like I said in the first paragraph, never stress this because the hospital will provide you with anything you forget!!

Once baby is here be sure to check out this tab to see everything I loved month by month with baby #4!


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This was truly a round up of what moms really need in their hospital bag, and hopefully having a printable hospital bag checklist will be helpful in your packing and last weeks of pregnancy.  If you have any questions leave me a comment below or feel free to DM me on Instagram (@arinsolange).

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