Packing a Hospital Bag – What do I really need?


Being a first-time mom and not having any clue what to pack for the hospital led me down a seemingly never-ending rabbit hole of blog posts. There were so many contradicting posts in relation to certain items. 

Image of an expecting mom, sitting cross legged on a white bed, making a list on a clipboard, planning things to take to the hospital. Also pictured: a blue diaper bag, 2 baby bottles, and a pacifier.So, while it’s still relatively fresh, here’s what I packed for everyone and how it was useful! 

For me:

A friend gifted me with a tote bag and specifically mentioned me using it as a hospital bag. So that’s where I started. It is a simple Lauren Conrad bag from Kohl’s, if you are having a girl there is a matching mini version for her too! 

From there I included the following:


  • Mini shampoo + conditioner 
  • Throw-away toothbrush + toothpaste 
  • Travel-sized lotion 
  • Travel-sized body spray
  • Hair product (just my mousse, not everything I use on a usual basis)
  • Hair wrap towel 
  • Face wipes/makeup remover wipes 
  • Deodorant
  • Hair ties


  • Slippers
  • Three pairs of pajama pants
  • Long sweater (or a robe if you have one)
  • Comfy shirts/nursing tanks
  • Compression leggings (for the ride home)
  • Sports Bra (nursing bra also works)

Packing body spray or perfume may seem silly and unnecessary, but after my first shower post-baby being able to sit in bed and smell like home made the stay a little easier. Usual scents can be calming on a normal basis, but when you think of the stress you’ve just been through (or will go through) a familiar and comforting scent can be a lifesaver. 

There were a few times when I was nursing my son and I found it was much easier on me to nurse without a shirt on and using my sweater to cover up as needed. My sweater also came in handy when I was walking the halls. I didn’t feel the need to be completely “put together” if I needed to walk when I was able to throw on a sweater. 

Face wipes were one of my most used toiletry items! I didn’t expect it when packing them I had even assumed I wouldn’t use them. By the end of the stay, I had almost used the entire pack. Immediately after my c-section (post-recovery) I was able to wipe the hours of labor off of my face. They were also helpful for the random hot flashes and chills that inevitably occurred as my body adjusted. If being used to cool off or to wash my face because I was too cold to stand, they were a toiletry MVP. 

After an emergency c-section having compression leggings for the ride home were a huge help. Even though there was still pain and discomfort I didn’t feel like I was falling apart. 

For my husband and the baby, I packed their items together. I also made sure to pack an empty tote bag for whatever the hospital gave us to bring home, plus dirty clothes. 

Image of a newborn baby, laying in a bassinet, wrapped in a receiving blanket wearing a knitted blue hat. In the background you can see the new mom laying in the hospital bed.Also, to help save space my husband and I shared as many toiletries as possible. 


  • Two pairs of pajama bottoms
  • Jeans
  • Three t-shirts
  • Socks
  • Blanket
  • Snacks 


  • Two blankets
  • Socks
  • Outfit specifically for pictures
  • Letterboard for pictures
  • Three onesies 
  • Two pairs of pants 
  • Two sleepers/footie pajamas 


For our cell phones, I specifically purchased a 3 pack of 6 foot charging chords. I kept two in my bag and one in my husband’s. We also brought two external batteries. This was helpful while I was in labor and my husband was not able to get near a plug for a while and needed to charge his phone. It was also helpful for me post-c-section when I couldn’t bend much. I was able to have my phone charging on the tray versus having it in the plug and needing to stretch or turn to get it.  

Being able to bring home a bundle of joy without of bundle of mess was helpful for the hospital to home transition. 

Image of baby clothing laid out, ready to pack. Clothing includes a fuzzy white jacket with hood, two blue onesies and one white onesie, folded up. The text overlay reads: Packing a Hospital Bag: What I really Need: Coastal Bend Mom Collective


What to read more? Check out some of these birth stories from the archives!