Hospital Bag – Packing Your Hospital Bag for Labor & Delivery!

The hospital bag can be so overwhelming. While some of us plan to spend less than a day in the hospital others need to plan for up to five days. Regardless of what your birthing plan is you need to remember that things happen and sometimes no matter how much planning you do things happen. Your 24-hour pit stops to have a baby could turn into a week-long event. After having a breech baby who refused to turn I learned this the hard way.

Hospital Bag - Packing Your Hospital Bag for Labor & Delivery!

Granted, Gavin was a scheduled section but I did try getting him to turn right up until they made that actual cut. I was more prepared with Gavin as with Johnny my husband packed half the bag. I thought I would share my tips on packing a diaper bag for whatever path your delivery takes you so you aren’t left stranded without something you wish you had.

One bag. This doesn’t translate all the time to your diaper bag. This bag needs to work for both of you and not just baby. I’ll be using my Get Carried Away Tote in Floral Nightingale. I got it to originally be my diaper bag and yes I know I’m having a boy but this time around I’m having a bag that I like too. This bag is a pretty good size and will accommodate both of us well.

When I had Johnny I packed only for Johnny. I was left with an ugly Johnny (the clothing not my beautiful kid) while I was there and when it came time to go home I realized I had sent home the clothing I came in with home. I sent hubby home to get me something to wear and he thought he was doing me a favor grabbing my favorite pair of size 2 jeans. Problem? I had gained 80 pounds that pregnancy and those jeans barely made it past my knees. This resulted in me bawling my eyes out in the bathroom for over an hour to the realization I wasn’t fitting in those again. I had to wait for him to go back home and get me a pair of my maternity pants.

With Gavin, the first thing in the bag was clothing for me to go home in but the was it for clothes. I had a section so for five days I wore the ugly hospital gown. This time, I considered getting one of those fashionable hospital gowns but really $40 for a gown I’d never wear again? I couldn’t justify it. So I spent $50 and got myself a great 3 piece nursing pajama set that I could use over and over again. The one I got is identical to this Long Sleeve Tie Front Nursing 3 Piece Set but dark gray. I’ll be able to use it while I nurse, place a robe on when people visit and use it regularly when I get home. They didn’t have this one in stock when I went to the store to try them on but I’m definitely buying the set pictured because I love the gray one I have.

Everyone remembers that baby needs an outfit to go home in but what about the outfit for when everyone visits? I’d bring 3-4 outfits that baby can wear while you’re there. Make sure to pack both NB and 0-3 month sizes. Outfits that include a hat is a plus. Remember simplicity is key. You will have a lot of your plate and outfits that have buttons, and 20 pieces of it aren’t for the hospital. Stick to simple. I also have a NB gown that has a hat, mitts, and booties. I bought this outfit at Carter’s. Pretty much our whole first-year wardrobe for all my babies came from Carter’s.

The baby book. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you where the boys baby books are. I think they are in the shed. In my defense, we had a house fire and while I was able to pull these from the rubble they are dirty and gross and as a result in the shed. Are they completely filled out? Not a chance. I’m the person who fills them out for the first month and then never goes back to them. However, I know you will find their baby bracelet, my bracelet, and their footprints along with all their info. I was going to skip the baby book but I can’t bring myself to have something for one child and not the others. Both my boys have this adorable Suzy’s Zoo book pictured below. I’ve been on a hunt for the same one for Sawyer but I haven’t been so lucky so I’m still searching.

Other paper products I recommend for your hospital bag:

You’ll want something to take notes on when you talk to any specialist. You’ll have ideas that pop into your head, whatever.
Thank you cards, Stamps, & Address Book
Once I got home the time was gone. I was so glad I did this while AT the hospital. I stuck them in the mailbox on my way home.
Do you have a birthing plan? insurance forms, etc. My hospital takes these things in advance but you may want a copy on you just incase.

The hospital will have basic needs on hand if you forget something but if you are like me you just like having your own things. I have my vacation pack with all my needs inside. I’ll be able to go in for the simple things and take the whole pack in for my shower. Having the hook keeps me from having to put things on lower shelves and be bending over constantly. In the event you need a c section you’ll want to avoid bending over at any cost.

Basic toiletries you’ll need: shampoo, conditioner, hair ties (several), brush, hair dryer if you must, soap, lotion, face lotion, face soap, make-up, deodorant, finger nail clippers, nail file, q-tips, chapstick, etc. Some of these you won’t need and some you will. I can’t go without a nail file and a hair tie and I know others that won’t give birth without a face of makeup on. Keep personal preferences to your daily needs in mind.

Electronics & Entertainment
I get you are giving birth but you’ll want electronics for both before and after. When I was in the hospital for Gavin I was there for a week and bored beyond belief. I don’t sleep well when I’m not at home so at three am I was going crazy. Gavin was taken from me every night because our chest to chest resting was raising his temperature too much and I was left alone in my room with nothing to do. Many sites will tell you to leave these things at home but with Gavin, I was stir crazy in my room and would have died for something to keep me entertained.

Things I will be bringing:
iPad, basic camera and DSLR, batteries, magazines, and a word search book.

Make sure to check if your hospital has wi-fi. Download a movie for just in case, worse case you can watch it during a 2 am feeding at home. If you have a fancy camera make sure to grab a simple camera too. You’ll want your husband to be involved and when things get crazy around the actual delivery you’ll want to hand your camera out. One thing I’ve learned about fancier cameras is people get scared to touch them and it will result in you missing great photos. I’d rather an okay pic than no pic at all. I do however want my nice camera there for the next morning when I’m all alone with my baby and want to have some fun.

I know many of you might be there for just the 24 hours but if you end up there for a week like I did you’ll be so glad you took the time to be prepared. My 48 hour trip with Johnny I still was lacking so much. I’m the girl who’d rather have it than be without it.

Now I get that some of you use some of these things right up until you give birth. Solution? Write these things down on an index card and leave it on top of the pre-packed bag. If you are unsure if your husband would know where to find something make sure to leave the location next to it. This will make sure you walk out the door with everything you need in your hospital bag and if you go into labor and need your husband to go home for the hospital bag he can easily find it and everything you need and get back to you as quickly as possible.

Did I forget something?

Leave me your thoughts in a comment so I can add it to my own bag and my readers can too!


  1. Jen @ After The Alter says

    I packed a seriously great bag for labor. The biggest tip I got was to pack 2 bags…1 for L&D and one for my room. When I went into labor I didn’t need ALL my things. Plus the L&D was small so I didn’t need to fill it up with stuff. Great ideas for the bag though. I am an overpacker anyway!

  2. This is good stuff to know since my first baby is due in June! I need to start planning!!

  3. won says

    I remember with my son I had packed one of those rice bags you can put in the microwave. I was so glad to have it to use for my back labor. I’d recommend it to anyone….just in case.

    I’m excited for you. What a great time in your life.

  4. amy v says

    aww how i remember this wonderful time….my baby boy turns ONE tomorrow! (sniff sniff…) 🙂 That’s cute because I had that same outfit for him w/ the monkeys on it-that’s not the one we brought him home in but he did wear it and it’s even more adorable on! You seem to be all set-maybe bring an ereader if you have one? I have the Kindle Fire and love it-it would save space for books and things in your bag.

    annae07 at aol dot com

  5. Rachel A says

    When I had my son, I packed my own pillow! I knew I would just sleep better with it. I am also very scent sensitive, so I packed my favorite “smelly” lotion and some other essential oils. Didnt intrude on anyone else with them, just would dab a little on my pillowcase…something about the hospital smell just was not appealing when I had just given birth…then again I guess it wasn’t that appealing before I gave birth either!

  6. Jennifer says

    The first time around we barely used anything in our bag. Since our house was only about 5 minutes away my husband went home to shower/eat when we had other visitors. I loved the comfort items, I-Pod/Nice camera and my own pillow and will definitely take those again. I will take some big comfy pants I don’t care about or a nice pajama set like above to make it easy for breastfeeding and be comfy!

  7. I don’t think you forgot anything! This is a great list.
    I especially like that Long Sleeve Tie Front Nursing 3 Piece Set.
    Thanks for sharing the ideas!

  8. Sandy VanHoey says

    You picked out some adorable nursing pajamas, they are really cute. There’s just so much to remember when packing for delivery. How I remember those days. I remember I am always cold so took my electric blanket with me.

  9. Mary Withrow says

    My sister even took her own sheets, lol – really…The hospital gives you everything you need really, besides clothes and camera! They have a snack room, drinks, baby gift basket which contains tons of samples, diapers coupons. I would suggest items for the other children and activities to keep them busy while they wait on the new arrival

  10. Rebecca Parsons says

    This is great my daughter is due Oct 25th and she is in panic mode on what to put in her diaper. This little article should help set her mind at ease.

  11. Brandie says

    Black cheap yoga pants, cheap underwear. You’ll bleed very heavy and sometimes might leak alittle, also not knowing what size you’ll be, yoga pants are great. Compression stockings and a post partum girdle. The first 48 hours are crucial if you’re concerned with getting your pre-baby body back and not developing vericose veins. I like to wear regular pajamas with button down shirts and nursing tanks. Juice boxes and snacks so you aren’t hostage to the hospital – with my daughter I was in labor 24 hours, nothing to eat or drink, I had her at
    8:45 pm and they gave me a BAG LUNCH!!! I seriously could’ve cried!!!

    “Hello my name is” sticker makes an awesome birth announcement photo prop btw!

  12. Amy W says

    This really got my mind going… This is my second pregnancy and I want to be a little more prepared with a hospital bag… I didn’t bring hair spray or hair gel and I looked horrible in all of the photos.. I definitely want to bring some clothes for myself as well!

  13. Rebecca Orr says

    I was so unprepared with my first! I was a bit more prepared for my daughter. And now we are having number three. I making a list now so I have everything I need when the time comes to head to the hospital! Thanks for sharing these great tips Jenne!

  14. gianna borden says

    oooh i love all the stuff you recommended to pack! i need to start packing mine and getting stuff together as i am due next month and it’ll be here before you know it!!!

  15. Kim says

    that pj set is so cute—- I might look into! I love the comfy factor!

  16. Liz Ticona says

    Love the nursing pajama set …i’m definately investing on one this time around with my 2nd baby boy coming this July. for my firstborn I couldn’t justify spending $70 on a nice robe I saw at a department store (just like you) but I wish I had gone on to look for a cheaper version since all the pictures have me on the ugly hospital gown least this time we’ll know better 🙂

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