What to Pack In Your Hospital Bag

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Good morning!

On Sunday afternoon, Mal and I (successfully) toured the maternity ward of the hospital where I am going to deliver Baby H. in just a few weeks. (We didn’t miss the tour this time! Hooray!) The tour was really helpful and made me feel a little bit more prepared about what to expect when we arrive at the hospital. And, hey, I’m just glad we know where to go now! Haha!

On the tour, one of the nurses discussed some of the things we might want to bring with us since we’ll likely be at the hospital for 2-3 days. It still might be a little too early to pack my overnight bag, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least start thinking about it, right?

Here’s what I have on my list so far, but if the moms out there have suggestions, I’d love to hear them, especially the things that really made a difference in labor and your time at the hospital.

  • Installed car seat
  • A going-home outfit for Baby H.
  • A going-home outfit for me
  • Pajamas/sweats
  • Nursing bras and tanks
  • Flip flops
  • iPhone and charger
  • Camera
  • Undies (I need granny panties, right?)
  • Headband
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, Chapstick, face wipes)
  • Meds
  • Magazines
  • GU <— genius idea from my friend Caitlin!
  • Laptop (if Baby H. decides to come the weekend of the NE CrossFit Regionals)

Question of the Day

Anything else I should add to the list?

P.S. I heard a rumor it is Teacher Appreciation Day at Chipotle!



  1. Good list! If it wasn’t already mentioned, I’ve recommend bringing your own 16 or 32 oz water bottle. You will be wicked thirsty after delivery and those tiny disposable dixie cups are a joke. I was so glad I packed one when I had my second child.

    1. @Melisa: I would go as far to say a decent amount of your own snacks/drinks. I brought Luna and Kind bars just for some nutritious snacks that I knew I’d like. After you have the baby, you’ll be up at all hours of the day/night and having good snacks from home is always nice.

  2. I packed way more PJs/clothes than I ended up needing. I lived in the hospital gowns, the mesh undies, a comfy robe and slippers/socks. There’s lots of blood, so that way I didn’t have to worry about staining any of my stuff!

    1. @Angie: I totally agree! I didn’t want to ruin any of my good clothes! Unfortunately you are a bit messy for those first few days!

  3. The best thing I brought for myself was a pillow from home since the hospital ones are pretty flat and uncomfortable.

    I have to say I really over packed too and ended up bringing things I never used. Just keep in mind that you will have lots of visitors that would be happy to bring you things if you really need them.

    Not sure if anyone else suggested this, but I planned ahead and brought a couple of surprises for my hubby. Labor is so much focused on the mom but it can be hard for the dad too. I was stubborn and resisted a c-section and my labor lasted 42 hours so my husband appreciated finding some snacks and things to keep him entertained.

  4. Wow there’s so much to remember! I’ve never had a baby so I can’t tell you if you missed anything but it seems like you’ve got everything covered 🙂

  5. Pillow from home, comfy/grippy SOCKS!!! aquaphor/lip moisturizer, cute blanket for hospital baby pictures.

  6. – Snacks for Mal – he needs energy to be a good coach and the cafeteria may be closed – juice boxes, nuts, dried fruit, beef jerky stick, energy bars, crackers, etc.
    – Water bottle
    – Change for the vending machine
    – Camera (unless using your phone)
    – Motivation pictures – perhaps your favourite Cross Fit person or a picture of you being strong during Cross Fit
    – Moisturizer – it can get very dry in a hospital
    – Cell phone charger
    – ear plugs
    – blind fold
    – important documents

    – Ask the hospital if they provide the following: diapers, pads, breast pads
    – Bring clothing you don’t mind getting ruined – don’t buy a fancy new set of pjs or robe. Postpartum bleeding can be messy.

    Good luck

      1. @Tina: I hope I can speak for Erin correctly…. I think its for getting some shut eye when there may be lights in your room for the nurses that come check on you etc. It would have been really helpful for me, but of course both times I forgot to pack one.

      2. @Tina:
        Eye masks (or blindfolds) and ear plugs are great in the hospital to get some sleep despite all the lights, monitors, nurses coming in and out, etc.

        1. Yep – blindfold to keep the light out if you are trying to sleep during the day. The nurses might be in and out checking things at night too.

  7. I can’t believe how quick your pregnancy has gone so far. It sounds like you are super organised. I am pleased that the visit went well. My sister got a big bar of chocolate for her to eat after giving birth to her son and she said just what she needed so she took another bar for after she had her daughter.

  8. When I had my son, I found I hadn’t packed enough clothes for him. I naively thought we’d be home the day after delivery but we had to stay in a few days. We got through way more vests and sleep suits than I expected – we really took a few tries to get the hang of nappy changing. They take no space in your bag and you may be glad of a few extras when wrangling with a soaking new-born at 3am!

  9. A notebook and a pen. We kept track of the gifts, flower, etc. that were being brought to the hospital room to help write thank yous later on. We also kept track of the names of the nurses that were helping us, and included their names in the thank you we sent to the hospital. We had our babies at South Shore Hospital, not sure if you are too, but if you are you will be in great hands 🙂 Good luck with everything!

  10. I brought my baby book and filled out some things there and also my boppy for breastfeeding. The hospital really had nearly everything else that I needed.

  11. This has given me some good ideas for my bag, which I need to pack soon.

    I second the pillow from home. I brought two and used them to nurse and hold my baby when she was sleeping. This time around I might bring a nursing pillow too. Not sure since that might be overkill with pillows, etc.

    I also had a button down night shirt that I really liked because it allowed me to nurse really easily.

  12. I’d suggest bringing a nursing pillow like a Boppy, I found that more helpful than a giant pile of pillows. I also like having a swaddle blanket. We used the Miracle Blanket, which I highly recommend. It really is a miracle!

  13. Lip balm. Oh, my, but hospital air is DRY! Add the possibility of an oxygen mask to the equation and you’ll be elated you’ve packed this necessity! 🙂

  14. it will be good to pack a long robe, getting in and out of pajamas was hard for me the first day, also some nursing bras and loose tops. Also, not all the hospitals will let you drink water while in labor! they didnt let me! only ice cubes were allowed, they usually have a fridge so if you want you can brink some fruit pops for extra energy! It is also very nice to get something for the staff, my husband bought a cake and some cupcakes, but you can buy in advance a nice box of chocolates as a thank you gesture for the nurses, they will be very happy and be nicer to you while you stay there. Bring some snacks, and while you want to breastfeed, if your milk doesn’t come (which happened to me) bring a can of organic formula just in case, as the one they offer in the hospital is not.

    1. @Catalina @ Baby on Board: It can take up to 2 weeks for your milk to come in…until then, your body produces colostrum. Just a few drops of colostrum, since it is so super concentrated, is enough to fill a baby’s belly.

      1. @Tracy: My friends son was a little under 6 pds so they told her he needed more then the colostrum so her choice was donated breast milk or formula, his sugars were also slightly low so he needed the extra!

  15. I don’t think it’s too early to pack-I was scheduled for a c-section but my water broke 2 weeks early & I had nothing ready! I’d recommend pajamas/robe, slippers, Chapstick & nursing pads.

  16. The hospital will give you mesh undies. I wouldn’t worry about bringing your own. Between the gigantic pad and the frozen diaper in lieu of an ice pack to shove in there, you won’t need your own to ruin.

    Snacks, for sure..for you and your husband.

    Lip balm and lotions are good ones. It’s so dry in the hospital.

    **Tip: If it’s not permanently in your room, take it. Witch hazel, pads, mesh undies, diapers, wipes, water bottle, etc…**

  17. Bring your own pillows and a blanket (for you). Earplugs, if you’re a light sleeper; obviously you’re not going to be sleeping much, but when you do get to, there’s a lot of extra noise in your room and the hallways. Also, I wore an old sports bra during labor and had them cut it off immediately after my son was born. We also brought our portable Bose speaker and had music from our iPhone playing pretty much constantly in our room, during labor and the two days we were there afterwards…it made it feel so much more homey! Bring some treats for the nurses…you want them to like you!

  18. It may seem bulky, and that’s why I didn’t pack one, but for my next child I will definitely bring my boppy. Nursing in the hospital was not as easy as I thought it would be and the nursing pillows they had at the hospital were awful. Using the boppy made it much easier. I’d make sure you’re packed by 36 weeks. People thought I was a little nuts having everything ready, but my daughter arrived at 37 weeks! =)

  19. Bring your breast pump so they can teach
    You how to use it. You will use the hospital
    Provided one while there. But you can learn
    Hands on how to use yours so you aren’t
    Fumbling when it’s time.

    Also, bring a donut pillow to sit on. I thought
    The hospital would provide them. They do not.
    It will make sitting so much more comfy.

  20. Take a receiving blanket to the hospital, swaddle the baby in it & then have Mal take it home the first night so that Murphy can get to know the baby’s scent. It’s a good first way to introduce new baby to Murphy, that way Murphy’s nose won’t be out of joint when this little one appears! Good luck!!

  21. I’ve yet to have a baby, but when I asked my sister the top things she brought, chapstick was #1. Good thing you have that on the list 🙂 She also suggested a baby book to put little one’s footprints in.

  22. It’s definitely not too early to pack your bag. We had a surprise early delivery at 33 weeks. I honestly thought they would fix me up and send me home and instead gave birth 12 hours later. The delivery nurses were shocked when we said we didn’t have a camera with us. I explained to them that I wasn’t planning on having a baby that day! Thank goodness for cell phone pics! I second the idea of your own pillow and Chapstick.

  23. Lip balm! Your lips will become dry from all the pushing. I ended up going home in the same outfit I wore to the hospital. I also brought an extra blanket so my parents could take it home for our dog could smell Vivian’s scent. Baby journal to right down the exact moment I was feeling that day. Newborn size outfit. I failed and had a 0-3 months outfit and it swallowed her whole! I had to by her more clothes 🙂 I would recommend getting a car seat pillow top if you don’t have one already. Again, fail on my part and no one told me I could possineed one. She wasn’t too safe on the ride home. She weighed 6 lbs 5 oz. I went home the next day after having my little girl. I was ready to get into our routine!

  24. Tina,

    If you are breastfeeding, I highly recommend taking a small tube of lanolin (I like Lansinoh). It really helps with soreness in the first few days. I also liked having my own pads to use after the first 12 hours or so (thin kind are way more comfy for me) rather than using the bulky hospital provided ones. For those first few hours, I needed the hospital issue ones but was happy to have an alternative for later.

    And I second the previous suggestions for witch hazel pads and boppy pillow.

  25. How exciting!!! I can’t believe how fast your pregnancy has gone (at least for the readers!) 🙂 I think everyone’s input has it covered! I don’t have any others to add. Just wanted to say congrats!!

  26. Bring an extra baby blanket that Mal can take home to Murphy before you come home! Murphy can get used to the baby’s scent before you even arrive!

  27. After two kiddos, here are my recs:

    -Pillow (2, one for you and one for him)
    -Face wash, shampoo/conditioner/body wash
    -Pjs (just 1 pair is enough)
    -going home outfits – you
    -2 to 3 outfits for baby. You never know.. Baby will go through more than you!
    – Snacks
    -water bottle
    -Nursing bras, tanks
    -thank you gift for nurses station.

  28. I would wear the underwear they give you at the hospital. Bring your own to wear home. I would stick with dark colored night gowns/bottoms because there will be blood. I wore grippy bottomed barre socks in leu of slippers that way. I would bring hard candy or honey stinger energy chews. I got really sick in L&D and threw up and I can’t imagine having to squeeze gu into my mouth but that was just my experience. Definitely bring your own pillow! I’m so excited for you, you’re in the home stretch!

  29. As a labor and delivery nurse I strongly suggest you bring your own pillow, you will be more confortable. Undies for sure! Grab a 4-6 granny panties pack from the store, no strings! You could always put some water soaked sanitary pads in the freezer and put them in your undies after the delivery, such a great relief! Lots of snacks, nuts, protein bars, water, fruits/veggies. Lip balm and your own music (Ipod station). Best of luck!

  30. I’m also pregnant with my first baby and loved seeing your list, so thank you for posting it. A friend suggested to me that the list should include a nursing pillow and slippers, especially for your husband who will leave the room to get something and not want to put his shoes on again every time. Good luck with everything, and enjoy the last few weeks!

  31. Great list! bring your own pillow (in a dark or colored case so you don’t forget it). It was a LIFESAVER b/c the hospital pillows are craaaaapy.

    Also, bring socks, lip balm, and all your chargers for laptop/phone/etc 🙂

  32. The hospital that I delivered at provides a lot of the suggested items: boppy pillow (not to keep), lanolin, mesh underwear, pads, witch hazel etc. I would recommend wearing the free undies they give you cause they will just get ruined anyways and they are pretty comfy. I do agree with a pillow for you, snacks and chapstick.

  33. I cleaned out the hosptal of the big pads and mesh underwear that they would stock. I wore them for at least the first week or 2. I would take a lot of the diapers they stocked too. Basically everything they brought in, I would take it out. I felt bad until I saw how much they charged my insurance for the delivery. So basically, I got a squirter thing, some numbing spray, giant drawers, and some diapers for $40,000. Great deal!

  34. Pillows and blankets for you and Mal. I brought jolly ranchers to give me something to eat rather than boring ice chips. And it’s never too early to pack, my water broke at 37w1d. 🙂

  35. Coconut water! Since you can really only have water while in labor, this was great for electrolytes.
    Cards so you can write a quick note to nurses who help you before you leave. You may not remember later and you could find someone you really connect with and helps you so much.

    Snack yes, and honestly – beer for mal and / or you after! My husband kicked back and had a beer, baby in one arm, while watching sports our first night in hospital. Made him so happy.

    Our son was always just in a swaddle at the hospital, Only time he was dressed was heading home, so we really didn’t need any extra outfits. It went to waste.

    Hospital probably has pads, but even so get some for you or at home anyways for bleeding after.

    Also – seriously everyday clear out the hospital of the diapers. It is all fixed cost anyways and they continue to refill them, you can get some extra stash 🙂

  36. I haven’t read all the comments, so I’m not sure if this is a duplicate or not, but bring a boppy pillow for nursing. They have pillows there, but the boppy was a life saver for me! Also, bring the disposable nursing pads that go inside the nursing bra. Some folks don’t leak right away, but in the event you establish your supply early, they are good to have, the hospitals don’t typically provide them. They have something called lanolin for your nipples, it’s safe for newborns if you use it while nursing, they also have these gel things that go in the fridge that you can put on your nipples after nrsing/pumping. They were literally a life saver for me. Good Luck, the exciting times are just around the corner!

  37. As other posters have mentioned, you don’t need to buy grannie panties. The hospital will provide you mesh ones and I imagine you’ll want to wear those, instead (otherwise, you’ll get blood all over your own draws). Also, I second the idea of bringing your own pillow, a button down jammie or top and a long robe so you can walk around the hospital.

    Bring thick socks (it gets coooooold) or a fun pair of animal slippers (I walked around in moose slippers all day). Also, bring more than just one outfit for Baby H. I would bring a pajama (or two) and a couple of onesies – just in case.

  38. I think now is the perfect time to pack your bag. My little guy arrived at 36 weeks (the morning after my 36 week doctor appointment where my OB said that I could expect him to be on time or late!) We were definitely not as prepared as I wanted to be! I brought the Cliff gummy shot blocks because I wasn’t sure I could handle the goo/gel once in labor. Make sure your going home outfit is large and comfy. Your belly will still be quite large!

  39. Slippers! Oh, and I had my daughter in the heat of the summer but my husband and I were both freezing the entire hospital stay… So a sweatshirt or jacket for both of you! I also wish I would have brought my nursing cover, because I was feeling very modest with all the family and friends.

  40. I do not have kids yet, but all my friends do. I was told you must have comfy slippers for hospital. I would also bring home a baby blanket with the baby scent on it for Murphy to smell and get to know the scent of baby boy. : )

  41. Lady, I hope you’re kidding about watching CrossFit while you’re in the hospital. That little baby is going to need all your attention! : ) Although the cable television does get old. You might bring in speakers for your iPhone or something. We did that and had a 6-hour long playlist of songs that we loved. That way, the baby was welcomed to music that would later become the active soundtrack to her life, you know?

    I used Caitlin’s idea and got the shot blocks for my delivery. They were great, and I would totally recommend getting the ones with caffeine in them. You might also need them after the delivery, when the baby decides to pull an all-nighter on you. So don’t eat them all at once.

    They give you these mesh underpants that would fit a moose, but the pads you wear after a vaginal delivery are massive (like, they’re basically the size of a magazine). I think I wore them for about a week afterward, along with the mesh underpants. If you have a c-section it’s a different story. But don’t bother with your own underpants because you’ll only throw them away.

    I don’t know if you’re thinking about breast feeding, but the first two weeks of it can be really, really painful. So there are salves that you can use (this one is better smelling than most, and they sell it at Whole Foods: http://www.amazon.com/Earth-Mama-Angel-Baby-Natural/dp/B000JVCBBG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1399396730&sr=8-2&keywords=earth+mama+angel+baby)

    Also, they let us use their fridge at the hospital. So you can always bring in your own coconut water, beer, etc. It’s better because usually all they have is super sugary juice (which is nice at times, but gets old).

    It’s really exciting. Seriously, the best two days of your life will be spent in that hospital, I swear. So get ready to have some fun.

  42. A baby book for footprints, boppy pillow, at least 4 sleepers/outfits for baby (we went through 3 in 4 hours the day our second baby was born. Change for the vending machine, snacks for your husband. I also brought a couple movies for us to watch in case things were slow moving. I am sure all these things have been mentioned already, but just in case! Good luck!!

  43. THIN pads. Like the Always overnight ones. People told me I was crazy to bring my own and that they wouldn’t be enough, but I am SO glad I brought my own because the thin ones are so much more comfortable than the diapers they provide. The first day I used theirs, but on day 2 I was so sore that it hurt to sit on a big one so the thin ones were great!!

    And a second a beer : )

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