What’s In My First-Time Mom Hospital Bag? + What’s NOT!

Not another hospital bag post, you cry! Yes. I’m not even sorry because reading so many helped me immensely! Way back in December, I had a slight baby scare which thankfully turned out fine! Being so unprepared for the hospital frightened me into seriously thinking about packing my hospital bag at just week 24. Since then, it was not fully packed but I made it my priority to buy and organize what I needed. This week (at 34 weeks) I finally packed it along with the changing bag for baby.

First Time Mom Hospital Bag

After reading quite literally EVERY ‘what to pack’ article in existence, I have packed some of the highly recommended hospital bag essentials along with the things I deem applicable to me.

Conscious that a c-section might be a possibility, I have packed enough for a more extended stay than most women will have. I have still kept those extra items practical and to a minimum.

The Highly Recommended Must-Haves

  • Baby Keepsake Book to get hand/foot prints and save the mess later!
  • Camera/Tablet/Phone + chargers
  • Boppy nursing pillow to practice good nursing posture
  • Healthy snacks for after the birth in case the hospital food is truly awful

The Basics

  • Packing Cubes! All hail packing cubes. Seriously, these are packing game changers. Buy a set and never deal with chaotic luggage again!
  • Basic toiletries
  • Travel hair dryer. I don’t feel like standing for an hour trying to dry my hair with one of those pathetic hospital/hotel dryers that feels like a small child is blowing on your head.
  • Cozy Socks with gripper soles
  • Slippers with a solid sole
  • Flip Flops
  • Night Gowns x2
  • Loose Jersey PJs for the last day (may not use)
  • Light Jersey Robe
  • Nursing Tanks x3
  • Nursing Bras x2
  • Dark colored, huge undies (so glam!)
  • A basic overnight bag for Dad

Baby’s Bag

  • 1 Going home Outfit
  • 4 Sleepsuits
  • 4 Bodysuits
  • 2 Hats
  • 2 Pair Socks
  • 2 Pair Scratch Mittens
  • 3 Burp Cloths
  • 2 Swaddle Blankets
  • 1 Heavy Blanket
  • 4 Diapers (a small supply for going home)
  • Wipes
  • Nursing cover

The Non-Essentials That Satisfy My Crazy

  • My make-up bag (not full of my usual routine items but basic coverage favorites)
  • The fact that all my packed night gowns/clothing match in some way
  • Carefully planned baby blankets/outfits because again, matchy-match!
  • A flattering, soft jersey midi dress for going home in comfort, ease…and style.

The ‘Will I Need This?’ StuffΒ  (To Be Left In The Car!)

Do you get the sense that I’m an organization over-achiever?! Every hospital is different. Some will give you everything you need and others will let you fend for yourself for the most part. At least through extensive research on this, that’s the general consensus. So while many moms tell you point blank what not to bring, others have said they weren’t provided with it at all.

This is the stuff I am unsure about and have packed in a tote bag that will stay in the car. If I do need it, my husband can grab it rather than visiting the nearest shops with the world’s most embarrassing shopping list.

  • Extra snacks/drinks in case the hospital food is unbearable
  • Pain relief medication
  • Post-delivery feminine products (this could be a post of it’s own and I won’t go into the gory details)
  • Extra onesies in different sizes. Despite buying newborn and 0-3 months in various brands, they all differ. Some look tiny and others look far too big. I don’t want to take a thousand outfits with me but I would like them to fit baby, whatever size he or she turns out to be. This way I’ll have at least 2/3 outfits that will fit.

The Items I’m NOT Packing

  • My own labor/delivery gown. I 100% plan to deliver baby in the hospital issued gown. I’m vain but not spend $50+ on a designer labor gown vain. An item of clothing that will most likely end up covered in bodily fluids and newborn gunk.
  • A pillow from home. For the same reasons as above and also because there are about 100 of them on the bed I will be in.
  • Athletic Pants. A lot of women suggest yoga pants or some form of comfy pants for after the birth. While I totally agree with the comfort factor, I understand there will be a LOT of checking down there after baby arrives. I will be in no mood to keep wriggling my way out of leggings for my nurse. Nightgowns it is!
  • Hair tools. Straighteners, curling irons etc. Some people recommend them for photos but I don’t see it happening even considering as fussy as I can be with my hair! I’ll be blast drying and curling my hair around a headband to get loose waves for going home day!


Shop The Hospital Bag Essentials


What ‘ridiculous’ item did you pack and never use?

Even better, what ridiculous item did you pack and actually USE?!













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  1. This is a great guide! I am expecting my first in June so I am reading up on all the “what to pack/not to pack” guides! I definitely agree with you about the hair tools-I have been contemplating bringing them for pictures but I think I will just rock natural curls!

    1. Or try heat free halo curls with a head band! Blast dry your hair 90%, out on the band and roll your hair in large sections around the band, go to sleep and unroll some bouncy curls the next day! πŸ™‚

  2. This is such a great guide! As a mom I agree on the no leggings, they were such a pain for me. I stayed in dresses/nightgowns well after I left the hospital.

    When I was packing for my delivery, I read somewhere to take some hard candy/mints to help with dry mouth. I didn’t pay too much attention but did throw some jolly ranchers in my purse. In the hospital my mouth was so dry and I drank so much water my doc literally told me to stop drinking water lol. Those hard candies came in handy SO MUCH!

    Just thought I’d throw that out there! πŸ™‚

    Congrats on your little one & good luck on your delivery!!

  3. lol i think we took really similar things, I’m like you i was not going to spend 50 box on a hospital gown when i can use the one from the hospital lol. Especially when it could end up ruined. I also didn’t take a pillow when the hospital has theirs. I took yoga pants but you are so right i wore the hospital gown all through my stay, i just kept changing them. They are always coming to run tests and look down there so it was a lot easier in the yoga pants! great guide!

  4. OH my gosh! A DRESS to go home in!!! WHOA! I’m on baby number four and NEVER thought of that!!!! This one will be in June too (all the rest in the cold months) a dress is BRILLIANT!!!

    I’d also suggest an extra bag (or storage cube) if you have lots of family and friends around, we wished we had something extra with our first one to bring ALL of the GIFTS home!!! We went home with about 3 times as much as we went in with. πŸ™‚

    1. Even for packing sake a dress is so easy! We don’t have any family nearby so it’ll be just us at the hospital. What we take home will be kept to a minimum of just hospital supplies lol but great idea for those with lots of visitors!

    1. Thank you! Good to hear you the had sufficient things! It’s definitely one of those times your mind tells you three days is 10 lol

  5. Don’t pack diapers or wipes! Take what the hospital provides and save yours for home! I am so glad I brought my breastfriend pillow and wish I had packed my wombie sleep sack for the little one.

  6. These are all good ideas. Make sure to also take as many of those mesh undies and some bulky post-partum pads from the hospital home with you. Seriously, those undies are amazing!

  7. Very great list! My hospital bag has changed with each baby. For the first one, the hospital staff probably thought we were moving in. We brought everything! I ended up having to stay for 5 days so we used a lot, but the logistics of getting everything into the car was not easy. We brought way less with our second baby and I got to go home the following morning. And for our third (and final) baby girl (I’m going to be induced in 15 days), I decided to get one of those crazy designer gowns because I want to celebrate this experience and really make it special. I was not happy with the way that I looked in the photos the last two times so for me it’s a silly way to help me feel better in the photos. For mamas expecting a baby other than their first, I suggest a small but special sibling gift so they feel included in the process when they meet baby and get to celebrate becoming a big brother or sister. And also those carseat strap covers to make baby’s first car ride more comfy.

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