Hospital Bag Essentials

Hospital Bag Essentials

I know it is hard not to pack everything JUST IN CASE you might need it, but trust me, it will be ok if you don’t bring it with you.  In light of the pandemic, hospitals and birth centers are trying to get you in and out to keep transmissions to a minimum, so PACK LIGHTLY.

I have packed 3 of my own bags and helped countless families prepare their bags as well so I think I have it down to a science. If you are early on in your pregnancy, file this blog post away and pull it up later, or print it out and check mark or cross things off as you put it in your bag.  Yes, rolling suitcases make transporting your stuff easier, but you can bring a duffle bag as well.  Pack in whatever you have around or borrow one, don’t go out and buy something new.

The place you deliver at is not a hotel so you will need to pack whatever makes you feel most comfortable being away from home. I realize that everyone has different routines and essentials, some do a lot, some do bare minimum, so I will include it all.  Travel size everything will be plenty.

You can pack your bag at any time, but it is important to have your hospital bag packed by 35 weeks, just in case your baby comes early.

TOILETRIES (this should be enough for mom and partner)

___Shampoo, conditioner or dry shampoo

___Body wash/Face wash/make up wipes


___Toothbrush and toothpaste/mouthwash/dental floss



___Chapstick/Make up

___Hair tyes/Scrunchies


___Contact stuff/Glasses

CLOTHING (mom and partner)

___Robe/front opening shirt

___Comfy pj’s, (preferably a nursing top if available), easy access, partner basketball shorts

___Going home outfit, loose fitting, change of clothes for partner

___Swimwear if planning to be in water for delivery

___Flip flops/Shower shoes

___Nursing bra/nursing tank top

___Underwear if you prefer not to wear the stretchy mesh hospital one’s home

___Socks if your feet get cold

___Jacket or sweat shirt as it gets cold in the rooms


___Outfit for going home

___Picture outfit

___Swaddlers (or learn to swaddle from hospital RN/PCT)

___Diaper bag (put all important paperwork in) can stay in car until discharge

___Properly installed car seat (can stay in the car until discharge)

___If cooler outside, socks, hat and blanket to go outside

___Diapers and wipes should be provided at the hospital but can be prepacked in diaper bag


___Phone charger (long cords are nice)

___Camera/batteries/extension cord

___Tube of nipple cream (your choice); hospitals should have as well

___Breast pads (won’t likely need them but if using nipple cream, they will prevent staining your bra)

___Nursing pillow (mybrestfriend, bosom baby or boppy).  Can be nice to have to know how to use it at home however, the hospital or birthing suite has a ton of pillows.  Leave it in the car until you need it.

___Snacks/gum/Hard candies/honey sticks (great for energy)

FOR LABOR & DELIVERY (can be a separate bag or packed on top of other things)

___Pre register at place of birth PRIOR to delivery or bring in paperwork with you

___Birth plan

___Insurance card/ID

___Heat or cold packs

___Massage oils or lotions

___Massage tools

___Peanut or birth ball (call place of delivery and ask if they already have them if you want one)

___Playlist for labor and delivery

___Birth affirmations

Years working in a hospital as a postpartum nurse and doing home visits as a postpartum doula and lactation educator, I’ve seen it all in hospital bags.  Just remember, hospitals or birthing centers provide you with most of what you need, if you are curious, call and ask:

TMC-520-327-5461 (
Banner University Medical Center-520-694-0111 (
St. Joes 520-873-3000 (
Northwest Women’s Center 520-742-9000 (
BabyMoon Inn 602-314-7755 (

They will tell you what they provide for you in Labor and Delivery and on the Postpartum unit. A good rule of thumb should be if you don’t want it to get dirty, DON’T bring it to the hospital.

Congratulations again, you are almost there! I am excited to hear how your delivery goes and once you get home and settled in, feel free to call as you get started on your motherhood, parenting and breastfeeding journey.  I’d be honored to help you as you transition and grow with your new family member. For more information or to contact me directly

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Due to COVID 19, Colleen will be providing virtual and/or in home support.

Feel free to call, text or email her for virtual support in the comfort, safely providing virtual and in-person support based on families needs!