I’m a serious planner. And when I’m anxious, that ramps up even more. When something feels out of my control, I find a way to take control of any aspect I can. So, you can imagine my anxiety around childbirth. One of the only major life events that allows for essentially zero control. There’s no foresight into how it will all go down so you certainly can’t completely plan it.

Which means I spent hours and hours researching the best items to pack in my hospital bag for each family member. Because that is something I could control. And whatever I packed could provide some level of comfort for us while in the hospital.

I’m going to share my list with you. Maybe you’re not a planner like I am (or riddled with anxiety about being prepared) and maybe you are. Either way, I think this list will set you up for the best hospital experience you can have while basically being topless for days with a human attached to your boobs.

Water Wipes

Most hospitals just provide dry wipes that you have to wet in the sink. When changing about a million diapers in the day (not to mention the tarry meconium ones), “ain’t nobody got time for that.” We were warned ahead of time so we packed some Water Wipes which are moistened with 99% water—so they’re incredibly gentle. Pack at three packs. We packed one and ended up going out to buy more while in the hospital. Buy Here

SwaddleMe Swaddles

I mention these in my Newborn Essentials post. They’re lifesavers and that counts for in the hospital too. The hospital will probably have swaddles for you to use, but they suck. At least ours did. The snaps were all broken and they were sort of baggy. The one downfall of taking your own is that they won’t wash them for you if they get dirty. So, buy a multipack of these (you’ll use them, promise) and take them all with you. Buy Here

Sleep Gowns

I also mention these in my Newborn Essentials post. We didn’t take these with us to the hospital, but in hindsight, I wish we had. We used the little kimono tops they provided (and he peed on a ton of them), but if you want something a little more substantial, these are your jam. They make diaper changes and checking the ankle ID on the baby SO easy. And there will be a lot of both of those. We also used the shit out of these the first month. Buy Here


If you’re planning on breastfeeding, the lactation consultants will probably encourage you to not give a paci. But the nurses told us that there’s no way the baby is going to confuse what gives them food with something that doesn’t, so if we wanted to we could. And let me tell you, at about hour 30 with zero sleep, we popped that paci in and got a solid 30 minutes of sleep, haha. We love the Bibs pacifiers because they’re all-natural and come in some pretty cute colors. Buy Here

Cribsheet by Emily Oster

I read Expecting Better by Emily Oster while pregnant. I love all things well-researched and her data-first approach to conventional pregnancy wisdom was the only information I really took to heart. She reviews all studies that exist and breaks it all down in a really digestible format (ie. is drinking a glass of wine really that bad while pregnant?) In Cribsheet, she takes the same approach but for the next phases—birth to preschool. If you somehow get bored at the hospital, it’s an easy and relevant read. Buy Here

Lip Balm

Hospitals are so dry. Just trust me on this one. Take some hand salve/lotion as well. You’ll use it. Buy Here

3-in-1 Nursing Gown

I bought a labor and delivery gown unsure if I would wear it for actual labor or just after. And I’m glad I waited to wear it after as you get a little messy while laboring. I highly recommend this 3-in-1 for changing into after your first shower in the hospital. It has buttons all the way down the front for checks on your stitches, at the shoulders for nursing, and all down the back for if you do have it on for labor and need an epidural. It’s super soft, comfortable, and makes you feel like a brand new woman. Buy Here

Beyond the above, I packed the following:

  • Always Discreet Underwear (I wore these home)
  • Toiletries
    • Shampoo/conditioner
    • Bodywash
    • Contacts/solution
    • Deodorant
    • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Sandals for walking around room/shower
  • Going home outfit for yourself
    • Pregnancy leggings (you’ll still look pregnant)
    • Comfy shirt/sweatshirt
  • PJs for your partner
  • Snacks
  • Long phone charging cables
  • Journal
  • Baby’s going home outfit in both newborn and 0-3 months
  • Carseat/blanket
  • Pillows if you’re picky

Leave room in your bag for taking as many goods as possible home from the hospital. These are the things we took:

  • Mesh underwear
  • Peri bottle
  • Dermaplast (and buy extra here)
  • Witch hazel pads (and buy extra here)
  • Pads
  • Baby bathing/pump cleaning tub
  • Pump tubing and parts
  • Vaseline (for circumcision)
  • Diapers (they offered and we didn’t, but you can take these)
  • Baby blanket and hat (you’re not supposed to take the blanket, technically. But we did.)
  • Giant water bottle
  • Baby’s name/weight card from bassinet
  • All paperwork

Things we took that we didn’t use:

  • Boppy (although a lot of people end up using this)
  • iPad
  • Regular underwear