What really needs to be in your baby hospital bag? Here are some must haves that you might not know your first time around! Save your sanity!

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Selection of baby items for a hospital bag on a white background

Boy, did I learn a lot of things my first pregnancy. And even more from my first delivery when Emmett arrived. If you have been around awhile and know his birth story, and then read through mine, you will have seen what an, uhhh, “experience” it was. And there are some things we are definitely doing differently this time around. For starters, what I am putting in my hospital bag!

And now that we are less than 30 days away from this new tiny tot’s arrival (woah!), I’m packing the my baby hospital bag now. Because the universe, and this kid, will be the ones to decide and I don’t want to be left scrambling. These are the things I am adding to my list. Hopefully there will be enough room for Ben’s things, too.

The Essentials

There will always be the essentials, like the toiletry bag. I am adding a few things to my baby hospital bag this time, which I cover below. But there are some things you know you will need for a long weekend getaway… like underwear. The difference is – bring ones you don’t mind throwing away. Because, you’re having a baby, and this is a gross process. Below are some of the essentials I had an will be keeping in my bag. But read on to find out what I am changing up that will serve YOU much better the first time around. Take it from me!

  • Socks with grippies – or cheap but comfy slippers. It’s a hospital, the floors are cleaned, but it is still a hospital with germs. So buy a cheap pair if you are lucky enough to be able to walk around during labor. Then chuck them.
  • Underwear – Pack a few pair you don’t mind getting completely ruined and are willing to part with. This is not a place for sentimentality.
  • A hair brush – How many times have I forgot mine while traveling? Add in it in the bag now.
  • The Baby’s going away clothes – but for real, don’t make it the fanciest or cutest outfit you have for them, because inevitably, poop will happen on your way home. And bring two sizes of everything. You might have a big baby!
  • A Book – I was induced and it took FOREVER to go into active labor. Have some reading material, especially if the TV isn’t primed for fun viewing channels.
  • Two comfy nursing bras – You will have your boobs out, A LOT. Make it as comfortable and easy on yourself as possible. And if you only pack one, the Universe will undoubtedly bring your milk in right away, and you will need a clean back up. Sports bras will not do.
  • Going home clothes for you – and to be honest, you will still be in maternity clothes. Pack the most airy, breathable things you have. There are no heroes here.

What I Am Doing Different!


I am packing my own towels. Granted that Ben is a nurse, and he knows Med/Surg, he swore up and down patients don’t take showers at the hospital, and he wouldn’t recommend it. Well, labor and delivery is a bit different. And after you spend 72 hours in labor, you effing want a shower when it is all done. I did not pack my own towels, and let me tell you the over used, over bleached, scratchy as hell towels that the hospital will give you will not be the welcomed sensation you want after squeezing a watermelon out of a keyhole.

I am ordering new towels and these ones will be it! Plus, I love a good ginormous bath sheet towel. And get a pair of flip flops for the shower, because it’s still a hospital.

Hammam Linen 100% Cotton Bath Towels

Massage Roller Ball

With Emmett, I had hugely painful back labor. It was excruciating. This little $7 investment is in the bag this time around. So even if my back labor isn’t “as bad” this time around, it will still be nice to have for those aches and pains that need a little more elbow grease. And since I know I carry a lot of stress in my shoulders, this will be handy regardless.

Manual Massage Ball Pain Relief

Saline Spray

Hospitals are notorious for the dry air. My nose was so dang dry and itchy! I wish I had known this the first time, but now – lesson learned! Grab a three pack of this Little Remedies Sterile Saline Spray. I say get the 3-pack, because one can be for you in the hospital baby bag, and two will get you through nearly everything a newborn will throw at you. Trust me! I’m restocking!

Little Remedies Sterile Saline Spray – 3 Pack

Dry Shampoo

Even a travel size will be handy. My go-to in everyday life, let alone travel, is for Batisse. I like that they have shades for various hair colors. And it’s got a pleasant smell, nothing too obnoxious when your sniffer is still on overdrive. I always have a small bottle in my travel bag and purse. I forgot it last time, not again! Especially if you end up in the hospital for over 4 days like I did.

Travel Hair Dryer

Or, even better – if you get to take a REAL shower and need to dry your hair, make sure you have a travel dryer on hand. Because it would be the shits if your recovery room didn’t have one!

We keep a travel size dryer in our guest bathroom, that is nice and small, and perfect for me to toss into the bag. It’s not expensive, and won’t give you a custom blow out when you’re done giving birth. But it gets the job done. I’m also not the mom who is interested in “pretty” after birth hospital photos. I just want my hair dry. Some recovery rooms may have a hair dryer, but is it worth risking only to find out there isn’t one in your room? Ugh!

Conair 1875 Watt Compact Folding Handle Hair Dryer

BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Travel Dryer – If you do want a more high-end version, I do love BaByLiss Pro tools. This one is $32 and change. Still a pretty good deal! Since it folds up, it will be easy to cram into your baby hospital bag.

The Basic Toiletry Bag

I keep my travel toiletry bag packed at all times. And since I have a stupidly extensive box of travel-sized toiletries heisted from every hotel I ever visit – and further stocked by my obsession with the Target Travel Size aisle – the bag is brimming with good stuff. Don’t forget – shampoo, conditioner, facewash (I needed a serious exfoliating face wash after a long L&D), moisturizer, tooth brush, tooth paste, mouthwash, and what I *was* missing last time – Face Wipes! Especially since I wasn’t able to properly wash my face for three days before my first shower. These Burt’s Bee’s wipes are the ones I use everyday, and have a handy travel size of 10 wipes.

Burt’s Bees Micellar Face Wipes

A Nursing Shirt

You might be wanting to feel slightly more human after your delivery, so pack a loose, comfy nursing t-shirt, or frankly, two. You just never know. I had an oversized button down shirt, but it was more cumbersome than necessary when you’re balancing a brand new baby in one hand and unbuttoning a boob with the other. This time – I’m changing it up.

And with modesty officially out the window, you will need easy access to the feed bags every time a nurse visits you in the recovery room. Might as well make it easy, but still humane.

Baikea Women’s Loose Comfy Nursing Shirt

I hope this helps with your hospital packing! Every mom is different, and so is every delivery. I offer these as mere suggestions, and fully hope that you will research what will fit you best.

If you’re interested, I will happily put our a “What I Really Needed When I Got Home!” list, too. Let me know in the comments. And send this out to any mom-to-be you know. Might save her a lot of stress, and at this stage in the game – any way to mitigate stress is a god send.