What do you pack in your delivery hospital bag? Click here for a FREE Printable Checklist!

Packing Only the Essentials in your Hospital Bag

My sister-in-law is having a baby next month! She’s scheduled to be induced on my daughter’s birthday, so my daughter is over the moon about sharing her birthday with her cousin.

What do you pack in your delivery hospital bag? Click here for a FREE Printable Checklist!

I’ve been trying to help her plan what goes in her hospital bag, because I’ve had several babies and have been through the routine four times. I like to go to the hospital with a very minimal bag; it seems like stuff just multiplies while you’re there for a few days, and it is a hassle when you are ready to go home.

Because she’s being induced, she will have some time on her hands, so on her list I’m including things to do while she’s bored and restless. Other than that, I’m keeping it pretty simple; anything else she thinks she wants she can add later. These are just the basics.

And don’t forget; you shouldn’t just pack a hospital bag for mom! If Dad is going to be there the entire time, he’ll need a small bag (or pocket in your larger bag!) And your brand new bundle of joy might like to be wearing clothes on the way home, as well!

Hospital Bag For MomWhat do you pack in your delivery hospital bag? Click here for a FREE Printable Checklist!

Robe and Slippers: I feel like this is essential to every hospital bag. Have you seen the awful hospital robes? I mean, for the most part, they cover up all the important bits, but barely. And they just aren’t comfortable. I bought an inexpensive short black robe at Target before having my last babies (they were twins); it fit around my huge stomach, which was nice, and so I also knew it would feel loose and comfortable after having the babies. Slippers are also important for walking around the hospital. Make sure they have hard soles so the nurses will let you walk the halls with them on; they don’t want you slipping on the tile floor.

Toothbrush and toothpaste: Again, imperative. You don’t know for sure how long you’re going to be at the hospital, and you want to have fresh breath when people start showing up to see the baby (and you, of course!)

Card Games: This is more for the mom who is planning an induction. Those can take an entire day or more, from start to finish. Believe me, all of my births were induced, and they took for.e.ver. If you don’t like card games, your computer with Netflix will work, or a magazine. Books, while awesome, are not awesome for delivery rooms. You will be antsy, people will be walking in and out, and you won’t really be able to lose yourself in the story.

Stretchy clothes for going home: By stretchy, I basically mean not your pre-pregnancy jeans. They can be your pregnancy jeans with the elastic waistband, or they can be yoga pants or sweats. Your tummy will be much slimmer, but you’ll still be bloated and bigger than before pregnancy. Also, if you end up having to have a c-section, you’ll want something forgiving against the incision.

Nursing Bra: If you plan to nurse, you need to go prepared to the hospital. Buy at least one nursing bra prior to giving birth and put it in your hospital bag. To buy more, you may want to wait until your milk comes in and you know how big your breasts are going to get. Another comfortable option, although maybe not quite as supportive, is a nursing tank top. These are inexpensive and come in several colors and are great for wearing underneath other shirts. You can buy them at Target or almost any store that sells undergarments.

Other toiletries: I know we mentioned the toothbrush, but you may want to pack a travel size bottle of shampoo and conditioner, as well as contact solution and case, glasses, makeup and hairbrush. Don’t go overboard, but you will still want to feel like yourself as much as possible. Grab a quick shower when the baby has to go to the nursery for shots, or if your mother is visiting and holding the baby.

Cell phone and charger: This one seems like a no-brainer. I mean, who is going to go have a baby and leave their phone at home? But seriously, don’t forget the charger. You’ll be kicking yourself, then sending your significant other out to either get yours or buy another one real quick.

Do you have everything you need for baby to come home? Check out our list of

Top Ten Essentials You Need Before Baby Come Home!

Hospital Bag For DadWhat do you pack in your delivery hospital bag? Click here for a FREE Printable Checklist!

Change of Clothes: Dads are usually there overnight at least for one night. Pack him a change of clothes, including underwear and socks.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Pack him a toothbrush; he doesn’t need the rest of the toiletries because he can just go home to shower, but a quick brush of the teeth is great, especially if he was up all night with you while you ┬álabored.

Snacks: Unlike the moms, Dads are allowed to snack while tracking contractions. This is actually a great time to buy him those snacks that you don’t like; you won’t be tempted to eat them while in labor! Seriously, if him eating in front of you is a problem, ask him to go out in the hall while he eats.

Cash Money: I know we aren’t a cash society too much anymore, but often times, vending machines, valet parking and parking garages only take cash. Stick a $20 in the pocket of the bag and you should be fine.

Hospital Bag For BabyWhat do you pack in your delivery hospital bag? Click here for a FREE Printable Checklist!

Going Home Outfit: This can be a special outfit you picked out together, or just a favorite that you got at a shower. We always picked out an outfit right after finding out the gender of the baby and brought that one to the hospital with us.

A Carseat: This should probably be first on the list, as you can’t go home without a car seat. Go ahead and make sure it’s installed correctly a couple weeks before your due date, so you’re prepared in case you have the baby early.

Things NOT To Pack in your Hospital Bag

Diapers: The hospital will provide diapers for while you are there, and often send you home with the leftover packages that you didn’t use all of. Take advantage of the free diapers.

Pads and Underwear: Again, the hospital will provide you with gargantuan pads and crazy-ugly underwear to put them in. As embarrassing as they look, they work. Take advantage of not needing to use your own undies and use theirs; you can throw them out when you don’t need them anymore. You can even ask if you can bring some extras home with you.

Formula: If you plan to formula-feed from the beginning, the hospital will provide the formula for you. This often comes in the form of very small bottles that are single-use.

Jewelry: You oftentimes can’t wear jewelry while delivering a baby, especially if you end up having a c-section. Just don’t bring it; you don’t want it to get lost or taken when dozens of people are in and out of your delivery room.

Things To Keep In Mind

Try to keep everything contained in one hospital bag. You may want to stick a small duffle or cloth bag inside the bag to carry home extras such as diapers and pads. You’re probably going to be getting gifts, balloons or flowers from people, so your hands are getting full when you go to leave the hospital.

Ask friends who have delivered at the hospital you are delivering at what they might consider essential to their hospital stay. Each hospital is slightly different in what they provide, although the diapers and pads are pretty universal. Others provide more, such as bulb syringes, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, wipes, receiving blankets, etc. I’ve delivered at three different hospitals and the items we were provided with was different in each one.

Plan a trip to the hospital before you have your baby. Get a tour of the Labor and Deliver section and ask the nurses any questions you may have.

If this is your first baby, or it’s been awhile, check out these 10 things every new mother should know. These are things you haven’t read in your pregnancy or childcare books!


Click Here for a Free Printable PDF versionWhat do you pack in your delivery hospital bag? Click here for a FREE Printable Checklist!

Packing your hospital bag with only the essentials.
What do you pack in your delivery hospital bag? Click here for a FREE Printable Checklist!


  • Tineke - workingmommyabroad November 28, 2016 at 11:33 am

    The coins / spare cash is something we hadn’t thought about before, definitely a must for the vending machines

    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys November 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Some machines let you use cards now, but not all of them. Very handy when you don’t want to go all the way to the cafeteria for a Coke!

  • Belle November 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    This is a great list! I wish I have found this when I was pregnant with my first!

    One Awesome Momma

  • Lisa Benavidez November 28, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I love this list!! It’s super simple and really all you need!

  • Meredith November 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Great list!! When I had my baby flip flops and chapstick were the two things that I couldn’t have lived without! hehe

    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys November 28, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Yes! I debated on listing flip-flops vs. slippers. I personally liked the flip-flops better, but at one of my births, the nurses really frowned on them, from a tripping standpoint, but no-one ever said anything about slippers with tread, so…

  • Dearlyndsey November 28, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    This is an awesome list. I totally over packed when I went into labor. Sweat and tshirts were my favorite thing I brought.

    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys November 28, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      There are probably more things that would come in handy when you go to give birth, but you really only need the basics!

  • Ashley November 28, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I love that you included what NOT to pack. I’m totally pinning this list!

  • Adree November 28, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Awesome list, I’m having #2 in January and this time around I’m taking a lot less stuff than I did last time! The one thing I would add is don’t forget your camera!

    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys November 28, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      I way overpacked with my first, and by the time I had my twins, I basically had a backpack for myself and hubby, and a diaper bag for the girls. I hate having too much clutter! And yes, to the camera! I just assumed most people would use a camera on their phones, but if not, your really nice camera is a must!

  • Emily November 28, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Great list! I’m due with #3 in May. I definitely brought snacks for after the baby was born, in case the kitchen wasn’t open!

  • Jacqueline|Mama's Munchkins November 28, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Love this list! While I usually only take the bare necessities for me and baby, the hospital has everything you need! I also do this because I go home as soon as possible, preferably right after the 24 hr heel prick! But for the mama’s that stay longer, yes you would definitely need all this!

    • Rebekah @ My Circus My Monkeys November 28, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      My last babies were twins, born at 6pm without C-section at 38 weeks, both healthy. By lunch the next day, I was chomping at the bit to go home! That hospital made me stay 48 hours, I was so mad and bored!

  • Vicki @ Babies to Bookworms November 28, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    The cards suggestion would have been so helpful when I was induced!

  • Samantha November 29, 2016 at 11:23 am

    I wish I had this list before I went into labor with my son! Another thing to make sure to take are your own pillows. I had to send my husband home after I had my son to get the pillow I put between my knees; I can’t sleep without it and the hospital pillows were too thin.

  • val November 29, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Great list! I always take a pillow from home, too, for extra comfort. Hospital pillows aren’t super comfy ­čÖé

  • Lindsey November 29, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Great list!! I loved the undies from the hospital!! Wanted more!

  • suzanne November 30, 2016 at 9:19 am

    These are great reminders! I’m getting ready to have my second and it’s amazing how many things I’ve forgotten since the first time around.


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