pregnant girl’s guide to packing her hospital bag

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Alrighty y’all, the time has come — hospital bag packing time! I usually consider myself a low maintenance packer, but I discovered that unlike packing for a trip to Palm Springs or a quick weekend staycation, a hospital bag requires a bit more careful thought and strategy. I had NO idea. I thought…let’s throw some junk in a bag and call it a day. No, not so much. I started researching, asking friends, and realizing…this is kind of important. Obviously women have been birthing for years without modern luxuries, but let’s get real…why do that if you don’t have to. I realized comfort and organization are key. Comfort for obvious reasons, and organization because the last thing you want to deal with is digging around for something important. Soooo… after collecting all my data I broke up my packing list into five main categories in a Google Doc:

  1. labor
  2. recovery
  3. husband’s responsibilities
  4. baby
  5.  going home.

I even tried to pack everything within large Ziplocs or plastic bins so that it’s super easy to find everything when we’re there. (These huge Ziplocs are what I am talking about)


Everything I am bringing for labor is (mostly) going into a small plastic bin I have tucked away in my suitcase. I want this to be easily accessible to my husband so that when the time comes he isn’t digging through my bags as I ask him for lip balm or gum or whatever other thing it is I need. Being organized now should help keep things just a little easier when the time comes, here is what I have packed for the labor portion of our hospital stay…

  • Favorite Pillow from Home – everyone tells me the pillow situation in hospitals kind of sucks (they even said this on the hospital tour!) so I am bringing my own along with a unique pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed up when it’s time to go home.
  • Hair Ties + Head Bands – As soon as it’s time to get down to business I am throwing my hair up and taking my makeup off. We can get glam later.
  • Makeup Remover
  • Slippers – I am told the initial parts of labor often include walking up and down the hall and being very cold! These are essential.
  • Cozy Fuzzy Socks
  • Magazines + iPad – For the waiting around portion of labor. I thought labor was like the movies where you rush into the hospital and start pushing as your husband runs into the ER with you in a wheelchair… buuuut apparently for most mommies there is actually a lot of waiting around time before things get so intense.
  • Birthing Ball
  • Snacks + change for vending machines — We have a whole other list for snacks, but if your hospital vending machines are quarters only, be sure to tuck some away so husband can run to grab you a Gatorade or peanuts at the last minute!
  • Lip Balm – I am bringing a few of my favorite flavors, I hear you get very dried out.
  • Suckers – A tip from our childbirth class teacher, again for getting dried out she says a few hard candies are nice to have on hand.
  • Body Oils / Massage Oil – Tip from my doula, they said massage can really help keep you comfortable as you labor.
  • Gum
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Wash Cloths – For creating quick and easy cold or hot compresses.
  • Heating Pad
  • Hot packs / Lavender eye pillow – I happened to already have these and figured they might be great! The lavender pillow goes in the microwave and offers aromatherapy once heated up which the hospital suggested (on the tour they mentioned bringing in many “comfort measures”)
  • Blue Tooth Speaker + Multiple Spotify Playlists – I made a mellow playlist and a workout style playlist, lord only knows what I’ll wanna listen to, so I gave myself options!
  • Essential Oils + Diffusor – Again, mentioned on our tour. I have packed Clary Sage, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Rose, and Frankensense
  • Tums
  • Facial Lotions & Oils – Again, because you can get very dried out in the hospital.
  • Treats for nurses — not sure yet, Gressel may just run across the street for Starbucks and Pastries.

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This portion of the list is very unsexy, but who cares? (Spoiler alert: adult diapers) I will make a full recovery list post of everything I have waiting for me at home to start the healing process, but here is what I am bringing with me. I also heard on our hospital tour they provide most of these items, so some I may leave at home or just bring a few of juuuuust in case. Here it is anyways…

  • Comfortable Pajamas – I am bringing a few sets since we’ll be there at least 2 days. I have a cute set for photos, and then a few that I won’t be sad if they need to be tossed (I hear things get gross!). All of the sets I bought were pretty inexpensive from TJ Maxx and all were bought with nursing in mind. I have both a gown and a bottom/top set. The gown is in case I have a last minute c-section and do not wants pants (you never know!) The pretty PJs I have for visitors/photos are all from Belabumbum.
  • Robe – Again, be comfortable tossing this when you’re done if needed, or make sure it’s an easily washed material.
  • Nursing Bras
  • Comfortable underwear – We are talking granny panties. I went to Target and picked up some old lady Hanes that I don’t mind tossing. I may go back and buy depends too to be honest, I hear that can just be easier for all that fun post-partum bleeding.
  • Overnight pads – The hospital will provide, but doesn’t hurt to have a few on hand just in case!
  • Recovery shorts & Post partum girdle — I bought a Bellefit Belly Band to help my uterus go back to it’s normal size. I feel like I won’t want to put this on right away, but packing it just in case I feel ready.
  • Nursing Pads
  • Nipple Cream (I am also bringing coconut oil)
  • Gel Nipple Pads
  • Stool Softener/Colace
  • All Natural DIY Healing Spray (Recipe here)
  • Tucks
  • Dermoplast Spray
  • Perennial Cold Packs
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Towels from home (again, as suggested by many mommies and even the hospital)

Husband’s Responsibilities

In addition to hubby packing his own bag of clothes and whatnot, I am putting him in charge of a few items…

  • Birth Plan (a few copies)
  • Our Wallets
  • IDs / Important Documents — Plus an accordion file for collecting important documents we receive for baby
  • Chargers for all electronics
  • Camera and Extra Battery
  • Playlists
  • Speakers
  • iPad
  • Laptop
  • Cooler — I can’t even believe I am typing this…but I am having my placenta encapsulated into pills. I really didn’t think I’d be one of those girls, but after chatting with my doula I don’t see the harm. It’s not terribly expensive, and if I end up not liking it I don’t have to continue, but this gives me the option. I am new to all of this birthing and motherhood stuff…who am I to turn up my nose to something because it seems a little weird? Everything I am going through is a little weird! I am excited to at least try!
  • Box or bag to take home gifts and hospital supplies


  • Going home outfits – One in a newborn size, one in a 0-3 size
  • Hat
  • Socks
  • Swaddle Blankets
  • Baby blanket
  • Nursing Pillow
  • Wipes + Diapers (might take out as hospital tells me they provide!)
  • Mittens
  • First small toy (more a souvenir than anything)
  • Baby book to capture footprints
  • INSTALLED car seat — essential!

Visitors + Going Home

Ok, once all the laboring is over and we have visitors and the camera out, I would like to be somewhat presentable and comfortable. Here is what is coming with for that journey…

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Cleanser / Moisturizer / General Skincare Routine
  • Makeup remover
  • Shampoo/Conditioner – I splurged on travel sized versions of my favorite Pureology products to help me feel like myself.
  • Deodorant
  • Soap / Lotion / Body Oil (Bio Oil – this stuff is my obsession!!!)
  • Hair Brush / Travel Sized Dryer
  • Curling Iron — Oddly very important to me, I know I will be exhausted and wanting to spend every second with baby. But if I can get 15 minutes before the friends and family come in to just do my hair, I just may feel human!
  • Makeup & Makeup Brushes — keeping this really simple. I am bringing the essentials and leaving the heavy stuff at home: tinted moisturizer, cream blush, lip tint, and highlighter. I don’t need to get too done up, just a little touch to feel “normal” 🙂
  • Flip Flops
  • Comfortable Tees
  • Leggings / Yoga Pants
  • Stretchy dresses (in case of c-section)
  • Nursing Bras

There you have it! It sounds like a lot, but everything fits into my diaper bag, duffle bag, and Longchamp purse, so it’s really not too crazy. Please chime in if there is something I am missing, I am ALL ears as a first time mama!

7 responses to “pregnant girl’s guide to packing her hospital bag”

  1. karen kouf says:

    You’re so funny…that’s the MOST organized hospital bag and recovery plan I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine one thing is missing. 🙂

    We’ll be watching for your big news, all the best!

  2. Ilana S. says:

    I encapsulated my placenta too and it gave me so much energy in those first few sleep deprived weeks! I think it really helped! And then I kind of forgot about it and I still have like half the bottle of pills in our freezer… haha

  3. […] but she’s got one of the most thorough list of must-haves we’ve ever seen. This fantastic list has got her ready for labor, recovery and going […]

  4. galina says:

    thank you for writing this post very helpful! im 37 weeks so it can be anytime now. Megan I wanted to ask you how do you like that bellefit girdle? im planning to get one did you get dual closure one? did it help you? also what kind of recovery shorts did you have? you mentioned about get nipple pads are they by Lilys????????? sorry if i have so many questions:) If you have time in the future maybe you can write a post on all the helpful items that helped you in postpartum period?

  5. kaley says:

    This may sound silly but I love your pink tote in the picture 🙂 can you tell me what it is?? Thanks

  6. zaina says:

    I love your pink tote in the picture too can you please tell me where you got it?

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