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hospital bag essentials

Essentials for your L&D Hospital Bag 

As a mom of three and a previous Labor and Delivery Nurse, I want you to be prepared and as comfortable as possible during labor and after your delivery.  So, with the input of several of my fellow L&D RN friends and a bestie Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), I compiled this list of items that we feel are necessary for making your stay at the hospital more enjoyable.  Additionally, this Essentials to Pack for your Labor and Delivery Hospital Bag is especially useful for first-time moms that have no idea where to start and what to pack. Without further ado, let’s get started!


Your Pillow and Pillowcase

Your OWN pillow from home and a Non-White Pillow Case.  Yes, the hospital does supply pillows, but they are not nearly as comfy as your pillow at home.  And, make sure your pillowcase is printed or is any color except white, or your pillowcase may get thrown into the hospital wash with all the others.  Eeeeeek!

Lip Balm

Some extra-soothing and moisturizing lip balm, like Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning lip balm or this Organic Lip Balm 6-pack. Trust me on this one. You WILL need it.  And, it’s good to have several on-hand.

Cell Phone Cord

An extra-long cell phone charger cord or an extension cord.  I’d bring both just to be safe.  You know you will be keeping your phone charged like crazy!  : )


A soft, comfy robe, like this Plush Fleece Bathrobe with Pockets.  Robes are nice to put on when you have visitors, when you are walking down the hallway and want to be completely covered, and they are great for easy access when nursing.

Slippers, Socks, & Flip-flops

Comfortable Slippers with gripping soles on the bottom.  You will get a lot of wear in these at the hospital.  And, the grippy soles are good for walking on those sometimes slippery hospital floors.  For the days after you deliver, your feet will most likely swell from all of the IV fluids given.  My feet were so swollen, they didn’t even look like feet.  Luckily, I knew my feet would do this, and I brought some inexpensive flip-flops to wear, as I could not fit in any other shoes (for about a week).  Also, pack several pairs of socks that you don’t mind ruining. 

Nursing Bras and Pads

Another absolute necessity — Nursing Bras!  You will probably need at least two, Nursing bra, soft cup.  Usually, your milk won’t come in for a few days, but for some women, it does come in quickly, and you may need the nursing pads while you are still in the hospital to keep from soaking your clothing.

Loose-fitting Pajamas/Oversized t-shirts

You will definitely need some super soft maternity/nursing pajamas that are very stretchy.  Another choice is the short-set version of super soft maternity/nursing pajamas.  And, a lot of my friends love the Three-Pack of nursing tank tops.  You can continue to wear these stretchy pajamas and nursing tank tops for at least six months after delivery (or like me and wear them for about two years!).  : )

Pain Relieving Spray and Pads

After delivery your perineum will be EXTREMELY sore, so Dermaplast Pain Relieving Spray and Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads will be your new best friends.  Yes, the hospital will provide you with lots of ice packs, spray, and pads, but I always find that it’s just not enough, and I hate to keep asking for more.  Plus, you will need it at home, so you might as well buy it now and bring it with you!  You will also get to wear the infamous huge, stretchy, netting panties with your pads, ice packs, and pain relievers.  Most people actually like these undies, but with the weight of all the stuff that had to go in them, they kept falling down.  So, it might be a good idea to bring a few pair of your maternity underwear that you don’t mind throwing away afterward and putting them on OVER the netting panties.  

Your Going Home Outfit

For your going home outfit, I would suggest you wear some maternity clothes that you wore before delivery.  I loved wearing maternity jeans and an oversized t-shirt as my “headed home” outfit.  Yes, there are some ladies that like to dress-up for their “going home,” but you are going to feel sore, swollen, drained of energy, and sleep-deprived.  Remember, COMFORT is key!  (funny t-shirt for daddy)

Your Normal Toiletries

Some hospitals have a hair dryer in each bathroom, but I would pack a compact hair dryer just in case they do not.  You are going to want to shower and wash your hair ASAP!  Likewise, it is much better to bring your own, usual toiletries from home than to use the tiny samples of stuff that the hospital provides.  So, bring your own make-up, hair clips, hair ties, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, etc. 

Nursing Pillow 

Right after you deliver your baby, you will want to start nursing him or her as soon as possible.  I would absolutely bring a nursing pillow in your suitcase.  There are two that I love:  the Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner and My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow.  I loved both of these nursing pillows and either one would be perfect.  It’s important to bring it with you, so your nurse and the lactation specialist can show you the best ways to position the pillow and your baby for a successful nursing experience.

Your Own Soft Gown (Okay, this may not be a necessity, but I sure do wish I had packed it! : )

Gownies Maternity Hospital Gown and Pillowcase Set — All of my L&D co-workers had these, and they were so Adorable!  You get a gown and matching pillowcase, and they have some really cute prints!  I totally regret not having this.  I look back at my labor photos and see that standard hospital gown I was wearing and cringe.  If you want to wear one of the regular gowns while you labor, and then switch to your own gown afterward for all the pics and videos, that’s fine too.  


You will need to bring your driver’s license, insurance cards, social security card, and any pre-registration paperwork you may have completed.  After the baby is born, someone will come to your room and you will complete paperwork for your new baby’s birth certificate and social security card.

ultimate list of essentials for your labor and delivery hospital bag

Additional Items to Pack:

For Baby —  The MOST important thing to remember to bring for your baby is the Infant Car Seat.  Before you are discharged from the hospital, the nurse should make sure you know how to properly place and secure your baby in the car seat, and then at your car, they will also make sure that your car seat is secured and locked in place correctly.  Additionally, you will also need a clean, soft “going home” outfit (or a onesie), a small blanket or two, and newborn mittens and a hat.  Our hospital provides basically everything you need for the baby while you are in the hospital and they give you a large diaper bag full of newborn baby essentials as you are leaving the unit.  If you really want your baby to be on a pacifier, I would bring several different ones (various brands and sizes) to try out and see which one the baby likes best.  My daughter immediately loved any pacifier, but my boys didn’t like any of them, and I tried them all!  : )

For Dad/Support Person — I would suggest that your support person bring a change of clothes, their personal toiletries, cell phone and charger, list of important numbers and people to call after delivery, camera/video camera, lots of change for the vending machines, and their wallet with ID and insurance cards.  My husband brought his computer and actually worked the entire time I was in labor.

If you happen to forget something, don’t worry about it.  You have the most important things with you!  : )   If you are not sure what your particular hospital provides for new moms and infants, be sure to call several weeks ahead and ask so you can pack your bag accordingly.  

I hope this list of hospital bag essentials is helpful for you and takes away some of the anxiety you might be feeling in preparation for your big day!  This is such an exciting journey!  I wish you only the BEST!  Please let me know your thoughts, and if you think there is something else I should add to the list! : )

I’ve created this HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST (pdf file) for you to print-out to help you make sure you have the essentials packed and ready to go!

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