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13 Must-Haves for Your Hospital Bag Checklist

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What’s on your hospital bag checklist? Credit: penelope waits, Flickr

There are many lists available to help mamas pack for their hospital stay when it comes time to have that baby. As a mom-to-be, it can be a little overwhelming. You don’t want to be under-prepared, but you also recognize that the entire house cannot come with you to the hospital. I’ve been asked a lot recently what was in my hospital bag and what I would change now having been through it. Here’s that list of what I found to be my must-haves that I would put on any hospital bag checklist!

Your Hospital Bag Checklist

1. Nightgown and bathrobe. Let’s be honest: the hospital wardrobe is not the most fashionable, and they’re not soft either. With all the hands and eyes that’ll be on you for a few days, being comfortable is key. It’s nice to have a robe to throw on when visitors come, and if you plan to nurse, consider bringing a maternity nursing gown.

2. Slippers. The hospital socks are scratchy and brown, enough said.

3. Toothbrush and toothpaste.

4. Hair necessities. Hairbrush, hair dryer, shampoo and conditioner. You’ll feel so much better after that first shower post-childbirth, and no products will work as good as your own.

5. Body lotion, face wash and lotion and deodorant. My skin was a little dry from being dehydrated that first day; it drank all of this up and needed more.

6. Mascara. if I could sleep in it without waking up to it on my white sheets, I would. Even a little bit of mascara will make you feel refreshed. Throw in some lip gloss, too! Remember, there will be pictures.

7. Camera. Cell phones are not always reliable, have back up! Make sure you bring any necessary chargers, too.

8. A going-home outfit. Make it comfortable and stretchy. The last thing you’ll want is skinny jeans and a leather jacket. You’re not walking the red carpet, but the mascara will help you feel a little more cheerful in those yoga pants!

Baby Must-Haves for Your Hospital Bag

1. Two take-home outfits. This was my mom’s doing, and I’m so grateful for that back up! Evan had his first blowout on our way out the door. Only my child would need an outfit change at the last minute (like mother, like son … or something like that).

2. Blanket. I only had one, but I had an August baby. We didn’t end up using it because it was over 100 degrees out on the day we brought Evan home. For those colder months, I suggest having a couple for tucking baby in the car seat.



Honesty, that’s all you’ll need for baby. You will get plenty of diapers and wipes at the hospital. I brought my packed diaper bag that I carry daily, and it was just an extra thing to carry. Anything you could possibly need, the hospital will have and on the ride home you won’t need a thing. The hospital will even have plenty of bottles should you want one for the ride home or if you chose to bottle feed while there.

Daddy Must-Haves for Your Hospital Bag

1. Toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Obviously.

2. Sleepwear. For my husband, that was basketball shorts and a T-shirt. You might pack sweatpants just in case it’s chilly.

3. Snacks. The best advice my mother-in-law gave me before marrying my husband was to always keep a snack on hand for him. The hospital bag was no exception in my mind! I had a whole Target aisle thrown in there. Yes, there is a hospital cafeteria, but I knew I’d want him with me and didn’t want him to have to run back and forth.

That’s it! There was no need for toiletries; if your hubby needs to shower at the hospital, you’ll have him covered with your supplies. The hospital room is a small room, there’s no need to move in.

These were just my must-haves — you’ll likely have personal items you’ll want to include for baby and yourself. My advice is to make a list — what can you not do without overnight? — and write your list before packing. Hopefully that will keep you from getting overwhelmed and help you feel more in control. And remember, anything you forgot can be brought to you by someone!

What were some of your must-haves for the hospital bag? Happy packing! —Jennifer

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