After struggling with overwhelming emotions preparing for motherhood, heightened by a pandemic, I wanted a space to share my experience to help other Mamas feel prepared and confident in all that motherhood brings.  I hope my insane tendency to over-research, test and trial everything simplifies the many choices you're in the midst of making!

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Hospital Bag Packing Checklist

Hospital Bag Checklist


A guide to avoid over-packing your hospital bag

On every Mama’s third trimester to-do list preparing for the birth of baby: packing your hospital bag!  I don’t know about you, but I always end up over-packing for any occasion….”oh I’ll just throw one more shirt in” turns into an extra 3 outfits and 2 pairs of shoes.  Here’s a tip: take the minimalistic approach to your hospital bag to avoid adding one more piece of chaos to entering the hospital while in labor (or stress if you’re going to be induced).  Not to mention less unpacking once you are home from the hospital and focusing on baby is always a good thing!

When should you pack?  Well this depends on how anxious of a person you are awaiting baby’s birth.  I packed my bag in week 36, and by week 39 I had unpacked and packed it again.  So if you are like me and need to feel prepared and ready in order to remain calm, then go ahead and pack early on. If you are more of a “prepared for baby but casual about it” type of person then week 38 should be just fine.

What you actually need to pack in your hospital bag

The first step: make a hospital bag checklist! What do you actually need to bring with you for your hospital stay? Honestly not much, the hospital has almost everything needed for mom, baby and your birth partner. Very few items were actually used from my original hospital bag packing for my first birth and I was there for 4 nights and 5 days.  The things you need are really to make yourself more comfortable: music, diffuser, skincare, nursing bra, pillow, blanket, etc.  

Hospital Bag Packing Checklist by New Modern Mom
Hospital Bag Packing Checklist by New Modern Mom

Now that I’ve been through 2 hospital stays for the births of both my babies, I’ve broken down this super-easy and organized hospital packing list by category for Mom, Partner, Baby & The Hospital Room.  The hospital bag essentials checklist is below and you’ll find details on products and tips further on!

Hospital Bag Packing List

Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom




Other essentials

Hospital Bag Checklist for Partner

  • Slippers (disposable i.e. hotel slippers)
  • Socks
  • Joggers
  • 2x Tshirt
  • 2x underwear
  • Beanie/Hat
  • Sweatshirt
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant
  • Pillow with colored pillowcase
  • Blanket

Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby

Hospital Bag Checklist for your Hospital Room

Optional items to pack in your hospital bag (not needed, but if you are so inclined to overpack)

What you don’t need to pack in your hospital bag

  • Nursing pillow – the nurses and lactation consultants will show you how to use hospital pillows instead. I love my nursing pillow, but its not necessary to have right away
  • Pants – HA! The last thing you’ll want to put on because 1) night sweats 2) bulky situation down there 3) swelling
  • Headphones
  • Medications
  • Postpartum supplies: maxi pads, witch hazel spray, dermoplast, peri bottle, etc.
  • Nipple gels
  • Belly band
  • Breast pump
  • Robe – use a comfy cardigan instead
  • Laptop (your partner may want to bring one, but likely won’t need it)

Tips for packing your hospital bag

I highly recommend packing a cooler with snacks.  Try making some simple wraps since these hold up great after several hours.  Other good healthy snacks: grapes, blueberries, carrots, pretzels, individual peanut butter or almond butter packets. Hospital food is not great and meal service ends early, you and your partner may need the snacks in the middle of the night.

I don’t know about your partner, but my husband was hesitant about packing more than a few things in his bag and didn’t originally pack a blanket, pillow or towel because it was bulky.  For our second baby, he knew better and packed a pillow, sleeping bag, comfy blanket, and ever brought a tiny blow up mattress pad.  Encourage your partner to pack these essentials.

Fair warning if you don’t want to bring your own towel, our hospital towels were the size of my arm and paper thin. Ask for an extra “blanket” which is essentially just an extra thick sheet and use it as a towel instead.

What bag to use for hospital packing

Okay, now for what to pack all this stuff in!  Using a weekender bag or a rolling suitcase is a personal preference and really what you think your partner can handle carrying for you. Regardless of which direction you go, be sure to use packing cubes with labels for all your stuff to stay organized.  This helped my husband easily find things in my bag when I asked for them. 

You’ll need 4 bags: a bag each for you and your partner, diaper bag for baby, and duffel bag for hospital room stuff.  Plus you’ll need the car seat, but your partner can grab that (if allowed to leave the hospital) right before you both and baby head out.

Here are some of my favorite weekender bag picks.

And if you are in the market for a small carry-on suitcase, after MUCH research I bought the July Carry On Pro suitcase and am in love!

Alright mamas, good luck on taking this minimalistic approach and happy packing! 

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