New mum must-haves: 7 hospital bag essentials

hospital bag essentials

*This is a guest post

Are you a soon-to-be mum? If so, you will have likely spent the last several months dreaming about the arrival of your new little one. You have probably decorated the nursery, figured out how to set up the crib and install an infant car seat and stocked up on all sorts of baby gear.

It’s easy to get so caught up in making sure you have everything you need for the baby, though, that you forget to consider your own needs. Once you are in your third trimester, it’s time to start thinking about what to include in your hospital bag. Bringing the right supplies ensures your comfort following delivery, and it can make those first few hectic hours and days a bit easier to get through.

While you shouldn’t overdo it and bring an overwhelming amount of excess stuff that you don’t really need, there are plenty of necessities that should come with you when you head to the hospital. Keep reading to discover a few hospital bag packing list essentials.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

Many new mums are unsure of when they should start packing their bag for the hospital. Timing is everything, but there is a bit of flexibility. Generally speaking, you should pack when you are between 37 and 38 weeks. If, however, your OB thinks that you may go into labour early, it’s smart to go ahead and pack around the 35-week mark.

You can, of course, always pack earlier. It never hurts to be prepared. Packing early also provides an opportunity for you to make adjustments as needed before the big day.

Hospital Bag Essentials

On average, new mums spend one to two or three to four days in the hospital, depending on how they deliver. Delivering a baby via C-section typically requires a more extended hospital stay, so keep this in mind when packing your bag. Not sure what you should pack? Here are a few must-have items.

Important Paperwork

It’s always smart to have specific papers and documents with you when you go to the hospital. You should pack your photo ID, insurance information and hospital forms. Bring a copy of your birth plan, too, if you have one.

Personal Care Items

After giving birth, you probably won’t exactly feel like putting on a full face of makeup. You’ll be exhausted, sore and in need of some freshening up. Be sure to pack toiletries and personal care items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, body wash, face wash and deodorant. Make sure you have your glasses and/or contacts, too, and any supplies you may need for them. Don’t forget to pack some lip balm and lotion as well since hospitals are notoriously dry. Ideally, you should pack travel-sized products to save space and make your hospital bag easier to manage.

Consider packing a headband or ponytail holder, too. They will come in handy when you are in labor and in the following days when you don’t feel like styling your hair. Dry shampoo may be a smart idea, as well. 

Extra Clothing

Maternity wards tend to be warm, so bring loose, lightweight, comfortable clothing to wear during your stay. You may also want to bring a bathrobe or a comfy sweater that you can curl up in if you get chilly. Bring clothing to wear home, too. Something comfortable in six-month maternity sizes should work well.

Other hospital bag essentials include a couple of maternity bras and nursing pads, even if you don’t plan on nursing your new little one. Trust us–they will keep you more comfortable during your first few hours as a new mum.

Don’t forget about cozy, non-slip socks. They will work well for walking the halls before, during and after labor. Bring at least three pairs.

Make sure you bring something for the baby to wear home, too! A blank onesie that has been customized for the occasion is a perfect option. Consider buying baby onesies in bulk to ensure that you have the right size. And trust us, the extras will come in handy once you’re home!


Pack non-perishable snacks for yourself and your partner. Sugar-free hard candies are great during labor as they help keep your mouth moist. Avoid ones with sugar, though, as they will make you thirsty. Bring some change for the vending machines, too.

Electronics and Entertainment

Be sure to bring your cell phone and a charger. You may also want to consider bringing some light reading, earbuds or a small craft, such as knitting.

Essential Baby Gear

While you are in the hospital, the staff will provide nearly everything your new little one needs. You will still, however, need some supplies to help get him or her home safely. For starters, you will need an approved infant car seat. You’ll also need a coming home outfit and some warm blankets for the ride home. Keep in mind that newborns are more sensitive to cold than we are, so they may need a hat even if it’s just the slightest bit chilly outside.

Gear for Your Partner

If you have a partner who will be going to the hospital with you, make sure their needs are covered, too when thinking about your hospital bag essentials. Pack a bag with their toiletries, a change of clothes and something to read or watch. Be sure to include a camera, also, so that they can capture all of the memories!


There is no denying the excitement that accompanies bringing a new baby into the world. For new mums, though, preparing for such a momentous event can be more than a little overwhelming. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help ensure that you have everything you need before the big day arrives. Using this article as a guide for hospital bag essentials, start working on packing a hospital bag well in advance of your due date. Trust us–you’ll be thanking us when you are already ready to go when you go into labour!

About the author

Brenda Kimble is a writer and stay-at-home mother. She loves blogging, crafting, and spending time with her family. Heralding from Austin, Texas she loves seeking out the best spots for fashion, food, and live music. 

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