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Hospital Bag Checklist

In honor of its being Caitlin’s due date week, here’s our definitive Hospital Bag Checklist. If you haven’t already, check out Caitlin’s hospital bag video.

Below, we share our list with some color commentary where needed. If you just want the plain list to copy and paste, click here.

Clothes: Yes, you will have access to hospital gowns galore. But most folks feel better in their own gear. Bring your favorite clothes for lounging around the house on a rainy day. Comfort, comfort, comfort. This list will slightly differ, depending on your preferences. If you plan to nurse, all tops should be nursing friendly. Pants should be loose-fitting or maternity.

  • Robe (if you’re a robe person)
  • Pajamas
  • Sweatpants/leggings/yoga pants
  • T-shirts/nursing tanks
  • Sweatshirts/cardigans
  • Underwear (dark colors!)
  • Socks (optional; hospital will provide)
  • Nursing bras (regular if you don’t plan to breastfeed)

Toiletries and Makeup: Many hospitals provide the basic essentials (toothpaste, mouthwash), but don’t count on those unless you know for certain. Take this opportunity to go to Target and get a bunch of travel size goodies. You can use them in the future for vacation. That way, you can pack your bag in advance. If you’re a makeup person, bring your makeup!

  • Makeup
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Dry shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Face Wash
  • Face moisturizer
  • Body moisturizer
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Lip Balm
  • Hair dryer/straighter
  • Hair brush
  • Hair ties


  • Ear plugs: Hospitals are LOUD. You need some sleep.
  • Chargers: Enough said.
  • iPad/Kindle: I didn’t really use mine either time, but on the off chance you have some down time…
  • Nipple cream: Apply it every time you nurse.
  • A pen: You fill out a billion forms.
  • Nursing pads: Your milk probably won’t come in while you’re there, but just in case.
  • Nursing pillow: You nurse A LOT at first. Might as well be comfortable.
  • Baby going home outfit: Something cute!
  • Vitamins: Keep taking them, especially if you’re nursing.

Instruction sheet: I know this sounds crazy, but you might not be the one getting your bag together at the last minute. You might be too far along in active labor or (like me with Charlie) admitted to the hospital, with your partner running home to grab your stuff. OR! you might be too distracted/excited/nervous/frantic to think clearly. Leave a sheet of paper with last minute instructions on how to finalize the bag. For instance, you might not be able to pack your hair dryer, bath robe, make up, or iPhone charger in advance. This sheet should list items like that and where they are located. This sounds like overkill, but you’ll be glad you did it on the off chance you need it.

Good luck!

Photo by Lauren Roberts on Unsplash