Baby Baggage- What I Took To The Hospital


 It doesn’t actually take bags full of stuff to have a baby. Technically, you just have to show up, or not… if you’re staying home. The baby will come, no matter what you do or don’t have with you.

That said, I found bringing a few bags full of stuff with me to the hospital when I went in to have each of my 3 babies helped with my comfort level, and there will be some things you need if you plan to stay overnight.

3 bags and a stack of pillows may seem like a ton of stuff, but when I had my first baby 5 years ago, we practically moved into the hospital. A U-Haual would have been helpful. By the time I got to having my 3rd baby this summer, I’d narrowed what I would actually need and USE.

Of course, as with all things parenthood, there is no one-size-fits all approach. This is certainly not a definitive list of what YOU should take to the hospital to have a baby. Maybe it will be a good jumping off point for you, though.


My Bag-  a Vera Bradley Weekender in Paisley Meets Plaid. It was 50% off this summer (and still is!). I’m not a huge VB fan except when it’s on sale. Half price makes the patterns prettier to me. As you can see, it holds quite a bit. I had it full to the max.


Nursing Bras – I showed up to the hospital in comfortable clothes, and a Bravado Body Silk Seamless black bra that I planned to labored in. I love that bra because it’s so soft and stretchy, though I’ll say that the soft cups inside of it wound up becoming sponges draped over my boobs after I labored in the shower. Not a huge deal, but I sorta wish I would have labored in the other Bravado bra I packed- the Essential Embrace (pictured above). 

Personal Gown- After I had the baby, and got all cleaned up, I put on my Annie & Isabel gown (Isabel). Of course, the hospital would have provided me a clean gown to wear, but I must say this one was so lovely. No awkward opening in the back. It was clean and pretty and all mine. The top of the sleeves unsnapped for breastfeeding. It was a nice treat. I wore it for my first night before changing into some more traditional pajamas.


Pajamas- In addition to some wireless nursing bras, and a couple Bravado nursing tanks, I packed a few pairs of comfortable black pants and some nursing friendly tops. The key thing is to keep everything loose fitting, soft, stretchy, and DARK colors.

Some moms like to bring their own robe and slippers with them. Our hospital actually gave those to me as a gift! I used the slippers a bit, but didn’t use the robe at all while at the hospital. If you tend to get cold feet, you’ll probably want to pack some warm socks.


Toiletries- This next thing changed my baby-making life. I wish I would have had it for the last 2 babies! That gorgeous silver cosmetic bag is a Push Pack, and it is full of just about everything I needed (other than clothes). I used about 80% of the items it came with, from the toiletries to the Luna bar that I scarfed down in the delivery room as I held a fresh baby on my chest.

Check out the full list of everything it includes here.

It’s full of top-notch products, too, from really fantastic companies. Seriously, every time I found myself in need of something (soft nursing pads, an extra pair of mesh panties while I waited on my nurses to re-stock my bathroom, chapstick, a pen) it was in there. This is a GREAT gift for expecting moms!

In addition to that, I had to pack my glasses, contact case, and saline solution. I also threw in a few ponytail wrappers. And one of my top post-delivery essentials- facial cleaning cloths. Because who has the energy to stand at the sink and wash their face? Not this mom. They are also great for cleaning curdled, spit-up breastmilk out of your cleavage. Just so you know.

Not pictured, but I also took my own large, soft, dark colored towel. It was nice to wrap up in it after my first shower instead of using the small, stiff hospital towels.

Some moms bring their own pads and extra large, soft underwear. Some even like using Depends instead of the pads the hospital provides. I’m not opposed to the stuff the hospital provides, so I never bother to bring any of that with me.


Going Home Outfit-  This was a nursing-friendly maternity dress. It’s actually the one I took my maternity pics in. I didn’t pack it to feel “dressed up” on my way out of there, I just knew it would be comfortable and cool for the Texas summer weather. Those gold flip flops are the only pair of shoes I took with me. I wore them in the shower, and I wore them home. I also took my makeup because I knew it would make me feel more put together. I really only put it on 15 minutes before we were discharged, but it was nice to take a few minutes for me at that time.


For The Baby- We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl, so I did my best to pack some cute, gender neutral outfits. I also wasn’t sure of the sizing. My last baby was 9.9 when she was born, and we couldn’t squeeze her into the newborn outfits we brought for her. So I found some generously sized newborn sleep and plays from Target that I love because they unzip from the bottom instead of the top. It makes diaper changes so much easier.

I also purchased that soft, sweet blue and white stripe sleep sack and hat from BabyPint on Etsy since it would fit babies of many sizes. Then I threw in some onesies and a couple soft blankets. That striped blanket is from Little Hip Squeaks, and the muslin blanket is by Hippilongstockings.


Mam pacifiers and baby lotion also found their way into my bag since I knew the hospital either wouldn’t provide these things, or wouldn’t provide the brands I like.

For my first, I brought his baby book for the nurses to stamp his footprints in. Then I realized I suck at baby books and skipped that with the last two. Instead, we came home with keepsake footprints  on a certificate from the hospital that I can put in their “baby box” (a lazy mom’s alternative to a detailed baby book).


Pillows- The hospital pillows certainly weren’t awful, but we were happy to have our memory foam pillows from home. The Boppy has been a must-have for life with a newborn since I had my first 5 years ago. This is the same Boppy I used with him, but a new cover I purchased from Etsy.


Snacks- Our hospital actually had delicious food, including warm cookies and milk delivered after “cuddle time” every afternoon. It was nice to have a bag full of goodies, though, especially since I delivered late in the evening after the cafeteria and gift shop closed. We packed it full of juice bottles, Powerade, snack bars, pudding, Jello, and (since I have an insatiable sweet tooth after delivering a baby) bags of small candies and chocolates.


Camera/Electronics-  I filled my Shutterbag camera bag with my Canon 6D and Sigma 35 1.4 lens, along with all the chargers needed for that, our phones, and our tablets. One thing I didn’t bring that I would have definitely used is a small extension cord. I was on my phone so much there (taking pics of the baby, talking to family, reading while the baby slept in my arms) that it was hard to keep a charge, and there wasn’t an electric outlet near my bed.

Speaking of electronics, we skipped putting together a labor playlist this time, mostly because I found myself rolling my eyes at all the “soothing” music I used the last 2 labors. I guess I was over it. So we opted to just jam out to the Joshua Radin station on Spotify. It was a perfect, no stress alternative. When my birth photog asked for songs for our slideshow, I could vividly remember the two I chose playing while I labored.


I might have missed a few small things, but those were the big things I remember really getting use out of this last time around. I think, in general, most of them are items just about any mom can use or would like to have- especially those facial cleaning cloths, friends. Such a small thing, such a huge convenience.

If you’ve had a baby out of the home, I’d love for you to add what was essential for you in the comments! If you’re an expecting, first-time mom, I hope this post helps you come up with a good list of things to take with you.

Some of these items were given to me, some I purchased. All of them genuinely made their way onto this list because I found them useful and stand behind them.

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
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  1. Boppy and outfits for baby (plus cloth diapers and wipes), nursing tanks and comfortable yoga type pants and underwear for me (I have size-up more generously sized ones for that purpose), plus a toiletry kit that includes a razor and my own ‘stuff’. That’s about it, although I’ll have to have more in general because I’ll have a C section (necessary, not by choice). A baby book because I actually do kind of fill them out. Lol.

  2. I had a planned home birth for my first. I kept meaning to pack a ‘just in case’ hospital bag, but never got around to it. Then when the babe came 2 weeks early (big shock for a first timer), it was clearly too late. We did end up staying about 12 hours overnight at the hospital for a retained placenta extraction (fun!) and I wished I had packed at least a comfy set of clothes and a few toiletries. Will be making sure that happens next time!

  3. I suggest packing a back a month before the baby is due. My first baby was induced a day after her due date. I expected the same for my second, only she came 2 weeks early. My husband had to bring stuff from home. I didn’t think I had to specify deodorant, but I should have been a little more detailed…He tries, he really does.

      • Hahaha, my first was almost a month early, so not only didn’t we have a bag packed, but we didn’t have a name picked out either! (And you know what is hard to do when you’re a first time mom of a preemie in the NICU? EVERYTHING! And a name is a big deal!) 😉 So yes, for baby #2 we had everything ready to go a month in advance, just in case! 😉

  4. WOW your Baylor was so much nicer than Baylor Dallas. I mean by a landslide. They gave me that blue Baylor water mug and a shove out the door! No warm cookies, no slippers. I was lucky they remembered to give me any food! All great tips. A friend suggested to me to go out and buy a pricy shampoo/body wash/ conditioners I loved and bring those. It was my favorite bit at the hospital getting to take a shower with all my top favorite products I don’t normally splurge on.

  5. hi, I’m a first time mom, I’m trying to decide what to wear during actual labor? I know lots of people that didn’t like the hospital gowns so they bought their own, but then it gets pretty much ruined right? did you wear a bra only? just curious what is the best solution? thanks!

    • Congrats to you! I actually labor mostly naked since I opt out of epidurals. If I had to wear a gown, I think I’d save the nice one of my own for right after delivery because yes, the one you wear while laboring and delivery will likely get gross. Good luck!

  6. Did you have the older siblings receive any special presents at the hospital? If so, do you have any ideas? My little girl will be about 19 1/2 months old when her little brother is born in a few months. Thanks!

  7. I packed an overnight bag for myself with a few things for bringing the baby home. The most useful items I had were my Boppy and chopstick. I hate the mesh undies they give you to wear at the hospital, but didn’t want to put my own stuff on until I was heading home.

  8. Both my kids were C-sections (one that I at least had a chance to pack a bag before heading to the hospital, but the other one I didn’t have anything but my purse!) and it is kind of funny to hear all the things I don’t think I would have had a chance to use (comfy pajama pants and nursing tanks? I wasn’t even allowed out of bed until the next day, so that would have been impossible to change into, not to mention all the IV’s and surgical bandages that would have been in the way!) But it sure sounds NICER to be able to use all of those things! 😉

  9. I brought my own TP – the hospital stuff was SO rough I had my parents stop by my house on their way to the hospital to pick up a roll of our nice soft TP. even though you don’t “wipe” after giving birth, it was still much nice/softer than the sandpaper TP the hospital has!

  10. Tiffanie Luster on

    This was my biggest difficulty as a first time mom and a procrastinator to the fullest. Looking back, there are things I wish I brought and things I definitely didn’t need. Next time, I’ll be bringing an extra set of undies and PJ bottoms. I also love your idea of bringing the Boppy; that would have made the consultation with the LC more productive.

  11. I know this post is a couple of years old, but I’m getting ready to have my 3rd baby, and I was happy to find it in a search. 🙂 I have a lot of “essentials” I have to take with me on any hotel trip, so I count those as hospital essentials too. Top three are my own pillow, Puffs Plus tissues, and Q-tips. I will send my husband to Walmart if we get somewhere on a trip without my Puffs and my Q-tips! Ha! 🙂 Hospital tissues (or Hotel ones, for that matter) are never very soft, and Q-tips are the only way I can get smudged mascara out from under my eyes without removing my make-up entirely. I don’t want to go to the hospital with NO make-up on, but I also know that it most definitely will not remain flawless through labor. A quick re-fresh (with the help of a Q-tip) before getting the first post-delivery pictures will be a comfort to me.

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