What to pack in your hospital bag

hospital bag content

As I wrote last week, we are hoping to welcome our baby at home (there is a big inflatable birth pool in my bedroom as I write this! on the eve of my due date no less!), so I have not even packed a hospital bag. Everything we need for the birth and for the baby is ready and waiting in my closet, including many of the newborn essentials I mentioned in this previous post.

Speaking of hospital bags… I recently stumbled across an article about what women from around the world take with them to the hospital when they give birth. It is fascinating! It makes you realise how ‘essentials’ can differ across cultures and countries.  After seeing the photos from women around the world, I thought I would gather some of my post-birth products onto my bed and snap my version of my ‘hospital bag’ contents.

Here is what I would pack if I were packing a hospital bag:


  • Nursing dress and robe
  • Nursing Bra
  • Nursing tank
  • Cotton Underpants
  • Organic maternity pads (for heavy flow)
  • Chapstick (my lips were always chapped after labour)
  • Hair elastic (I usually have one around my wrist, but good to pack an extra one just in case!)
  • Loose-fitting, comfortable dress for the drive home (a dress like this one from Hatch is perfect because it’s loose-fitting and buttons down for easy nursing, or a loose-fitting top over leggings)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, face lotion and anything else you might need for an overnight stay



  • Camera (make sure the battery is charged!)
  • Phone & charger
  • Portable bluetooth speaker

What am I forgetting? Anything you packed in your hospital bag that I didn’t mention above? And were there things you packed that you never used and wouldn’t pack again? Your tips will be helpful to other mamas so please share!

Courtney x


Comments (10)

Nina Stegelmann
March 14, 2017

Organic nipple cream. I have forgotten the brand, it came in a yellow tube when I had children, which seems so long ago already, haha! All the best for you Courtney, I am so happy you get to have another baby, it is absolutely the best! xx Nina

March 15, 2017

@Nina – I think you mean Medela Purelan? Is a yellow tube.

March 14, 2017

The best things I packed were a short robe, nursing bras, maternity leggings (the kind that go high over your belly), a belly binder, and cheap flip flops for the hospital floor and shower. I had surgical births for all of my children, so it was important that I have clothing that supported my belly but didn’t irritate my incision. I also recommend packing lots of snacks for when hunger strikes at 3am!

The things I packed the first time that were unnecessary: a book, a hairdryer, and an extra pillow.

March 14, 2017

Love your simple picks and yes, I completely agree – it’s amazing to see what is considered essential for expecting mamas to take in their bags. My fave nursing dress for the hospital and for lounging at home or those early days out and about was the Au Lait Going Home Dress, based here in NYC – you should check them out. It has simple and discreet nursing access which is nice when you don’t feel like sharing everything with your in laws or ever guest who comes to visit you and your new babe! Their seamless nursing bra is amazing too and I still wear mine all the time. Wishing you a wonderful birth and I can only imagine all the love that new baby is going to be embraced with in your home! xo

March 14, 2017

This is really helpful, Courtney. Thank you! I am due seven weeks after you, with my first baby, and I have been following along with each of your pregnancy posts. It’s such an exciting and emotional time, feeling my baby gain strength inside me and facing a new period in my life without work as I head into a five-month maternity leave. I know there will be so much to love about staying home with my baby (and so much to fear when we introduce childcare), and yet I can’t help feeling nervous about being without the professional identity I’ve fostered for a decade. I admire your (and Esther’s and Emilie’s) entrepreneurial spirit, in bridging your identity as a parent with your professional, working self, and I look forward to building my own bridge, too. 💛

March 14, 2017

My daughter was born a month early so my husband and I literally rushed out of the house like chickens with our heads cut off and had nothing! Very similar to what you see in the movies haha. I am due in August with my second baby so this time I vow to be prepared well ahead of time just in case! However, in delivering my daughter in the hospital without having anything, I realized that you really don’t need much! The hospital provides just about everything you need, and while it may not be as glamorous as having your own things, it still works! But still, the second time around I would like to have a few of my own essentials for extra comfort 🙂 This list is a great idea of items to bring without going overboard.

Good luck with your delivery and new baby!

March 15, 2017

If you’re in America you wont need swaddles, onesies, underwear, baby hats, diapers (unless you prefer your own brand), or pads. They give you all of that in the hospital. The only clothes you need for baby would be a going home outfit if you want to take a sweet photo, but even then you could still just wear the ones they give you. I also never understood the chapstick thing – why would you be thinking about your lips in labor? Is it for after? I never needed that .

Loose fitting clothes, slippers, and a robe were important though and camera / charger

Helen in Amsterdam
March 15, 2017

Headphones are an essential for me – I like to go into my own little world… For my second birth I lived in a dressing gown provided by the birthing centre, it was so great for stepping in and out of the shower as the mood took me… I thought there would be one provided at my third birth, but there wasn’t – and I missed it so!

March 16, 2017

Best tip I was given: Bendable Drinking Straws! Sounds odd I know but in a very hot hospital in summer after a 40 hour labour, I was very grateful for my partner holding a drink and pointing the straw in my direction between each contraction. It meant I only had to move my head and I could still concentrate on what I was doing!

March 16, 2017

Healthly snacks for after birth! Fiber foods like golden berries and a pear or two to help (ahem) with bowel movements. Protein like nuts to replenish strength. (golden berries also have iron which is always a good thing to replenish after birth). * Motherlove Sitz Bath Spray – esp. soothing if you’ve had to be cut…just spray on pad. * And for lip balm – so recommend Hurraw Lip Balm – so soothing and soft!

Leave a Comment