15 Hospital Bag Must-Haves

The closer you get to your due date, the more important it is to pack a hospital bag to make yourself more comfortable during and after delivery.

Prepare Your Hospital Bag in Advance

The closer you get to your due date, the more exciting it is to think about finally meeting your baby. In all of the excitement, it can be easy to forget to think about what to pack in your hospital bag, but the items in that bag can be crucial in helping your time away from home go as smoothly as possible!  Your hospital bag will help make you more comfortable during labor and after your little one arrives.

You don’t want to over pack and end up hauling around a giant bag that you barely touch, but it can be easy to forget something important. That’s why we asked veteran moms what to pack in a hospital bag for labor and focused on the absolute “must-have” items.  We’ve compiled their responses here in an easy list of hospital bag essentials for moms:

Hospital Bag Checklist

  1. Lip Balm. More moms talked about packing lip balm than nearly any other item, and for a good reason. Hospital air can be incredibly dry, so having your favorite lip balm will keep your lips feeling good throughout labor and in those precious hours after delivery. Consider lip balm an essential in your maternity bag. 

  2. Your Own Toiletries. Pack a small bathroom bag with your toothbrush and toothpaste, a brush and hair ties, deodorant, and travel-sized lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. Some moms also recommend face wipes for a quick pick-me-up and dry shampoo for between showers. 

  3. Slippers. Slippers, no-skid socks, or flip flops are a lifesaver for pacing the hospital hallways during labor, and when your feet are so swollen they won’t fit into anything else. You won’t regret adding a pair to your hospital bag. 

  4. Glasses. Let’s get real, fussing with your contact solution will be one of the last things on your priority list during this whirlwind. It might be easier on your eyes to retire your contacts for your stay, and opt for your glasses during labor and delivery. 

  5. Nursing Bra. A comfortable nursing bra like our nursing sleep bra (no underwires!) is a must for some moms, while others prefer to go braless because of frequent nursing and to ensure lots of skin-to-skin contact in those early hours after birth. Do whatever makes you comfortable. Just make sure that you have packed whatever you need. 

  6. Nursing Pads. Save yourself from having to do laundry the minute you get home and protect your bra from leaks. Safe & Dry™ Disposable Nursing Pads are available in two options and are ideal for use both at the hospital and when settled at home, once you start going out and about with or without the baby!

  7. Phone Charger. You’ll want your phone to keep you distracted during labor, to contact friends and loved ones when the baby arrives, and for tons of newborn pictures. So, a charger is absolutely essential. Some moms even recommend bringing a longer charging cord that will reach from the wall to your hospital bed.  A phone charger is one of those items that’s easy to forget if you don’t have it already added to your list of items to include in your hospital bag.

  8. Snacks. Having a baby makes you hungry, and we haven’t heard anyone raving about amazing hospital food lately. Do yourself a favor and pack some snacks. We like anything that’s easy to toss in your bag with zero prep-work, like granola bars, crackers, or trail mix.

  9. Bathrobe and Comfy Clothes. Next to that post-delivery shower, the thing that will make you feel most like yourself after giving birth are comfy clothes to recover in. Pack loose lounge pants, a nursing tank, and a cozy zip-up hoodie or bathrobe. Packing comfortable maternity and nursing apparel can provide added support and relief to sensitive areas during and after pregnancy.

  10. Your Own Pillow. Hospitals aren’t known for their comfy pillows and you'll want to comfortably enjoy every bit of sleep that you're able to get after your baby arrives! That’s why many moms recommend bringing your own favorite pillow (or two) from home to help keep you as comfortable as possible during labor and to support you when you start breastfeeding. If you bring your own pillow, remember to use a colored or patterned pillowcase so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital pillows.

  11. Lanolin. While you and your baby are learning to breastfeed in the hospital, your nipples may get sore. Our Purelan lanolin can help soothe and protect them and is completely safe for you and your baby.

  12. Pads, Underwear, and Diapers. The hospital will give you pads and mesh underwear while you recover from giving birth. However, some moms swear by bringing their own protection to be more comfortable. Adult diapers are a popular choice – seriously! – but other moms bring along a well-fitting pair of high-waisted underwear (you probably call them granny panties) and their favorite brand of overnight absorbency pads.

  13. Going Home Outfits. Pack a going-home outfit for yourself and your baby. You’ll probably still be most comfortable in your maternity clothes or cozy loungewear, while your baby will need a onesie, socks, a blanket, and any cold-weather gear if it’s chilly outside.

  14. Car Seat. Don’t forget to make sure your car seat is ready to go and that you and your partner know how to use it before going to the hospital. This item obviously won’t be fitting in your maternity bag, but we thought it was important enough to include anyway. 

  15. The "Nice-to-Have" Items. While many moms get by with just a few of the items listed above, some moms insist on having a few more comforts with them. Most popular were cozy blankets, a tablet for watching TV or movies, and overnight stuff for your partner. Only you can be the judge of whether you think you’ll need additional items like this. Your postpartum hospital bag is all about keeping you comfortable and prepared through labor and delivery.

If you haven't already, be sure to download the Medela Family app and have that handy, so you can track important baby and breastfeeding stats while having easy access to our knowledge center, smart assistant, and other great breastfeeding-focused content and resources.

Having a hospital bag packed with the items covered above can help ensure that your trip to the hospital goes as smoothly and comfortably as possible. As your due date gets closer, have these items packed in your bag and stowed in the car or by the front door so that you'll be ready whenever your baby decides to show up!

Fast relief for sore nipples and dry skin.
Related Products
Medela Keep Cool Sleep Bra in black
Keep Cool™ Sleep Bra
Purelan Lanolin 37 g / 1.3 oz tube
Purelan™ Lanolin Nipple Cream