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What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: Honest Advice from a 2nd Time Mom

January 14, 2019

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Let me be up front about this post: there’s nothing extraordinary about it.

You will not find magic, secret items to bring with you to the hospital when the day finally comes for you to give birth.

The reason behind that? I don’t believe that you need anything other than true basics to make you comfortable and happy throughout your stay and I’m not going to beef this article up to make you think otherwise.

You’re leaving with a beautiful baby and that’s the true bottom line.

When I was pregnant with my first child back in 2014-15, I found myself digging through Pinterest and YouTube trying to find the perfect combination of items. What I mostly found were women bringing in huge suitcases filled to the brim with items I couldn’t imagine having use for.

The realist in me shouted at them “you don’t need that!” and after spending a couple days stuffed inside a tiny recovery room where we even tripped over my husband’s small backpack, I still believe it’s not the best option for me.

But I will say that even if fancy floral hospital gowns aren’t for me, if they make you feel good: BRING ONE! It’s all about you, mama, and everything I’ve listed below is what worked for me.

Without further ado, here’s what I have in my hospital bag.

Post-Delivery Clothing

As a general rule, everything I packed with me was dark in color and loose. No, your belly does not magically deflate. Yes, your giant boobs will still be there (probably even more engorged). The hospital I delivered Fox at gave me actual puppy pads to stick in my pants and I was grateful for them because even days after having a baby you will be a mess down there. There’s no need to ruin cute clothing in the recovery process.

I personally do not do a going home outfit since I live so close to the hospital and I’ll be heading straight to my bedroom as soon as we park. If you want that adorable snap in front of the hospital for your baby book, you do you girl.

To bring: 3 pairs of comfy pajama pants, 3 nursing tops, 1-2 lightweight robes
What I’m doing different this time: Last time I brought those cheap $2 camisoles from Forever 21 and wanted to kick myself the second I tried to breastfeed. The door was constantly being swung open with doctors, nurses, and consultants while random people passed by in the halls. Meanwhile, I had to sit completely topless, freezing without my robe, trying to feed the baby because I didn’t wear a nursing-friendly item up top. This time around I’ll be prepared.

Pants: Option 1, Option 2, Option 3
Tops: Option 1, Option 2, Option 3
Bras: Option 1, Option 2
Robes: Option 1, Option 2


Admittedly, I did not use my slippers last time after I realized the pair I bought had ink that came off on my feet. This time I’m coming prepared with a much-loved pair of mine since I absolutely detest ill-fitting hospital socks. If you wind up wanting to use the bathroom or walking around during active labor, hospital staff will make sure you’re wearing something as you pace around. If you plan to use the shower to bathe or labor, bring flip flops!

To bring: Slippers, flip flops
What I’m doing different this time: Using an old pair of slippers and ditching the flip flops. I didn’t care about showering at all with a newborn in my arms and was actually kind of scared to while healing.

Slippers // Flip Flops

Pillows + Blanket

Most hospitals suggest bringing your own for comfort and for dad, who usually winds up on a fold-out piece of furniture. I also remember holding on to my pillow as I got my epidural and smelling home, making the process a bit easier to swallow. I like to purchase a set of pillowcases specifically for the hospital just in case they get ruined. One “glamorous” tip I did love? Molly Sims suggests bringing a patterned pillowcase to instantly beautify all of those hospital bed photos that will wind up getting passed around the family for generations.

To bring: 2 pillows, blanket, Boppy
What I’m doing different this time: I have a clear visual in my head of Tyler sleeping on his backpack covered in a hoodie, which did not look comfortable at all. This time around he will bring a pillow and blanket of his own. The blanket will be multi-purpose for us, since I found myself shaking/feeling like I was in an icy lake immediately post-birth with Fox and the hospital blankets are rather thin and not very warm. I’ll also be bringing a Boppy to help with breastfeeding which I stubbornly left at home with my first.

Pillowcases // Blanket // Boppy

Personal Care Items

I always take this as the perfect opportunity to use up all those samples I get in subscription boxes or at events. Don’t pack the beauty aisle — keep your makeup bag small. Although I’m simple when it comes to clothing, I was totally the girl who showered and did a full face of makeup after my water broke. It made me feel refreshed and ready. That said, sample sizes do help keep everything contained! 

To bring: 3 bags filled with necessities

Bag 1: Bedside Table Necessities ft. chapstick, moisturizer, facial spray
Bag 2: Beauty ft. makeup, makeup remover wipes, brush, dry shampoo
Bag 3: Toiletries ft. deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, body wash

What I’m doing different this time: I’ll be bringing my hot air spin brush along to freshen up my hair each morning so I don’t need to rock a ponytail if I don’t want to. I’ll also be bringing moisturizer for the dry hospital air and facial spray to cool down during hot flashes, since that’s been the name of my game this pregnancy.

I won’t list out all of my favorites, but here are several. 

Chapstick // Moisturizer // Facial spray // Spin brush // Dry shampoo // Makeup remover wipes


A few months before I had my son I crafted a playlist on Spotify of some of my favorite songs that would center me and bring me peace. Some women choose to bring photos or items as a focal point while laboring, but for me I chose music. The nurses constantly commented on each song that came on and seem to enjoy the selection as well! Fox was born to the song Trouble by Coldplay and I think the title fits him perfectly because he is 100% t-r-o-u-b-l-e in an almost 4-year-old’s body. We played everything on a wireless bluetooth speaker, which was super simple to use. Phone charger, camera, and extra camera batteries/charger are all pretty self-explanatory.

To bring: Camera, camera batteries/charger, long-cable or portable phone charger, wireless bluetooth speaker
What I’m doing different this time: This time around I’ll be bringing a portable or long-cable phone charger with me so I can use my phone while it juices up. I had Tyler take the reins to keep everyone updated last time (and it will be this way again), but I labored for almost a full day with Fox and we did so much sitting around. I’d love to play a mindless game or catch up on my favorite podcasts if it takes that long again.

In addition to the necessities above, I’ll also be bringing a gift that the baby can give to Fox. Call it an olive-branch if you will, I think that Fox will feel extra special knowing his baby brother thought of him — even if I was the one who pushed the Amazon “buy now” button.

Camera // Portable phone charger // Wireless bluetooth speaker

Hospital Bag

I chose to bring a weekender and made sure the top zipped up. The bag with Fox’s baby items in it got lost between the shuffle of the rooms for a few hours, and it was helpful to have something contained and fully packed so nothing spilled out or got lost. This bag is the ideal size and it’s at a great price point!

To bring: Hospital bag with top closure
What I’m doing different this time: I upgraded the size of my bag just a bit so I didn’t have to pull everything out to find whatever it was I was looking for.

Hospital bag

Do you have anything to add to my list? Let me know in the comments below!

Sarabeth, The February Fox

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1 Comment

  • Reply capybara clicker November 4, 2023 at 4:33 am

    Your article is extremely useful to me. I trust you will continue to write such good articles as well.

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