A First-Time Mom’s Hospital Bag Checklist

After reading what felt like all of the pregnancy books and googling oh-so-many hospital bag checklists, I decided I’d share a bit of my experience from the only hospital bag I’ve had to pack recently. As usual, I went a tad overboard, but perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.  As a heads up, these lists are based on my experience being induced a week early, concluding in a C-section – so know that all birthing experiences are unique and different too.

A First-Time Mom's Hospital Bag Checklist | Houston Moms Blog

>> A First Time Mom’s Hospital Bag Checklist <<

The Obvious

  • ID
  • Insurance card
  • OB/GYN paperwork {if applicable}


  • Boppy/Pregnancy pillow – I initially brought it for the comfort of a pillow from home, but it ended up being incredibly useful support when it came to feeding my tiny newborn.
  • Travel-sized basic toiletries  – toothbrush, toothpaste, facial wipes, deodorant, lotion. I suggest the basics only because the hospital stay is so full of adrenaline, sleep, and haziness, that I didn’t even want to put on makeup or mess with my hair.
  • Hair tie – You may arrive with your hair down and pretty, but it will end up in a messy bun. Just you wait.
  • Departure outfit – I wore my nursing pajamas, but any maternity item would work very well. I almost took one of my favorite maternity dresses because it didn’t put any pressure on my tummy.
  • Sleep mask – This is an item I wish I had taken with me. There will always be unwelcome light coming into your room, whether from the windows or the hallways. And you know the advice, “Sleep when the baby sleeps” ? It’s especially true in the hospital. Those are some of the best day naps right there. 
  • Nipple cream – While I didn’t feel any serious pain until my departure, your nipples will get chapped and scabby right away if you are breastfeeding. Do not forget this.
  • Nursing cover – Speaking of breastfeeding … I’m a very conservative person, and even in my daze, I made sure to stay covered when guests were around.
  • Fluffy bathrobe – I purchased a maternity robe specifically for the hospital, but it fit more like a cardigan. I like wearing it for nursing purposes now, but am incredibly grateful that my sister gave me a big fluffy bathrobe while I was in the hospital. I preferred the hospital gowns to PJs because everything was easier, except avoiding flashing people my rump – ha! The robe provided exceptional coverage for said rump, as well as extra comfort in bed. It was probably my favorite item to have with me, and I didn’t even think to bring it. {Thanks, Sandy!}
  • Flip-flops/slippers – The hospital will provide you with no-slip socks, but my hormones were going so crazy that I rarely wanted socks on my feet. Because my sister is basically a saint, she also gave me house slippers that made walking the hospital hallways {post-surgery requirement} that much nicer. 


  • Breastfeeding timer/app – My sister-in-law saw me struggling to remember which breast I just fed from in my postpartum haze and went out to get me a breastfeeding timer. Another option is downloading a breastfeeding app. Both options keep track of how long you have fed, and include an alarm if you want to make sure to feed within a certain amount of time.
  • Extra-long cell phone charging cable – Unfortunately, I only took my regular-length cable and struggled to keep my phone charged. 
  • Camera – I am so so so glad I decided to take my camera. Not because I wanted photos of the whole labor process, but because I snapped some of my favorite photos of my fresh little baby {like this one!}.

For Them

If someone is staying with you at the hospital, make sure to pack the following ::

  • Toiletries – They might also opt for a few non-basic items like perfume/cologne, hair gel, etc. 
  • Comfy clothes – This person will probably be in and out of your room, so I’d suggest clothes that are comfy enough to sleep in and appropriate enough to walk around the halls. Also a change of clothes.
  • Entertainment – Perhaps a book, tablet, laptop, etc. My husband passed the time watching movies working on his laptop.
  • Headphones – In case their “work” is interrupting your precious sleep.
  • Snacks – You can’t eat during the whole labor process, but they need to. 

Baby Related

  • Baby book – If you have one, bring it! Tell your significant other to hand it to the nurses before labor/surgery so that once they are taking the baby’s footprints they can add an extra set into your baby book. The nurses who led our Parenting 101 class suggested it, and I’m so glad!
  • Pacifiers – I had no idea that babies are given pacifiers so early. I’ve read it can cause confusion, etc., and obviously it’s the parent’s choice, but it helped calm my baby in those moments when we had no idea why she was crying other than being overwhelmed with all of the new sensations of her surroundings.
  • Baby wipes – You are provided diapers and dry napkins. My husband asked why and was told it was in case of allergies, yet as soon as you go home you can use baby wipes. I’d suggest just bringing a pack with you. Getting the napkins wet before using them became pretty tedious. This is something we did not know about until afterwards.
  • Departure outfit{s} – The umbilical cord stump is dyed with a blue liquid that helps prevent infection, which may also stain any light colored clothing. Shoot for a darker outfit in two different sizes {NB and 0-3 months} just in case.
  • Carseat and carrier cover {if applicable} – You aren’t allowed to leave the hospital until someone checks that you have a carseat installed. I suggest the carrier cover for peace of mind {germs? weather?}. And just to clarify, I’m talking about the fabric that drapes over the front of the seat, sort of like a curtain, not a cover for the actual seat part.


These are items I took and didn’t touch.

  • Pajamas – The hospital gown was good enough, especially after said bathrobe was acquired.
  • Socks – As previously mentioned, these are provided, but I really didn’t want them on.
  • Bra – In my sleep-deprived haze, it was just easier not to wear one.
  • Underwear {& pads} – The hospital provides very comfy and large underwear options that hold the {also provided} ginormous pads in place very well.
  • Make-up – I was mostly just interested in staring at my baby, feeding my baby, and sleeping.
  • Entertainment – I took a book and tablet, but was too hyped up on adrenaline and watching my charts to even touch those items. Plus, your phone tends to provide enough distraction when necessary.
  • Prenatals, supplements, etc – I was told not to take anything while I was in the hospital. And even though I really needed my iron supplement, that would have screwed with my already difficult postpartum bowel movements {TMI, sorry!}.
  • Receiving blanket – the hospital let us keep one as a souvenir. I’m so glad they did, too, because the size was perfect for her first couple weeks at home and my husband became a swaddle expert!

In addition to these lists, I recommend bringing a treat for the nursing staff. I’m not sure I executed this very well, but the nurse I handed a bag of cookies to seemed very appreciative. For more options, especially if this isn’t your first rodeo, check out Jana’s Hospital Bag Packing List.

What did I miss? What was something you absolutely had to have with you in the hospital?



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