standing pregnant woman wearing pink floral print pajamas

Essential Hospital Bag Checklist for Expectant Moms

By: Brooke Hamilton


Preparing for your baby’s arrival can be overwhelming. There are everyday essentials to buy, a nursery to furnish, and (most importantly) adorable outfits to stock up on. But in the frenzy of the nesting process, don’t forget to look out for your future self as well.

Packing a hospital bag ahead of your due date can be a lifesaver. Having everything that you and your baby will need when the time comes means one less thing to think about as you rush out the door. Plus, you’ll know in advance that you’ll have certain comforts of home for labor, delivery, and those postpartum hospital days.

This hospital bag checklist for moms covers everything you might want to consider for that grab-and-go bag, from day-of essentials and postpartum care, to newborn necessities and comfy clothes. Read on as you get packing!

Essentials for Labor and Delivery

Ready to pack? Start by choosing a bag. Ideally, you want something roomy but easy to grab and take off with. We recommend a duffel or overnight bag. Keep your bag by the door or somewhere else where you’ll remember to pick it up when you are in early-labor and rushing out of the house.

Then, start packing the first category of essentials—items you’ll need as soon as you arrive at the hospital and throughout labor and delivery:

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, skincare products)

  • Glasses or contacts

  • Hairbrush and hair ties

  • Cozy pajamas

  • Cotton underwear (mesh postpartum underwear is typically provided, but bringing your own might make you feel more comfortable)

  • “Birth ball” or “birthing ball”—a large inflatable exercise ball used to relieve pressure on the pelvis and reduce pain when you sit or lean on it in a variety of positions

  • Your own water bottle and snacks (in case you’re not a fan of the hospital snacks or it’s painful to sit up to pour water)

  • A “hot rice sock”—a sock filled with uncooked rice that can be heated in the microwave and used as a heating pad to relieve pain on the pubic bone

  • Massager (or rolling pin or tennis ball) to massage your back

  • Clothes for a water birth, if you plan on one

  • Electronics chargers (and extension cords to keep your devices within painless reach)

  • Camera (for photos of the new baby with you, your partner/support person, and visitors)

Keeping an extra of these essentials (i.e., a spare phone charger, travel-size toiletries) can make life even easier—you won’t forget to pack certain everyday items (like deodorant) if a duplicate is ready to go.

Make sure also to set aside a smaller bag or pouch for the following crucial items:

  • Wallet, ID, and insurance card

  • Medications for you and/or your partner/support person

  • Printed copy of your birth plan (if you have one), and anything necessary to carry it out

  • Any pre-registration hospital paperwork you may have

  • Cell phone

  • A paper copy of contact information for important guests like parents and in-laws (just in case a cell phone dies)

Postpartum Care Items

In all your prep for labor and delivery, don’t forget that you’ll need some TLC postpartum, too. You’ll likely stay in the hospital for about two days following a vaginal birth, or four days following a C-section.

While that time may seem like a blip in the grand scheme of things, taking care of yourself and your new baby at the very beginning of the postpartum period is crucial in helping you recover before you head home and setting a positive tone to start your parenthood journey.

To that end, consider the next set of essential items when making your hospital bag checklist:

  • Nursing bra (maternity bra) and tank tops. These special garments are extra supportive, and most offer a latch that allows you to breastfeed without taking them completely off.

  • Breast pads or nursing pads. These absorbent nipple pads will keep you dry, and many are also soothing if your nipples are sore.

  • A nursing pillow, which can offer your arms and neck relief.

  • A nipple cream or nipple balm to soothe your nipples and prevent cracks and irritation.

  • Maternity underwear.

  • Maternity pads in case of bleeding (the hospital may also provide these, but it can be helpful to have your own on hand)

  • A donut pillow to sit on for extra support and pain relief

  • Items for pain relief, such as heating pads (or your hot rice sock), ice packs, ibuprofen, stool softeners, and laxatives (you can also ask for these at the hospital)

  • A nursing cover, if you prefer a little extra privacy while at the hospital.

  • Socks and slippers for the hospital (forgiving ones for swollen feet).

  • Flip flops or sandals to wear home (again, in case of swollen feet).

  • Entertainment for the “calm before the storm” of early labor and those extra days of recovery in the hospital. Whether it’s books, magazines, a Kindle, a deck of cards, an iPad, or a small board game, you and your loved ones might appreciate items to keep you occupied.

  • An empty foldable or canvas tote bag to bring home miscellaneous items from the hospital (paperwork, toiletries, diapers, pads, medicines, etc., that the hospital may provide for you or your baby).

Make sure to also pack comfortable clothes like women’s robes , pajamas, and loungewear. These items will keep you comfortable as your body recovers and make it easier to catch up on sleep in an unfamiliar environment. Plus, packing a cute loungewear set is a smart move in case of impromptu photo ops when visitors arrive. Just be sure to account for maternity sizing—you might not immediately fit in your pre-pregnancy clothes.

Keeping these postpartum essentials on hand can help you stay comfortable during your hospital stay and ease the transition into parenthood. You and your family will have peace of mind knowing that you have all the nursing essentials, pain relief, comfortable clothes, and footwear you need.

Newborn Necessities

Having some essentials for baby on hand can help you feel even more prepared. Plus, these items can be used when you get home too, saving you some trips to the store.

Certain comforts can help your newborn adjust to the hospital (and the world) and give you and your family a hand as you get acquainted with your newest member. Below are some of our suggestions:

  • Pacifiers (some prefer to forgo these in case of nipple confusion, while others find them helpful if baby is already well-fed)

  • Newborn diapers (your hospital may also provide these)

  • Baby wipes

  • Swaddling blankets/receiving blanket

  • One-pieces and sleepers

  • Infant car seat and car seat cover

  • Hat or beanie (especially if the weather is cold)

  • Socks and/or booties

  • A few bottles and formula (if you plan to use formula or in case you have difficulty breastfeeding)

It’s also worth considering your baby coming home outfit in advance. Now, what should a newborn wear home from the hospital? There isn’t one single outfit they need to wear, but since this will likely be your little one’s first official outfit (aside from swaddling blankets), you’ll want them to enter the world in style. Plus, that first day at home is usually full of photo ops (so pack some cute and comfortable loungewear for yourself, too).

To ensure you’re prepared, consider treating yourself to a little virtual shopping trip ahead of your due date. This way, you can choose an adorable and memorable coming home outfit for both you and your baby.

Personal Comfort Items for Moms

Finally, there are certain comforts of home that might help you through those overwhelming days in the hospital. Packing your bag with extra items beyond the essentials can make the transition from pregnancy to postpartum a bit easier.

So, we recommend packing some comforts like:

  • Headphones or a speaker if you think music might help you through labor

  • A handheld fan or misting spray bottle to keep you comfortable

  • Your own pillows and blankets

  • Your own towels

  • An essential oil diffuser

  • Extra toiletries, like your favorite lip balm or scrunchies

  • Sentimental items to focus on to help get you through labor

  • A cozy robe

  • An LED candle to create a relaxing mood

  • An eye mask and ear plugs to help with sleep

  • Soothing body lotion

  • A stuffed animal or lovey for your baby

  • A soft headband for easy, out-of-the-way hairstyles

Having these items from home can help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and allow you to focus on a successful delivery. While a hospital environment might otherwise trigger anxiety, these small self-care items can help put you at ease.

Fill Your Hospital Bag with Posh Peanut

As you’re working through your hospital bag checklist for mom and baby, remember to explore Posh Peanut to find cozy, comfy, and adorable clothing options. Our selection of items for both mom (i.e. loungewear, pajamas, robes) and baby (i.e. swaddles, loveys, one-pieces, sleep bags) will help you ensure peace of mind and comfort throughout your hospital stay and once you return home.

We know preparing for delivery can be overwhelming and there is a lot to keep in mind! Our curated collections can help you check those comfy essentials off your list. Shop unique, timeless designs for mom and baby with this baby hospital checklist in hand, and start packing your hospital bag!


1. Baylor College of Medicine. Hospital bag checklist: what to pack before delivery.

2. Healthline. What is a Birthing Ball and Should I Use One?

3. Pampers. 15 Moms Reveal the One Item They Brought to the Hospital and Couldn’t Live Without.

4. National Library of Medicine. Birth Settings in America; Outcomes, Quality, Access, and Choice.

5. Northwell Health. The Only Hospital Bag Checklist You Need.

6. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Postpartum Pain Management.