Get tips from the trenches with this information-packed blog from the authors of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know, Heather Flett and Whitney Moss.

My Hospital Packing List

Photo: Rookie Moms

I have been to the hospital for childbirth three times now and I’ve concluded that packing almost anything is a nice-to-have with the possible exception of a car seat for the babe. That doesn’t mean I arrive empty-handed, however. In fact, during my third pregnancy, I began tucking away little odds and ends into my hospital bag about two months before my due date. Just in case.

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Stuff for me:

  • Comfy but cute clothes to return home in. I packed a top and pants that I outgrew late in my pregnancy. Plan for dressing your 5 to 7 months pregnant self. NEWSFLASH: you will not be wearing any pre-pregnancy jeans coming home from the hospital.
  • Toiletry kit. Since toothbrush and toothpaste are on the MUST list, I packed a nearly-empty tube along with a new toothbrush. Other stuff, like soap and deodorant are great to bring along. I used the hospital shampoo and soap; some women really want their own. I’d rather bring a rubber band than try to style my hair.
  • Nursing bra. A very soft “night-time” nursing bra is handy. Your breasts will be going through a lot in the days postpartum and it’s nice to have the option of giving them a bit of support and coverage (when they’re not in use).
  • Flip flops. These shoes generally fit a swollen 40-week pregnant foot as well as swollen post-partum foot (mine actually got bigger AFTER delivery). They can do double duty as shower shoes.
  • Food. Hospital food is gross; it makes airplane food look awesome. A laboring mom often skips a meal or two during the hot action, but, unless she has a C-section she’ll be making up for the lost calories immediately afterward. It’s not realistic to bring a whole bunch of fresh food in your GO bag, but a LUNA bar or a Ziploc of cashews can bridge the gap until your partner figures out how to get you something real to eat.
  • An empty bag. Leave some extra space in your bag to bring home the freebies like diapers, pads, and baby care essentials.

Stuff for baby:

  • The cutest, smallest outfit we have. And done. The baby will be awarded with a swaddling blanket and a little hat while we’re still at the hospital.
  • Car seat. It’s the law. Leave it in the car.

Stuff for daddy:

  • The shirt. My husband has a special shirt that I like to look at, so I snuck it into the bag early. Why worry myself that it won’t be clean when I want him to wear it?
  • Other than that, I assume he’ll be free to go home and shower and change as needed.

Extra odds and ends:

  • Hospital paperwork. While I completed and mailed a pre-admission form earlier, the anesthesia form needs to come on the day of admission. It’s packed.
  • Treats for the nurses. If I can swing it, I’ll bake and pack some goodies for the hard-working staff. Yes, this is bribery. After all, they are wonderful people and I might swear at them. [True story: as Baby Sawyer was crowning, I offered the nurses cookies.]
  • Music and movies. I had hoped to create a birthing playlist and pack my iPhone with favorite songs along with a small speaker set.  Instead, I ran out of time and brought along some movies to watch.
  • Batteries and chargers. It’s best to bring a gajillion batteries since most of the outlets are claimed by medical equipment. If you pack chargers, remember to bring them back home with you!

About Heather

Heather Gibbs Flett co-founded to inspire moms to have more fun after her own challenges with rookie motherhood. Together with her BFF Whitney Moss, she also wrote "The Rookie Moms Handbook" and created a local site for parents in the Bay Area (

Let's Hear It!

If I had to do it all over again, these are my essentials. What's on your packing list?

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