hospital bag checklist | Karing for Postpartum (2024)

Packing a hospital bag can be a bit overwhelming, especially for those first time mamas, but truly even with more babies too! It can be hard to know exactly what all you need- which leads to overpacking or under packing.

I’ve got you! After having 4 of my own babies both c-section and vagin*lly, as well as being a postpartum nurse for over 9 years, I’ve had a lot of experience with my time in the hospital! I’ve seen patients bring in suitcases full of things they never touch, and I’ve seen patients not even bring a hospital bag and just use the hospital’s postpartum care goodies and some extra clothes they threw in their purse! There is truly no perfect way to do this, but there are some things to know in advance. Plus, extreme overpacking just leads to more mess and laundry when you get home and just want to snuggle your sweet baby— that should be your main focus!

I do think it’s important to call your hospital or delivery center ahead of time to ask what they will provide for you postpartum. Different hospitals have different budgets and protocols. By calling ahead, you can feel more confident leaving certain things at home! The items I’m going to go over are things that I have found worked the best for me and/or my patients over the years. Of course, do what works for you! Some of these things may not be something you want to or feel the need to pack, and that’s OK!

Let’s get started!


When it comes to clothes, definitely think comfort over fashion. For those of you who like to be prepared, you may also want to add in an extra outfit or set of pajamas in case of an emergency c-section to get you through another day or 2. I’ve found that even if you happen to underpack, a fresh hospital gown can be just as refreshing! I personally liked wearing pants and just my nursing bra a lot of the time since I spent so much time skin to skin with baby. Otherwise, you don’t need much clothes-wise!

  • Simple, comfy breastfeeding-access pjs or robe

  • Nursing bras: I personally packed 2 different kinds. One was soft material for my dry, cracked nipples, the other was more padded with clip-down ability.

  • Going home outfit (usually I do high waisted leggings and a BF friendly shirt like the henley)

  • Maternity leggings: especially for you c-section mamas so there isn’t an uncomfortable elastic band hitting right at your incision.

  • Slides: Easily wipeable/washable sandal slides are essential so you’re not walking around the hospital barefoot


I’ve seen a lot of my patients overpack for baby, but you really don’t need all that much! If it would put your mind at ease, call your hospital to see what supplies for baby they provide. Most hospitals will have swaddles, sleeper sacks, diapers, wipes, shirts, diaper cream, bottles and nipples, lotion, etc. Here are some extra things for baby you may want to consider:

  • I preferred packing 2 of my own swaddle blankets because they’re softer. You could use these as a fitted sheet in their hospital bassinet or as a backdrop for announcement photos.

  • Going home outfit: if this isn’t a footed sleeper, I would suggest packing socks as well

  • Footed sleeper

  • Pacifier

  • Maybe one or two simple outfits. While you’re there, you’ll want to try your best to get as much skin-to-skin as possible!


Of course, things in this section are going to totally be up to your personal preference. Try to think about what things are important for you. Pack whatever you think will help you feel refreshed and clean for your hospital stay.

Here are some things that myself or others have found helpful:

  • Headband, hair tie, clips, bobby pins, etc to help keep your hair out of your face

  • Face Wash + Moisturizer

  • Toner and face pads

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

  • Makeup of your choosing (I just do some under eye brightener + lip balm!)

  • Lip balm

  • Shower toiletries: shampoo, soap, conditioner

optional ITEMS TO PACK

With my fourth pregnancy, I packed several different items that I wanted to try for the sake of research. There were many different products that had been suggested to me, so I wanted to try them out. These are of course all optional and dependent on what your hospital provides as standard as well.And I talk all about comparing these different postpartum products and what I preferred in this post.

But if you’d like to try them out, they could be a great postpartum addition!

  • Upside down peri bottle: hospitals will have a regular bottle, but the upside down peri bottle is highly recommended! I loved that my patients didn’t have to hunch forward to spray because of the long nozzle.

  • Perineal spray: our hospitals provide dermaplast spray to help with numbing and pain on the perineum

  • Tucks pads: call your hospital to ensure they have these on hand. If not, these are a great item to have on hand— they help so much with perineal lacerations and/or hemorrhoids!

  • Ice packs: hospitals will have a few of these for you. I tried the Frida Mom ice packs with my last hospital stay postpartum and really loved them.

  • Adult diaper underwear: the hospital will provide mesh underwear and they do get the job done! However, they are a bit saggy, so there are better options too! These purple ones were AMAZING for me even overnight once I got home!

  • Nipple balm: hospitals generally provide Lanolin cream, but it didn’t work well for me personally. I liked bringing my own!

  • Abdominal Binder for a C-Section: This little tool is incredible in stabilizing your core those first few days- weeks postpartum. It helped me so much after my c/s with incisional pain and discomfort when getting up to move around.

  • Boppy or Nursing Pillow: I never usually brought mine as the extra hospital pillows stacked well! Some people do choose to bring this so they can get more comfortable with positioning baby while using this- no harm there!

  • Haakaa: This is one thing I’d leave at home. Typically, mature milk doesn’t “come in” or leak until 3+ days postpartum. Many women are home by that time and can use the haakaa from their nursing cart at home!

  • Water bottle: Some people prefer their own, but let me tell ya, the hospital mug they usually supply is the BEST!!!!

  • Blanket: Some patients prefer to bring their own blanket from home for a personalized feel

Some brands I highly recommend who all carry great postpartum products that you can check out:

  • Frida Mom

  • Earth Mama Organics

  • Legendary Milk

  • Amazon!

There may be items on these lists that you don’t want to pack or things not listed that you do. For example, if you’re having a scheduled c/s— you don’t need perineal spray and truly only need tucks if you have hemorrhoids from pregnancy! Make what you pack cater to your situation. What you pack is entirely up to you! These lists are some of the basics that I have found myself and my patients tend to like or reach for most often.

I have a full Entering Motherhood Checklist available to truly help get you as prepped as can be for this baby! This goes through packing for you, your partner, and your baby! This guide includes a hospital bag checklist, postpartum home readiness checklist, and baby health/hygiene checklist— to take you from packing your hospital bag and nesting to coming home with your new baby!

You can also watch my hospital bag highlight to hear more about what the hospital supplies, what’s necessary, and what’s not.

Find what works for you! I hope you feel more prepared when you pack your hospital bag! Feeling prepared and confident about what you are bringing, while lightening the load a bit, will help decrease some of the unknown surrounding your birth and postpartum. You are going to do so great!

You’ve got this, Mamas!



hospital bag checklist | Karing for Postpartum (51)

Birth, Motherhood

karrie locher

hospital birth, hospital, newborn, postpartum, birth

hospital bag checklist | Karing for Postpartum (2024)


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