5 Things I Know About Packing a Hospital Bag

5 things i know about packing a hospital bag with duffle bag in background

One of the most iconic moments of pregnancy is packing your hospital bag. It means baby is close! There’s a million lists and blogs on Pinterest that will tell you what to pack. You’ll excitedly gather all the things and have a super prepared go-bag, then sit around and wait for this baby to decide to “go”. 

Here’s 5 things I know about packing a hospital bag:


      1.Make a list for all the things you need to grab on the way out that can’t just live in your go-bag. And don’t forget to check the list!


Some things you need to bring with you to the hospital, but also need to use on a daily basis. If you happen to have extra phone chargers laying around, great! Otherwise, put it on the list. Tape that list to the actual go-bag so you remember to check it before you leave. Grab all those items and either stuff them in the original bag or grab a tote bag on your way out. And by “you” I mean your partner, because you’ll be a LITTLE preoccupied with the whole birthing-a-human thing.


  1. You will pack wayyyyyy more stuff than you need.


Realistically, the hospital has most of what you and baby will need while you’re there. The stuff in your bag is mostly for added comfort and familiarity. If all you want to pack is an outfit for you to wear home and a onesie for baby, go for it! If you want to pack everything you own, that’s cool, too. Just remember your partner is probably going to need to physically support you on the walk into the hospital, so juggling 20 bags might be a bit cumbersome.

person putting chromebook into a purse
Make a list of electronics you want to bring but can’t pack ahead of time!
  1. Make sure you actually bring it to the hospital with you.


This may seem obvious, but OMG-we-are-having-a-baby brain is intense.

Leave your main bag in the car in the last weeks of pregnancy so that you’re able to leave from anywhere, if necessary. And make sure everyone knows that bag needs to stay in there so it doesn’t accidentally get carried in without your knowledge.


  1. While putting your actual doula in the bag may be frowned upon, putting tools for comfort during labor in is a great idea!


Tennis balls, a yoga ball, essential oils, electronic tea light “candles” (actual fire likely won’t be allowed), etc. are all great tools for labor. You can pack items you are comfortable with and that you and your partner have experience using. Choosing these items yourself will give you a sense of empowerment in your own comfort during labor. A note on essential oils: your sense of smell may be extremely heightened and things you normally enjoy may be repulsive. Always smell them before you begin diffusing or applying them, as it’s hard to get the smell out once it has been introduced. Putting a few drops on a cotton ball and placing it in a ziplock bag will allow you to smell them at will and put it away quickly if you decide it’s not working for you.


  1. You don’t have to actually pack it yourself!


Say what now? Yes, there is an actual service that will send you a fully packed hospital bag.

All you add is the clothes. By the way, I’m in no way affiliated with them. I just think it’s a really convenient option for those who don’t have time to collect all the little things they might need (or just don’t want to). The bag itself is cute, too!

a bunch of tote bags
Can you have too many bags? In real life: No. During birth: Maybe. But you do you. Unabashedly.

Packing your bags for the hospital is a good way to prepare with your partner for labor. You get to think through the possibilities in labor and decide what items you might find most comforting. It’s a good, practical bonding experience. It will also make you feel more prepared for things to get started. So, happy packing!

Authored by Tiffany DePute

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