The things You REALLY Need In Your Hospital “Go Bag”


So you are preparing for a hospital birth and a stay for 24-72 hours or maybe more. What do you need to bring so you don’t pack for 3 weeks instead of 3 days? As doulas, we see births regularly- and we know the real necessities.

Here are our Top 10 Items that you can’t live without!

1) Pillows and blankets-

Hospital pillows are the worst! I am not sure they should even be able to legally call those pillows… bring at least one with you. (one for your partner is a great idea too!) Blankets are also not a bad idea if you have favorites. You don’t have to have these, but it may make the hospital feel a bit more like home.

2) Labor Dress/Outfit-

Though these aren’t an absolute necessity, my clients all really love them. they untie/unbutton/unhook for skin-to-skin, there are openings for the monitors and an epidural and you still are covered enough that you don’t have to worry about everything hanging out of the hospital gown. in addition, they are pretty comfortable! i like pretty pushers (, but there are others on Amazon and elsewhere online. A super comfortable 2 piece outfit works too if you don’t have time or want to invest in a labor outfit! If your hospital allows hydrotherapy, consider a bathing suit top/bottoms as well!

3) Toiletries-

Mini sizes are great, but any size will do. you will want your own deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste shampoo, conditioner, lip balm and face wash at least. makeup is optional, but bring the basics at minimum. also, bring a plastic bag or two to throw dirty clothes in. Hair ties are a big one during labor- hair in your face is no fun when you are trying to get a baby out. Also- I don’t think I have ever seen a hair brush provided at the hospital, you will need one of those! Any other hair products you usually use you can bring as well. If you think you will be up to doing your hair after birth for postpartum photos with your new bundle of joy, be sure to bring whatever you use such as styling products, hair dryer, straightener etc so that you have all you need!

4) Robe and slippers-

I wouldn’t want to walk around in the hospital barefoot- think of those germs. Plus, getting out of the shower can be pretty slippery! Also, you will go through phases of being cold and being hot during labor. You will want the robe to stay warm and to feel more covered and less out in the open, a feeling of privacy during labor is really critical.

5) Hospital paperwork, id, insurance card and birth plan-

You will definitely need all of this at some point or another. If you can pre-register online, go for it! But I would still bring hard copies with you. Bring extra copies of your birth plan! Your doula needs a copy, you need one, the doctors and nurses need one too!

6) going home outfit for baby and a carseat!-

Most families definitely want a cute going home outfit for baby. You can also feel free to bring a few onesies and other outfits while you are in the hospital. Don’t worry about diapers- the hospital has that covered.

The carseat is non-negotiable. Be sure you have that in the car and installed properly. The hospital will not allow you to go home without it! If you aren’t sure how to do it or if you aren’t sure if your seat is properly installed, have a Child Passenger Safety Technician take a look. Here’s a link to find one near you:

7) heavy overnight pads or adult diapers-

The hospital will provide some of these, but the ones you buy will likely be softer and more comfortable. Not an absolute necessity- but definitely something to consider. Before you leave to go home, ask for extra mesh panties and pads from the hospital regardless- as this stuff IS pretty heavy duty and handy to have around!

8) Nursing Bras-

A good comfortable nursing bra is really important from the second you deliver. I would recommend bringing a couple with you to the hospital as your milk starts to come in to get a feel for which one you like the most. Nursing pads are also helpful so you don’t go through 5 bras a day! A lot of my clients love Kindred Bravely- extremely soft and comfortable. Here’s a link:

Reusable ones are great from Bamboobies! Super soft, made of bamboo and washable- good for the environment and your wallet! Link:

9) glasses/contacts (if you wear them)-

In the event of an unexpected cesarean, you will absolutely need glasses vs. contacts. Other than that, if you wear both- bring both. Also be sure to bring cases for both and cleaning solution for contacts. Hospitals are known to cause dry eyes from all of the dry air- so if thats something you tend to have issues with, you may want to bring eye drops as well.

10) Phone Charger/power bank-

The most important thing! You will absolutely want a phone charger and a power bank if you have one (sometimes the plugs aren’t super accessible in relation to the hospital bed). After a day or two (or longer) in the hospital, you will absolutely want your phone readily available for photos and to contact loved ones to tell them all about your new little one and how you are doing!

Keep in mind that you are most likely only going to be there for a day or two- three if you have a surgical delivery. You don’t need to bring the whole house. Try not to overthink it!

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