An Organized Birth Plan: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

December 12, 2014

I am nearing the home stretch of my first pregnancy, and with our Christmas due date right around the corner, I figured it was time to pack our hospital bag & share a few of the ideas we’ll be using to help our big day go as smoothly as possible! Here are a few tips and tricks that we’re hoping will help.

Hospital Bag Birth Tips

TIP: We decided to use our diaper bag as the hospital bag. It has tons of nifty pockets, and we don’t have to worry about using it for anything else until after the baby arrives, anyway! We chose the Skip Hop Duo Double Deluxe diaper bag in black (we like that it’s gender neutral — great for future babies and my hubby won’t mind carrying it). We were impressed by all of the features: it clips to the stroller, can be carried as a messenger bag or a tote, has padded shoulder straps, lots of pockets, and comes with a changing pad.

black diaper bag


Image via

TIP: I separated my clothing, toiletries, and the baby’s clothing into Ziplock bags so that everything fits nicely into the main compartment of our bag & is easy to find and keep organized. Nothing is more annoying than digging through a bag full of stuff when you’re already stressed! I also packed a few extra Ziplock bags in case anything was messy or dirty and needed to be separated from the other items.

Hospital Birthing Tips


Packing List For Mom-to-Be:

  • Cozy non-slip socks and slippers (in case we want/need to walk around the hospital during early labor)
  • Lots of comfy undies & nursing bras
  • A loose, flowy dress for my going-home outfit (nothing too tight on my tummy!)
  • Basic toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo & body wash, wipes, deodorant, and a few enormous sanitary napkins, just in case)
  • Shower shoes
  • Make-Up (just in case I want to freshen up for photos and visitors the next day)
  • Massage oil (to try to help minimize tearing)
  • Heat packs (to help ease cramping/back pain during the earlier stages of labor)

TIP: We chose Huggies Pure & Natural newborn diapers for our hospital bag. They have a cutout in the front to leave space for the belly button as it heals, and they also have a pocketed back waistband to help minimize blowouts.

Huggies pure and natural newborn diapers

Image via


Packing List For Baby:

  • Extra diapers (just in case)
  • Blankets
  • Wipes
  • Clothing (a half-shirt with mitten cuffs & a pair of leg warmers so that nothing goes over her belly button, hat, socks, and a soft, loose pajama that we don’t mind getting dirty in case we do have to cover her umbilical area with something)

TIP: We are packing Aden & Anais muslin swaddling blankets. All of our friends swear by them, and I have heard that muslin fabric is safer for babies because if it accidentally covers their face, they can still breathe through it.

Aden and Anais swaddling blankets

Image via

Packing List For Birth Partner/Spouse:

  • Paperwork (copies of insurance info, birth plan, etc.)
  • Snacks
  • Cash
  • Clothing & Overnight Toiletries
  • Phone chargers
  • Camera & camera charger
  • Entertainment (we put a bunch of movies on his iPad just in case we get stuck in a waiting room or anything — this could also be helpful if you will have children or family members waiting outside of the delivery room)
  • Swimwear (in case you need them to help you in the shower)

Additional Tips:

  • We have completed all last-minute maintenance on our cars, installed our car seats & had them checked at the DMV, and contacted a pediatrician for follow-up care.
  • We’re also keeping our gas tanks at least half full at all times so that we don’t have to make any stops when we leave!

What did you pack in your hospital bag? Please share all of your tips and ideas in the comments below — as a first-time momma, I am all ears!!


To find more great organizing tips from Casey, be sure to visit her at Pretty Organized and let her know you found her A Bowl Full of Lemons!

My name is Casey, and I live in a sweet, tiny little house in Delaware with my hubby & our two adorable rescue dogs. As a longtime fan of Toni's phenomenal organizing skills, I am absolutely THRILLED to be a contributor for A Bowl Full of Lemons! I used to be a total mess, but after I let go of the idea of “perfect,” I found freedom. I stopped trying to fit the mold, learned how to make organization work with my natural habits, and have been obsessed with creative organizing solutions ever since! When I'm not drooling over the latest amazing project features over here, you can find me happily tinkering away on my own blog, Pretty Organized, where I share my addiction to aesthetics, small space storage ideas, DIY projects, and all things aqua! Learn more about Casey at

13 comments on “An Organized Birth Plan: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

  1. Marei says:

    Hello there,
    First of all, I wish you lots of joy and that everything goes smooth! It’s such a wonder that out of love and two small cells a person is brought into this world. Enjoy as much as you can!

    I just wanted to make some minor suggestions what to pack, some from my own experience, some from friends’ stories.

    1. Take more comfy clothes for yourself. You never know how long it’s going to take (why not make that 38 hours… I’ve known a few…) and chances are that you are going to feel sweaty and stuffy and really, really need a change of clothes to feel better. If not, you might want to wear those clothes afterwards. To be all fresh and clean when you are cuddling your bundle of joy.

    2. Straws. It almost always feels yucky to be drinking from a hospital spout cup. If you can get a real bottle of water or a real cup or glass to drink from you won’t feel half as sick.

    3. Do you have something that you take with you when you go to sleep now? A cushion or blanket or something that you snuggle up to at night and that makes you feel cozy? If it’s not meant for baby’s crib take it with you into the hospital. It’s gonna help just by lying next to you.

    4. A change of clothes for hubby. Giving birth is full of surprises. A friend of mine got puked on by his wife during the birth of their first child. It happens. A lot more often than you’d think. Just have a clean T-Shirt and pair of sweat pants for him to change into, so the mess will go away real quick if it should happen to you.

    Packing entertainment is an awesome idea! That’s what I missed most, because yeah, wait times do happen. I’d pack some audio books as well, because then you can close your eyes and get some rest and still be entertained. 🙂

    The best wishes for you and your family! And a happy baby honeymoon to all of you!

  2. Blaire says:

    I also have a Xmas due date. I’d add clothes to wear in the hospital. For my first I brought my own nightgown/pjs and bathrobe. Was very happy to have these. And my own soft towel. Hospital towels are tiny. Journal for writing down first feelings after the birth. Also snacks. I bring a small rolling suitcase.

  3. Teresa says:

    Great ideas, Casey! Congrats on the upcoming delivery of your precious child. I saw “her” mentioned. A girl! Yay! I’d say the same thing if it were a boy. 🙂 May your labor be peaceful and swift.
    You look like you’re well prepared. I only have a couple of suggestions, after a few of my own deliveries. Your hubby can preregister you at the hospital, saving valuable time and stress at the last moment. In the paperwork, include all the names and numbers of those you want to call/text/notify of your terrific news. You might want to bring your own robe for those walks during early labor. Hospital ones aren’t usually modest or comfy. Please make sure the undies you take aren’t your best. They’ll likely get a bit of blood on them from your discharge/flow after delivery. Also, you mentioned that you are going to nurse. Please consider a top and bottom instead of a dress in which to go home. Typically, you can get ready to check out and it may take a couple of hours. Attempting to nurse a newborn in a dress will likely prove frustrating unless the dress has the slits to do so easily. Just some thoughts. Love the muslin blanket idea! Beautiful and safe! Healthy and safe labor and delivery to you, your hubby and daughter. 🙂

  4. Jenna says:

    The less the better! I way over packed for my first. Luckily anything you would need for baby (outside of go home clothing) is available at the hospital (except a pacifier which I believe is specific to your delivery hospital.) tank tops and small pillow were my saving grace! Congratulations!

    • Rachel says:

      With my first, the hospital provided pacifiers that could not be found anywhere else. I actually went back a few weeks after her birth to ask for a few extra!! I returned at least $40 of unopened pacifiers that had been given as shower gifts.

  5. Dani says:

    You might want to pack some reusable shopping bags – you get sent home//TAKE a lot of things home from the hospital – diapers, wipes, demaplast, tucks wipes, mesh undies, ice pack pads, etc… and your bag will quickly run out of space. The hospital will definitely provide you with sanitary napkins, so that’s something i’d leave out, and will likely provide diapers/wipes for the baby too. You won’t want to bring your own undies – definitely not “tons” of them – you bleed like a stuck pig after labor and during, they’re always checking you anyway. Hospital-provided mesh undies FTW! I’d add chapstick and an eye mask. I brought our boppy and my own pillow for myself and DH. (leave those in the car till after labor.)

  6. Chelsea says:

    Sounds like you’re really organized and ready to go! What a wonderful Christmas present for you and your family!

    Can I suggest adding either vaseline (which is what I used) or baby oil to your bag? A little dab of this on the wee one’s bottom right before you put on a fresh diaper, and it’ll be easier to clean up any meconium. Some people don’t have any trouble with this stuff – and we didn’t with my second baby. But with my first, we had to really scrub her bottom to get it clean, and I was so grateful when one of the nurse’s gave me that tip!

  7. Anna says:

    They give you pretty much everything you need for the baby at the hospital. You don’t need to bring diapers or swaddles; you’ll just end up not even taking them out of your bag.

    Misadventures in Motherhood

  8. Ali says:

    Perhaps TMI – but you will not need to bring your own underwear or pads – the hospital will provide you with the most COMFORTABLE mesh underwear and gigantic commercial-grade pads that you will be very very happy to have instead of ruining your own stuff. I promise – what they will provide will be much better (and less messy for you to deal with as you can just throw it away).

    Don’t forgot hair ties, chapstick, and lotion.

    The hospital will also provide all diapers and wipes, so don’t bother bringing them unless you are deadset on using a specific kind of wipe for the 1-2 days that you’ll be there.

    Finally, bring a nursing pillow! I was so sad when I realized this oversight with my first. Trust me, learning to breastfeed is tough enough while trying to position 4 different pillows to get a good hold. Just bring your boppy or whatever you have with you 🙂

  9. Amanda H. says:

    Great tips! I am due with our surprise third child in July. With 8 years since the last one, I’m happy to learn about new ideas and reminders of others!

  10. Sarah says:

    Hi there! I’m nearly 36 weeks with my first baby too – the extras I have on my hospital bag are:
    – lanolin nipple cream
    – nursing pads (apparently you leak!)
    – I’ve gone for incontinence nappies rather than maternity pads which may be overkill, but apparently you can get through lots of undies & also worth noting people recommend cheap high-waisted granny-sized undies (as opposed to horrible disposable knickers) especially if you end up having a C-section (otherwise the top can dig into the scar)
    – lip balm, as apparently your mouth can get very dry during labour
    – bendy straws, if you need a drink your partner can hold the bottle and this is the easiest way to get refreshment apparently!
    – on the getting hot front, our hospital recommended a small portable fan (although we probably won’t bother) but you could also maybe get a cool water spray
    – plastic bag for dirty clothes
    – hairbands to hold back long hair
    – cotton wool for baby & nappy cream (a zinc oxide barrier cream to prevent nappy rash)
    – list of important phone numbers written down
    – loose change (in case you need to get some food from a vending machine – we don’t have a car to park)
    – I’ve seen some people recommend boppy pillows for both feeding & sitting on in case it hurts
    – I’ve also heard that if you tear, it may be good to have a squeezy water bottle to help with applying warm water to go to the loo

    Good luck! xx

  11. Heather says:

    i had a very similar list with my first baby and it was all so unnecessary. The hospital will give you socks and you’ll be in hospital provided pads and mesh underwear after delivery. You don’t need to bring anything for baby but a going home outfit. The hospital gives you all the diapers, wipes, clothing and blankets you need. The hospital blankets are the best for swaddling.

    For my second baby, I packed very differently. I considered bringing my own pillow but opted against it. I did bring my own towels ( the hospital ones were thin, scratchy and too small) and I preferred wearing my own tank top to the hospital gowns.

    Also, be open minded to cesearan. I was devastated when I ended up needing one, but it all worked out fine 🙂

  12. Renee says:

    My water ended up breaking a month early and I had read a tip about depends for after delivery. Thank goodness I sent away for free samples they were a life saver to not leaking all over the place. As a first time mom I never realized it doesn’t stop. After about 6 hours I asked the nurse when I would stop leaking every time I moved, she said when the baby comes out and then it’s blood. I ended up using the mesh underwear and pads given by the hospital for after delivery and minus the fact that I wasn’t a super hug fan of the mesh underwear it worked out.
    Like everyone else said the hospital provides you with pretty much everything for baby. Mine had dry wipes so I wish we would have packed wipes as that would have made changes much easier. I also brought my own robe and slippers, comfy pj pants and nursing tops (my hospital provided my breast friend pillow for feeding, which was amazing). I was in labor for 28 hours so having my own clothes helped me relax. The entertainment is a fantastic idea! We brought our laptop loaded with shows and movies and it really helped to pass the time.

    Good luck and congratulations!

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