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What I'm packing in my hospital bag for Baby#2 .... (and no, it's DEFINITELY NOT exercise eq

This is one of those non-fitness related questions that come up all the time during my classes... what should you pack for the hospital?

I remember with Finn I looked at a hundred websites and asked all of my friends. I'd never want to overpack, but I didn't want to deal with sending my husband home to grab a toothbrush or anything like that. I've sent this list to a couple clients to help them decide what to bring for Labor and Recovery, and I figured I'd share on here as well.

I've divided my list into 3 categories- labor tools, personal items, and baby-things. Most normal people will recommend packing your bags like a week before your due-date, but I have anxiety and I packed mine at 32 weeks. It's a personal choice.

One BIG tip here.... Pack your suitcase where someone else can easily find it; and if there are last minute items, write them down and tag them to it along with directions.

(We had a last-minute sprint to the hospital and this trick saved my butt. My doula helped me into the car while my husband hunted down my cell chargers and slippers. If someone needs to get your bag for you and meet you at the birth, give them all of the tools to help them help you.)

Pack for labor:

  • Something to focus on-

  • ​For example- I'm packing one of my race medals and a family photo. When you're in the thick of contractions it's nice to have a "strength reminder" or something meaningful to help you get through them

  • Aromatherapy / Massage stuff- if you're into it.

  • If you have a doula, they'll provide all of these for you.

  • Hair ties, head bands, bobby pins ---

  • ​I puked my guts out during transition, definitely got some in my hair as my doula was pulling it back, and then didn't shower for a few days. Lesson learned, put the hair up on the way to the hospital!

  • Snacks, Coconut Water, etc

  • ​Once you are in labor they won't let you eat... so bring some protein-packed snacks like granola bars, almonds, dried fruit, and electrolyte-happy drinks. My son was born after the cafeteria was closed so I was really happy that I had some snacks to hold me off while my husband got us food.

Our hospital has all the exercise balls, bath tubs, towels etc, so we aren't planning to bring those. This is a question to bring up during your birth tour, and have your birth partner get ALL THE THINGS your hospital offers for you before you need it.

For recovery/ Personal Items

  • Breast pump- someone told me if you ask for help using your breast pump the hospital will give you any additional parts you may need for pumping. Nipple shields, wipes, etc. All of these are free during your hospital stay and they will charge you for them if you need to see a lactation consultant by appointment afterwards.


  • toothbrush/ paste

  • Spare contacts/ contact solution/ glasses

  • Makeup

  • (call me Kate Middleton, but I took a shower and freshened up before we left the hospital. I felt like a new person and I'm glad I cleaned up before we took family photos.)

  • Makeup remover towelettes

  • Conditioner, deodorant, hairspray

  • Shower flip flops

(These are the things that I was scrambling around to pack last minute. This time I'll be getting minis and spares of everything so I can just grab and go)!


  • Old gross PJs that you don't care if they get blood on

  • Button down/ front-zipper sweatshirts for skin-to-skin

  • Recognizable top for your older kiddo- other second and third-time mommas have recommended that your older kiddos might get freaked out seeing you in a hospital gown. Something that you normally wear that smells like you (not hospital) can help them cope better.

Compression socks

  • (I was SO bloated the last time, this also helps to prevent blood clots if you can't move around postpartum)

  • If you plan to breastfeed-- Nursing tanks/ bras

  • Granny panties

  • (if anything. Most of us are sent home in fresh new mesh-undies and a diaper.)

  • Old slippers

  • Stuff to pack last minute:

  • Phone chargers, Ipads, Phone, wallet,

  • One note - start keeping these in a consistent location if you don't already. If someone has to last-minute pack for you, writing down exactly where they can find these will really help them out.

For baby:

  • Going home outfit (x2- My mom fondly shares how I barfed all over the outfit she had picked out and I went home in a hospital-provided onesie. The hospital will have lots of hats and swaddling blankets for you, so bring extras if you want)

  • Car seat

  • Newborn swaddle sack- or ask the nurses to help you swaddle.

  • Baby books

  • Toy for your older kid from the new baby (if necessary).

.... Thats it. Seriously. Don't bother bringing diapers, wipes, or bath stuff. The hospital will give you everything you need and you need to TAKE ALL OF IT. Another question to ask during your birth tour is if they provide nursing supplies and pillows- but those you'll likely have to leave behind.

Speaking of:

Pack spare bags. Also- champagne (if you drink).

Yes, you will want to stash as many overnight pads, mesh panties, diapers, perenium-spray bottles, witch hazel pads, sitz bath supplies, baby combs, baby bath supplies, baby blankets, etc, that you can. Everything that remains in your room after you leave will get thrown out, and you're likely paying for it anyway. I've got no shame asking for more postpartum supplies and neither should you. If there are things you need that you aren't given, ask for them. Some nurses are stingier than others.

That's it! Let me know if there's something I've forgotten in the comments and I'll add it in.

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