What Do I REALLY Need at the Hospital?

If you’re expecting, you’ve probably scrolled through Instagram or Pinterest and found bloggers and influencers chatting about their hospital bags.

“Oh my gosh! That’s so smart… I better add that to the bag.”

Newsflash: a lot of that stuff you DON’T actually need. In fact, many bloggers are getting paid for their posts with affiliate links. Hey man, I’m a blogger so some of my posts do the same…but not this one. This is just a fourth time mom telling you what you really need and don’t need at the hospital.

I wrote a similar post last week about 10 items you definitely do not need on your baby registry and 15 items that are essential. You can read that one here.

One of the items I mentioned on the “don’t need” list was a hospital bag. Now, let me clarify, you do need certain things at the hospital…but you don’t need nearly as much crap as you think you do. In fact, our daughter was almost born in the car. When we arrived at the hospital I was already 9 1/2 centimeters dilated and the nurses were telling me not to push because they couldn’t locate a doctor fast enough. Do you think for one moment I had a hospital bag with me?! Heck no! I survived. She survived. In fact, she was my favorite labor and delivery. Painful, but fast.

So, enough with the chit-chat.

Here are 10 items you NEED in your hospital bag:

  1. Chap Stick: This is often an overlooked item, but holy mother of God, will you be dehydrated during labor and delivery. Disclaimer: I have never had a c-section, so I can only speak in terms of vaginal births. However, I remember with my first child being so damn parched my lips felt like Velcro. Even with my daughter’s super fast, unplanned arrival, you better believe your britches I snagged some Chap Stick before moaning out the door.
  2. Flip Flops or Shower Shoes: Listen, you’re likely going to be there for at least a day…maybe two. For me, I make them kick me out because I love the hospital stay so much. haha. #vacation The truth is, during labor and delivery, things get nasty. You will be thrilled when they clear you to take your first shower, and I ain’t stepping barefoot in a public shower period. I don’t care if you are in a hospital where sterilizing is the number one requirement…I pack some cheap store bought flip flops to wear for that first blessed shower.
  3. Hair Ties and Bobby-Pins: I don’t care how InstaFamous you are. I don’t care if you do get lash extensions and manicures before birth, when you are pushing a watermelon out, you are going to want to put your hair up or tie it back. Girlfriend, if you want to hire a hair stylist to come in and give you a blowout after baby is born, by all means do it. But for the love of all things holy, pack some extra hair ties and bobby pins for L&D.
  4. Slippers: The hospital will provide socks, and if you’re cool with that good for you. I hate wearing socks in bed, even when I have mesh panties on. I never wanted to walk around barefoot, so I went to Target and bought some cheap slippers. If you have some favorites at home, you def do not need to buy new. I think you’ll appreciate the ease of slipping them off and on during your time in bed.
  5. Phone Charger: Yes, you’ll want to have a charged phone. You’ll want photos, you’ll want to call and text your family. Don’t worry about bringing a damn extension cord, that’s dumb. But do plan to bring a phone charger with you.
  6. Comfy clothes: I’m sorry, but this is birthing a live human, not glamour shots. Hey man, I get it you want to look the best that you can…but keep in mind, this is a painful and bloody experience. Don’t take a page out of Princess Kate’s book and step outside in heels. I recently read an article that said she had 22 personal medical staff, her stylist and personal assistant at the hospital. Yes, she can leave the hospital in a gorgeous formfitting red dress and heels. No, you can not. Pack comfortable / loose fitting clothes. For me, maternity dresses are most comfortable because they are loose around the belly area. You read that right, MATERNITY. You will not be able to fit in pre-pregnancy clothes hours after birthing a human. A runner-up for me would be some oversized sweatpants. Leave the silk pj’s and non-maternity leggings at home. I avoid anything that is tight fighting except that blessed ice pack in the mesh panties. You can pack a cute hospital robe, if you really want… but girlfriend, it is not essential. I promise you, people will love on your photos just as much if you are in the standard hospital birthing gown. They’re checking out the pics to see the baby, after all.
  7. Toiletries: Yes, you will want deodorant and your own toothbrush. The hospital can provide you with anything you need, but I always like to pack my own toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, hairbrush, etc. You don’t need much. Just think of the bare minimum. Everyday makeup is cool too. I like to at least throw some mascara on…but not while birthing a child.
  8. Camera: If you have a nice camera and are super comfortable using it, bring it. We did with our last two children and it was cool to have those photos. If you don’t have a nice camera, please do not rush out and buy one! These days, an iPhone takes just as solid quality photos as a Canon.
  9. Car seat: I’m sure this is a duh moment, but you’ll need to bring the baby’s carseat with you. Do not lug that thing inside the hospital until you are getting discharged. But be sure to install it a couple of days before go time, that way it is ready to roll.
  10. Baby’s Going Home Outfit. Ladies, DO NOT OVERPACK BABY CLOTHES. Just don’t. The baby will likely wear the hospital’s onesies while there, and when you leave you can put the baby in a comfy PJ set. The baby will be scrunched up in the car seat anyway. If you do want adorable newborn photos of the baby at the hospital, I recommend bringing a cute swaddle over a cute outfit. Newborns look cuter all swaddled up in my opinion anyway.

5 Things you do NOT need:

  1. A Book: You. Will. Not. Have. Time. My third child I tested positive for strep B and there was a long waiting period while they pumped meds through my body before I could deliver. Even then, do you think for one moment I leaned over to my husband and said, dear, can you pass me my book? No. If you’re bored, turn on the TV, scroll through your phone or have your husband bring his laptop for some Netflix binging. There is too much action to crack open a novel. *Disclaimer: I read this post to my husband and he reminded me that some people (like him) really do like to obsessively read novels, so if you’re like my husband, by all means bring a book.
  2. Diapers and Wipes: The hospital has them and will use them. Save those money suckers for when you are home with baby.
  3. Swaddles and Burp Cloths: I know my last point in must haves said bring a swaddle, but this is totally personal preference as you do not need one. The hospital has both and you will be thankful you don’t have to take dirty ones home with you.
  4. Bottles or Breast Pump: The hospital has these and will help you feed your baby in the beginning whether you breastfeed or bottle feed. You don’t need either item while there.
  5. Cute clothes: As mentioned before, labor and delivery is dirty … don’t bring anything you don’t want to see get blood on it. I know this is graphic, but trust me on this. Also, you will be leaving in mesh panties, so don’t pack your own. I recently had a dear friend who is a first time mom message me about a birthing outfit. First of all, I didn’t know what that was. She told me it’s a beautiful floral silk hospital gown to wear during labor and delivery. *blink.*Okay, listen, I didn’t know when I gave birth to my first… but the reality is do not bring anything to the hospital you don’t want to get dirty. You will change into the hospital’s gowns because, well, that’s what you will give birth in. Delivery is messy, if you don’t believe me, YouTube it.

I hope this list was helpful to you, especially to the first time mamas out there!

Comment below and let me know what’s in your Hospital Bag!

signature SHANISTY


My first born going home from the hospital. He had a fancy, cute outfit on under this swaddle… that you obviously can’t see. HA!
My 3rd child in the hospital onesie and swaddle.
Hours after my 3rd was born. I’m still sporting the hospital gown.
I actually love the hospital side snap onesies and traditional hat.
After my daughter was born. We didn’t bring anything with us… we all survived.


  1. Fourth time mom here. However, I’ve had three c-sections. My only advice for c-section moms is to bring soft, HIGH waisted cotton panties for after. You’ll still need the giant pads, but not the mesh undies. Kindred Bravely has some I love.

    1. Great advice!!! Thank you 🙂


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