I feel like a broken record saying this, but there are so many things I didn’t, and couldn’t, know about having a baby until I actually experienced them myself! For example, having never given birth before, I had no idea what all I’d need for the hospital stay after my baby was born. Sure, shampoo, conditioner, and several changes of clothes were a given, but what were the little things I was missing?

A few weeks before Lincoln was due I asked my Facebook friends what their must-have items were and their responses helped me put together the ultimate hospital packing list for childbirth. Whether you’re a new mom like me needing help for the first time, or have another little one on the way and need a refresher, here are all the items I packed for our three day stay, and some items I wish I would have included!

Hospital Packing List Essentials | iowagirleats.com


Hospital Packing List for Childbirth


* Items I packed but didn’t use
** Items I wish I would have had packed

Personal Items:

I wouldn’t worry about drying/curling/straightening your hair (I think I let my hair air dry every day) unless you’re in need of a pick me up.

  • Shampoo/conditioner/body wash
  • Body lotion
  • Face lotion
  • Face wash
  • Face wipes (in case you’re too tired to wash your face)
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Hairdryer
  • Straightener and/or curling iron*
  • Makeup
  • Nursing pads*
  • Nipple cream
  • Deodorant
  • Glasses/contacts/solution
  • Headband
  • Ponytail holder


I stayed in my nightgown and robe the majority of the time. 

  • 2 pairs comfy pants with loose waistline
  • Nursing tanks**
  • Nursing bras
  • 2 button down nightgowns (or deep V-neck)
  • 2 robes (you’ll sweat your way out of and/or baby will barf on at least one!)
  • Throw-away underwear 2 sizes up
  • Cardigan/fleece/light sweater
  • Loose pants/leggings/shorts to wear home
  • Loose shirt to wear home
  • Flip flops
  • Slippers**


  • Pillows for both you and spouse/partner
  • Baby book (they’ll put baby’s foot prints in it for you)
  • Camera + charger
  • Phone + charger
  • Laptop + charger
  • Energy bars/snacks
  • Extension cord*
  • Notepad/pen (you will be taking lots of notes!)
  • Journal
  • Boppy* (I used pillows)
  • Money/change for vending machine/cafeteria
  • Water bottle (the biggest one you can find)**
  • Canvas bags to take home gifts/hospital goodies

For Baby:

Lincoln stayed in his diaper, wrapped in a hospital blanket for the majority of the time. If your baby is born in the winter, I’d take warm clothes/PJs, but Lincoln didn’t need them.

  • 2 going home outfits (one newborn, one 0-3 months)
  • 2 onesies*
  • PJs*
  • Baby nail file*
  • Hat*
  • Car seat carrier with infant insert (don’t forget to install the base in the car!)
  • Receiving blanket

I will say that Ben thought I was crazy for taking in a wheeled suitcase and extra tote with all of this stuff, but I ended up using 90% of it. My motto has always been, better to be safe than sorry!

What essential items would you add to the list?