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  • Writer's pictureLisa Grossman, RN, IBCLC

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag!

January 24, 2021

I have just a couple of weeks left until the arrival of our third baby! I have been packing my hospital bag, which is typically fairly easy and straightforward for me as I used to work in the hospital as a Postpartum (Mother/Baby) Registered Nurse and I discuss and provide a Hospital Bag Checklist during my Before Baby sessions.

Due to COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding it, I have made some adjustments and additions to my hospital bag. I've heard many different stories from clients and groups that I belong to about how the hospital stay currently looks. Given that I reside in Los Angeles County and we have been in the middle of a surge I feel that it is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

I typically advise my clients to pack light as you will need to unpack everything that you brought with you when you come home (and also clean/sanitize what you have packed). While I typically take my own advice, my hospital bag is a bit fuller this time than it was during pre-Covid times. A lot of items I am including are precautionary, in case I cannot easily access my nurse or hospital staff during my stay.

Here are the items that I have packed in my "pandemic friendly" hospital bag:

Going home outfit for myself (a pair of loose banded, high-waisted lounge pants, shirt and loose sweater) and

Going home outfit for baby (2 outfits: 1 for warmer weather and 1 for colder weather because this is Southern California and you never know)

Lightweight robe (I found the hospital gowns to be itchy and uncomfortable and my personal robe is great for breastfeeding; you do not have to wear the hospital gown for the duration of your admission so bring extra, comfortable clothing if you would like)

Breastfeeding bras

Snacks (I am packing a lot of snacks this time, I have heard stories of patients waiting long periods of time for food and some hospitals do not allow your support person to come and go)

Water (this is something I would not usually pack but I want to have some bottled + coconut water accessible in case we need it and cannot get it brought to the room)

Cell phone charger

Extension cord (the outlet is often behind the patient bed or hard to reach and the extension cord can be handy for this reason)

Shower sandals



Large towel (the hospital towels are typically small and I also recall patients asking for extra towels a lot when I worked in the hospital so I'd rather have a towel with me so I can shower when I am ready versus waiting for towels; I'll likely leave it at the hospital rather than taking it back home with me)

Hair ties


Large blanket(s) (I usually don't bring this but again, it may be necessary for my husband or myself and if we cannot get it brought to the room)

Breastfeeding pillow (sometimes the hospital runs low on pillows and having an extra can be helpful, I find the breastfeeding pillow to be more comfortable to sleep on than the hospital pillows)

Rechargeable night light (great for breastfeeding in the middle of the night, I LOVE this one from Amazon:

Cell phone, iPad, portable speaker for music/movies

Printed medical records and admission paperwork from your doctor's office (some offices send this information electronically to the hospital through their EMR system)

Partner/support person personal items such as change of clothing, blankets (my husband always wants his own blanket), snacks, etc.

Postpartum hospital stay, what to pack in your hospital bag
My favorite breastfeeding nightlight! Great for the hospital and at home.

Here are some items that the hospital should provide that you do not need to bring with you (I say "should" because I have heard of some items/supplies being limited due to the pandemic):

Pads, panties (if you prefer to bring your own, such as Depends or Incontinence Underwear by all means please do, some people find these to be easier to put on and more comfortable to wear)

Diapers, wipes

Peri bottle, peri-wipes/toilet paper

Dermoplast spray

Tucks pads

Ice packs

Tooth brush, tooth paste

Medications (pain medication, stool softeners, prenatal vitamin, etc.)

Swaddle blankets

Circumcision care (gauze, Vaseline)

Hospital grade breast pump

UPDATE: I was writing this post on January 24th and was planning to post it the next day... but I went into labor early and had my baby on January 25th! My water broke around 2am so I was scrambling to pack a few last minute things at that time. I am glad that I had already started packing or else I may have had the baby in the car (no joke... baby arrived 16 minutes after being admitted to the hospital. I will save this story for another post).

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!


Lisa Grossman

Owner, South Bay Baby Care

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