Stress-Free Guide to Packing Your Hospital Bag

Stress-Free Guide to Packing Your Hospital Bag

What Should I Bring!

I can still remember it like it was yesterday.  The planning, anticipation and stress of not knowing what to bring to the hospital when I delivered my baby girl.  I read blog posts, advice columns, asked my friends and everyone had different items.  If I would have taken all of that advice, I would have walked into the hospital with 6 bags, a full size body pillow, a balance ball and a hired butler to carry it all in. Luckily my common sense kicked in, and I was able to pack all I needed (and wanted) into one small overnight bag.  

Al zahra hospital dubai

This brings us to my first tip:  

Make a list of what you absolutely need vs. items you think you will want.  

Spoiler alert: you won’t touch half of those “wanted items.”

Your list of needed items should go something like this:



  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Hair brush
  • Hand lotion, face lotion, chapstick & other beauty products you use daily
  • Deodorant
  • Loose, comfy clothing, primarily for after delivery.  Take advantage of the provided hospital gown for the active portion of your labor.  Bring a couple extra items in case your stay lasts longer than expected.  (My 2 day stay turned into 4.)
  • If you plan on breastfeeding – a nursing bra and nursing balm.
  • Slippers or non skid / grip socks.  Walking around barefoot on a cold hospital floor isn’t fun.  
  • Phone & charger.  You are going to want to take a lot of pictures and update all your friends on your baby’s progress.

Now your list of wanted items can include some of the following:

  • img_8747An outfit for baby to wear home + additional onesies and sleepers if you would like something other than what the hospital provides.
  • Baby socks & mittens.  Our hospital provided socks that came off constantly.  The socks we brought doubled as mittens, keeping our wild-child from scratching her face on those first couple of nights.
  • A postpartum recovery kit. You’ll survive without it, but you really should consider it!
  • A towel and/or a light robe.  This will make your first post-baby shower much more comfortable.  
  • Mindless reading material (I didn’t even pick up the “Real Simple” magazine I bought on the way to the hospital.)
  • Kindle, I-pad, some other form of tablet entertainment. I never got around to reading, but I did use my tablet to play music to help baby through those first few nights.
  • Extension cord. There might not be an outlet near you. (I brought this, but again, it wasn’t used.  I’m sure it could come in handy though, and better to be prepared.)
  • Granny panties.  The hospital will most likely provide you with some sort of mesh diaper thing, but having your own is a lot more comfortable.   
  • Eye-mask and ear plugs.  Fair warning, the nurses will be in your room every couple hours throughout the night.  Having a little sensory deprivation will help maximize your snooze time.
  • Think you’ll want something besides hospital food?  Do your research ahead of time and make note of some local restaurants that deliver to the hospital
  • Snacks.  Think fresh fruit, cheese and other small things to put in a cooler
  • A manila folder or something similar.  You will be going home with a lot of important paperwork.


Let’s Not Forget About Dad

  • Of course, bring the standard toothbrush, but bringing your own body wash, razor, etc. will make you a lot more comfortable.
  • Extra cash and change.  There is a good chance you will be spending a small fortune on vending machine snacks.  The cafeteria might not be open all night, or it might just be gross.  Also: Coffee, tea, etc.
  • Speaking of coffee and tea, you might consider bringing your own creamer or your own coffee/kettle if you care about these things. 
  • Your own blanket and pillow.  There is a distinct possibility you will be sleeping on a tiny couch.  Make yourself as comfortable as possible.

If there is an older sibling, a nice idea is to have them pick out a small gift for the new baby in advance, then have them bring it to the hospital when they come to visit.  Also, bring a small gift on behalf of the new baby to give to the older sibling.  This is a great way to make your older child (children) feel included as all the craziness going on. We did that when I gave birth to my second daughter. 

Like packing for any adventure, it is easy to get carried away, and go a bit overboard with the items you bring.  If you are like me, you’ve meticulously planned out every detail of the birth.  That said, things rarely go the way they are planned in your head.  You will think you need a lot, but in reality, you will be occupied with other things.  Such as delivering a baby.  

Esraa Bani-Rothman

Esraa Bani-Rothman

Founder & CEO at Moms Guide Abu Dhabi
aka, Expat Mom
Sudanese-American working mom of three. Free Spirit. Idea Curator. Her brain moves faster than her body can go. A laid back chic who walks around with that stereotypical hippie vibe. She is never afraid to give you her unsolicited opinion about gentle parenting. Esraa has been actively over-sharing her motherhood and parenting stories on social media since 2008.
Esraa Bani-Rothman

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