I am a wannabe minimalist. But let’s be honest, it actually takes a lot of work to be a minimalist. To take the time to think about what you can really just get away with takes a lot of effort! But, although a wannabe and only sometimes successful, I was gladly able to be one when it came to packing my hospital bag.

I know what it’s like to travel with just way too much stuff in your suitcase that you end up not even using. That stuff then just gets in the way and takes up valuable space! Knowing this, I knew I didn’t want the same thing to happen with my hospital bag. I knew that at that moment, if there ever was one, I would want things to be as simple, straight-forward, and clutter-free as possible.

Another key note to take into account is that hospitals will usually give you everything you need for baby while there, so skip things like diapers, wipes, blankets, hats, pacifiers, etc. You’ll just need to bring stuff for you and hubs. (Basically, hubs just needs to bring a couple changes of clothes, his toiletries, and phone + charger.)

So here’s what was in my strictly-essentials hospital bag:

1. Several pairs of (very comfortable) granny underwear.

You’ll find this on most any hospital bag list. Kiss your pretty underwear-wearing days goodbye, at least for now. After giving birth vaginally, your downstairs will be an utter mess. There will be blood – tons of blood. And other stuff. You’ll basically wish you didn’t have to wear underwear. But you do, just to keep the pads and cold packs on.

Go out and buy a 6-pack of undies – and GET A SIZE OR TWO BIGGER. The pads and cold packs are huge and take up a lot of space. I imagine it’s what wearing a diaper is like. If you buy a perfect-fitting size, they probably won’t stay up properly once you’re using them postpartum. I accidentally bought a larger size but I’m glad I did. Not a lot of blogs mention buying a bigger size.

In all honesty, I still sometimes use my granny Hanes! They’re comfy, ok?

You’ll use these undies until you’re comfortable and healed enough to wear the cute undies again.  For me that took about 6-7 weeks or so.

2. A nursing top.

If you’ll be breastfeeding, these are LIFE. If you’re wearing the hospital gown though at first like I did, that’s easy to nurse in as well. I eventually changed into a nursing top and yoga pants though and was much more comfortable! I ended up wearing this home as I was in the hospital for the normal 48 hours.


3. Nipple cream.

You will not NOT need this if you’re breastfeeding. I used the Lansinoh brand (below) religiously and generously and owe no cracked or bleeding nipples to it! I hear great things about other brands too. Your nipples will be sore at first. You AND baby are getting used to breastfeeding. I was eventually able to stop using it maybe around 1 month. It’s an absolute necessity though.

4. Toiletries. BASIC toiletries.

By basic, I mean:



-travel size body wash/shampoo – if you have a 2-in-1 for this, even better! The last thing you’ll want to do is mess with 3+ travel size bottles in a hospital shower of face wash, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner.


-lotion and lip balm

5. Baby going-home outfit. Ok I brought 2.

Once it’s time to go home, baby will be unswaddled for the carseat and will need clothing! I brought 2 onesies just so I could choose 🙂 Depending on the weather where you are, plan accordingly of course. It was summer, so a simple short-sleeved onesie was perfect for Makoa.

6. A photo-worthy receiving blanket.

The hospital will provide the needed receiving blankets baby will require, but if you’re going to want a cute, unique one for photos (your own, or if a photographer comes around to your room like they did ours), be sure to pick one out and pack it before you leave! The one in the below photo was handmade by Makoa’s great-grandma! We definitely wanted it in his newborn photos – how special!

7. Camera.

Whether it’s your phone camera or a fancy one, it’s what will capture the memories! I decided not to bring my professional camera because I knew I wouldn’t use it and I was right. Luckily, as I mentioned above, a baby photographer came to do an in-room photoshoot! Otherwise, our iPhones were enough.

8. Your wallet. 

Do not forget to grab your wallet out of your work bag or purse unless you plan on bringing that to the hospital too! You’ll need your ID and insurance cards, and probably some cash or a credit card (I had to pay for lab work in order to take my placenta home – my dad buried it and planted a fig tree over it – Makoa’s fig tree 🙂 )

9. Socks.

My feet got cold in the hospital so this was nice to have! If not needed, they don’t take up much room anyway.

10. Cheap slippers.

Something to slip on and off when you get in and out of your hospital bed. Something that can get blood on it – that’s easily cleaned or easily tossed. Because you will get blood on it.

11. Hair tie.

You’re gonna want your hair out of the way during labor and birth! Trust me! For some reason my hair was down when I gave birth and it was just sweaty and uncomfortable.

12. Phone + charger.

This one is obvious, but nonetheless, check it off on your list! Your phone can provide contact as well as entertainment.