What I Packed in my Hospital Bag

Postpartum Hospital Bag Must Haves from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

I was an insane nester. I pretty much took nesting to the next level, and I suppose I should have expected that considering I come by it naturally. I organized everything I could possibly organize in our home, and when that was finished, I began obsessing over having the most perfectly packed hospital bag. I scoured the internet for checklists and opinions, and finally came up with what I thought I needed. Below you’ll find the stuff we actually used - so you don’t have to do all the leg work searching the internet at 2AM (you should sleep instead - although we all know that’s easier said than done).

Postpartum Hospital Bag Must Haves from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

Ready for the breakdown, here you go - and I’ll really get real in a minute when I tell you what you’ll need for your postpartum first aid kit. Keep reading for that gem of a list.

(images are clickable)

Toiletry bag: I actually brought two of these, one with my makeup and daily toiletries, and then another one that held more hospital-focused things. So I could easily shout to whoever was listening which one I needed.

A good weekender: This one from Birdling was so perfect because it had so many different compartments. One thing my doula recommended was packing the bag with your husband or significant other so they know where everything is, having all these compartments really helped when I was asking for something but not making much sense.

Speaker: Music is a huge part of our life, and I always like to have music going in our house. So having a good bluetooth speaker and a dynamite playlist was a huge must for me.

Comfy Pajamas: You will live in your bed and you’ll want something that makes you feel a tad special. I bought these from Lake Pajamas and they felt like heaven after going through childbirth in a johnny.

Pillows and Pillowcases: I brought two pillows for Andrew and I with pretty pillowcases so they wouldn’t get accidentally snagged. This ended up being so huge - mostly for poor Andrew slipping on their pull out bed.

Robe: Just like the pajamas, this robe from Lake Pajamas was amazing and made feeding Henry a breeze. It’s been so wonderful ever since for those late night feedings or now morning snuggles. I’ll probably cry when I have to get rid of it.

Lactation Bars: Obviously only important if you are breastfeeding. They probably don’t do anything, but I never had an issue with my supply, and I’m superstitious like that. ’Really it’s just important to have snacks with some nutrition and are easy to eat. Breastfeeding or not.

Eye mask: Those few hours of sleep you do get will be priceless. Get serious about it.

Cozy Blankets: The hospital blankets basically feel like cardboard, and if you give birth in the colder months in New England, you just need cozy. Henry also LOVED snuggling up with us in our blankets, and that’s what memories are made of folks.

Flip Flops: We had our own bathroom and shower, but this is a no brainer.

Fancy Toiletries: I went out and made sure my bags were filled with the stuff that made me feel special. Those smells really do help you feel a tad more human after birthing a human.

Diffuser: I was super sensitive to smells, and hospitals always smell a little depressing to me. Having some pretty (baby-friendly) scents going was nice.

Camera: Obviously. Take a million pictures. Even if it’s just on your phone. And take video!!! I wish we took more when he was first born, but we were blissed out and I didn’t even want to pick up my phone.

Nursing Tanks: Again - only really important if you are breastfeeding. I wear these all the time because they aren’t tight and don’t have underwires. You don’t want much touching you in those early weeks.

Massager: Andrew and our doula actually used this a bunch on me during labor, but post labor - I was achy all over, and it was so nice to have this.

Postpartum Hospital Bag Must Haves from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn
Postpartum Hospital Bag Must Haves from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

Hospital Bag Checklist


  • Shampoo, Toothpaste, Etc

  • Makeup

  • Hair ties

  • Hair clips

  • Brush

  • Dry shampoo

  • Chapstick


  • Nursing tanks

  • Leggings

  • Eye mask

  • Belly band

  • Robe 

  • Pajamas 

  • Slippers

  • Flip flops

  • Going home outfit


  • Going home outfits

  • Swaddle 

  • Blanket

  • Car seat 

Comfort Items

  • Pillows

  • Long phone charger

  • Extension Cord

  • Bluetooth speaker + charger 

  • Sound machine

  • Pillows 

  • Eye mask

  • Massager

  • Essential oils and diffuser 

  • Camera

  • Snacks

  • Water bottle 

Postpartum Hospital Bag Must Haves from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

Now here’s a list there aren’t many google searches for - but goodness do you need it. This is the list I hope your girlfriends give you when they are really keeping it real. I’m so thankful to the girlfriends that gave me the heads up about these essentials, because I lived with my little home-maid first aid kit the first few weeks.


  • A Cute Basket: To hold all of this in. For some reason it makes it better. This is one I used.

  • Depends silhouettes: Everyone will tell you to steal the underwear from the hospital - but I think these were even better. Snug and you knew they meant business.

  • Earth Mama Spray: There is a lot healing down there, and this feels amazing.

  • Dermoplast: Same as above.

  • Peri Bottle: You’ll use this every single time you go to the bathroom. Every.single.time.

  • Tucks Pads: Ask your girlfriends. They aren’t lying. These help.

  • Stool softener: Your first time going might be scary, but these help a ton.

  • Nipple cream: I used this after every feeding for a good month.

  • Cooling nursing pads: These will make you cry with happiness if you are breastfeeding.

  • Make Ice Pads: A little witch hazel, a little lavender oil, some aloe - and freeze.

So I suppose that’s a bit graphic, but ladies - we need to be more real about all of this. The more prepared you are, the more you can focus on that little angel and the fact that you are a freaking rockstar for birthing a HUMAN. However your birth story went, you deserve to be popping bottles instead of colace, but that will come in due time. Take care of yourself first and foremost! xoxo