The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: When & What to Pack

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby

What to Pack for the Baby Hospital bag - The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: When & What to Pack

pins1 - The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: When & What to Pack

pins2 - The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: When & What to Pack

pins3 - The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: When & What to Pack

pins4 - The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: When & What to Pack

Packing a hospital bag checklist for mom and baby is one of my favorite things to do when I’m pregnant. When I pack a bag for labor and delivery, that means my baby’s arrival is inching closer, and that anticipation is awesome. Some women find packing the bag daunting because they realize just how much more they need to do before their baby arrives.

Either way, preparing a bag for the hospital shouldn’t be a bad experience. The first time I had a child, I waited until I was in labor to pack and I forgot half of the things I needed. I had to send my mother to the store to get more things rather than being prepared.

With my next babies, I was prepared. I packed ahead of time, and I never had to worry that something was forgotten at home. Picking what you want to put in your hospital bag is important, so here is my general list of things that you should pack in your hospital bag.

Everyone packs their hospital bag at different times. In general, you’ll want it ready to go by the time you’re full term. It’s a good idea to pack the bag between 35 and 37 weeks pregnant. 37 weeks is consider early term. Start making your hospital bag checklist around 32 weeks, giving yourself plenty of time to gather up the right supplies.

Twin moms or those who are at risk of going into labor earlier should pack earlier. Going into labor is an exciting whirlwind, so you don’t want to pack in the middle of it. You’re more likely to forget something. So you should ensure pack hospital bag essentials in advance.

What to Pack for Mom

  • Hospital Paperwork, IDs, and Insurance Cards: If you need to bring any of these things, make sure they’re in the bag ready to go. Some hospitals do give you a stack of paperwork at registration to bring back with you.
  • Birth Plan: If you took the time to create a birth plan, you will want to bring a few copies that you can hand to the nurses who are in charge. Sometimes, you might be in labor during shift changes, so having extra copies will come in handy.
  • Socks and Slippers: Hospital floors are cold and not the cleanest things. I suggest bring 4 pairs of socks or more, and I prefer the thick comfortable ones. Some hospitals do provide those non-skid socks, but the ones you have at home are probably more comfortable. You’ll be walking around the room, so bring a pair of cheap, comfortable slippers.
  • Pajamas: Bring some comfortable pajamas to wear. Depending on your labor and delivery, you’ll be in the hospital between 24 and 72 hours. I typically bring a loose shirt and some comfortable pants.
  • Nursing Bras: If you plan to breastfeed, you’ll want to bring at least one nursing bra with you. I also like nursing tank tops, but nursing bras are more important. Once your milk arrives between 2 and 4 days postpartum, your breasts are going to be like large footballs, and they need the support.
  • Large, Old Underwear: Many hospitals provide you with these incredible mesh underwear, but you won’t know for sure. It’s best to pack large, oversized, old underwear. Don’t pack the pairs that cost $20 each and you’re emotionally attached to them. No, they need to be something that you can get blood on and won’t feel bad tossing them away afterward.
  • Bath Products: After having a baby, a nice hot shower feels amazing. You feel like a new person! You want to bring basic toiletries with you such as:
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Shampoo
    • Conditioner
    • Body Wash
    • Deodorant
  • Bathrobe: A lot of women love bathrobes in the hospital. Personally, I’m not a bathrobe fan, but many of my friends always pack one. They can be great during labor and comfortable after you have your baby. Bathrobes make for easy breastfeeding and skin-to-skin time.
  • Comfortable Clothes - Leggings and Shirts: You won’t be going home in the hospital gown - thankfully. So, you need to pack some comfortable clothes to come home. I always preferred to wear leggings and a comfortable shirt. Don’t pack any jeans or fancy clothes.
  • Lip Balm: Hospital air is so dry, and lip balm saved me. I always had one or two things of lip balm in my hospital bag.
  • Nipple Creams: Breastfeeding is rough, and nipple creams are a necessity. Look for nipple cream that doesn’t need to be wiped off before you feed our newborn.
  • Nursing Pillow: I love a good nursing pillow especially in the hospital. They can be lifesavers if you have a c-section and want to reduce the pressure on your incision. Nursing pillows also help to get your baby into the right position for a good latch. A proper latch can make or break your breastfeeding relationship.
  • Hair Ties: Labor is rough! You might sweaty and need to get your hair out of the way. Toss in a few hair ties.
  • Tablet or Entertainment: Labor doesn’t always move fast, and having something other than your smart phone to distract you is nice. Some women like to bring a magazine or a book, but you don’t want to try to read something deep and complex. Pick something easy that can help you pass some time.
  • Earbuds: A lot of women like to listen to music during labor to help them relax and focus. Pack your earbuds into your bag. You might also want to create a labor and delivery playlist with new songs that you might enjoy. Other women bring portable speakers so they can fill their labor and delivery room with songs.
  • Phone Chargers and Camera: This is pretty obvious! You want to make sure you have your phone charger. If you do bring a camera, pack extra batteries and any accessories necessary.
  • Pillow: Hospital pillows aren’t awesome. I used them, but I like to have my pillow under my head. It gives you a sense of comfort and home when you’re not there, helping you relax and center yourself.
  • Snacks and Drinks: Hospital food isn’t the best food you’ll ever eat in your life. I always pack some snacks in my hospital bag, especially because labor and delivery makes you starving! If you want a snack at 3am, you have some with you. I also pack some different drinks with me and my favorite tea bags. I’m hot tea obsessed, so those tea bags for the hospital just won’t do for me.
  • Flip Flops for Shower: Hospital showers and your bare feet should never mix. Ew. Pack a pair of flip flops that you can toss on when you’re getting a shower.
  • Glasses, Contact Lenses, and Solution: This obviously won’t apply to everyone, but if you use glasses and contacts, make sure to include these supplies in your hospital bag checklist. I get a small, travel sized bottle of contact solution.
  • Lotion or Body Oil: During labor, some women like to have their back and other parts of their bodies massaged. This could be done with lotion or body oil. Make sure your partner knows that it’s in your bag so, if you ask for it, he doesn’t have to tear everything out of the bag.
  • Wallet or Purse: It’s pretty obvious why you need to bring our wallet or purse with you!
  • Basic Makeup: Here is another optional thing. Some moms have no interest in apply any foundation or concealer at all. I’ve found that I feel better spreading a bit of makeup over my face. This is individual and won’t make or break your hospital bag.

What to Pack for the Baby

  • A Going-Home Outfit: Did you want a special outfit for your newborn to come home in? For some parents, this is a priority, and they take time to pick the right outfit. My sister purchased a sleeper for my niece, and I’ve picked outfits with this same intention. Make sure to include in the bag!
  • Clothes: Remember that you’re only going to be in the hospital for 24 to 72 hours in most circumstances. So, you don’t need to pack your baby’s entire wardrobe. An example of what you should pack is:
    • 2 pairs of pants
    • 2 onesies
    • 2 or 3 sleepers
    • 2 or 3 socks
    • A hat
  • Blankets and Swaddling Blankets: Those hospital swaddling blankets are so small! I always bring some muslin swaddling blankets. They’re large and comfortable. If it’s winter time, you want to make sure that you bring along a heavier blanket to put over your baby in the car seat.
  • Pacifiers: Many hospitals nowadays don’t provide pacifiers for new babies because they can interfere with the breastfeeding relationship, causing latching issues. If you don’t want to breastfeed or feel comfortable using a pacifier, I suggest you bring some with you.
  • Car Seat: Ok, so you can’t actually pack a car seat, but you need one to leave the hospital. When you leave, a nurse will bring you down to the parking lot and make sure that you have a car seat installed in your car. It can be an infant car seat or a convertible car seat - that doesn’t matter. You just need to have a properly installed car seat ready and waiting for your baby.

What to Pack for Your Partner

  • Change for Vending Machine: Most labor and delivery floors have vending machines available. Your partner needs to have cash for the machines if he wants a snack throughout the night. Okay, let’s be honest - you’ll want the snack at midnight! Either way, put at least $10 in there!
  • Change of Clothing: If your partner plans to stay with you the entire time you’re in the hospital, he needs at least or two full outfits. For my husband who stays 1-2 days, I pack:
    • 2 pairs of underwear
    • 1 pair of gym shorts
    • 1 pair of sweat pants
    • 2 pairs of socks
    • 2 T-shirts
  • Phone Charger: For obvious reasons, you need to bring his phone charge as well. You might want to consider bring a tablet or small laptop for your partner as well. Hanging out for a few days means a lot of hours spent in a hospital room.
  • Toiletries: Your partner will want to take a shower just as much as you do. Pack things such as:
    • Shampoo
    • Body Wash
    • Deodorant
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
  • Pillow and Blanket: Most hospitals do provide pillows and blankets for your partner, but those hospital blankets are so thin. Hospital pillows aren’t any better. I suggest bring a pillow and blanket for your partner. We brought a heated blanket because some hospital rooms are incredibly cold!

5 Tips for Packing a Hospital Bag

1. Wash Your Baby’s Clothes

Make sure you wash all of your baby’s clothes, blankets, and anything else in a sensitive laundry detergent. These items need to be washed and dried before the baby comes, so plan accordingly.

2. Take The Essentials

You don’t have to take all the bags with you when you go into labor. I keep a separate bag to bring in later, and I send my spouse out to get the other bags once the baby has arrived.

3. Classify The Essentials

Divide up the items for you into a labor and delivery bag and a hospital bag. You can bring in the labor and delivery bag when you arrive at the hospital. Once baby arrives, head out for the hospital bag.

4. Don’t Pack White Clothing

Don’t pack white clothing. Ok, this seems silly, but I’ve seen so many lists that suggest white clothing. Avoid that! You’re going to bleed so much, and wearin white clothing is asking for stains that can’t be removed.

5. Don’t Need To Pack Diapers & Wipes

You won’t need to pack diapers and wipes for your baby because most hospitals provide them. They also provide formula and bottles, if so you so pick to go down that route.

Everyone should have their hospital bag checklist for labor. Let us know in the comments what your top hospital bag essentials are? We would love to hear from other moms!

Useful? Share the post to your friends on:
Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts

Must Have- Best Choice -Mom Loves

mustbestmom was created with the aim to become one of the best and most informative and comprehensive resources for your mom life.

Recent Posts

–  As Seen On –

today parenting logo - The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: When & What to Pack

Sign up for our Newsletter