Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Getting ready for the big day? A hospital bag checklist can really be of big help. It lays out exactly what you need to pack, saving you from guessing. Here’s what you, your partner, and your new baby will need, along with a few things you can leave behind.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

Your baby might come earlier than expected, so it’s smart to have your hospital bag(s) ready by the eighth month of pregnancy. You might want one bag for labor and delivery and another for after delivery.

Pack your bags with your partner or whoever will be with you at the hospital. This way, you can go over the checklist together and make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Once packed, keep them close by, either in the car or near the door, so you’re all set to go whenever you need to.

Photo credit: iStock.com / grinvalds

Read on for a complete list of what to pack, and don’t forget to download your hospital bag checklist below.

Essential Items to Pack for Mom’s Hospital Bag (Labor and Delivery)

Preparing for your labor and delivery involves having a few important items ready in your hospital bag, along with things to keep you comfortable and occupied while waiting for your baby to arrive:

1. Hospital paperwork, ID, and insurance card: Bring copies of your medical records for your medical team to review easily. It’s essential to have your ID, medical cards, and insurance documents with you.

2. Birth plan (if you have one): Bring printed copies of your birth plan to share with your doctors and nurses for reference.

3. Bathrobe: A soft bathrobe is handy for moving around during labor and for post-delivery comfort during your hospital stay.

4. Socks: Keep your feet warm as labor can make you feel chilly.

5. Slippers and flip-flops: Pack comfortable slippers for walking around the hospital, and flip-flops for showering.

6. Lip balm: Keep your lips hydrated and comfortable during labor by having some lip balm handy.

7. Body lotion or massage oil: If you find massage relaxing during labor, pack some lotion or oil for added comfort.

8. Water spray and sponge: Feeling hot during labor? Spritzing water on your face or sponging cool water on your forehead can provide relief.

9. Comfortable pillow(s): While the hospital provides pillows, bringing your favorite pillow from home can ensure better rest.

10. Relaxing entertainment: Pass the time with books, magazines, a tablet loaded with movies or shows, or a music player.

11. Eye mask and earplugs: Block out bright lights and noise in the maternity ward for better rest during labor or after delivery.

What to Pack for Mom (After Delivery)

1. Nightgowns: Ensure you have comfortable nightgowns packed, preferably opting for those with front openings if breastfeeding is part of your plan.

2. Maternity pads: Maternity pads are an essential item to include in your hospital bag, especially for post-birth care. Although hospitals typically provide some pads, it’s a good idea to bring your own supply of heavy-duty maternity pads.

3. Underwear: While hospitals often provide stretchy underwear, it’s beneficial to bring along several pairs of your own, ensuring they are large enough to accommodate the heavy-duty maternity pads.

4. Bras: Be prepared with a selection of nursing bras or other well-fitting, comfortable bras to facilitate your post-delivery needs.

4. Toiletries: When preparing your hospital bag, don’t forget to include essential toiletries. These items will help you stay clean, comfortable, and refreshed during your hospital stay.

6. Cosmetics and skincare products: If you usually wear makeup, remember to bring your cosmetics. Also, include moisturizer since your skin might feel drier than usual.

7. Glasses and contact lenses: Don’t forget your glasses or contact lenses if you need them. Remember to pack contact lens solution and a case if you wear contacts.

8. Phone and charger: Unless you’re taking a break from technology, bring your phone and charger so you can stay connected with loved ones, capture special moments, and share news on social media.

9. Clothes: Besides your nightgown, pack some comfortable clothes for your hospital stay. Include an extra outfit for going home, preferably loose-fitting with a drawstring or elastic waist.

10. Handouts and reference books: If you have notes from prenatal classes or books about newborns, bring them along. While the medical team will offer guidance, these resources can be helpful once your baby arrives.

11. Snacks and drinks: Labor can be lengthy, so consider packing snacks and drinks. Check with your medical team about eating and drinking during labor. Also, bring your favorite snacks for after labor, as you might crave some comfort food during your hospital stay.

Things to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Your Birth Partner

If you’re going to be a birth partner—whether you’re the dad, a friend, partner, or family member—packing a hospital bag with essential items can make your time supporting your loved one much more comfortable and convenient. Here are some things you’ll want to consider bringing along:

1. Snacks and Water: Labor can be long and exhausting, not just for the person giving birth, but also for you as the supportive partner. Pack some snacks and bottles of water to keep your energy up. It’s also a good idea to have some spare change for vending machines in case you need extra snacks or drinks.

2. Phone, Camera, and Chargers: Staying connected with loved ones and capturing precious moments during labor and after the birth is important. Make sure to bring your phone along with chargers to keep it powered up. Additionally, consider bringing a camera or video camera to capture memories. Don’t forget to check that there’s enough space on your camera’s memory card for lots of photos!

3. Clothing: Labor can be unpredictable, and you might end up staying at the hospital for longer than expected. Pack a change of comfortable clothes in case you need them. Opt for loose, breathable clothing that will keep you comfortable throughout the experience.

4.Toiletries: After enduring a long labor, a refreshing shower can do wonders. Most hospitals allow this, but it’s always a good idea to double-check their policy beforehand.

5. Spare glasses or contact lenses: Labor can stretch into a long day, so having backups of these essentials might prove invaluable.

6. Small pillow: Rest might be sporadic during labor, but having a small pillow can provide some comfort during brief downtimes.

7. Entertainment: Passing the time during labor can be easier with distractions. Consider bringing along books, a tablet, or a personal music player to keep yourself occupied and relaxed.

Thing to Pack for a Newborn

When preparing for your baby’s arrival at the hospital, it’s essential to have the right gear ready. Here’s a list of items to pack in your hospital bag for your newborn:

1. Bodysuits: Find out the hospital’s policy on newborn clothing beforehand, as it can vary. Pack bodysuits that fasten up at the front for ease of dressing. These will serve as comfortable and convenient attire for your baby during their stay.

2. Socks and Booties: Newborns are sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s wise to bring along socks and booties to keep their tiny feet warm. Even during skin-to-skin contact, your baby can benefit from wearing socks for added warmth.

3. Receiving Blanket: While the hospital will likely provide blankets, having a familiar receiving blanket of your own can offer comfort and warmth during skin-to-skin contact and for wrapping your baby on the way home.

4. Going-Home Outfit: Consider the weather conditions when selecting an outfit for your baby’s journey home. In warmer months, a bodysuit, booties, and hat may suffice, but in colder weather, be sure to pack mittens and additional layers such as a jacket or snowsuit.

5. Car Seat: While not for your hospital bag, ensure that the right car seat is installed in your vehicle before your baby’s arrival. This is crucial for safely transporting your newborn home from the hospital. Install the car seat around the same time you pack your baby bag, so it’s ready when you are.

Things to Not Pack for Your Hospital

When packing your hospital bag, it’s important to strike a balance between being prepared and avoiding unnecessary clutter. Some items are best left at home, as they may not be needed or allowed in the hospital. Here are a few things you probably won’t need to pack:

1. Too Many Clothes: Hospital stays typically involve wearing a comfortable nightgown provided by the hospital. Therefore, you won’t need to pack an extensive wardrobe. Focus on bringing a cozy and easy-to-wear going-home outfit, such as leggings and a loose shirt.

2. Valuables: Leave valuable items like jewelry at home to ensure they remain safe. It’s natural to be preoccupied with the birth and caring for your newborn, so it’s best not to worry about the security of valuable possessions.

3. Electronic Devices: While your phone and camera can be useful for capturing memories, larger electronic devices like portable TVs or music players are unnecessary. If you plan to watch or listen to something, be considerate of others and bring headphones to avoid disturbing fellow patients.

4. Excessive Food: While a few favorite snacks and water can be handy for energy during labor, avoid bringing too much food. Hospital stays may not allow for much eating time, and the hospital usually provides meals. Your partner can also bring extra snacks if needed, so there’s no need to pack an abundance of food.

5. Diapers and Wipes: Most hospitals provide baby diapers and wipes during your stay. To avoid unnecessary bulk, check with your hospital beforehand to confirm their policy. This way, you can save space in your bag for other essentials.

By avoiding overpacking and focusing on essential items, you can ensure your hospital bag remains organized and contains everything you need for a comfortable and stress-free birthing experience.


Key Takeaways

Having a checklist for your hospital bag is crucial to ensure you have everything you need for the big day (or night!) of giving birth. Unsure if you’ve packed enough or perhaps too much? Don’t worry! Just follow this checklist to cover all the essentials. And if you’re still unsure, don’t hesitate to ask a family member or friend who has been through this experience before to take a look and offer some advice. Their insights can be invaluable in ensuring you’re fully prepared for the journey ahead.

With a well-packed hospital bag, you can approach childbirth with confidence and peace of mind, knowing you have everything you need for yourself and your newborn.

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