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Inside: Find a list of items to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery, and get the ultimate hospital bag checklist printable for free! No sign-up is needed.
Ready for the big day? Excited for your baby’s arrival? Have you packed the essentials in your hospital bag yet? I assume your answer is YES! If not, don’t worry about it. It will come.
Thinking about giving birth and meeting your baby for the first time can be really daunting.
Plus, I get how a person can overdo certain things, especially when paired with stress and fear. Believe me.
But worry no more, as I am here to help, my friend! I understand that a first-time mom like you can easily pack the whole house when no one is around to guide you.
So I put together a practical (no-fluff, no-frills) list of what you really need to pack in your hospital bag.
I included a list for your partner (or support person) and your new baby as well.
“You are the closest I will ever come to magic.”
Before anything else, let me introduce you to this amazing free birth prep workshop packed with information to make your labor and delivery even better. And oh! Did I mention it’s free?
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
Pack your hospital bag a month or two before your due date (ideally around your 34th week of pregnancy) to avoid forgetting something.
Once your bag is packed, make sure it is easily accessible. I highly suggest leaving it near the front door. If the weather permits, consider keeping it in the car.
- When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
- When to Install Your Car Seat
- What is the Best Bag to Use as a Hospital Bag?
- What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for the Birth of Your Baby
- What to Put in a Hospital Bag for Mom
- What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Baby
- Hospital Bag Essentials for Dad or Partner
- Nice-to-Haves You can Pack in your Hospital Bag
- A Sneak-Peek of the Practical Hospital Bag Checklist Printable [PDF]
- Conclusion to Hospital Bag Must-Haves
- What You Need to Pack in a Hospital Bag [Essentials Itemized]
When to Install Your Car Seat
Please be sure to install your baby’s car seat at the same time you pack your bag for the hospital. The baby can’t be released from the hospital without it.
My kids both had the older version of this infant car seat until they were both too heavy for me to carry around.
They transitioned to this and have been using it up until now. My little boy uses the blue shade, and my little girl has the gray. Aside from the fact that it is so easy to install and clean, it is also so affordable. It definitely gives you more bang for your buck!
Related article: First Few Weeks with A Newborn [Survival Guide]
What is the Best Bag to Use as a Hospital Bag?
Keep in mind that you will be staying for more than a day in the hospital. So before you get started with packing your labor and delivery necessities, consider looking for a good-quality duffel bag or a rolling travel suitcase.
My husband and I chose this luggage for both of my deliveries because it was easy to manage. We like that it has multi-directional spinner wheels. It really was very easy to pull along.
Practicality-wise, I suggest you keep all your supplies in one bag. However, if packing multiple bags doesn’t bother you, you can do that too. A diaper bag for your new angel might be easier for you too!
Related article: Postpartum Necessities for Recovery [Essentials for the New Mom]
What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for the Birth of Your Baby
One of the first steps you should take in preparing for the birth of your baby is to put together a hospital bag for you, your baby, and your support person. Pack the following essential items ahead of time so that everything is ready when it’s time to leave for the hospital:
- bathrobe, nightgown, or pajamas
- socks and slippers
- hair ties
- lip balm
- nursing bra and extra underwear
- phone and charger
- something for entertainment
- going-home outfit
Dad or Partner Essentials
- snacks and drinks
- change of clothes
- socks and slippers
- phone and charger
- something for entertainment
- coins for parking or the vending machine
- swaddle blankets
- weather-appropriate going-home outfit
The above items are explained in detail below.
What to Put in a Hospital Bag for Mom
Safeguarding your hospital paperwork, insurance card, driver’s license or photo ID, and other important documents is a given.
The hospital will surely provide you with the basics (gown, non-skid socks, disposable mesh underwear, slippers, towels, soap, shampoo, and more).
However, it is always a good idea to be ready and provide these necessities yourself (especially if you prefer one brand over another). Here are the must-have items, in no particular order:
The hospital will provide a hospital gown for your entire hospital stay. But if you don’t want to use it, you can definitely bring your own nightgown. Bear in mind that labor and delivery can be messy. Leave your new clothes at home and bring your older, more comfortable clothes.
Socks and Slippers
Those flip-flops are really handy. Bring a pair of those for the shower.
I remember being provided with a warm, non-skid pair of socks and using them a lot. Surprisingly, I liked them. Hospital floors can be really chilly.
If you choose to provide your own set of socks, go ahead. Your comfort is more important than anything else.
Do you prefer using your own shampoo, conditioner, or body wash? I don’t blame you. Hospitals only provide the generic kind. Pack all your personal care products together in a small, clear toiletry bag for easy access.
My mother-in-law introduced me to this sulfate-free shampoo right here. Since then, I have never looked back! I am a big fan of the brand, though. (That was really why!) Even my kids only use this brand for bath time.
Reminder: You might prefer using dry shampoo, but remember to use one that is non-toxic and safe for pregnancy.
Is your hair long? Definitely bring a pack of hair ties with you. Trust me on this.
When in labor, your body experiences a lot of pain and discomfort. Pain triggers the body to react in a certain way. One of the body’s physiological responses to it is a change in skin or body temperature.
Your skin can easily dry out, and so can your lips when in pain. Pack your favorite lip balm to prevent this from happening.
Nursing bra and extra underwear
Now, you could always go “bra-less” within the confines of your hospital room, but you would definitely want a nursing bra for when you leave the hospital. Invest in a good-quality bra. You will be using it for a very long time.
Though the hospital will provide you with a set of mesh underwear, it’s always a great idea to pack extra underwear for your trip back home.
Invest in a bra that will not only serve its purpose but also give you comfort. Check this bra out right here. It is one of the best bras I have ever tried on! Not your cup of tea? How about this bra right here?
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Oh! By the way, don’t bring that new lingerie if you don’t want it stained, Mama!
Phone and Charger
Your cell phone is essential for contacting family and friends. It is a great tool to snap pictures of your newborn and the rest of the family as well.
It will be one of the most used items in your hospital bag, so a phone charger (specifically one with a really long cord) should be handy at all times to keep it recharged.
Something for Entertainment
If you love the idea of a physical book, I recommend you bring a really good read to the hospital. In between pain and discomfort, good entertainment can absolutely distract you from it all.
If reading something that relates to your current experience tickles your fancy, this book about childbirth right here never disappoints.
Like eBooks or Audibles better? Your tablet is welcome at the hospital. Just don’t forget to bring it back home with you. (*winks)
Sign up for Audible here and try it out for 30 days. You’re getting two free audible books as soon as you’re in. If you think it is not for you, you can always cancel after the trial to avoid being charged.
You can also sign up for Kindle Unlimited free for 30 days. Again, remember to cancel your membership if you don’t want to be charged.
Fresh from childbirth, the mama bear in us has a tendency to just focus on our newborn baby and forget to take care of ourselves.
On that note, start with self-care by looking good and choosing a going-home outfit that makes you feel beautiful and confident at the same time.
You might also like: What You Need to Stockpile Before Your Baby Arrives
What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Baby
A newborn baby is used to having a warm environment inside your belly. A hat is helpful in keeping him a little cozy while he is still figuring out how to maintain a stable body temperature outside of your womb.
After two or more days, you don’t have to continue putting a hat on your baby. Only do so when you think you are exposing him to a cold environment (or a very hot one).
To be on the safe side, I suggest that you pack mittens for your baby. More and more hospitals advise against the use of them nowadays, so it is always better to be ready in case you give birth in a hospital that discourages the use of mittens.
However, according to Dr. Natasha Burgert of HealthyChildren.org, “Bluish and cool hands and feet are normal in healthy infants, and the cool sensation of extremities likely does not bother the baby at all.”
I used to let my babies wear mittens when I was so scared to trim their nails, but then I grew ovaries and decided that trimming their nails would bring in more advantages.
Related article: Baby Bath Time [Essentials and Step-by-step Guide]
Like hats and mittens, socks are needed to provide your newborn baby with an extra layer of warmth (especially when your baby is born during the wintertime).
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A swaddle blanket can help soothe your baby. When done correctly, it can be effective in calming your newborn baby down and helping him go to sleep.
Weather-appropriate Going-home Outfit
Think thin layers for the summer and heavy fabrics for the winter. Remember to keep your baby warm, but not too warm.
Hospital Bag Essentials for Dad or Partner
Dads play an important role in the labor and delivery process, so it is just normal to pack his supplies too. Think of something that can help him be comfortable while being encased in a small room with you.
Snacks and Drinks
Dad’s strength should be maintained, as he will be the one running back and forth while you are confined in your hospital bed.
Steer clear of strong-smelling food, as it can possibly irritate a pregnant lady in labor.
Think of finger food that doesn’t spoil easily, like a pack of beef jerky or some granola bars.
In addition, to keep him hydrated, provide him with drinks (preferably water).
Change of Clothes
Daddy needs several outfits (underwear included) to make him feel clean and fresh.
Socks and Slippers
As I mentioned, it can be really chilly in the hospital. Pack some socks for Dad.
A good pair of flip-flops will be useful for when he wants to use the bathroom as well.
If Daddy prefers to use his own brand of toiletries, pack those up and make him happy.
Phone and Charger
He will be the cameraman and messenger most of the time, so his phone must be fully charged.
Something for entertainment
A book, several games, or anything he fancies will do wonders for keeping him occupied while you rest. It will also distract him from feeling overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. Daddies can be scared too.
Coins for Parking (or for the vending machine)
You will be staying in the hospital for 2-3 days after delivery. Your car will need a parking space. Most hospitals have free parking spaces you can use, but being ready won’t be harmful.
✔️ Want your other half to be more than just a support system? Let him sign up for this fantastic childbirth class specially created for your partner. Alice Turner will teach them actionable tips so they can effectively aid you with everything you need during labor, delivery, and recovery!
Nice-to-Haves You can Pack in your Hospital Bag
A birth plan is a document that you can share with your medical team. It provides certain information (such as pain management) that can help guide your birth team through labor and delivery.
Reminder: You can’t always control what happens, so keep an open mind. Your provider and the rest of the team will do anything in their power to keep you and your baby safe.
You won’t feel cold easily because your body will be working hard and burning energy really fast when in labor, so this is more for Daddy. What’s hot for you may be too cold for your partner.
Extra Maxi Pads or Sanitary Pads
Bleeding after delivery can last up to 6 weeks (depending on the person). The hospital will provide you with a kit of necessities for labor and delivery, but it is always nice to be prepared just in case they run out (which is very unlikely).
By the way, do you remember the labor and delivery nurse I told you about? You might want to check her out again. She has this online prenatal class for couples and it is absolutely golden! Remember that her courses are for everyone planning a hospital or birth center delivery.
A Sneak-Peek of the Practical Hospital Bag Checklist Printable [PDF]
Conclusion to Hospital Bag Must-Haves
Pack the essentials for labor and delivery ahead of time and never worry about forgetting anything.
Get to ticking off those items on your hospital bag checklist as soon as now!
If there’s still room in your hospital bag, include things that will help you feel at home. Your favorite pillow and reusable water bottle are a couple of things that might be comforting for you. It is never fun to be confined in a hospital bed!
You’ve got this! Congratulations in advance!
There you have it, Mama! Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!
Talk to you soon,