Things You Absolutely Need In Your Hospital Bag- (A No Frills Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom And Baby)

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pregnant mom checking off what she has packed in her hospital bag

Inside: The essential hospital bag checklist for mom and baby. Don’t wait until the last minute to pack your hospital bags! Be prepared with our printable hospital bag checklist that will ensure you don’t forget the essentials.

Printable Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom And Baby – Know What To Pack For Labor, Delivery & Going Home

What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag- Just The Essentials

Your due date is fast approaching, and it’s time to pack your hospital bag. But as you’re folding tiny baby clothes and putting them in your bag you can’t shake the feeling that you’ve forgotten something.

I know the feeling! I remember racking my brain when it was time to pack my bag for Little Man’s arrival. 

It had been 9 years since I had packed a hospital bag for a baby’s arrival. 

Packing your hospital bag is an exciting part of the pregnancy, but if you’re worried that you’ll forget something, I’ve got you covered!

Here’s a comprehensive list of what to pack in your hospital bag, as well as the answer to when that bag should be ready to go.

Now it won’t be long before you’re holding your precious little baby in your arms!

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When To Pack Your Hospital Bag So You Don’t Forget Stuff

Ideally, you should have your bag ready to go by the time you are about 36 weeks pregnant. Your baby is ready to be delivered by week 38 but you never know if your baby decides to come before your due date.

The last thing you want to do is start packing the second you feel those labor contractions. You’re bound to forget something because you or your partner, or both of you, will be panicking.

Keep Your Hospital Bag Close At Hand

Keep your bag somewhere you can grab it quickly. I kept mine by the front door but you can also keep it in the trunk of your car. That way, if you’re away from home when the contractions hit, you can head straight to the hospital and your bag will be with you.

Finding the perfect hospital bag might be difficult. If you just don’t know what to pack you could buy a pre-packed maternity hospital bag. These pre-packed maternity hospital bag from Belly & Bag has all the essentials an expecting mama needs for labor and delivery.  And the folks at Belly & Bag are kind enough to offer my readers 10% off your purchase with the code REBECCACONKLIN.

A large gym bag works well if you want to organize things in different pockets. But a cabin bag, small suitcase, rucksack, diaper bag or just about anything else will work just fine. I recommend that you use a bag that allows you to easily access your items.

You could even use a couple of bags. One for you (perhaps even one for labor and one for afterward), one for the baby, and one for your partner).

What To Pack In Hospital Bag For Mom- Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom

Start by packing your own bag. If you live close to the hospital or if your spouse easily can go home to get things, then you can pack light. 

But if you have an hour or more to the nearest hospital, then you may want to pack a bit more. There’s no way of knowing how the delivery will go and you might have to stay at the hospital for a couple of days.

Paperwork

  • Insurance Card And Driver’s License – You should bring this even if you’re pre-registered.
  • Your Birth Plan – It’s a good idea to print a few copies, one for your hospital room, one for your chart and one for your labor nurse. I love the free birth plan from Nichole Joy- Digital Doula. 

Clothes

  • Slippers – You don’t want to walk around barefoot on the cold and germy floors in the hospital. Slippers are the best choice because you may not want to do much bending over to put socks on. 
  • 2-3 Changes of dark clothes – Sweatpants are a good choice, so a tight waistband doesn’t irritate you. You might bleed through your pants so make sure to bring extra change and stick to darker colors.
  • Robe – A comfortable robe is one of the best postpartum clothing items out there. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, a robe will give you easy access and privacy at the same time.
  • Nursing Gown/ Nursing Shirts– If you plan on nursing be sure to include a comfortable nursing gown or nursing shirts for easier access.  
  • 2 Nursing Bras At least one without wire that you can sleep in. Remember to size up as you will be engorged once your milk comes in. 
  • Underwear – Don’t bring any new fancy underwear to the hospital. Bring some old underwear in case you have any leaks. And keep in mind you might need to size up if you experienced a lot of swelling. 
  • Socks

Toiletries

  • Pads – The hospital will give you some, but you may want to have extras on hand. For the first few days, you’ll need to go with the huge diaper-like overnight pads. Or even better, use Always Discreet Incontinence & Postpartum Underwear. They offer tons of coverage and you don’t have to worry much about leaks. 
  • Breast Pads – You might find you start leaking soon after delivery, so it’s helpful to have breast pads there to save your shirts. I used disposable breast pads in the hospital but found reusable breast pads to be cheaper (and environmentally friendly).  
  • Towel – Hospital towels thin, scratchy and small. You’ll be very thankful you brought a towel from home for your first post-delivery shower.
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Travel size Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap & Lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Hair tie
  • Hairbrush
  • Nipple cream- If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive. This lanolin-free nipple cream is a best seller!

Non Essential: Skin cream, makeup & contacts and/or glasses (if you wear them).

Other

  • Snacks – Some protein bars and your favorite candy. You might want it after the delivery.
  • Drink or water bottle – Pack a reusable water bottle and an electrolyte drink if you want something more than water.
  • Magazines or Book
  • Cash – You might want something from a vending machine or a kiosk.
  • Phone – Besides updating your relatives on how everything is going you may want to download some games on it that will help you get through the slower parts of your labor.
  • Charger – Hospital beds can sometimes be far away from an electrical outlet. Make sure to bring an extra-long cell phone charging cord so your phone is fully charged when you want to take pictures of your new sweet baby.
  • Camera – You could use your phone but if you want some high-quality images of your baby when it is born, bring a camera.
  • Spotify/iTunes playlist. Listening to music during labor can help you forget some of the pain and make time pass a little faster. Labor can last 24+ hours so add a lot of songs to your playlist because you don’t want to listen to the same 10 songs over and over and over the entire time.

Non Essential: Heating Pad- Neck & Shoulder Wrap

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pregnant mom packing baby clothes in her hospital bag

What To Pack In Hospital Bag For A C-section – Hospital Bag Checklist For C-section

I remember when I found out I was having a scheduled c-section. I scoured the internet for what to pack in my hospital bag for a c-section. And for the most part, the list looks the same as it would for a vaginal delivery with just a few minor additions. 

If you are having a planned c-section there are a few extra items you might want to add to your hospital bag. 

  • Abdominal Binder – Check with the hospital to see if they will provide a binder.  My doctor had to add the order for the hospital to provide one.  But it helped tremendously! Here is a postpartum wrap just in case your hospital doesn’t provide them. 
  • Nursing pillow- If you are going to nurse after your c-section a nursing pillow will help you find comfortable positions to nurse without adding pressure to your incision area. 
  • Stool Softener – Ok, the hospital should provide stool softeners for you but you will want to continue to take it once you leave. All the pain medicine can make you constipated and believe me when I tell you it is gonna hurt if you don’t continue to take them. 
  • GasX– Another thing the hospital should provide you but be sure to have GasX on hand for when you get home. During the procedure, you wind up with a lot of air in your belly. If it gets trapped it can feel like you are having a heart attack…don’t ask me how I know.  
  • Compression Socks– The hospital will place leg compressors on your legs after surgery to prevent blood clots. But once those are removed you will want to wear compression socks. They will help with the swelling from all the extra fluids you are given. 

What To Pack In Hospital Bag For Baby – Hospital Bag Checklist For Baby

      After your hospital bag has everything for yourself, move on to the essentials for baby.

  • Diapers – Check with the hospital to see if they will provide diapers but bring along a few anyway just in case.
  • Baby Wipes – While the hospital likely will have some for you to use for diaper changes, you can also use them to refresh yourself when you’re sweaty during labor.
  • Baby outfits – Pack two different outfits in different sizes because you don’t know how big or small your baby will be. Bring one outfit in newborn size, one 0-3 month and maybe one extra cute outfit for hospital pictures or when you’re going home.
  • Socks
  • Blanket – Depending upon what season it is, bring a blanket so your baby will stay warm on the ride home from the hospital. I love this personalized blanket
  • Hat
  • Outerwear – If it’s cold outside.
  • Bottles – If you plan to bottlefeed from the start, make sure to pack at least two for the hospital. These 2-ounce bottles from Dr. Brown’s are perfect for the baby’s first days at the hospital. If you plan to formula feed, pack a can of your preferred brand, as well.
  • Your pediatrician’s contact information – Keep this information somewhere handy as the doctor and nurses will ask for this information. Most hospitals collect this information during pre-registration but it is always good to have on hand. 
  • Car seat – This is non-negotiable and it should be properly installed before you head to the hospital. Though a police station or fire station advertises they can assist they might not always be properly trained on car seat installation. It is always best to consult a trained car seat technician

Non-Essential:

  • Gifts From Your Baby To Your Other Children: Kids love getting gifts when their parents come home after a trip and if you tell them it’s from their new sibling, they’ll be even more excited and maybe even more welcoming to the new baby. I had these shirts made for my girls which they wore to the hospital when meeting their little brother for the first time. 
  • Pacifier: If you want your baby to have one, you may want to throw bring one, but just so you know, introducing a pacifier early may make your baby reject the breast or bottle. Most hospitals will have one readily available should you decide to use one.  

What To Pack In Hospital Bag For Your Partner

If you have a partner who’s going to be by your side during labor and staying in the hospital or birthing center with you, here are some things they may want to bring.

  • Change of clothes
  • Phone charger
  • Headphones & podcasts – As mentioned above, labor can last  24+ hours so tell your partner to download a few new podcasts to listen to in case there is some downtime.
  • Snacks – Try to pack something from each of these categories: salty (pretzels, goldfish crackers), sweet (hard candies, M&M’s or gummy bears), protein (beef jerky or protein bars) and healthy/fresh (dried fruit, banana or carrot sticks). Even if your partner doesn’t eat all of this, it’s perfect for the new mom needing energy post-birth, too.
  • Drink/Water Bottle
  • Money – At some point, they’ll need to grab a meal or two while you are in the hospital, so don’t forget to bring money.
  • Empty Bag – You’ll most likely get some freebies from the hospital to take home.

Grab This Printable Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom And Baby (And Partner).

Hospital bag checklist for mom and baby plus partner

You can PRINT this hospital bag checklist for mom and baby by clicking here to open the PDF. (No email required!)

Packing For Labor And Delivery

The most important thing that you need to bring is the car seat. You should install it in your car weeks before you are due. Everything else is just nice to have.

There’s no way for you to know in advance what you’ll want to have near when you’re giving birth. So my advice is to pack just a little bit more than what you think you’ll need. That way you won’t miss anything.

Once you’ve packed your bag, you’ll be all set to head to the hospital when your baby decides it’s ready to come.

Your Turn

What were your hospital bag essentials when you gave birth? Did I miss anything on the hospital bag checklist for mom and baby? Please comment below to share your absolute must-haves!  

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the no frills mom and baby hospital checklist
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