As a first-time mom, I felt pretty overwhelmed with what I needed to bring to the hospital. I searched through Pinterest over and over, trying to find the perfect hospital bag checklist for mom, dad, and baby so I wouldn’t forget anything.
I ended up finding a lot of lists saying that you needed to grab three suitcases and pack like you are leaving town for two weeks. I couldn’t help but think that was a little much.
I mean, would I really need to bring blankets, pillows, and even towels to the hospital?
It turns out that was a big no, and I am glad I didn’t overpack. While I did find many unnecessary items, I did come across some helpful things that I might not have thought of.
Let’s get to it!
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What to Pack in a Hospital Bag: For Mom
1. Phone/Camera and Chargers
You likely bring your phone with you to most places. Be sure to grab your camera and chargers as well!
2. Photo ID and Insurance Cards
If you aren’t planning on bringing your purse or wallet, you’ll need to make sure you pack a photo ID and your insurance cards in a safe place.
Bringing your insurance cards is essential even if you have already registered at the hospital. You won’t want to be without them if the hospital needs to update some information.
Also, if your doctor practices at an office that is not at the hospital where you will be giving birth, you will need to register at the hospital.
I recommend registering beforehand to save some time, but if you want to wait, that’s fine too.
3. Toiletries and Personal Care Items
When it comes to toiletries, you’ll want to bring any items that you usually use day-to-day.
For example, you’ll want to pack deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, body wash, shampoo/conditioner, and body lotion. Also, don’t forget to bring some chapstick; that is a definite must.
One thing that I found helpful was to bring travel-sized soap and shampoos to save on space in our bag.
Also, getting your favorite brands of soap and shampoo or splurging on some luxurious items you don’t usually buy is an excellent idea.
That first shower you take after you have delivered your baby is probably the best shower you will ever take. So, bringing some nicer items is an excellent opportunity to pamper yourself a bit.
Some other personal care items that you’ll want to think about bringing are things like makeup, a hairbrush, hair ties, or a headband.
4. Zip Front Bras for Labor
Zip-front bras are the perfect solution if you want to be covered during your labor. You can wear the bra throughout your labor and then easily unzip it to do skin-to-skin once your baby arrives.
I will be honest, though. I only wore a bra at the beginning of my labor. After many hours in labor, I didn’t care about being covered like I thought I would.
5. Clothing for 2-3 Days
As your due date approaches, be sure to ask your doctor how long the typical stay at the hospital is. Then, you’ll want to pack enough clothes for however extended your expected stay will be. For example, most hospital stays after labor and delivery are about 2-3 days.
Depending on what you prefer to wear during your stay, you’ll want to bring comfortable clothing and pajamas. I primarily brought pajamas to wear during the day because I knew I wouldn’t want to wear regular clothes while we stayed in the hospital.
If you plan on breastfeeding, you will want comfortable pajamas that can button down for those frequent feedings. I tried these nightgowns, and they are fantastic.
If you don’t like wearing nightgowns, these nursing pajamas are great. But, sometimes you can find regular button-down pajamas that are cheaper than nursing PJs.
6. Going Home Outfit
Don’t bring your cute prepregnancy clothes! Yes, you will be smaller when you leave than when you came in, but chances are you’ll still look six months pregnant.
I suggest bringing some of your stretchy leggings or sweats, tee shirts, or a couple of simple dresses.
7. Dark Underwear
While it doesn’t sound pleasant, you will probably be wearing mesh undies during your hospital stay (if not a little longer). But, it can be a good idea to bring some dark underwear if you hate the mesh ones.
Just remember to bring some larger underwear to ensure they can handle the enormous hospital pads. You don’t want underwear that is too tight and restricting as that will be very uncomfortable.
8. Nursing Bras
It’s helpful to have nursing bras at the hospital while you and your baby are getting the hang of breastfeeding. Also, it’s nice to be primarily covered if a visitor shows up when you aren’t expecting them.
These nursing bras that I used work great. The cups are easy to unhook with one hand, and they are comfortable. So much so that I may still be wearing them 18 months later. 😉
9. Nursing Pads
You will leak a lot when your milk comes in, and your body is still learning the supply and demand process. I used the Lansinoh brand nursing pads, and they work very well. They have adhesive on the back, so they don’t shift in your bra.
Another option you could try is reusable nursing pads. You can buy them online, or if you’re a crafty type of person, they are easy to sew!
10. Comfy Socks or Slippers
If you plan on walking those labor pains out, you will want to have some slip-on slippers for support. If you don’t like slippers, non-skid socks will help prevent you from slipping while keeping your feet warm.
11. Water Bottle
Most hospitals will give you a big water jug that you can fill to the brim with that deliciously refreshing crushed ice.
Just in case your hospital doesn’t give you one, you will want to bring a water bottle. Also, you will want to make sure to bring a larger bottle, too, so there are fewer trips to fill it up.
12. Prenatal Vitamins and Medications
Your doctor will likely suggest you continue taking your prenatal vitamin if you are breastfeeding. But, I didn’t bring my vitamins because the hospital supplied them for me.
You will also want to bring any prescribed medication that you need.
13. Healthy Snacks
I have heard a lot of cases where you might not be able to eat during labor. In my case, I was allowed to eat early in my labor. You can check with your doctor ahead of time to see what they will allow.
If you are allowed to snack, you will want to bring some healthy options because it could be a long, long day/night. I got things like bananas, mixed nuts, and granola bars, along with some not-so-healthy snacks like Rice Krispie treats and pop tarts.
14. Birth Plan
Not everyone has or wants a birth plan. But, if a birth plan is essential to you, you will want to bring one or two copies along.
Sometimes, labor can be long and surprisingly dull. There can be times when you are in between contractions and might want something to take your mind off things.
It’s a good idea to bring some easy entertainment items, whether it’s a book or even a tablet with your favorite streaming service. Even if you don’t end up using anything you brought, at least you had them if you wanted something!
16. Gifts/Thank You Notes For Your Nurses
One thing you’ll want to bring in your hospital bag is any gifts or thank you cards for your labor and delivery nurses.
While it’s not expected to bring your nurses any kind of gift, it’s a really sweet gesture if you want to! If you need some inspiration, check out this post for the best gift ideas for labor and delivery nurses.
What to Pack in a Hospital Bag: For Dad
1. Phone/Camera and Chargers
As I said above, it’s probable that your partner automatically has their phone with them. But, in the event that they forget to grab it with all the excitement going on, it made the list as a reminder. Also, make sure they have a charger, too!
2. Wallet and Cash
Because your partner will be driving you to the hospital, they should naturally have their wallet with their driver’s license. Having a photo ID can be crucial if your hospital needs them to fill out paperwork.
Also, it’s a good idea to ensure that you or your partner has some cash, preferably small bills. Depending on where you live, you might have to pay for parking. Plus, there’s always the possibility that one of you wants something from a vending machine.
3. Clothing and Pajamas for 2-3 Days
Not all hospitals are the same for how many days you will stay after delivering your baby. For us, everything went according to plan, and we were there for two days after the delivery. It’s easiest to have your partner pack the same amount of clothes that you do.
Also, ensure your partner brings a zip-up hoodie or a button-down shirt for skin-to-skin time with your baby. He could always go shirtless, but hospitals tend to get a little chilly.
As I mentioned in the hospital bag checklist for mom, remind your partner to bring any toiletries that they use daily.
5. Comfortable Shoes or Slippers
If your partner is going to help you walk the halls during labor, they will want to have comfortable shoes or slippers. Not to mention, they might want some warm socks for the hospital stay after your delivery.
6. Healthy Snacks
Let’s say you called your hospital, and they don’t allow you to eat during labor. Your partner will still need some snacks!
It’s best to bring plenty of energy-boosting options, but it’s also nice to get some junk food favorites.
7. Large Water Bottle
While the hospital will likely provide you with a large water bottle, they probably won’t offer one for your partner. Bringing a water bottle like this one will ensure fewer trips to fill it up.
As I mentioned above, there can be some lulls during labor. It’s a good idea to have your partner pack some entertainment options as well.
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What to Pack in a Hospital Bag: For Baby
1. One Newborn Outfit
When I was pregnant, almost everyone I knew said not to bother getting newborn-sized clothes or diapers because most babies fit just fine in 0-3mo sizes.
Well, it turns out my 7-pound baby needed newborn-sized clothes. Thankfully, I brought the one newborn-size outfit I had.
Also, I suggest bringing only one outfit because you will probably be doing skin-to-skin frequently. Our son only wore his diaper during our hospital stay and was either doing skin-to-skin or in his swaddle.
2. One 0-3 Month Outfit
In case you don’t need newborn size clothes, add a 0-3 month sized outfit to your hospital bag.
As I mentioned above, we typically swaddled our baby while at the hospital. It’s a lot easier to unwrap the swaddle rather than undress him every time we wanted to do skin-to-skin.
You’ll also love: How Many Baby Clothes Do I Need In Each Size?
3. Socks, Hat, and Mittens
You will want to ensure that you bring a couple of pairs of baby socks to keep their feet warm.
Also, depending on what time of year you deliver and where you live, you might want to bring a warm hat for going home. Mittens or cuffed onesies are other lovely items to have so your baby doesn’t scratch themself with their sharp fingernails.
If you have certain swaddles that you know you’re going to use with your baby, it’s a good idea to bring them. For example, if you want to use velcro swaddles like these ones, you can bring a couple, so your baby gets used to them.
If you would rather save space in your hospital bag, you can leave the swaddles at home. The hospital has plenty of traditional swaddle blankets, and the nurses will teach you how to wrap them properly.
5. Soft Blanket
Bringing a soft, small baby blanket can be helpful while staying at the hospital. While your baby can’t sleep with the blanket, you can cover up with it during skin-to-skin.
Another great reason to bring a small blanket is to cover your baby in the car seat for the ride home. Of course, using a blanket in the car seat might depend on where you live and what season your baby is born in.
6. Car Seat
It’s best practice to ensure that you have your car seat installed before going into labor. And, it’s always a good idea to have it checked by a trained technician.
To check your car seat installation, you can go to a local fire station or do a quick google search to find someone who is also trained in your area.
We installed our car seat at about 36 weeks along, right around the same time I started packing our hospital bags. This is the car seat we have, and I highly recommend it. It’s of very excellent quality, pretty easy to install, and you can use it until your baby weighs 30 pounds.
7. Car Seat Cover
Car seat covers are fantastic in helping you keep out the elements and shade your baby from the sun. What style of car seat cover you bring will depend on the weather.
8. Sound Machine
If you have a sound machine for your baby, it’s a good idea to bring it with you. After nine months in your belly, the quiet hospital room might be unsettling for your baby. Plus, many babies sleep much better with some white noise.
Our favorite sound machine is the Hatch Rest. It’s a sound machine/ night light that you can control with your smartphone. Also, you can change the color of the light, and if you don’t like white noise, it has many other sounds, and even music, to choose from.
9. Nursing Pillow
Don’t forget to bring your nursing pillow if you plan on breastfeeding! Having a nursing pillow will help you get the support you need while learning to breastfeed your baby.
I didn’t think of bringing my nursing pillow when I had my son. Instead, I had to use a hospital pillow to support my arms, and it wasn’t ideal.
What NOT To Bring To The Hospital:
When I was pregnant and researching what to pack in the hospital bag for mom, dad, and baby, I found many items that weren’t necessary to bring. Here are the things you should not pack in your hospital bag so that you can save some room:
1. Pillows and Blankets
Unless you are incredibly picky about the pillow you use, go ahead and leave yours at home. As for blankets, the hospital has plenty of blankets for you to use, so I suggest leaving those at home, too.
The hospital will have many pads for you to use, and in different sizes, too. The hospital I went to had gigantic pads that looked like puppy pee pads and normal-sized heavy menstrual pads.
3. Nipple Cream
If you plan on breastfeeding, you will want to make sure you have nipple cream. Most hospitals will have sample-sized nipple cream tubes for you to use so you can leave your full-sized products at home.
You’ll also love: Breastfeeding Essentials Every New Mom Needs!
4. Pain Relief Medication
Don’t worry about bringing pain relief medications like Ibuprofen or Tylenol. Your doctor will likely ensure that you have a pain medication schedule, so you don’t feel uncomfortable while you’re healing.
5. Diapers and Wipes
Your hospital will also have diapers and wipes for your new baby. They might not provide you with a ton of them, but they will have enough for you to use while you stay in the hospital.
You’ll also love: How Many Diapers Do I Need For The First Year?
6. Exercise Ball
If you want to use an exercise ball throughout your labor, give the hospital a call first to see if they supply them. If your hospital has some for you to use, leave yours at home!
What week should I pack my hospital bag?
The timeframe that you should pack your hospital bag is typically between weeks 36-38 of your pregnancy. Now, this could be different if you are in a unique situation or you are high-risk.
I was expected to be on time, but I still packed around 36 weeks to be safe. If you are scheduled to deliver a bit early, you will want to pack accordingly.
What kind of bag is best to use as a hospital bag?
When looking for the right hospital bag, you’ll want to find one that can fit everything you need. If you know you will need to purchase a new bag, it’s beneficial to gather all of your items together to give you an idea of the size of bag you’ll need.
That being said, I knew that I didn’t want to be lugging a ton of stuff with me into the hospital. If my husband and I couldn’t carry it into the hospital during the one trip to check-in, it wasn’t coming with us.
I chose to have one bag that my husband and I shared and a separate bag for our baby. That’s it, just two bags. We used a large bag like this one that my husband and I typically use for our things for overnight trips.
Where should I keep my hospital bag?
I found a lot of advice suggesting that you should keep your packed hospital bag in your car. I didn’t do this for a couple of reasons.
The first reason was that I had items that I would need to throw in my bag the minute before I needed to go. For example, items like toiletries and clothing like my going home outfit and pajamas were things I needed to use in the four weeks before my due date.
The second reason was that I was working full-time until the day my water broke, and I didn’t want my bag sitting in the car until the big day.
I chose to have my bag sitting in my closet with a list of what I needed to add before leaving for the hospital. Having the list with my bag made it, so I didn’t forget anything.
Remember that pregnancy can come with unexpected bumps in the road. For instance, when my husband and I went for my 39-week checkup, I was admitted to the hospital due to high blood pressure. We didn’t have anything with us, and I was worried that would be the big day!
Thankfully everything turned out to be okay, and I could go home. Even after that, though, I wouldn’t have changed my decision to leave my bags at home. We live only 20 minutes away from the hospital, so it would have been easy for my husband to run home at some point.
Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom, Dad, and Baby: Free Printable
Because I know that packing your hospital bag can be stressful, I’ve made a printable checklist of everything on this list. Using a printable checklist ensures you know that you won’t forget anything before heading to the hospital.
And there you have it! When it comes to making your hospital bag checklist for mom, dad, and baby, know that even if you do forget something, it likely won’t be a big deal! By the time your labor and delivery are over, you’ll just be amazed by everything you just went through.
Before you go, check out these related articles:
- The Only Newborn Essentials You’ll Need
- Everything You Need To Know About Newborn Bathing
- The Best Postpartum Recovery Items For New Moms
- How To Make The Best New Mom Care Package
- The Ultimate Guide For Having A Baby On A Budget
What were your favorite items in this hospital bag checklist for mom, dad, and baby? I would love to know in the comments below!