Curious about what to pack in your hospital bag for childbirth? We’ve got you covered with a comprehensive checklist to ensure you’re well-prepared and avoid any last-minute scramble to gather your stuff or panic trips to the store while experiencing contractions. This is the ultimate list everything you need to pack in your maternity hospital bag!
Maintaining peace of mind during the birthing process is essential. By organizing things ahead of time, such as having frozen lasagna, washed burp cloths neatly folded, and other preparations, you can alleviate any anxieties associated with this exciting and life-changing event. Additionally, one task to prioritize is packing a hospital bag that contains all the necessary items for when the moment arrives. Experts recommend assembling your hospital bag a few weeks prior to your expected due date if possible. But if you’re wondering what on earth you need to pack in your hospital bag then read on for our complete list of what to pack for mom, baby and tips for your birth partner.
Hate lists? Perhaps you’re more of a visual person? This pack of 15 sealable hospital bags will make sure that you don’t forget anything when packing. Plus, this set of hospital bag organizers makes it easy for your birth partner or nurses to pass you anything you might need because everything is so clearly labeled. Genius!
Essentials for the Mom’s Hospital Bag
It’s important to note that the hospital will likely provide certain items like disposable mesh underwear, socks with grip soles, a labor and postpartum gown, thick sanitary pads, and basic toiletries such as soap and a toothbrush. However, you may prefer to bring your own versions or extras, just in case.
Here’s a breakdown of the essential items you’ll need, as well as some optional items that can enhance your stay at the hospital or birthing center:
Hospital Bag Essentials
- Drivers’ license or identification card
- Insurance card and completed hospital paperwork
- Multiple copies of your birth plan to share with your practitioner and nurses
- Your phone and charger
- An outfit for your baby to wear when leaving the hospital
- Comfortable clothing for yourself when heading home (think loose and soft)
- A small tote for additional hospital supplies and potential gifts
- Infant car seat (Make sure it is suitable for a newborn’s weight and properly installed. Consider having it inspected by a certified technician from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a few weeks before your due date.)
Now, let’s explore a more extensive list of items that you may want to bring but aren’t obligatory:
- Hair ties, clips, or a headband to keep your hair away from your face during labor and beyond
- Your toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash
- A brush and comb for grooming
- Glasses and/or contacts with saline solution if necessary
- Lotion, lip balm, and deodorant
- Extra-absorbent maxi pads (although the hospital will provide them, you may prefer your favorite brand)
- Toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, face wash, soap, shower gel, and makeup (if you wish) to help you feel refreshed
- Massage oils or lotion for labor if desired
- Extra pairs of underwear suitable for wearing with maxi pads
- Nursing bra and breast pads if planning to breastfeed
- Nightgown or pajamas
- Lightweight bathrobe for when visitors come
- Slippers or cozy socks with grip soles
- Cardigan, zip-front fleece, and sweatpants or yoga pants as an alternative to nightwear
These hospital bag organizers will be your new best friend while in the hospital, as well as later when you get home and want to sort the laundry.
Entertainment and Snacks
- Snacks to consume during labor (note that your own snacks may be limited and require approval from your practitioner; your partner can pack sandwiches and healthy snacks to stay by your side)
- Light bites for after delivery (e.g., crackers, granola, carrot sticks, apples) as the hospital or birthing center might not provide them during nighttime hours
- Music or headphones compatible with your phone
- Something to keep you occupied in case you have an extended labor, such as an engaging novel, crossword puzzles, magazines, a deck of cards, a laptop, or handheld electronic games
- A baby care book like “What to Expect the First Year” if you have room and anticipate having a chance to peruse it
- A baby keepsake book to jot down early thoughts and memories
- Your favorite pillow or a lightweight blanket for added comfort
- A “who to call” list to conveniently share or text the good news
- A checklist for the baby’s hospital bag
Hospital Bag Checklist for the Baby
Your baby won’t require much besides a going-home outfit and a car seat, but depending on the weather and the space available in your hospital bag, you might consider including the following:
Hospital Bag Checklist for Your Birth Partner
Labor can be lengthy, leaving your spouse, partner or coach with idle time. Here’s a list of items that might prove useful for them:
- Phone and charger
- Gum, mints, and lip balm
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, other toiletries, spare contact lenses, and glasses
- A travel pillow or a bed pillow and a blanket for napping or an overnight stay
- Sweatshirt or jacket for quick trips to nearby stores or delis
- A change of underwear and a fresh shirt in case labor extends for a prolonged period
- Pajamas or sweats for overnight stays
Entertainment and Snacks
- Snacks, especially those with a long shelf life (e.g., pretzels, trail mix, granola bars)
- Small bills or change for vending machines and hospital cafeterias
- A reusable water bottle or another beverage of choice (e.g., juice, Gatorade)
- A camera and/or video camera, if available and desired to capture early memories
- Entertainment like a book, newspaper, magazines, or game
Items to Avoid Bringing to the Hospital
While it’s important to be prepared, it’s equally crucial not to overpack your hospital bag. Here are some things to leave behind:
- Excessive clothing for you or the baby—select a single outfit each and leave the rest at home
- Valuables like diamond earrings or sentimental items that you would be devastated to lose. While hospitals generally prioritize security, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
- Large amounts of cash—rely on your partner, coach, or accompanying relatives to handle expenses for food, drinks, and snacks.
- An abundance of diapers since the hospital will provide an ample supply for the duration of your stay.
It’s a good idea to keep your packed hospital bag near the front door or in your car trunk once it’s ready with everything you will need. Don’t forget to make arrangements for the care of your pets, such as having someone check on them and ensure they have water and food available while you’re in hospital.