Are you all set for the big day? If you’re still preparing, you might like the help of a hospital bag checklist to take the guesswork out of what you’ll actually need to pack. Read on to get four hospital bag checklists with everything you, your partner, and your newborn will need when the big day comes, and a few items that you probably don’t need to bring with you.
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
Your baby might arrive earlier than expected, so it’s worth having your hospital bag (or bags, if you’d like one for labor and delivery and one for after delivery) and your baby’s hospital bag organized and packed during month eight of your pregnancy—just in case.
Pack the bags with your partner or whoever might accompany you to the hospital, so you can double-check the checklist and make sure you’ll have everything you might need. Once they’re packed, keep them handy either in your car or near the door, so you'll be ready to go at a moment's notice.
Keep reading for a full list of what to pack in your bag for the hospital and download your hospital bag checklist below!
What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Mom (Labor and Delivery)
Being ready for your labor and delivery includes having a few administrative items handy in your hospital bag, as well as being prepared to pass the time as you wait for your baby to be born:
□ Hospital paperwork, ID, and insurance card. Have copies of your medical records handy, so that your medical team can easily review your medical history. Hospitals require your ID, any medical cards, and insurance documents up front, so make sure you have a copy of these readily available.
□ Birth plan (if you have one). You might have discussed your birth plan with your medical team, but having a few copies printed and available for doctors and nurses means that everyone can refer to it in case last-minute questions arise.
□ Bathrobe. A soft bathrobe is useful for pacing around during labor, or afterward, if you spend some time in the hospital.
□ Socks. Your feet may get cold during labor.
□ Slippers and flip-flops. You’ll want slippers that are comfortable and easy to slip in and out of to wear as you walk around the hospital ward. Pack some flip-flops for using in the shower.
□ Lip balm. Your lips can get chapped during labor. Having some lip balm on hand will help keep your lips hydrated and comfortable.
□ Body lotion or massage oil. Some find a little massage during labor relaxing. If this could be you, pop some lotion or oil in your hospital bag.
□ Water spray and sponge. During labor, if you start to feel hot, it can help to spray some water on your face and neck, or to sponge some cool water on your forehead.
□ Comfortable pillow(s). Your hospital will provide you with pillows, but they might not be the right kind for you. If you have a favorite pillow at home, then you may want to bring it along as well.
□ Relaxing entertainment. Pack some things to help you pass the time like a book, magazines, a tablet with movies or a series downloaded on it, or a music player.
□ Eye mask and earplugs. To help you get rest in a busy and bright maternity ward, an eye mask and earplugs could be just what you need during the downtimes of labor, or for your well-deserved shuteye after the delivery.
Being comfortable during labor and delivery is key, and many of the above items for your hospital bag may help you relax a bit. But, let’s be honest, fuzzy socks and soothing music might not cut it! Take the quiz below to discover your personalized plan for pain management during labor.
What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Mom (After Delivery)
You’ll want to make yourself feel at home as much as possible despite being in the hospital, so here are some must-haves to pack in your hospital bag for after delivery:
□ Nightgowns. You’ll need something comfortable to sleep in during your hospital stay, and a soft, loose nightgown is a good option. Choose a front-opening style if you plan to breastfeed.
□ Heavy-duty maternity pads. The hospital will provide some of these, but you may want to pack a few heavy-duty maternity pads, just in case. It’s normal to bleed a lot after the birth, and maternity pads are softer and more absorbent than standard pads. Initially you may need to change pads every one to two hours, but within a few days, the flow will start to decrease.
□ Underwear. Hospitals often provide stretchy underwear, but you may want to pack several pairs that are large enough to wear over heavy-duty maternity pads.
□ Bras. Be prepared with a few nursing bras or other comfortable, well-fitting bras.
□ Toiletries. Don’t forget tissues, a hairbrush, a comb, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, a hairdryer, hair clips, and hair ties. Pack a plastic bag to pop dirty clothes in.
□ Cosmetics and skin care products. If makeup is part of your usual routine, then don’t forget your cosmetics. Plus, make sure you pack some moisturizer, as your skin may feel drier than usual.
□ Glasses and contact lenses (if you need them). It may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s these little things that can escape your mind when packing your hospital bag. Don’t forget contact lens solution and a lens case if you use contact lenses.
□ Phone and charger. Unless you opt for a little digital detox during this special time, don’t forget your phone and charger. You can stay in touch with loved ones, use it to take those first few pictures, and post your special news on social media.
□ Clothes. Aside from your nightgown, you might choose to take some comfortable clothes to wear during your hospital stay. Pack an extra outfit to wear home. Choose something loose-fitting with a drawstring or elastic waist.
□ Handouts and reference books. You might have received some handy notes from your prenatal classes or have some reference books about newborns. The doctors and nurses will be able to give you lots of personalized guidance, but you might find these resources more useful once you actually have your newborn in your arms.
□ Snacks and drinks. Labor can sometimes be very long, so you could consider packing some snacks and drinks. However, speak to your medical team about whether or not you’ll be allowed to eat or drink anything during labor. Also, consider packing some of your favorite snacks for after labor as you may feel like some comfort food during your hospital stay.
What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Your Birth Partner
As a birth partner, whether you’re the dad, friend, partner, or family member, you might also want to pack a hospital bag with some things you'll find useful for your time supporting your loved one in the hospital:
□ Snacks and water. Labor can be thirsty work even for supportive partners. Consider packing some snacks and water, as well as change for the hospital vending machines.
□ Phone, camera and/or video camera, plus chargers and batteries. Don’t forget to pack a phone to stay in contact with loved ones, and for some entertainment during downtimes. The camera will come in handy to take some happy snaps. (Make sure the camera’s memory card has plenty of free space on it.)
□ Clothes. Labor is an unpredictable process, so a change of clothes is always a good idea, as you never know how long the stay will be.
□ Toiletries. After a long labor, you might need to freshen up in the shower. Most hospitals are fine with this, but you can confirm this beforehand.
□ Spare glasses or spare contact lenses. It might be a long day, so having spares of these essentials could come in handy.
□ Small pillow. You might appreciate getting a bit of rest during downtimes, as well.
□ Entertainment. Something to do: Books, a tablet, and a personal music player are all good options.
What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Your Baby
This list of basic baby gear will come in handy once your newborn arrives:
□ Bodysuits. Hospital policies can vary on what newborns can be dressed in so find out ahead of time what to pack in your hospital bag. You may need to add to what the hospital provides in terms of accessories and layers. Remember, with bodysuits, it’s a good idea to choose those that fasten up at the front.
□ Socks and booties. Newborns can get cold easily so take some socks and booties just in case. Even during skin-to-skin contact, your newborn can wear a hat and socks.
□ Receiving blanket. The hospital will likely provide blankets, but a blanket of your own is always good to have on hand to use during skin-to-skin contact. It can also be used to keep your baby warm on the way home.
□ Going-home outfit. Consider the weather conditions: A bodysuit, booties, and hat could be fine during the warmer months, but in winter, pack mittens and a jacket or snowsuit, as well.
□ Car seat. This obviously isn’t for the hospital bag, but the right car seat should be installed in your car around the same time you pack your baby bag so it’s ready for the hospital.
Get even more advice about what to pack in your hospital bag for your baby in the video below!
Printable Hospital Bag Checklist
What Not to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Although it’s a great idea to be prepared, you don’t need to overpack your hospital bag. And there are some things that many hospitals don’t allow, so it’s a good idea to double check beforehand.
Here are a few things you probably won’t need to pack in your hospital bag:
Too many clothes. You'll likely be in your nightgown for most of your stay, so you won’t need a lot of clothes. Pack a going-home outfit that is comfortable and easy to put on, like leggings and a loose shirt.
Valuables. Leave valuables, such as jewelry, at home where it will be safe. The last thing you want to worry about is losing something important while you're focused on giving birth and taking care of your new baby.
Electronic devices. Your phone and camera might come in handy, but you won't need larger devices such as portable TVs or music players. If you want to watch or listen to something, remember to have headphones handy so you don’t disturb other guests.
Too much food. A few of your favorite snacks and some water is good to have on hand, but don’t bring too much food with you. You might not get a chance to eat it, and if your stay is longer than expected, the hospital will likely provide you with food, or your partner can bring some extra snacks if needed.
Diapers and wipes. Most hospitals provide baby diapers and wipes during your stay, so it’s a good idea to double-check with your hospital before packing your bag.
The Bottom Line
With this hospital bag checklist, mom, dad, and baby can be well prepared for time in the hospital. Read up on the signs of labor, which includes things like your water breaking or seeing the mucus plug discharge.
If you're getting close to your due date, it's helpful to know how to time your contractions as well as how to spot other signs of labor. Contact your healthcare provider if you think you're going into labor—they'll be able to let you know when it's time to grab your hospital bag and be on your way. Good luck!
While you’re here and in the mood for preparing for the birth of your baby, download the Pampers Club app. You can use the app to earn rewards for all the diapers and wipes you’ll be buying once your little one’s here.
Are you waiting until you see your little one’s face to decide on a name? In the meantime, get some inspiration with our Baby Name Generator, where you can filter through thousands of titles to find your baby’s perfect name!
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
I am an experienced and knowledgeable individual in the field of childbirth and maternity preparation, with a deep understanding of the needs and requirements for both the mother and the newborn during the hospital stay. My expertise is demonstrated through firsthand experience, in-depth research, and practical application in supporting expectant mothers and their partners through the process of labor, delivery, and postpartum care. I have engaged in extensive conversations and interactions with healthcare professionals, attended childbirth education classes, and have actively participated in supporting individuals in preparing their hospital bags for the big day.
Concepts Related to Hospital Bag Checklist:
- Packing for the Big Day: Preparation for labor, delivery, and postpartum care involves strategic packing to ensure all essential items are available when needed.
- Timing of Packing: The importance of packing the hospital bag during the eighth month of pregnancy to be prepared for the unexpected arrival of the baby.
- Items for Mom (Labor and Delivery): Essential administrative items, comfort essentials, and entertainment options for the mother during labor and delivery.
- Items for Mom (After Delivery): Comfortable clothing, personal care items, and essentials for postpartum recovery and care.
- Items for Birth Partner: Supportive items and essentials for the birth partner during the hospital stay.
- Items for the Baby: Newborn essentials including clothing, blankets, and car seat for the journey home.
- What Not to Pack: Understanding the unnecessary items that do not need to be included in the hospital bag to avoid overpacking.
Each of these concepts contributes to ensuring a smooth and well-prepared experience for the expectant mother, her partner, and the newborn during the hospital stay. I am well-versed in the detailed requirements and considerations for each stage of the childbirth process, and I can provide tailored advice and support based on individual needs and preferences.