Hospital Bag for Mom & Baby | Hospital Bag Checklist (2024)

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Nov 29, 23 7 min

Hospital Bag for Mom & Baby | Hospital Bag Checklist (1)

By OBGYN Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

What Is a Hospital Bag?

A hospital bag is your “go” bag you’ll want to grab and have with you when you’re giving birth and recovering from birth in a hospital or other birthing center. A hospital bag may contain everything from your ID and documents to self-care items that will bring you some added comfort while giving birth or bonding with your newborn. Anyone can put together a hospital bag, it doesn’t matter if they are being induced, in need of a cesarean section, or are preparing for a spontaneous vaginal delivery.

What to Pack in a Hospital Bag

While the staff at the hospital or birthing center will do everything they can to make your experience comfortable, there are some items that you may not be able to get your hands on or will have preferences for. Having a hospital bag ready to go, or at least a checklist put together, can help you feel more prepared for your birthing experience and hopefully take away a bit of the stress when the time comes.

Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom

  • Paperwork and Documentation: Make sure to grab your and your partner’s identification, insurance cards, insurance paperwork, and any other forms or documents that may make your stay more convenient and straightforward.
  • Your Birth Plan: If you have a birth plan or any specific requests, medical needs, or desires for how your birthing experience will go, it can be helpful to have a few copies available to share with your provider and other staff members.
  • Clothes and Pajamas: Having at least one change of clothes or pajamas stowed away can be a lifesaver! Stick to loose clothing that is soft and comfortable for you to lounge in on your way home. You should also consider bringing items that are quick and easy to throw on, like a robe or nightgown.
  • Nursing Pads and Bras: Postpartum brings sore, leaky, and sometimes painful breasts and nipples. Maternity bras and nursing pads can provide some additional comfort and support.
  • Slippers or Socks: The hospital can be cold, and you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible! Pack a few pairs of cozy fuzzy socks or slippers, preferably with some grip.
  • Phones and Chargers: If you’re planning on making some calls and texts to any friends or family while in the hospital and snapping some newborn pictures, you’ll want a good charge on your phone! Extra long cords may come in handy for the hard-to-reach outlets.
  • Toiletries: Having a few essential toiletries can make a big difference. Think about the essential items you need to feel clean and comfortable and plan on bringing them! Some examples:
    • Toothbrush, toothpaste
    • Deodorant, face wash or wipes
    • Lotion (Natalist cooling cream and belly oil are great for hydrating and refreshing the skin!)
    • Hair ties, bobby pins, headbands, etc.
    • A brush or comb
    • Glasses, contacts, contact solution
    • Lip and Nipple Balm- chapped or sore nipples from breastfeeding can happen fast! Being prepared with a breastfeeding-safe nipple balm can make all the difference. ( is great for soothing chapped lips and nipples- perfect for the new or soon-to-be postpartum mom!)
  • Snacks and Water: We are all well aware of the reputation hospital food has. While your providers typically ask that you stick to ice chips, applesauce, popsicles, or Jell-O during labor, you’ll be glad you packed some snacks and drinks after you give birth. [1] A reusable water bottle with a straw can also make it easier to hydrate during your stay. You may also prefer a hydrating beverage such as mix.
  • Daily Prescriptions: Be sure to bring any daily prescription medication needed for either parent.

“Extras” to Consider:

  • Baby Book or Journal: If you’re planning on keeping a baby book or journal, it may be nice to have it at the hospital for jotting down any notes or storing any keepsakes.
  • Books, iPads, Laptops, etc.: Sometimes labor doesn’t progress the way you think it will, or you may need to be in the hospital for longer than anticipated. General entertainment can help pass the time for you or your partner.
  • Bags to Collect Goodies: If you have any friends or family members visiting you in the hospital, they may want to bring gifts and goodies for you and baby. You will likely also take home blankets, pamphlets, wipes, formula samples, or other items from the hospital. Instead of your partner taking multiple trips to the car, bring a few extra tote bags to make it easier!
  • Pillows or Blankets: The hospital should provide some pillows, but you may want to have your favorite, extra-comfortable pillow with you. Hospitals can also be pretty chilly, so you may want to pack fluffy, comfortable blankets for you and your partner.
  • Pads, Diapers, or Period Underwear: Once again, the hospital will have plenty of pads and diaper options available to help with the post-birth recovery, but if you’d prefer to use your favorite brand or absorbent period undies, you may want to bring them to the hospital.
  • Bath Towel: The hospital will have towels available for you, but they can be itchy and thin.

Baby Hospital Bag Checklist

  • Pediatrician Contact Information: Your pediatrician will eventually need your baby’s medical records. Have an office number, fax number, and other contact information available to provide the hospital staff.
  • Car Seat: It’s necessary for you to have a properly fitting and safe car seat installed in the back seat of your car. This is a must before taking your baby home from the hospital.
  • Blankets: The hospital is likely to provide you with a swaddle or blanket, but if you’ve already picked out some cute ones that you just can’t wait to use, it may be nice to have a few extra on hand.
  • Clothes: It’s nearly time for you to start using all those tiny newborn clothes you’ve been stockpiling! Bring at least 1-2 outfits for your little one to wear on your journey home. Be mindful of the weather- do you need to bring socks, mittens, or a hat?
  • Burp Cloths: As cute as they are, babies tend to be messy. Having plenty of burp cloths around can be a lifesaver when trying to keep your clothes and your baby clean.
  • Bottles and Formula: No matter what your plan is for breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, you can never be too prepared. Many hospitals and birthing centers will have a few formula samples to offer if needed, but bringing your own bottles or preferred brand of formula may be nice to have.

“Extras” to Consider:

  • Diapers and Wipes: The hospital should have a large stockpile of diapers and wipes, but it can’t hurt to bring extra if you have a certain brand you prefer.

This is a general list of items that may be useful, but you should customize your hospital bag to meet your needs. Ask your healthcare provider or pediatrician what other items you may need to have with you before, during, and after birth.

When to Pack a Hospital Bag

Most people can put together a hospital bag a few weeks to a month before the due date. If you are at risk for preterm delivery, you may want to consider packing one sooner. Some items you may need to grab last minute, like medications, phone chargers, and toiletries. If you can put aside items early on, go for it! You can never be too prepared.

How Long Will I Be In the Hospital After Childbirth?

How long you remain in the hospital or birthing center after giving birth can vary widely, depending on any complications with your health or your baby's health, c-section delivery vs. vaginal delivery, etc. In the United States, the typical time spent in the hospital after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery is about 24 hours. [2] During this time, you and your baby will both be monitored for any complications, you may receive some medication, and you may even speak with a breastfeeding specialist or consultant. If you have a c-section, you can expect to be in the hospital for two to three days after birth while you begin to recover. [3]

Prepare for Postpartum Life With Natalist

Childbirth and postpartum bring on many new beautiful, challenging, and sometimes overwhelming experiences. Be kind to yourself while you adjust and try to prepare as much as possible for the months ahead. Having the resources and products you need ahead of time can set you up for success and eliminate some stress. Natalist is here to offer educational articles on all things postpartum, as well as provide evidence-based, pregnancy and postpartum safe products. Order your postnatal vitamins now to encourage healthy nutrition while breastfeeding, or shop for other postpartum essentials.


References:

  1. Horsager-Boehrer, Robyn. Hungry during labor? Women may now get more than ice chips. UT Southwestern Medical Center. Med Blog. February 2016. https://utswmed.org/medblog/eating-during-labor
  2. After vaginal delivery - in the hospital. Medline Plus. National Library of Medicine. November 2022. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000629.htm
  3. C-section. Cleveland Clinic. August 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/7246-cesarean-birth-c-section

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

A hospital bag is a "go" bag that you'll want to have with you when you're giving birth and recovering from birth in a hospital or other birthing center. It contains everything from your identification and documents to self-care items that will bring you added comfort while giving birth or bonding with your newborn. It doesn't matter if you're being induced, having a cesarean section, or preparing for a spontaneous vaginal delivery, anyone can put together a hospital bag [[1]].

Here is a breakdown of what you should pack in a hospital bag for mom:

Paperwork and Documentation:

  • Identification for both you and your partner.
  • Insurance cards and paperwork.
  • Any other forms or documents that may make your stay more convenient and straightforward [[1]].

Your Birth Plan:

  • If you have a birth plan or any specific requests, medical needs, or desires for how your birthing experience will go, it can be helpful to have a few copies available to share with your provider and other staff members [[1]].

Clothes and Pajamas:

  • Have at least one change of clothes or pajamas that are loose, soft, and comfortable for you to lounge in on your way home.
  • Consider bringing items like a robe or nightgown that are quick and easy to throw on [[1]].

Nursing Pads and Bras:

  • Maternity bras and nursing pads can provide additional comfort and support for sore, leaky, and sometimes painful breasts and nipples during the postpartum period [[1]].

Slippers or Socks:

  • Pack a few pairs of cozy fuzzy socks or slippers, preferably with some grip, to keep your feet warm and comfortable in the hospital [[1]].

Phones and Chargers:

  • Make sure your phone is fully charged and bring extra-long cords that may come in handy for hard-to-reach outlets. This will allow you to make calls, send texts, and capture newborn pictures [[1]].

Toiletries:

  • Bring essential toiletries to feel clean and comfortable during your stay. Some examples include a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash or wipes, lotion, hair ties, bobby pins, headbands, a brush or comb, glasses or contacts, contact solution, and lip and nipple balm [[1]].

Snacks and Water:

  • Pack some snacks and drinks for after you give birth, as hospital food may not always be to your liking. Consider bringing a reusable water bottle with a straw for easy hydration [[1]].

Daily Prescriptions:

  • Remember to bring any daily prescription medication needed for either parent [[1]].

"Extras" to Consider:

  • Baby Book or Journal: If you plan on keeping a baby book or journal, it may be nice to have it at the hospital for jotting down notes or storing keepsakes.
  • Books, iPads, Laptops, etc.: General entertainment can help pass the time for you or your partner.
  • Bags to Collect Goodies: Bring a few extra tote bags to make it easier to carry gifts and goodies from friends and family, as well as items you may take home from the hospital.
  • Pillows or Blankets: Consider bringing your favorite, extra-comfortable pillow and fluffy blankets for added comfort.
  • Pads, Diapers, or Period Underwear: While the hospital will provide pads and diaper options, you may prefer to use your favorite brand or absorbent period underwear.
  • Bath Towel: The hospital will have towels available, but you may want to bring your own for added comfort [[1]].

For the baby, here's what you should pack in a hospital bag:

Pediatrician Contact Information:

  • Have your pediatrician's contact information available to provide the hospital staff with your baby's medical records [[1]].

Car Seat:

  • Make sure you have a properly fitting and safe car seat installed in the back seat of your car before taking your baby home from the hospital [[1]].

Blankets:

  • The hospital is likely to provide you with a swaddle or blanket, but you can bring a few extra cute ones that you've already picked out [[1]].

Clothes:

  • Bring at least 1-2 outfits for your baby to wear on the journey home. Consider the weather and whether you need to bring socks, mittens, or a hat [[1]].

Burp Cloths:

  • Have plenty of burp cloths on hand to keep your clothes and your baby clean [[1]].

Bottles and Formula:

  • Regardless of your plan for breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it's good to be prepared. While hospitals and birthing centers may have formula samples available, bringing your own bottles or preferred brand of formula can be helpful [[1]].

"Extras" to Consider:

  • Diapers and Wipes: The hospital should have a stockpile of diapers and wipes, but bringing extra if you have a preferred brand is a good idea [[1]].

It's important to note that the length of your hospital stay after childbirth can vary depending on various factors such as complications, delivery method, and overall health. In the United States, the typical time spent in the hospital after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery is about 24 hours, while after a c-section, it can be two to three days [[2]] [[3]].

Remember to customize your hospital bag to meet your specific needs and consult with your healthcare provider or pediatrician for any additional items you may need to have with you before, during, and after birth [[1]].

Hospital Bag for Mom & Baby | Hospital Bag Checklist (2024)

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