What we’ll cover in this post:
What to pack in hospital bag for mom
What does the hospital provide for mom?
What to pack in hospital bag for baby
What does the hospital provide for baby?
What to pack in the hospital bag for your partner?
Do you have a lengthy list in the notes section of your phone? No list at all?
We’ve created the ultimate hospital bag checklist for mom, baby, birthing folks, and partners and we’re going to share it with you!
First off, what you pack in your hospital bag depends on where you plan to give birth.
What you pack for a hospital birth versus a birth center birth may be a bit different.
Okay…let’s get down to the nitty gritty and pack your hospital bag!
What to pack in hospital bag for mom / birthing person
It is always best to verify with the hospital or birth center you are delivering at to see exactly what they provide and what they don’t. If you are giving birth at a birth center, you may find that the items provided are a bit different than what’s provided in a hospital.
If you are giving birth at a freestanding birth center, they may provide a different set of tools and comfort items than a hospital will. All places of birth are different, so ask what’s provided when you do your tour!
Also, if you’re birthing in a freestanding birth center, you probably won’t need to pack as many toiletries since you typically don’t stay there as long as you do during a hospital birth.
Typically, the hospital will provide:
A birth ball for labor
Hospitals might not have:
Peanut balls/birth balls
Sitz bath herbs
Snacks that you actually feel like eating (or none at all)
Speakers for music
Large, comfortable towels
Often birth centers provide:
Birth balls / peanut balls
Sometimes slings to dangle from in labor
Herbs and tinctures
Healthy and nourishing snacks
A breast pump for encouraging stalled labor or expressing milk, but not one you can rent or take home
Birth centers will likely not have:
A pharmacy for your daily medications
Rentable breast pumps (though some might)
You’ll want to make sure you pack a small bag for things like:
Your Motherboard birth plan! Download and print your Boards (aka visual birth plans) and tack them up next to the white board in your labor and delivery room. This way your nurse and provider know everything that’s important to you.
Your birth plan if you have one
Any medications you take (or a list of them)
Your phone and phone charger
Some snacks - Something delicious, healthy, and easy to digest (dried fruit, nuts, brown rice, protein bars, granola etc.)
A small toiletry bag
This bag should consist of hospital bag essentials for mom / birthing person, like:
Chap stick/lip balm
Travel-sized shampoo & conditioner
Hair ties/hair clips
Dry shampoo (yes, the hospital might have shampoo, but that stuff usually leaves your hair in a tangled mess.)
*Pro tip: If you can get most of those products in travel size, it’ll save a ton of room! They have everything for less than $3 each in the travel section of most grocery stores. Whatever you don’t use can be saved for your next vacation.
A soft robe and a couple of comfy dresses with buttons will be your best friends. Clothes like this are cozy and make it easy for you to use the bathroom, have skin-to-skin time with your baby, and to breastfeed/chestfeed if you wish to. Some cozy socks and slippers may be nice to have too!
Whether you have a vaginal birth or a cesarean section, you will still have some vaginal bleeding. You likely won’t need any regular underwear. The hospital will have mesh underwear that you can use with pads, or you can bring adult diapers. Don’t be fooled or shocked, adult diapers provide AMAZING coverage for those first few days of heavier bleeding.
A bra isn’t really necessary for the first few days. If you do choose to wear a bra, find one that is cozy with no underwire or padding. Sports bras are often too tight and uncomfortable and could lead to clogged ducts as your milk comes in. Front-zip bras and nursing bras are quite nice to wear during labor if you’re feeling modest but want to have quick-access for skin-to-skin after baby is born.
*Pro tip: Enjoy being braless before your boobs start leaking! Once that starts happening, you might want to wear a bra with nursing pads unless you want to be covered in milk 24/7.
The only real outfit you need is the one you will go home in. Don’t even attempt to wear anything too tight. Chances are, you’re still going to look 6 months pregnant, you’re going to have a huge pad between your legs and things are just uncomfortable and sore while they’re trying to find their way back to normal. Bring a comfy pair of yoga/sweat pants, a loose-fitting shirt and some flip flops for the ride home.
Some mamas and birthing folks prefer their own blanket and pillows instead of those flat hospital pillows. You can always bring them in the car with you and see if you’re comfortable without them. If not, you can always send someone down to the car to get them.
This way, you don’t have to bring your personal stuff into a hospital and you don’t have to lug those things from the labor/delivery room to the postpartum room and then out to the car when it’s time to leave.
*Pro tip: Put your pillow in a colored case so you don’t get it mixed up with the hospital pillows.
Hospital towels are notoriously small and scratchy (umm, hello, do they not know we are significantly larger than usual?!). You might want to pack a large, fluffy beach towel for getting in and out of the shower or tub, but beware that it might get some fluids/blood on it.
It’s totally up to you if you want to bring your breast / chest pump, but it’s not necessary. It is unlikely that your milk will come in while you’re in the hospital, and if it does, you’ll want your baby at your breast, not a pump.
There are some circumstances where the baby may have to be away from you and you will have to pump. In cases like these, the hospital can provide a pump for you.
If you are set on bringing your pump, you may want to do the same as the pillows and just leave it in the car and wait to see if you need it.
What to pack in hospital bag for baby
Just like we talked about with supplies for mom/birthing folks, it is always best to verify with the hospital/birthing center to see what they provide and what you’ll need to bring.
Typically, the hospital will provide:
Car seat - The most important thing you need to remember! Otherwise the hospital won’t let you take your baby home!
Baby’s pediatrician information - Sometimes, the pediatrician on call at the hospital will see baby before you leave. Other times, the hospital may ask for this information and ensure that you have an appointment set up before you leave.
Some people choose to have a photographer come take some newborn photos. In that case, you will need a cute baby outfit and a cute swaddle/hat for photos.
Pack some onesies of various sizes because you never really know how big baby will be until they’re here.
A couple of your own blankets/swaddles
Photo props like a letter board to put baby’s name, date of birth and measurements
A sheet for baby’s footprints (hospitals sometimes do this for you)
Baby book if you’re making one
*Pro tip: stock up on those diapers and wipes. Get as much as you can from the hospital. After all, you’re paying to be there!
What to pack in hospital bag for your partner?
SNACKS! Labor can be long and your partner may not be able to leave. Stocking up on snacks, like protein bars, is not a bad idea.
Toiletries. Trust us… your sense of smell is heightened in labor and you do NOT want to be smelling their BO and coffee breath.
Your partner will need a couple of different outfits. You are likely both going to be sleep deprived and resting whenever possible, so cozy outfits are the way to go. It can also get pretty chilly in the hospital, so having some extra layers is not a a bad idea.
Swim trunks! You might want your partner’s support if you’re laboring in the shower or tub, and while it’s perfectly fine for you to be as naked as you’d like, partners typically keep their clothes on.
A laptop or iPad with a charger
A camera (if you’re not having a photographer) with a charger, backup battery, and light if applicable
Pillow and blanket (or they can use the one at the hospital)
Some cash for the vending machine or gift shop
Pack your hospital bag as light as possible. Try to remember it’s not going to be more than a few days, if that. If for some reason you run into some complications and have to stay a little longer than expected, someone can always bring you an extra robe and the hospital has everything else you may need.
Once you get home, the last thing you’re going to want to do is unpack a ton of junk that you didn’t need. You’re just going to want to snuggle that sweet new baby!
Follow this hospital bag checklist for mom / birthing person, partner, and baby, and you’ll feel more than prepared for your labor, birth and postpartum.
*Pro Tip: Make a note by the door of last minute items that didn’t make it into your bag, like chargers or refrigerated snacks.
And the last *Pro Tip: Put your bag in your car at least a few weeks before your due date! You will not want to watch your partner trying to install a car seat while you’re having contractions.
Most importantly, you got this! Remember that you were made for this and, before you know it, you will have your sweet baby in your arms!
🤍 The [M]otherboard Team
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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts
As an expert and enthusiast, I have personal experiences or specific expertise, but I can provide information on the concepts discussed in the article you mentioned.
The article discusses what to pack in a hospital bag for different individuals involved in the birthing process, including the mother, baby, and partner. It provides recommendations based on the assumption that the readers will be giving birth in either a hospital or a birth center. Here's a breakdown of the concepts discussed in the article:
What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Mom/Birthing Person:
- The article suggests verifying with the hospital or birth center to see what they provide. The items provided may vary depending on the birthing facility.
- For hospital births, the article mentions items that hospitals typically provide, such as pads, mesh underwear, nipple cream, breast pump, medications, socks, a birth ball for labor, numbing spray, peri bottle, etc.
- Birth centers may provide different items, including birth balls, slings, aromatherapy, herbs and tinctures, sitz baths, healthy snacks, massage tools, rebozos, hot/cold packs, large towels, etc.
- The article recommends packing a small bag with essentials like your birth plan, ID, insurance card, medications, phone and charger, glasses/contacts, snacks, toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, etc.), comfortable clothes (robe, dresses with buttons), underwear (mesh underwear provided by the hospital or adult diapers), bras (cozy with no underwire or padding), a going-home outfit (comfy pants, loose-fitting shirt, flip flops), extras like pillows, towels, and breast pumps (if necessary).
What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Baby:
- The article suggests checking with the hospital or birthing center to see what they provide and what you need to bring.
- Typically, hospitals provide diapers, wipes, pacifiers, bottles, diaper cream, blankets, hats, etc.
- It's important to bring a car seat for transporting the baby home and have the pediatrician's information on hand.
- Additional items to pack for the baby include clothes (onesies of various sizes), blankets/swaddles, hats, photo props, a sheet for footprints, a baby book (if desired).
What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Your Partner:
- The article recommends packing necessities for your partner, such as snacks, toiletries, glasses/contact lenses, and clothes (cozy outfits, extra layers, swim trunks).
- Optional extras for your partner may include a laptop/iPad with a charger, a camera, a pillow and blanket (or they can use the hospital's), and some cash for vending machines or the gift shop.
- The article suggests packing the hospital bag as light as possible, considering that the stay will likely be only a few days.
- It reminds readers that if any last-minute items are forgotten, someone can always bring them later.
- The article advises putting the bag in the car a few weeks before the due date.
- Finally, it encourages readers with a positive message, reminding them that they are capable and that they will soon have their baby in their arms.
Please note that the information provided is based on this article, and it's always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider or the specific birthing facility for their recommendations and requirements.