Hospital bag checklist: What you need to pack

packing hospital bag

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Waiting for the big day when baby decides to make their grand entrance into the world can feel like an eternity. Make sure to pack a hospital bag so you are prepared and ready. Check out this fully comprehensive hospital bag checklist that will cover all of your needs from head to toe.

If you are planning on delivering at a hospital or birthing center, packing a hospital bag is essential in making sure you have everything you need.

Even if you are opting for a home birth, a hospital bag of some sort can actually be really helpful just so you have everything you need in one place.

Plus, if for some reason you ended up needing to go the hospital, you already have a bag packed and ready.

When should I pack my hospital bag?

This is the golden question and truth be told, there isn’t a set date you need to have your bag packed, but it is nice to not leave things until the very last second.

Studies show that only about 5% of babies are actually born on their due date.

With that in mind, your unborn baby could practically arrive a couple of weeks early or a couple of weeks late, give or take.

packing hospital bag

You have some flexibility when it comes to getting that hospital bag all packed and ready, but it’s a good idea not to leave it later than 37 or 38 weeks.

If you have a high-risk pregnancy it might be even better to plan to have your bag ready to go even sooner, just in case.  

Find out what the hospital or birthing center may supply

It might be worth finding out what your hospital or birthing center might supply you with.

Of course, you may prefer to bring your own things anyway, but it might be useful to see what they offer.

Here are some typical things your hospital may provide (of course, check with them first)

For mom

  • Standard pillows blankets
  • Hospital gowns
  • Socks
  • Basic toiletries- such as shampoo, soap etc
  • Disposable mesh underwear
  • Maxi pads
  • Peri bottles
  • Birthing ball
  • Labor tools such as personal massages
  • Water cup
  • Nipple shields
  • Breast pump

For baby

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Pacifiers
  • Swaddle blanket
  • Hat

Those are just a few typical items that are pretty common for hospitals to supply mom and baby with if needed.

Decide on what you would like to use from the hospital and what you would prefer to bring your own of.

It is nice not to over pack and bring things that you don’t need.

Hospital bag checklist for mom

Depending on whether you deliver vaginally or have a C-Section will probably determine the length of your hospital stay.

It will be helpful to make sure you have everything you need for both labor and delivery and after delivery during your time at the hospital or birthing center.

Having some of your own belongings can help you feel more comfortable and help you feel at ease during labor and delivery.

Here some great hospital bag must haves (and nice to haves) that will be listed in different categories to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Paperwork

Make sure to contact your hospital or birth center and fill out any paperwork such as pre-registration papers.

You don’t want to leave filling out tedious paperwork until the very last second.

Below are some other items you should take with you to the hospital.

  • Pre-registration papers
  • ID
  • Insurance card
  • Medical records (if the hospital specifies)
  • Birth plan – This visual birth plan is very useful and easy to understand, ensuring your birth is exactly how you want it. (make multiple copies)

Clothing

Having comfortable clothing is a MUST. You do not need to look glamorous during labor and delivery.

The most important thing is that you are comfortable and even after you give birth to your baby, you are probably going to still look like you are 5-6 months pregnant.

Wearing baggy, comfy clothes will be heaven sent.

You can even find comfortable labor gowns that are designed especially for labor and delivery.

Making sure you have a couple of extra changes of clothes and something to go home in is a great thing to add into your bag.

Toiletries

Even though the hospital or birth center may have some of the basic essentials when it comes to body wash or shampoo, you may prefer to bring your own stuff.

Pack a small travel size toiletry bag to ensure you have all of your personal needs covered. Here is a list of things you might want to pack.

  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Hair care products (hairbrush, hair ties, dry shampoo etc.)
  • Lotion (including face moisturizer)
  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Chapstick

Extra personal items

You may like some of your own personal items such as your own personal blanket or pillow.

Even though the hospital will provide basic versions of these, if you are particular to your own that might be something you want to add to your hospital bag checklist.

Here are a few other personal extra items you might want to include.

  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Water bottle
  • Journal or notebook
  • A game or two to play with your support person
  • Prenatals (I like to use a food based prenatal that isn’t synthetic)

Breastfeeding

If you are planning to breastfeed, there are a few necessities that will make the beginning of your new journey so much better.

Be sure to pack some breastfeeding essentials in your hospital bag too.

Natural remedies or aids

I think natural remedies are a must have for your hospital bag checklist.

Natural aids can be the perfect go to in offering comfort, relief, and help the recovery process during labor, delivery and postpartum.

There are so many different natural products you can pack in your hospital bag, depending on your preference and individual needs.

Birth tools

Birth tools can make the laboring process easier to handle.

Check with your hospital or birth center to see if they provide any specific birth tools, so you don’t have to pack unnecessary items.

Postpartum care

Along with some of the things I have already mentioned that might be useful for postpartum care such as disposable mesh underwear, pads, or the natural remedies to help with soreness and discomfort, here are a few other items to consider.

Electronics

You might want to pack certain electronics with you. If you have a nice camera that might be a great item to bring along to have some capture these special moments.

A music playlist might be helpful to play during your stay at the hospital too.

Food

The hospital or birth center will have some food options for you, but depending on your preferences you may want to bring some preferred snacks and food items along with you.

Remember you JUST birthed a baby; you deserve all the food you want.

After a long labor, you will most likely be very hungry. You may not want to rely solely on what the hospital has available.

  • Trail mix
  • Nuts
  • Beef jerkey
  • Fresh or dried fruit
  • Granola bars
  • Protein bars
  • Coconut water

Hospital bag checklist for baby

Now that you know what to pack for yourself, don’t forget a few essential items that your baby will benefit from.

The hospital will most likely offer diaper, wipes, pacifiers, and even some blankets, but regardless you may just want to pack a few of your own items if that’s what you would prefer along with some clothing items and a car seat!

newborn baby

It can even be helpful to pack all of your baby’s necessities into your diaper bag so all of baby’s stuff is separate and in one place.

Hospital bag checklist for Dad or support person

Now don’t forget about your husband or support person. They will be accompanying you during your stay, offering support and love along the way.

It can be helpful to have a small checklist of items for them as well.

If you live close to the hospital your significant other could always make a trip back home if needed, but it is good to always be prepared.

  • Cell phone
  • Chargers
  • Laptop
  • Change of clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Snacks
  • Entertainment (something to read or watch)
  • Water bottle

The big takeaway

Well, that about wraps it up. Hopefully you can be well equipped once you arrive at the hospital and have everything that you need.

A hospital bag checklist ensure that you have all that you need for yourself and baby, making your experience memorable and stress free.

Have you packed your hospital bag yet? What things are must-haves on your hospital bag checklist?

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hospital bag checklist

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