Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag skip to main content
Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby
June 14, 2023

Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby

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Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby.
Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby

Your due date is approaching, and it’s time to pack your hospital bag.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

You should have your hospital bag ready to go by 36 weeks or 37 weeks pregnant, just in case you go into labor before your due date.

It’s fine to throw some items in at the last minute, like your toothbrush, but you’ll want your bag mostly packed and easily accessible by this point in your pregnancy.

Some items are essential (you’ll need a car seat, for example); others will make you feel comfy and remind you of home. We asked Babylist parents what their must-have items were and also drew on our own childbirth experiences.

Here’s an extensive list of everything you may want or need with you in the hospital.

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

First pack your hospital bag for yourself.

  • Comfortable clothes. Comfy clothes are a must postpartum. Avoid anything too restrictive (other than a supportive bra) and keep in mind a few options in case of a C-section. If you plan on breastfeeding after delivery, pack a nursing bra or tank in your bag. Pair your tank top with a soft, loose pant like joggers or lightweight sleep pants. Another option is packing a nursing-friendly pajama set or nightgown. Postpartum leggings can also be comfy. If you plan on laboring in water at any point, pack a dark-colored sports bra or a bathing suit top. For footwear, slipper socks are great for keeping cozy (and for gripping slippy hospital floors). Bring slip-on shoes like Birkenstocks, Crocs or flip-flops for going home. Your feet might be swollen from IV fluids, so you’ll be thankful for shoes you can easily slip on.
  • A robe. A comfortable robe is one of the best postpartum clothing items out there. It’s useful if you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section.
  • Toiletries. Don’t forget these! You’ll want your hairbrush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, extra hair ties and face wipes (Babylist parents recommend these in case you’re not up to showering right away). Remember extra contacts and/or glasses, if you wear them.
  • Your birth plan. If you have a birth plan, print and bring a few copies: one for your chart, some for your labor nurse(s) and perhaps another to tape up in your hospital room. It’s a good idea to highlight some key points for quick reference.
  • An extra-long cell phone charging cord. Babylist parents could not recommend this enough. Hospital beds are notoriously far away from an electrical outlet, and you’ll want a fully charged phone for all the pictures you are about to take of your new baby and for video chatting with excited friends and family.
  • Snacks and drinks. Pack a reusable water bottle and, if you want something more than water, an electrolyte drink, like Gatorade or coconut water. You’ll also want some easy-to-eat snacks, like bars, pretzels, dried fruit etc. (More snack tips below.)
  • Pillows and a bath towel. As it turns out, hospital towels are the exact opposite of luxurious hotel towels—thin, scratchy and entirely too small. You may find yourself happy that you brought a towel from home for your first post-delivery shower. Babylist parents also recommend bringing your pillow from home.
  • Nipple cream. If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive.
  • Adult diapers and other postpartum care products. The hospital will hook you up with pads and mesh underwear (or you can bring your own), but many Babylist parents said adult diapers, like Depend, were more comfortable and felt more secure. Another option to consider is reusable postpartum absorbent underwear, like these from Thinx. A perineal spray is also a priceless addition to your postpartum arsenal. (Your bum will thank you.) Want all the goods in one place? Consider a postpartum recovery kit like FridaMom’s Labor and Delivery + Postpartum Recovery Kit or Bodily’s Care for Birth Box - Total Labor + Postpartum Prep Kit.
  • Portable Bluetooth speaker and Spotify playlist. Playing music during labor can be an asset for some. If you make a playlist, add a lot of songs to it—labor can last 24-plus straight hours, and you don’t want to listen to the same 10 songs over and over the entire time. Though you may find you just want silence!
  • Nice-to-haves: One Babylist parent said they brought a diffuser to the hospital and used it to make their room smell like a spa. That same parent also loved having a portable fan since you can’t open windows.

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Baby

After your hospital bag has everything for you, then move on to the essentials for baby.

  • A car seat. If you’re driving home, this is non-negotiable—they won’t let you take your baby home from the hospital without a car seat, and it should be already installed.
  • A going-home outfit. Pack two different outfits in different sizes because you don’t know how big or small your baby will be! Aim for one outfit in newborn size and one 0-3 months. Don’t forget hats and/or socks, if weather-appropriate.
  • Your pediatrician’s contact information. The doctors and nurses will ask you for this information several times, so it’s good to have it handy. Include the email or fax number for the pediatrician’s office so they can easily forward your baby’s medical records.
  • Bottles, if you’re using. If you plan to bottle-feed from the get go, pack at least two for the hospital if you’re set on using a certain brand. If you plan to formula feed, pack some of your preferred brand, as well, though the hospital will most likely have samples for you.
  • Do not bring diapers or wipes! The hospital has all the diapers and wipes you’ll need. In fact, one Babylist parent suggested bringing an extra bag for all the freebies you’ll bring home from hospital.

What Your Partner or Support Person Should Pack

If you have a partner or support person attending the birth and staying in the hospital or birthing center with you, remind them to pack some things as well. In addition to clothes and toiletries (partners want to brush their teeth too!), here are some things to bring.

  • Book/iPad/laptop/headphones & general entertainment. Download a few new podcasts to listen to in case there is some down time.
  • A lightweight sleeping bag and pillow. Hospital sheets and pillows can be scratchy and thin.

What Snacks to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Yes, this gets its own category. Pack lots of snacks! Try to pack something from each of these categories: salty (like pretzels or Goldfish crackers), sweet (such as hard candies, M&M’s or gummy candy), protein (think beef jerky or protein bars) and healthy/fresh (dried fruit or carrot sticks, for example). The laboring parent will appreciate these post-birth too. During Covid-19 surges, many hospitals aren’t allowing people to leave and come back, so the snacks you bring will be extra important! Also look into restaurants nearby that deliver. (Check with your hospital or birthing center for their specific guidelines.) And bring a reusable water bottle.

Once you pack your bag, you’ll be all set to head to the hospital when baby is ready to come.

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag Checklist

Download or print this checklist as a reminder of what you’ll want to bring in your hospital bag.

Download the Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist

Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

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