Hospital Bag Must-Haves For Mom

You’re ready for baby and so is your hospital bag. Is your due date just around the corner? Make sure your hospital bag is packed and ready to go with this handy checklist.

When the big day finally arrives, it can be hard to remember all the items you need for safe and healthy delivery. Check out our handy checklist of hospital bag must-haves for moms to ensure that you have everything on hand for your baby’s arrival.

If you’re pregnant, you’ve probably already packed a few things to bring with you when you go into labour. But what essentials are absolutely necessary? Check out this checklist to find out before your baby arrives.

What to Pack in the Hospital Bag for Mom (Labor and Delivery)

  • Hospital paperwork, ID, and insurance card. …
  • Birth plan (if you have one). …
  • Bathrobe. …
  • Socks. …
  • Slippers and flip-flops. …
  • Lip balm. …
  • Body lotion or massage oil. …
  • Water spray and sponge.

Hospital Bag Must-Haves For Mom and Baby

Your hospital bag must haves for mom checklist will give you a head start on what to pack in your hospital bag.

Preparing for birth can be overwhelming—especially if you’ve got a lot of questions. Whether it’s your first or fifth baby, we’re here to help guide you through the process step by step.

You’ll need to check everything that you’ve kept from your first child and make sure you can still use it, buy anything else you are missing, but also think of any extra items that will make your life easier.  

Hospital bag checklist: Everything you need for your delivery

Is your due date just around the corner? Make sure your hospital bag is packed and ready with this handy checklist.

By Today’s ParentMay 16, 2022

Here are all the must-haves (and some nice-to-haves) that should be on your checklist for the hospital or birthing centre. This list is a good starting point, but every hospital and birth centre does things differently, so ask ahead of time what they will supply and what you need to bring from home.

What to pack in a hospital bag: For you

  • Slippers and socks
  • Robe and nightgowns or pyjamas that can unbutton for breastfeeding
  • Nursing bras
  • Old underwear
  • Contact list for sharing your big news
  • Loose, comfy clothes to wear home
  • Toiletries, including hair elastics
  • If you plan to use the shower or Jacuzzi: a loose bra or top for you, swimwear for your partner
  • Lip balm, moisturizer
  • Your birth plan and any paperwork you’ve been asked to complete by the hospital and/or for insurance
  • Nursing pads, nipple cream, maxi pads
  • Camera/video camera, phone and chargers
  • Flip-flops for the shower
  • Pillows
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Change for vending machines, or in case you can’t use your cellphone
  • Music, books or magazines, games, playing cards
  • Notebook and pen
  • Watch or smartphone with app to time contractions

What to pack in a hospital bag: For your baby

  • A going-home outfit
  • Approved infant car seat with the base properly installed in your vehicle
  • A few sleepers and onesies, socks and a hat
  • Cozy blanket and several receiving blankets
  • Package of newborn/size small diapers
  • Package of unscented baby wipes

Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack in Your Birth Bag

Bag

Woman packing birth bag filling out a hospital bag checklist

Your due date is getting closer. Your baby’s nursery is coming together. You’ve oohed and aahed over all the cute little baby things showing up. (Hello, baby showers and online shopping!) You’re ready to meet your little one and bring baby home!

The final step is to make sure you’re ready for your stay at the hospital where you will birth your baby. Pack a spare backpack or carry-on suitcase with your hospital essentials by Week 36. Keep it in an easy-to-access place at home.

Our guide to what you should pack in your hospital bag will get you ready for the big day. Whether you’re a spontaneous traveler or one who is prepared for every last possibility, there are a few “must haves” to put in your hospital bag for you, your baby, and your support person. This list will be the same whether you have a vaginal birth or a C-section.

Printable Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist - What to pack in your hospital birth bag

Printable Hospital Birth Bag Checklist

Clothes for You

The hospital has the essentials — a gown and disposable underwear — but you may want to change into your own clothes. And you’ll definitely want to bring something clean to wear home. Choose clothes that are comfortable and loose fitting. Your breasts will be swollen and your waistline will still be about the same as it was a month or two ago. We don’t recommend packing your prettiest undies — you’ll probably prefer briefs that can accommodate extra large, absorbent pads or even cold packs.

Essential:

  • Nursing bra (2) or nursing tank (2)
  • Underwear (2-3 pairs)
  • Socks (2-3 pairs)
  • Going home clothes (your favorite maternity yoga pants and shirt are just fine but others prefer something special!)

Optional:

  • Birthing gown
  • Pajamas
  • Robe
  • Slippers / Flip-flops
  • Lounge wear

Clothes for Baby

The hospital will provide a tiny t-shirt, hat, and swaddling blanket to dress your baby during your hospital stay. This will be the simplest “outfit” for every day you’re in the hospital. Newborns make lots of unexpected messes, as you’ll soon discover!

However, you’ll need to put your baby in some actual clothes for the drive home, or maybe even for pictures at the hospital. Most babies will fit in size NB clothing however you could also pack a 0-3 month outfit just to be on the safe side if your baby is larger.

Essential:

  • Long-sleeve snap-up or zip-up onesie with feet
  • Receiving blanket for the car seat.

Optional:

  • Size NB or 0-3 month size clothes for the baby’s stay in the hospital.
  • Size NB or 0-3 month size clothes for going home. Consider the baby’s comfort (for example, while wearing their special outfit in the car seat – avoid bows in the back).
  • Receiving blanket.
  • Socks.
  • Baby mittens so the baby doesn’t scratch itself.

Toiletries for You

Much like a hotel, the hospital provides the essential toiletries, like shampoo, soap, conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste. However, most of our patients tell us they prefer their own brands instead of what the hospital provides.

Essential:

  • Specialty skincare items or prescriptions
  • Contacts / Glasses

Optional:

Pack a toiletry bag with travel- or trial-size supplies you may wish to have on hand.

  • Lip balm
  • Nipple cream (if you plan on breastfeeding)
  • Deodorant
  • Brush and/or comb
  • Soap/shampoo/conditioner
  • Face wash or wipes
  • Lotions
  • Hair dryer and other hair products
  • Makeup and brushes / sponges

Linens / Bedding

The hospital will make sure you have clean sheets, towels and wash cloths. You’ll also have a bed with several pillows and blankets. If you have a hard time sleeping with a different pillow, it might be a good idea to bring your own.

Essential:

  • Nothing extra — the hospital’s got you covered (literally)!

Optional:

  • Larger bath towel (1-2)
  • Your favorite pillow
  • Your favorite blanket
  • Lightweight sleeping bag / pillow for your support person (hospital will also supply linens for fold out bed)

Food & Snacks

During active labor and delivery, you probably won’t feel like eating very much. But your support person might!

At Meriter, you can order off the menu between 6 AM and 7 PM. There’s also a mother’s area with healthy snacks like granola bars, cheese sticks, juice and cereal. The hospital has vending machines with other food items. Some people also order takeout / delivery from nearby restaurants.

Essential:

  • Special dietary needs for you or your support person

Optional:

  • Portable cooler with your favorite snacks
  • Reusable water bottle with electrolyte flavor pouches

Birthing Room Ambiance

One way that many women manage pain is by creating a calming environment. The birth center at Meriter is well-stocked with things like birthing balls, tubs, and even holiday lights so your room can be dimly lit. You may want to pack a few extra things from home, though, to help you stay as comfortable as possible.

Essential:

  • Any item you have a specific attachment to that will keep you calm. For example, a good-luck trinket given by someone close to you. Or the photo of a loved one who you wish could be with you.

Optional:

  • Essential oil & diffuser  (candles are not allowed)
  • Flameless LED candles
  • More strings of lights

Entertainment / Technology

While you’re waiting to go into active labor, waiting for baby to finish nursing, or simply in need of something to keep your mind busy — you’ll probably want some form of entertainment.

Meriter Hospital has TVs and DVD players in their birthing rooms, and every room has WiFi access. Now that so many people have streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, most download their favorite shows ahead of time or stream on demand.

Essential:

  • Phone charger with an extra long cord
  • Power cords for laptop, tablet, or any other tech you bring.

Optional:

  • Tablet or laptop
  • Camera
  • Passwords for your streaming services
  • DVDs
  • Portable bluetooth speakers
  • Book
  • Music playlist – downloaded, several hours long

Baby Care

Meriter Hospital has everything your baby will need in their first few days. Things like diapers, wipes, and even formula in bottles. In fact, they will send a lot of things home with you. You don’t need to bring diapers, wipes, or bottles. Even if you choose to cloth diaper, you will prefer the ease of the hospital’s disposable diapers those first few days.

Essential:

  • Car seat with newborn insert.
  • Assemble the car seat, install the base, practice putting it in and getting it out of your vehicle.

Paper Work

Essential:

  • Insurance information
  • ID
  • Pediatrician’s contact information, including phone, email and fax

Optional:

  • Birth plan if you have one (3 copies – one for your support person, one for your doula, one for your OBGYN)

Leave these things at home:

  • Breast pump & accessories: you’ll have access to one at the hospital if you need it
  • Nursing pillow: most moms who bring this don’t use it
  • Diapers/wipes: the hospital will give you plenty!
  • Sheets
  • Candles: Candles aren’t allowed in the birthing center. Instead, bring flameless LED candles or an essential oil diffuser.

What if I Forgot Something!

No worries! The hospital really does have everything you need for labor and immediately following labor. You can also send someone back to your home to get your hospital bag if you prefer to use your own things.

While you won’t be able to control or plan for every aspect of your labor and delivery, you can make it more enjoyable by bringing some of the comforts of home.

Printable Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist - What to pack in your hospital birth bag

Download this printable checklist when you’re ready to get your hospital bag packed!

Hospital Bag Must Haves For Mom

The ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist

There are so many different lists out there that tell you what you need to pack in your hospital bag for your labor and birth. As a doula, I have helped many clients prepare for their hospital stay, and I have created the ultimate hospital bag checklist that I promise will have everything you need!

NOTE: You’ll want to be sure that you have your bags packed and in your car no later than 37 weeks.

I say to leave it in your car at this time or sooner because you want to be prepared just in case your doctor keeps you after a prenatal visit or sends you to the hospital because of an emergency. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

PRINT CHECKLIST

Below I have different lists for not only the mom but for dad/partner and baby! Here is our hospital bag checklist—all the things you’ll need when you’re at the hospital during labor, birth, and immediately postpartum.

Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist

I actually recommend that moms have TWO bags. One bag is for labor, and another bag is for their recovery/postpartum room.

Labor Bag:

*Must-Haves:

Your birth plan (if you have one) and your insurance information.

Eyeglasses –

If you wear contacts, you should bring your glasses along with you. If you end up needing a c-section, some doctors/anesthesiologists ask you to take your contacts out before surgery.

What you’re going to wear during labor 

It will probably get a bit messy, so don’t bring anything too nice to wear in the hospital. If you aren’t sure of your options, here’s more information about what to wear at a hospital birth.

Massage oil or lotion –

If you would like to be massaged during your labor, I recommend bringing either of these so that your partner or doula can massage you. (If you hired a doula, she will probably bring this with her in her doula bag.)

Birth ball or peanut ball 

I think this is a must in our hospital bag checklist. These can really help you during labor. A peanut ball is particularly great for women preparing to have an epidural. I highly recommend it. Just remember to bring a pump so your birth partner can inflate it for you if you didn’t come with it already inflated. (Read more about the benefits of using a peanut ball HERE)

NOTE: Some hospitals have birth balls and peanut balls for you to use. Ask during your hospital tour if they are available at your hospital.

Lip balm 

Your lips can dry out quickly with all of the deep breathing you will do in labor. Having some chapstick or lip balm will help.

Snacks and drinks –

First, make sure that your doctor/hospital will allow this. Most of the time, they will only allow you to have ice chips when you are at the hospital in labor, but they may have sugar-free popsicles there for you.

Things to help you relax and pass the time –

If you are going to have an epidural:

Bring books, magazines, a card game, or your tablet or computer. They also have TVs in each L&D room so you can watch a show or a movie to help pass the time. I also recommend trying to take a nap. It’s great to catch up on as much rest as possible before the baby arrives.

If you want a natural birth:

Bring music, a focal point (for example, it could be your baby’s ultrasound picture), massage lotions, a heating pad, rice socks to heat up so that you can put on your lower back, essential oils, etc.

Headbands and/or ponytail holders –

If you have long hair, you may want it tied up since it can get in the way during labor. I recommend getting the ones that don’t leave a kink in your hair. That way, if you want to take pictures with your hair down after birth, you won’t have a crease in your hair!

Music –

Take your Bluetooth speaker, a CD player, and some CDs, or use your phone. Some hospitals provide their own CD players and iPod docks, so I would ask what they will have available in your room.

Camera, charged battery, charger, and a big memory card –

You never want to forget the day you first welcomed your baby into the world. Many parents take pictures with their phones, but if you have a nicer camera that you want to bring to capture this special time, bring it!

Cell phone and charger with a long cord

You don’t know where the outlet is going to be so have an extra long charging cord so you can keep your phone close if it needs to charge.

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:

Backless slip-on slippers –

Your feet can get cold during labor, so it’s great to have some slippers that you can easily slip on and off. The hospital typically has non-skid socks (super sexy! 😉 ) that you can use if you prefer those instead.

Pillows –

The hospital might not have enough pillows to make you comfortable. Usually, each room has about two. And honestly, hospital pillows are very thin and really uncomfortable. If you do bring your own pillows (I would), make sure that your pillowcase is not white. Otherwise, they could toss your pillowcase and pillow along with the rest of theirs, and your pillow will go missing. I would recommend adding it to your hospital bag checklist.

Baby Book –

After your baby’s born, the nurse will get your baby’s footprints, so if you bring your baby book, she can also get those sweet footprints and/or handprints in your baby book too!

Postpartum/Recovery Room Bag:

*Must-Haves:

Going-home outfit 

You’ll need loose, comfortable clothes to wear while you’re in the hospital and for the journey home. You will still look about six months pregnant after the birth of your baby since your uterus still needs time to heal and get back to its pre-pregnancy size. So I recommend still bringing some soft maternity clothes for your trip back home.

Nursing bras and/or nursing nightgowns –

If you had healthy labor and birth and your baby is doing well, you will probably only stay at the hospital for two or three days. I suggest bringing two or three nursing gowns or nursing bras to make breastfeeding easier and to stay comfortable during your stay. If you decide to wear your nursing bras, bring front-opening shirts so it’s easier for you to breastfeed.

Nursing pads –

Bring a couple of packs (disposable or washable). Whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak protection.

Nipple Cream –

You want to protect your nipples from chapping and cracking.

Your toiletries 

Having smaller bottles or buying travel versions helps save space in your recovery bathroom. Bring the usual toiletries you need: hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, razor, deodorant, face wash, makeup (if you’d like), makeup remover, lotion, hair ties, contact lens case, and solution, etc.

Postpartum underwear or disposable underwear.

Don’t bring your nice, cute undies with you. You need big, cotton, breathable underwear. Some people even get Depends Silhouettes, so they can easily toss them after using them. The hospital will have disposable mesh undies with a large pad, which some women find handy, and others find gross.

Bathrobe –

It’s nice to be able to bundle up and feel covered and warm when getting out of bed or having guests in your room.

Hair dryer

Snacks and drinks –

Some hospitals have good food, and others don’t. If your hospital doesn’t, and you don’t have someone to bring you food, be sure to bring some beverages and snacks to keep you nourished.

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:

Nursing pillow –

Depending on your preference, you can bring your Boppy pillowMy Breast Friend, or other breastfeeding pillows.

Breast pump –

If you plan to use one, I do recommend bringing yours. Most hospitals have lactation consultants that visit each room to help you with breastfeeding and show you how to use your pump correctly.

Nipple shields –

You don’t need to bring these with you. However, if you have some latching issues or if your nipples start to hurt or have inverted or flat nipples, the lactation consultant may recommend a nipple shield. You may be able to purchase them at the hospital as well.

Handouts –

If you received any booklets or handouts about how to get breastfeeding started, you can bring them with you as a reminder. The lactation consultants aren’t always there to see you so these can help.

Bath towel –

The hospital does have towels, but they are small and pretty thin. If you prefer to have your own thicker towels, you can bring your own.

Heavy flow pads –

The hospital also has large pads for you to use after birth (since you will be bleeding for several days, sometimes weeks, after giving birth). If you are picky about what type you want to wear, bring the brand you prefer with you.

Husband/Partner’s Bag:

*Must-Haves:

Extra changes of clothes –

I have had some Dad’s/partner’s change their clothes even when their partner is still in labor. For example, they may think the room is too cold, so they put on a jacket or a long-sleeved shirt, or they sweat too much because they’re nervous or working hard too, so they need new shirts. So having some extra pairs of clean clothes is good to have on hand.

Comfortable shoes –

They may be walking up and down the halls with you or running to get you ice chips or going to find and talk to family. So having comfy shoes are important.

Pillow –

For the same reason as you, they need something comfortable to sleep on. The pull-out couches aren’t the most comfortable, so it’s at least nice for them to have a good pillow.

Cell phone and charger –

Your partner should have been keeping track of your contractions on their phone with a contraction timer app, so be sure they have that downloaded as well. There are plenty of free ones.

Group text or list of people to call –

Have the conversation before you go into labor about all the people your partner needs to notify once you are in labor. Some people do a group text, and others just keep a list of names to get in touch with.

Snacks and drinks –

You don’t want a dehydrated, hungry birth partner looking after you. If they bring some snacks and drinks with them, they can stay with you rather than leaving the room to search for food! If they leave the room to find food and eat, they may not come back quickly to help you. This is why I tell my doula clients to bring a cooler with them to carry the drinks and snacks they want.

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:

Motorized or hand-held fan –

You may get overheated in labor, so it’s great if your partner has a fan to help you cool down. It may even have a mister, which can be nice.

Money/spare change –

If you didn’t have time to bring snacks with you, you will want to have some spare change for the vending machines. You both will probably be really hungry after labor, and the hospital cafeteria might not be open once the baby is born. If no one can bring you food (which I would see if someone can pick something up for you), then having some change is helpful to get some snacks from the vending machine.

Pen and paper –

If documenting things in a note on your phone is not your preference, bring something to take notes on. This will really help if your nurse, doctor, or lactation consultant gives you any recommendations or advice. Also, you just gave birth and are recovering, so put him in charge of documenting important things.

Gifts for other children –

Make sure to have these ready when big brother or big sister comes into the room. A gift “from the baby” is always a good thing.

Push present –

This way, they have it with them to give to you after the birth of your baby 😉

Baby’s Hospital Bag Checklist:

*Must-Haves:

Approved car seat –

Hospitals won’t let you leave without one, and the base needs to be installed properly in your car.

going home outfit –

Think about what the weather might be like when your baby is born. Their outfit needs to be seasonally appropriate. Babies are sensitive to cold weather, so if it’s cold outside, bring a hat, snowsuit, or jacket to keep your baby warm. Don’t forget socks or booties. (Remove the snowsuit or jacket before placing your baby in a car seat.)

Warm blankets –

The hospital will provide you a baby blanket or two to swaddle your baby with, but if you prefer a particular type of blanket, bring your own.

Announcement items –

If you have a name badge or personalized blankets with your baby’s name on them, don’t forget to bring them so you can document and share with the world (or just your family) that your little one has arrived.

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:

Onesies –

The hospital will give you some Gerber onesies while you are in the hospital. So all you really need is a going-home outfit for your baby. But if you prefer that your baby wear something else, bring two or three options.

Pacifiers –

If you decide to give your baby a pacifier, bring your own. Otherwise, they will charge you for theirs at the hospital, which is usually a little higher in price.

Burp cloths 

In case you need to clean up any milk, your baby spits up. But you can use the baby blankets that they give you.

I will also say, make sure there is extra room available in your bags. Then you can bring home everything that you get at the hospital. They are going to give you diapers, wipes, and more. Take as much as you can! They are charging you for it anyway. I hope this hospital bag checklist helps!

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by Nina SpearsTHE BABY CHICK®: PREGNANCY, BIRTH & POSTPARTUM EXPERT

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What Not To Pack In Hospital Bag

Underwear. 2. Diapering products. 3. Pre-pregnancy clothes. 4. Full beauty bag. 5, Feminine pads and feminine hygiene products 6, Your bed pillow 7 Entertainment, if possible to leave it at home or give it to a friend to hold on to for you 8 Other random items that may not be so important, such as towels 9 No extra room in your hospital bag for things that aren’t essential

After finding out that you’re pregnant, you may be packing your hospital bag immediately. But there are a few items that you should leave at home – and we’ve compiled them below: Underwear . Packing underwear is unnecessary, as hospitals supply them free of charge. … Diapering Products. If you plan to breastfeed, those will be provided by the hospital. If you’re giving birth via c-section or have had a major abdominal procedure (such as a hysterectomy) these products may not feel right for you during that time. … Pre-Pregnancy Clothes. Unless they fit properly now, they won’t fit after childbirth … Full Beauty Bag. Your hospital stay only lasts 24 hours, so there’s really no need to bring all your beauty supplies along with you – unless they’ve been prescribed by your doctor … Feminine Pads – Your OB/GYN will give these out to you if you need them … Bed Pillow- You’ll receive a pillow from the hospital during your stay and won’t need this one at home

In addition to the items you’ll need for your hospital stay, here are some things you don’t need to pack. Extra underwear, diapers, delivery gowns, pre-pregnancy clothes and beauty products are not necessary because they can be washed while you’re in the hospital. Your bed pillow isn’t necessary because you can use your own pillow or one that’s provided by the hospital. (Note: Women should not pack any feminine hygiene products; these are provided by the hospital as well.) Entertainment like books and magazines don’t really help pass the time while giving birth so it’s unnecessary to pack them. Also remember that there won’t be extra room in your luggage due to all of your other packed items so leave space for other items like baby clothes if needed.

Maternity Hospital Bag Pre-Packed

You’ve probably asked yourself: When should I pack my hospital bag? The good news is that you most likely don’t need to worry about packing much until you reach your third trimester. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises expecting moms to put together their hospital bag around week 32 or 33 of their pregnancy, just in case they go into labor earlier than expected. There are other things to consider as well, like if your delivery will be via c-section or if there are any serious complications that may limit what kind of items you can take with you in your maternity hospital bag.

Getting ready for baby? Our Maternity Hospital Bag is a ready to go must-have for the new parents. Every parent knows that there are a lot of things to think about when welcoming a newborn into their lives, from what to pack in your hospital bag and who to invite to the birth to how you’ll greet your new baby at home.

Hospital bag packing can be a stressful time, especially if it’s your first time. Having all of your essentials prepared and packed away in advance means you have less to worry about when the time comes for your baby to arrive.

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