Preparing your hospital bag is a vital step in preparing for your baby’s arrival. But, if you are a first time mom you might be wondering, “what should I pack in my hospital bag and what do I pack for baby?” If that is the case for you… don’t worry! I have crafted the ultimate hospital bag checklist for baby, mom, AND dad so everything and everyone is ready to go when the time comes.
If you will be having a hospital birth, depending on the length of your labor and other factors, you can expect to be in the hospital for at least 2-3 days. So, packing the necessary essentials in your hospital bag for baby, mom, and dad will ensure you will feel more comfortable and at ease while at the hospital.
Next, we will cover everything you need to know including:
- When to pack the hospital bags
- What bags you should use
- Baby’s Hospital Bag Checklist
- Mom Hospital Bag Checklist
- Daddy’s Hospital Bag Checklist
- Miscellaneous Items you should also consider taking
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Each list will contain the “Must-Have” items and “Optional” items. That will give you the option to simplify your hospital bags as you wish.
However, before we proceed to the hospital bag checklists there are a few other things that go hand in hand with getting your bags ready that you should also look into. I have written really detailed and informative articles about each of those things, and they are:
- Knowing what to expect during a hospital birth and what you can do ease the process
- Learning all you can about breastfeeding (if you are opting for that)
- Having a Postpartum Care Kit (Natural and Non-Toxic) ready to use once you return from the hospital
- What to expect after birth and how to heal faster
So, once you are done packing your bags, make sure you check out those resources. They will be sanity-saving!
Alright mama, grab a pen and paper, bookmark, or Pin this article because there is a lot to cover.
Good news is, once you finish going through this list you will be good to go and you can scratch off one more thing off your “Things to Do Before the Baby Comes” checklist.
Alright, let’s get packing…
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby, Mom, and Dad
When Should I pack my Hospital Bag?
One of the most important things you can do to prepare for labor is having your hospital bag ready to go as soon as you can.
But, when is the “ideal” time to start packing?
Most moms wait until after the baby shower to start packing the hospital bags. Simply because after the baby shower you have all of the baby items you need to put in your baby bag.
In terms of pregnancy weeks, a good time to start packing your hospital bags is between 32-35 weeks along. It is always good to be prepared and not scramble at the last minute if things don’t go as planned.
What bags should I take to the hospital for labor and delivery?
The amount of bags you take to the hospital are totally up to you. There are moms who show up to Labor and Delivery like they are going on a two week camping trip and some others who will just take a handbag.
We however, are going to find a happy medium to ensure that we have the necessary essentials but also a few other items that will make our life easier.
Now, you can decide to take only 2 bags, the baby bag and another bag that you can share with dad.
But if sharing isn’t your idea of a good time, then packing 3 hospital bags in total will be just fine.
Here is what I suggest and what worked really well for both of our deliveries.
For the mom bag, I suggest you opt for a medium sized rolling bag/ luggage. Anything rolling will be a life saver!
This 2-Piece Luggage Set is a great and inexperience choice. You can use the bug luggage to pack your stuff and the smaller bag to pack the baby essentials. This set has great reviews, is an Amazon’s Choice product and comes in 30+ colors and patterns.
For the baby hospital bag, you can use the baby bag you already have. I’m pretty sure you either bought one or where gifted one at the baby shower. If not, here is a great and affordable option.
For the dad bag, all he needs is a handy backpack he can throw on his back to leave his hands free to carry the rest of the stuff. If he doesn’t have one this one is super handy option which he can then use for daddy duties.
So in summary, dad will be able to carry his backpack on his back, while rolling your hospital bag and placing the baby’s bag in top of yours… Are you with me? Easy peasy.
Now, on to the goodies.
♥ Hospital Bag for Baby
Putting together the baby’s hospital bag is one of the most exciting events in the third trimester. Not only is it one of the most important things to get do before the baby comes but it start to make it all feel a bit more… real!
It is easy to get carried away with excitement and want to pack your entire nursery in your hospital bag. Trust me, I did with my first child. But the truth is, your sweet little baby doesn’t need much of anything. That is because some of the necessary baby essentials will be provided at the hospital.
Next, is the list of the baby hospital bag must-haves and optional baby items.
Blankets x3. The hospital will provide you with a couple of baby blankets. However, for the purpose of pictures and better quality fabrics, most patents opt for their own. These Organic Muslin Swaddle Blankets are a great option. I used them with both kids, although I wish there was an organic option at the time.” My daughter who is 3 years old still uses hers to sleep.
Onesies x3. Some hospitals will provide you with baby onesies. That wasn’t the case for us. Make sure you take a few, and depending on what the baby weighted in the last ultrasound decide if you will need newborn size or 0-3 months. In addition, opt for onesies with mitten cuffs, booties, and that zip or snap at the bottom for easier access.
Burp Rags x4. You will be doing a lot of burping since baby will be feeding regularly. Having a few of these handy is a must.
Coming Home Outfit x1. Pick out one cute outfit that the baby will wear when leaving the hospital.
Baby Nail Clipper. Most babies are born with long nails. To protect them from scratching their face conciser taking one to the hospital. This cute little set brings all the essentials and is super easy to pack.
Optional Baby Items
Hats, Bows, and Headbands. Most hospitals will provide you with an initial hat. It is recommended newborns wear them for at least 24 hours after birth to converse and regulate body temperature. Keep in mind that newborn heads are really tiny, and despite the “Newborn” sign on the label, they still might now fit. In summary, taking hats or bows isn’t a necessary, but they sure look super cute in hospital pictures wearing them.
Pacifier x1. If you will be introducing a pacifier early on you can take your choice of pacifier. Most hospitals provide you with one, but I think they charge you/insurance for it.
Water wipes x1. The hospital provided you with wipes and diapers. But, if you rather use water wipes you can opt to bring a pack or two.
♥ Hospital Bag for Mom
Alright, now that the baby hospital bag is good to go. Let’s get mama packed.
During a hospital birth, you will go through different phases: labor, delivery, and the first 48 hours after birth. For that reason, we will be packing a hospital bag for mom that includes all of the things we need to assist us in all phases.
I will break them down into sections to keep things more organized, but make sure to pack it all together for easier access.
All of the following suggestions are bases on personal experience, however feel free to modify the following checklist as you see fit.
Socks. Hospitals are really cold. As a nurse who has worked in the operating room for years, I can attest to that fact, and is no different in the Labor and Delivery Department. Taking a pair or two of comfortable, non-slip socks is a good idea. You can use a pair while you are in labor, and another pair for the rest of your hospital stay.
Flip Flops. You will be in and out of bed a few times, so having a pair of sandals next to you bed makes the job a lot easier.
Comfortable Underwear. Another “must” in the hospital bag for mom is comfortable underwear (aka. granny panties). After birth, most hospitals will provide you with a mesh underwear that will aid in keeping your maxi pad in place. However, the material isn’t the most comfortable. Bringing you own pair of underwear is a great idea. Make sure they are soft and high rise to support your belly. Especially, if you will be having a C-Section.
Comfy Pajamas. Immediately after birth, you will be doing a lot of recovery in bed. So packing comfortable pajamas is a no-brainier. Here is a great choice.
Robe x1. Robes are a great choice of garment to take to the hospital, especially if you will be breastfeeding. Chances are you will have visitors come in and out of your room and a pretty robe gives you instant privacy… and if you want to match your little nugget while at the hospital, here are really cute options.
Comfortable pants x2. If you rather not hang out on you pj’s all day, them consider including a pair or two of comfortable pants. Remember, that ever hours/days after having the baby you belly will still be swollen and bloated. So, whatever pants you opt for, make sure they aren’t tight and that they give you room to breathe. There are stylish, inexpensive, and comfortable…. and have over 5,500+ reviews on Amazon.
Comfortable Shirts x2. Again, if you rather not be your pajamas and robe all day, just add two comfortable shirts to you hospital bag. If you will be breastfeeding, consider opting for shirts that have easy access to your breast, like this one.
Going Home Outfit x1. If you are already packing shirts and pants, then that can be your going home outfit. But, if you want something some put together to leave the hospital with, then assign a specific outfit to leave the hospital with.
Makeup. Packing makeup essentials in your hospital bag is a great option. You might want to take a few pictures after the baby is born and you might want to look like you didn’t just… well, gave birth to a human. Don’t complicate yourself and keep it simple with the basics (concealer, mascara, and blush… BOOM!)
Hair Ties. The last thing you want to deal with, specially during labor is hair in your face. Make sure to pack what ever you use to keep your hair up and our of the way (hair ties, hair clips, headbands, etc.).
Lip Balm. Okay yes, chap-stick has its own section in this list. I don’t know about you, but my lips suffer in cold environment , including the hospital. Plus, you will be loosing a bit of fluid throughout this process which makes you lips even more prone to drying and cracking. So, keep your chap-stick handy at ALL times. I love and use the EOS Organic Lip Balm.
Toothbrush. Don’t forget to pack your toothbrush. Although, some hospitals do provide an “essentials goodie bag” which includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, and soap, some don’t. Make sure you check with you birthing hospital/birthing center to see what they provide you with.
Shampoo and Body Wash. As previously mentioned, some hospitals will provide you with some toiletries you can use. However, to be on the safe side, just buy travel size toiletries of things you use at home so that you don’t have to worry about it. After I gave birth both times, I desperately wanted to shower afterwards. I felt so icky and uncomfortable. So having my own toiletries made it feel a bit like home.
Deodorant. This is another essential before and after birth. If you will be breastfeeding you might opt for a fragrance-free and aluminum-free deodorant.
If you will be nursing you need to gear up with the breastfeeding essentials. You should already have all of these items at your possession. But if you don’t, you cab opt for some of my favorite nursing items below.
Nursing Bra x2. Nursing bras are a mom hospital bag must! Not only will it provide you with much needed support, but they all come with built in easy access to your breasts. Last thing you want to be doing while a fussy baby is waiting to eat, is scrambling to pull a boob out… just sayin! Here is a convenient and comfortable option.
Nursing Tank x2. Another option are nursing tanks. Most of them already come with built in breast support which is great as they serve dual purpose (bra and shirt). If you have bigger breast however, I would suggest to opt for a running bra instead and a breastfeeding friendly shirt or pj’s. Here are some popular breastfeeding tanks.
Nipple Balm. Nipple balm will save your breasts and nipples from torture. As the baby starts to tug on your nipples, specially in the first few days/weeks of the “learning phase” your nipples might feel irritated and sore. To prevent them from cracking, apply and massage a thin coat or organic nipple balm to your nipples after each breastfeeding sections.
Breast pads. Get ready for leaky boobs mama. Although some breastfeeding moms tend to leak milk more than others, chances are there will breast milk leaking of some degree. You can opt for disposable breast pads, or get these organic washable ones .
Postpartum Recovery Items
As previously mentioned having a Postpartum Recovery Care Kit is a MUST! Once you put that together, you can take some of those postpartum recovery items to include in your mom hospital bag.
I am so passionate about these postpartum items because I know first hand how hard it is to get by without them and how life-changing it is to use them, IF you will be having a vaginal birth.
Quick story: With my son (first child) I failed to have a postpartum kit ready (at home or in the hospital). I ended up pushing my son for 45 minutes, which left me with a bad case of postpartum hemorrhoids, internal/external tears, and stitches. Sitting down was impossible and it was laying down. The hospital did provide a few products that helped (at a much higher cost than if I would have bought them myself), so when my second child came around I know better. So, don’t wait until you can sit down… make you DIY, non-toxic postpartum care kit ASAP!
With that said, you don’t need to take your entire care kit to the hospital. The hospital will provide you with things like a peri-bottle to rinse your perineal area, cleansing perineal stray, and other things the doctor will prescribe you with depending on you needs.
Again, you can opt to bring your own for two main reasons:
- Less expensive
- Better, natural, and non-toxic ingredients
Here are 3 postpartum items you should consider packing in your hospital bag.
Pads. Yes, the hospital will provide you with pads, giant ones that are more uncomfortable than convenient. You can opt to take your own such a regular overnight maxi pads or opt for organic cotton maxi’s if you want a healthier option. Remember that your perineal area will be exposed and healing, so using as many non-toxic and clean ingredient as possible is always a good practice.
Spray. Keeping your lower area clean is a postpartum must. A great way to do that is to use a cleansing spray. I recommend the Earth Mama Organic Spray.
Witch Hazel. Witch hazel pads we my lifesaver… with both pregnancies. They help heal, sooth, and cool your perineal area and that makes the work of a difference. Again, try to opt for Organic Witch Hazel pads.
Birth Plan. If you will be putting together a birth plan, or already have one om place
Insurance Card/Info. If your labor and hospital stay will be covered by your insurance, don’t forget to take the necessary documents.
ID. Pack your ID/drivers licence. You will need it to register when you arrive at Labor and Delivery’s triage.
Glasses/contacts. If you wear glasses and contacts don’t forget to pack these.
Phone. Your phone is one of the last minute items you will be putting in your bag. In this handy Hospital Bag Checklist included in this article, I singled out the items you will be packing at the last-minute.
Charger. Remember to pack the charger! This item is so easy to forget. I will also include it in the “last minute items to pack section”, but if you have an extra charger I recommend you do that instead.
Bluetooth Speaker. Some moms opt to have music during labor as a relaxation technique. Nowadays you can select any music you want from you smartphone and then connect it to a portable Bluetooth device to achieve your desired volume.
Bible and/or Prayer Verses. A great addition to your hospital bag is taking a pocket Bible and or prayer verses. The labor process could feel overwhelming and daunting, but having spiritual tools that feed your strength and confidence can make all the difference.
♥ Hospital Bag for Dad
The items in the Dad Hospital Bag are those that you will both need during your hospital stay. His bag will serve as extra storage for the miscellaneous items.
ID. Dad MUST have his ID on had when he arrives to the hospital. He will need it for access to hospital and important paperwork.
Wallet/Cash. Obviously dad needs to have his wallet. But, what most dads don’t realize to do is to carry cash. Most hospitals require cash for miscellaneous things like paying for valet parking, visitor parking, and vending machines. Although most hospital do have an ATM machine, having cash at hand is one less thing to worry about, plus you avoid the withdrawal fee.
Phone/Charger. You can opt to share chargers so is one less item to remember to pack in your hospital bag.
Camera/Charger. If you will be taking a picture camera, now is the time to charge it and pack it.
Change of Clothes. If your partner will be staying with you throughout your hospital stay, he will likely need a change of clothes. Most birthing hospitals will provide you with you own recovery room and adjacent bathroom with a shower.
Comfortable Pair of Shoes. Dad might want to take a rest from his sneakers and change to something more comfortable, for instance flip flops or sandals.
Toothbrush. If dad will be staying overnight he will need his toothbrush.
Toiletries. Packing toiletries is not a necessity for dad since he can share yours. Just run it by him, and if he refuses to use your deodorant and body wash, then he can pack his own.
Snacks. Hospital food isn’t for everyone and although I personally have no issues with it, I know that having a few snacks from home is a great idea. After birth, and especially if you will be breastfeeding eating small frequent meals as well as staying hydrated is a good practice.
Water. Yes, there is water at the hospital, but is always a good idea to pack a water bottle or two so that dad can also stay hydrated despite of where he goes.
Miscellaneous Hospital Items for Birth
Besides the baby bag, mommy bag, and daddy bag… The following items are also extremely beneficial at assisting you in different phases of your hospital stay.
Insulated Tumbler. The hospital will provide you with a water and ice filled pitcher and a small plastic cup to drink from. It is a much better idea to have a insulated water bottle with you at all times that not only keeps the water cold but that you don’t have to refill every 2 seconds. Your insulated water cup (preferably with a straw) will come in really handy, especially after labor and if you are planing to breastfeed.
Nursing Pillow. If you are planning on breastfeeding you might also want to consider taking your nursing pillow. If you don’t yet have one, I recommend the Boppy Nursing Pillow. I used with with both kids.
Birthing Ball. If you took a birth class, especially a natural hospital birthing class, then you are no stranger to a birthing ball. Birthing balls help provide comfort before and during labor. They help by relieving back pain and decrease pelvic pressure. Plus, another great thing about the birthing ball is that you can use it after birth to sit more comfortable and help you get back in shape.
★ Related Articles:
- 15 Important Things to Do Before Baby Comes Checklist
- How to Prepare for Labor (Mentally, Physically, Resources)
- What to Expect During a Hospital Vaginal Birth (FAQs Answered)
- 11 Things to Expect After Birth and Practical Tips to Heal Faster
- The Ultimate Postpartum Care Kit (All-Natural and Non-toxic)
- A Complete Postpartum Care Plan (Vaginal Birth)
★ Favorite Resources:
- Online Breastfeeding Classes by Milkology
- Natural Hospital Birthing Classes by KOPA Birth
- The Online Prenatal Class for Couples
Getting ready for baby is really exciting, but it can also feel really overwhelming.
I hope that using this Hospital Bag Checklist makes it feel less daunting to pack for baby, you, and dad.
Although this list is pretty thorough, it is totally customizable depending on your needs, so don’t be afraid to tweak it.
Also, remember, don’t wait until the last minute to have your hospital bags packed and ready. Week 32-35 are good indicator. Baby will come when you least expect it. So, be ready.
I wish you a speedy labor and happy and healthy baby. 🙂
What items in this list did you nit think of packing in your hospital bag?
Don’t forget to pin for later….