Hospital Bag Check List for Mama & Baby
Here are some ideas of what you can pack for labor & after + some optional items you can pack if you choose but most hospitals should have if you don’t have room or want to utilize theirs.
Ideally, you want to start thinking about your hospital bag in the middle of the 3rd trimester. I started to think about mine early in the 3rd and had mine ready to go by week 36 with the exception of a few additional touches I added this week (week 38). A good rule of thumb is to be ready to go by week 36, just in case you go into labor before your due date. It’s always better to be prepared!
I will note one essential item you can have on your checklist that won’t actually fit in your hospital bag is your car seat. You’ll need this installed and ready to go leaving the hospital so it is helpful to have it installed, inspected, and ready around week 36 or sooner just to be on the safe side. The last thing you want to do is scramble to install it when you go into labor, especially if you go into labor sooner than expected.
- Important documents. You’ll want to have a copy of your insurance card, a form of ID (i.e. license), a few copies of your birth plan, and your pediatrician information (including fax number). For one, you can’t put your license in the bag if you are still running around or driving but what you can do is make a checklist next to the bag of things to add at the last minute. Personally, I added a little sticky note next to my packed hospital bag with just that! I want to remember to grab a few things before I head to the hospital so this list can be handy. Another tip is to laminate the pediatric information + birth plans. This ensures they won’t get ruined during transpiration or when presented upon arrival.
- A comfortable robe & comfy clothes. Remember you will still be using your maternity clothes post-delivery, pack things that are comfortable. Personally, I packed a robe, tank top, t-shirt, maternity leggings, and a pair of sweats. It’s hard to know what the temperature will be like in the room so I wanted to pack “layers”.
- Nursing bras, Underwear, Pads. I personally packed 2 nursing bras and 2-3 pairs of postpartum underwear. The hospital will not have bras but they will have underwear, pads, and adult diapers… so unless you want your own they have them available. I also tossed in 2 Frida ice packs in case I wanted to use my own there. It’s all about personal preference.
- Socks or Slippers. The hospital will have socks, but sometimes it is nice to have your own! I packed some comfy socks for when I am in bed, but plan to use the hospital socks when walking to the bathroom or getting out of bed for sanitation purposes.
- Going home outfit. You may go home in some of the “comfy clothes” you pack above but make sure you have something warm if it’s mid-winter.
- Labor Clothes. All hospitals have gowns but some women like to bring their own. Be sure to pack your hospital gown if you are choosing to bring your own & water-resistant crop top or bra if you are planning to use it during a water birth.
- Snacks & Hydration support. The hospital will provide snacks post-labor as well as drinks but again, you may want your own. I personally packed Go Marco bars, Motherbees bars, 1 Purely Elizabeth oatmeal collagen cup, Simple mills crackers (always help me with nausea), 4-5 LMNT packets for pre/post-labor to stay hydrated, and a re-usable water bottle where I can track my hydration a little better than drinking small cups.
- Toiletries. Again, the hospital will have some toiletries so this also comes down to personal preference. I made sure to pack my native deodorant, hair ties, dry shampoo, travel toothbrush, fluoride-free mini toothpaste, and face products. I didn’t choose to bring my entire skincare setup (as I only plan to be there a short time) but I did pack my Cocokind oatmeal face scrub, rosewater toner, and glow essence mist for hydration. (Anyone interested in Cocokind you can save 10% off with code NUTRITIONBYSAM)
- Things to do. You can most certainly bring your laptop, books, magazines, etc but realistically you may not even have time to do anything. Some people find comfort in knowing they have some things to pass the time but I personally did not choose to pack at of the above.
- Essentials. Make sure you have a cell phone charger or pack a camera if you are planning to use it for any pictures at the hospital. Personally, I am just using my phone for baby photos 🙂
- Labor/ Postpartum Essentials. This could be anything from nipple creams for breastfeeding, bottles or formula if you are choosing to bottle feed, portable speaker if you want to listen to music during labor, essential oils you may want to use, or red raspberry leaf tea or coconut water as a labor aid. Review your birth plan and think about things you want during active labor or after too! I’m personally packing my nipple cream and a Haakaa pump (in case I leak, not to manually pump). My doula will have things handy such as essential oils but if I was not using a doula I would certainly have packed clarity sage and raspberry leaf tea. I’m also planning to bring my boppy nursing pillow for comfort 🙂
- Supplements. Totally optional as ideally, you will only be there for a short amount of time, but I packed a few doses of my prenatal vitamins, omega 3’s, and magnesium I plan to continue to take postpartum.
- Newborn Swaddle. The hospitals should have these, which also comes down to personal preference. I am choosing to pack my organic cotton one.
- Clothes. 2-3 onesies, 2-3 pairs of socks, a going-home outfit, a hat (if cold), and a photo outfit if you are choosing to take a newborn picture at the hospital. I am packing my Caden lane swaddle for this 🙂
- Essentials. The hospital will have things like diapers, wipes, diaper balm, bottles, formula, etc but if you are planning to use a certain type or want eco friendly I’d suggest you bring a few. I am packing some travel wipes from Honest + Honest Diapers as I plan to use them along with my own diaper balm.
What about dad? Dad needs a little hospital bag too. You can either add some essentials to yours or pack him his old little bag too.
Some suggestions for dad:
- Essentials. Cell phone, Laptop, Camera, Chargers, A soundtrack to play for mom, or some laminated birth affirmations to give mom if she needs them.
- Clothing & Toiletries. Dad may need a change of clothes and toiletries too 🙂
When packing your hospital bag, you can choose to pack whichever you’d like!
Here is a great reference if you want to dive a little deeper into some other options.
Wishing you the best Mama! Remember, if you forget something there is a good chance the hospitals will have the essentials but having a checklist like so can help you feel prepared too!