What to pack in a hospital bag (Checklist)

The baby’s due date is approaching, and you have this nagging feeling you are not ready! There is a lot to think about, especially if this is your first baby and everything is being done for the first time. You are both thrilled that you will be having a baby, yet terrified at the same time whether you will have everything arranged when your newborn comes home.

Perhaps your sisters, mother, or friends are making suggestions regarding how to prepare and specifically what you will need when it is time to deliver at the hospital. Everyone has different likes and dislikes. We have included suggestions on what to consider packing in advance so that you are well prepared and comfortable during your hospital stay with your newborn.

One of the best ways to avoid panic is to get everything ready in advance, and this includes the hospital bag you will take with you when it is time.

What Is a Hospital Bag Checklist?

A hospital bag checklist is a list of things that you and your partner want to take with you when it is time to head off to the hospital for the birth of your new child. The list is mainly for the new mom, listing all of the things that she will need while staying at the hospital and also ensuring the baby is comfortable on the way home. Of course, your list should include items specifically for the baby as well.

The list should also include a few items for dad to bring with him, especially if the stay will be a long one, lasting over several days.

The hospital bag checklist should identify those items you can pack well in advance to avoid a last-minute scramble. There are also several last-minute items to the thrown in, such as toothpaste, toothbrush, and other items used daily.

Having your hospital bag ready avoids the last-minute scramble when the baby is on the way, and you cannot afford any delays in getting to the hospital. Of course, not every mom has her baby quickly; however, isn’t it better to be well prepared and reduce the stress as you near the due date?

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag?

The suggested approach is to have your hospital bag prepared and ready to go by the 36th or 37th week of your pregnancy. New moms are often late and go past their due dates; however, there are exceptions to every guideline. Have your bag mostly packed and be ready to throw in the last-minute items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, and other daily use items.

Also, do not forget the car seat that is appropriate for newborn babies. Most hospitals will not allow you to leave unless you have a proper car seat for the baby.

Hospital bag checklist for moms

One of your priorities is to pack for yourself. It is important to ensure that the new mom is comfortable while in the hospital. If you are comfortable without stress because you have everything you need, you and your baby will be much more comfortable and relaxed. Items to include in the hospital bag checklist for mom include:

  • Comfortable clothes
  • A Robe
  • Toiletries
  • Cell phone charging cord
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Your favorite bath towel
  • A Pillow
  • Cream for your nipples
  • Adult diapers
  • Bluetooth speaker and playlist
  • Specialty items

More Details

  • Comfortable clothes – loose, comfortable clothing is important. Tank tops, joggers, loose pajamas, slippers, socks, nursing bra, and loose-fitting shoes for your trip home. Keep in mind whether you will have a C-section or natural birth and how long you expect to be in the hospital.
  • A Robe – your comfortable robe, whether you have a natural delivery or C-section, helps you remain relaxed and comfortable while looking after your baby in the hospital
  • Toiletries – consider your daily routine and include the items you like to have at your disposal. For Example – hairbrush, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair ties, contacts, and glasses.
  • Cell phone charging cord – bring a long charging cord to keep your cell phone fully charged. Electrical outlets are usually not convenient, and the long cord will keep your phone charged to remain in contact with family and friends.
  • Snacks and beverages – bring your favorite snacks and energy drinks. You will appreciate having them after you give birth.
  • Your favorite bath towel – bring a large bath towel. Hospital towels often do not measure up to everyone’s needs, and having your own makes it that much better.
  • A Pillow – the same applies to pillows. Having a comfortable pillow to use at night can make a huge difference in your sleep and comfort.
  • Cream for your nipples – especially if you plan to breastfeed to avoid any soreness
  • Adult diapers – consider bringing your own depending on whatever you are comfortable with. Some people like mesh underwear, while others prefer postpartum absorbent underwear.
  • Bluetooth speaker and playlist – check that external music and speakers are allowed in the hospital. Many new moms enjoy music before and after delivery.
  • Specialty items – small fans, diffusers, books, crossword puzzle books, and any other items you feel may help you pass the time. Note that you have a baby to look after, and you may be exhausted, so there may be little time to enjoy these activities.

Mom’s tips for what to pack in a hospital bag (what to pack and what not to pack)

  • Diapers or wipes – do not bring diapers and wipes since these are usually provided by the hospital
  • Extra bag – you will probably be given lots of freebies. An empty bag is handy to have to bring these items home.
  • Glasses and contacts – if you have them, bring both. Mom’s found that their glasses fogged up during the delivery, and they wished they had their contacts. Don’t forget cases and cleaning solutions for your glasses and contacts.
  • Clothes – being able to change into a fresh set of clothes helps with your mood and recovery. Bring loose jogging pants to wear home to maximize your comfort level.
  • Baby book – you can add footprints and handprints to your baby book in the hospital as well as make notes about the birth
  • Baby nail clippers – you may need to clip your baby’s nails to avoid the baby scratching its face
  • Nipple cream – apply as needed if you are breastfeeding to avoid nipples becoming chapped.
  • Flip flops – are handy to have as you navigate your room and the hospital
  • Nursing pillow – to support your baby while nursing, especially if you had a C-section, to reduce the pain from the weight of the baby on your tummy.
  • Snacks – to supplement the hospital food. You will be hungry, and many nursing moms cannot get enough to eat.

Hospital bag checklist for your baby

Next on the checklist are items specifically for your baby. These include:

  • Car Seat
  • Outfit leaving the hospital
  • Contact information
  • Bottles
  • A car seat – must be already installed before you leave for the hospital. They will not let you leave unless the baby is safe in an appropriate car seat for newborn babies.
  • Outfit leaving the hospital – take into account the local weather conditions and pack accordingly. Have at least two outfits, one for 0-3 months and one for newborns, since you may not know what size the baby will be. You also need a hat, socks, and warm blankets if the weather is cold.
  • Contact information – for your pediatrician, including full name, address, phone, and fax numbers. The hospital will send the baby’s medical records to your doctor.
  • Bottles – bring at least two for the hospital and the appropriate formula you plan to use. The hospital may also have samples available.

Hospital bag checklist for partners

All of the attention is always on the new baby and, of course, the new mom. However, their partner also is there to provide support and help as much as possible. It is important to ensure that partners are comfortable, rested, and ready to help. Keep in mind that there is no way to predetermine how long the delivery will take. Things they should consider packing include:

  • Toiletries
  • Extra clothing
  • Entertainment material
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Toiletries – include a toothbrush, toothpaste, shaver, deodorant, and other items that you regularly use.
  • Extra clothing – a change of clothes is always appreciated, especially if you are there for several days
  • Entertainment material – bring a book, smartphone loaded with music and podcasts, headphones, and other material to help pass the time.
  • Blanket and pillow – some people suggest bringing a sleeping bag; however, your pillow and blanket should be sufficient.

What not to pack in the hospital bag

New moms and dads can bring too many things to the hospital and items that they just will not need. While you want everyone to be comfortable and have all of the things you need to keep yourself and your baby healthy and safe, consider avoiding the following items:

  • Jewelry
  • Medication
  • Diapers
  • Baby clothes
  • Bottles
  • Candies
  • Jewelry – as well as cash and any valuables that you may worry about getting lost. You may need a small amount of cash and a credit card for miscellaneous items.
  • Medication – if you need medication while at the hospital, confirm with the hospital if they provide the medication while you are there or if you should bring your own. Stick to prescription medications and leave supplements and vitamins at home. Missing a few days will not make a difference to your health.
  • Diapers – most hospitals provide diapers and wipes for your newborn and will send you home with a few extras.
  • Baby clothes – you need an outfit to bring your baby home and perhaps one more as a backup; however, more than that, you are bringing too many clothes for your baby.
  • Bottles – check with the hospital if they provide bottles. Many do.
  • Candies – are not allowed in hospitals. If you have a private room, you may be able to bring a diffuser to add a nice scent to the air you breathe. Check with the hospital before bringing one into your room.

Key points, Conclusion, or Final Thoughts

Creating a hospital bag checklist well before it is time to head to the hospital and packing your hospital bag makes a lot of sense for new moms and dads. Being organized and having everything you will need when it is time to rush to the hospital in the middle of the night removes much of the stress you may experience.

Your list should cover items you will need for yourself and for your baby, including bringing the baby home and for your partner to support you. If you are in doubt about some items and whether the hospital will allow them in the hospital, check with the hospital ahead of time to confirm what you can bring in.

The items you pack in your hospital bag are very personal based on your likes and dislikes. Use our suggestions to guide your list based on your likes and dislikes.

The length of time you spend in the hospital depends on how long your labor lasts, your physical condition after the birth, and any concerns about the baby’s health. If you need additional items, your support partner or family can always bring a few extra items you may need while in the hospital.

Ensure your baby’s room is prepared for when you arrive home. If everything is organized ahead of the time, tired moms and dads can handle the initial days much easier.