*Affiliate links included. When you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy, you have a million things to think about and prepare for- the last thing you need it to scramble at the last minute trying to put your hospital bag together. Even though we measure pregnancy by 40 weeks, your baby will come when she or he is ready, not according to your schedule. For my first pregnancy, I prepared my hospital bag at 35 weeks, just to be safe, and had a checklist of items I needed to add at the last minute (makeup and technology).
When my sister was pregnant with her second baby, she called me one night to go over anything she might have missed for her bag. She was still well before her due date but wanted to be prepared. Luckily she ran to the store that night, in the spirit of preparedness, and ended up going into labor the next day!
I enjoy being extremely prepared, and my hospital bag checklist may be more extensive than you need, so feel free to use it as a base guide. I’m including hospital bag lists for mom, dad, and baby as well as items you may think you need but should leave at home.
Hospital Bag Checklist
What’s in mom’s bag?
Note: When you are admitted into the hospital until you have the baby, you will wear the hospital gown.
Robe: Anyone close to me knows I lived in a robe from the day my daughter was born through the duration of my maternity leave. Look for a jersey or jersey, cotton, poly blend. I would wear this instead of a shirt, with or without a nursing bra. Here are my picks, including a few budget-friendly STEALS.
Nursing bra: Bring a non-underwire nursing bra like these comfy choices at all price-points.
Comfy pair of sweats (2 pair): I brought my favorite stretchy black sweats that fit me pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy, and post. You want something you love that provides room and stretch and makes you feel happy. I stayed in the hospital 2 days after my baby was born (this is standard). I brought one pair to wear in the hospital and one pair to come home in. Black is always a safe bet.
Loose fitting, soft shirt (2): You may opt to only wear the hospital gown and slip on some sweats after the baby is born; it’s really convenient if you’re nursing and for the nurses to check you. However, you will want one shirt to go home in and another as an option to wear while you stay in the hospital in case you have visitors and want to feel more normal. Remember, your belly will still look pregnant after you give birth! Choose a shirt that is loose, and if you are planning on breastfeeding, choose a deep v-neck top or something stretchy enough to easily pull down over your bust.
Socks: Bring enough comfy, fuzzy, warm socks to last the duration of your hospital stay. Non-skid socks are a great option for safety.
Hard-soled slippers: I enjoyed having my hard-soled slippers for walks around the hospital floor.
Underwear: You will probably want to live in the incredibly comfy disposable underwear the hospital provides. However, bring a few backup pairs of underwear just in case!
Extra bag: Bring a bag to put your laundry in (if you don’t have a laundry bag, a plain old grocery bag will work!).
Pillow/blanket: I was in the hospital 4 nights; having my own pillow and blanket made me feel more at home.
Air freshener: Bring an Air Wick plug in for your hospital room. Make sure to choose a scent that you already know and love- you want it to bring comfort to you, not a nauseating headache. My nurses and visitors commented on how they could smell my room even before they entered- apple cinnamon. Yum!
Bath towel: Why not dry off on your own fluffy towel?
Baby book: Bring this to take newborn hand and footprints in.
Hard candy: Bring mints, Jolly Ranchers, or sour candies to keep your mouth from getting dry.
Camera and charger: Don’t forget your camera and/or video camera and charger.
Lap top: I was in labor for 2 days, so having my lap top helped pass the time.
Wallet: Insurance card, ID
Phone and charger: Put your pediatrician’s phone number in it. You will make an appointment with your pediatrician while you’re in the hospital. Make sure your work number is in there in case you need to contact them.
Journal, pen, folder: Document your experiences, write down information from the nurses and doctors, and come prepared with questions. You will receive lots of paperwork, so bring a folder to keep it all organized and contained.
Travel size shower supplies: Your hospital room will have a shower, but you may want to bring travel size shampoo, conditioner, and a special body wash that make you feel good. You’re going to savor that first shower post-baby, so why not bring products that make you feel pretty and refreshed?
Travel size toiletries: Deodorant, toothbrush/paste, razor, makeup wipes, lotion (Say Yes to Carrots is my fave), brush, hair tie.
Nail clippers and tweezer: Because you never know when you’ll need them.
Makeup bag: Pack minimal makeup- I did this the day of. Maybe you look beautiful completely natural, but I felt better having the option to throw a little makeup on for myself and guests.
What’s in dad’s bag?
Clothes: If dad is staying overnight, bring pj’s, sweats, and comfortable day clothes. Doesn’t hurt to have socks and underwear in case he stays at the hospital to shower. Dad also has the option to go home to shower, eat, get clothes, etc., so pack according to your schedule and plan.
Snacks: Bring mom and dad’s favorite snacks. The hospital cafeteria may not always be open and you’ll both want treats that you love to get you through your stay.
Slippers: If dad is staying overnight, he might want to wear slippers to walk around the hospital room or floor instead of bare or just stocking-feet. Yes, I just said stocking-feet.
Pillow/blanket: The “pillow” and “blanket” our hospital provided for my husband were abysmal. Consider dad’s comfort and pack a pillow and blanket for him, too.
Car seat/carrier: It’s dad’s job to make sure the car seat it safely and properly installed in the car and that you bring the carrier. You must know how to put it in and out of the car yourself; the hospital staff legally cannot help you. Stop by your local police department for a free car seat check and to review safety rules.
Wallet: Insurance card, ID, some cash
What’s in baby’s bag?
Clothes: One undershirt (side snap is GREAT for newborns- no going over their heads). While you’re staying in the hospital, the hospital will provide an undershirt and swaddle blanket. You only need one coming home outfit. I suggest not making this a fancy, multi-piece outfit.
Seasonal: Depending on the season, you may want a hat or warm winter suit.
Blanket: The hospital will supply swaddles while you’re there; you may want to bring your own to practice on in addition to your favorite, soft baby blanket.
Hat: Bring a cute hat to keep the baby’s head warm and for adorable pictures.
What to skip
The hospital provides the following items:
- Diapers and wipes
- Diaper cream, Vaseline
- Small baby wash
- Pacifier (if needed or used)
- Nipple cream
- Burp cloth
- Breast pump for in-hospital use- my hospital had me take home the tubing, parts, and a few bottles.
- Pads, squirt bottle (your new best friend), and other personal care necessities
- Note: ask for extras!!
Combine all of these neatly in one, larger rolling suitcase so you don’t have several bags to carry in.
You can also pack mom’s essentials in a separate purse or bag to bring in immediately and have dad or a family member bring in your larger bag later, depending on your situation.
Have your wallet with your ID and insurance card easily accessible, too.
You may also either bring small gifts for your nurses or have a family member bring something- nurses appreciate food to share! Think donuts, fruit, pizza, or candy.
What items will you pack in your hospital bag?