I am Bethany, a mother of two beautiful babies, and today I want to talk about the essentials you need to pack with yourself heading to a labor room. I have loved babies since my early years, and I helped my mom to bring up my younger siblings. This breezed my way through college as a nanny and a baby sitter.
My love for babies and interaction with mothers had helped me to grow a treasure trove of knowledge that came in handy when I got my babies. I am going to share my experience to give you a comprehensive guide on how to pack everything you need when going to the hospital to deliver.
As the due date draws closer, you know that it is time to get your affairs in order, so that everything goes according to the plan. Once you are in active labor, there’s going to be a great deal of fuss, but you should worry about it. This guide will ensure that you pack all the essentials, from those comfortable post partum pajamas to the right clothes for the newborn baby.
Even though determining what to pack in the hospital bag for the baby boils down to your personal preferences, there are the major things that you must not leave out. Divide your packing list into three categories to ensure that you don’t miss anything. So, you should pack for you, for your baby, and the postpartum needs before leaving the hospital.
These three categories allow you to have a checklist under each one to ensure that you don’t forget anything. Remember that many hospitals have different policies on what you can carry based on available space for your belongings. I advise checking with your nurse to know what to pack in hospital bag and what not to bring with you.
What Should You Carry in Your Hospital Bags?
👚 Clothes that are comfortable. Postpartum, comfortable clothing is essential. Avoid anything too constricting (aside from a supportive bra) and keep a few options in mind in case of a C-section. Pack a nursing bra or tank if you intend to breastfeed after delivery. Wear your tank top with joggers or lightweight sleep pants that are soft and loose. Packing a nursing-friendly pajama set or nightgown is another option. Postpartum leggings (such as these from Belly Bandit) can also be very comfortable. Pack a dark-colored sports bra or a bathing suit top if you intend to work in water at any point. Slipper socks are ideal for keeping feet warm in footwear (and for gripping slippy hospital floors). Bring slip-on shoes, such as Birkenstocks, Crocs, or flip-flops, for the trip home. Because your feet may be swollen from IV fluids, you’ll appreciate shoes that are easy to slip on.
👘 A robe. A comfortable robe is one of the best postpartum clothing items out there. It’s useful if you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section.
🦚 Toiletries. Make sure you don’t forget to pack your toiletries! This includes your hairbrush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, extra hair ties, and face wipes. If you wear contacts or glasses, don’t forget to pack extras of those as well.
📃 Your birth plan. If you have a birth plan, print and bring a few copies: one for your chart, some for your labor nurse(s) and perhaps another to tape up in your hospital room. It’s a good idea to highlight some key points for quick reference.
🍦 Nipple cream. If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive.
🧼 Pillows and a bath towel. You should bring a pillow and a bath towel from home for your first post-delivery shower.
🛏️ Adult diapers and other postpartum care products. The hospital will hook you up with pads and mesh underwear (or you can bring your own), but many Babylist parents said adult diapers, like Depend, were more comfortable and felt more secure.
Some items are mandatory to have in your bag while some only go according to preference. To ensure you don’t forget anything, I recommend writing an actual checklist. This is to make sure that you don’t forget any of the essential items.
Remember that it is not all serious business when packing a hospital bag. Instead, that’s everything that you need to make labor slightly more relaxed and comfortable for you. You can cross-check your list with other moms, but it is not obligatory if you follow this guide. So, here are the essential items you must have in that bag.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Baby
💺 A car seat. A car seat is required if you are driving home from the hospital with your baby. It should be installed before you leave.
👚 A going-home outfit. You should bring two outfits for yourbaby to wear home from the hospital, in different sizes. It’s hard to predict how big or small your baby will be, so one outfit should be for newborns and the other should be for babies 0-3 months old. If it’s cold outside, don’t forget to bring hats and/or socks.
📇 Your pediatrician’s contact information. Please provide the contact information for your child’s pediatrician. The medical staff will need to obtain this information from you on multiple occasions, so it is helpful to have it easily accessible. Include the email or fax number for the pediatrician’s office so that we can quickly send over your baby’s medical records.
🍼 Bottles. Bring bottles if you are planning to use them. You should pack at least two for the hospital. If you are going to formula feed, also pack some of your preferred brand, even though the hospital probably has samples.
💦 Do not bring diapers or wipes when going to the hospital, as they will already have plenty for you there. Supposedly, you may even be able to bring home some extras from the hospital.
Print of Your Birth Plan and Insurance
Regardless of the type of birth you want to have, a birth plan brings everything together and gives you some level of calm. If you are like me and you are a great planner, the bag for baby hospital is your chance to figure out everything down to the tiny details. Ensure that it includes everything from pain management, your birth team, to how long you prefer to stay in hospital. By the time you are going into labor, your doctor, nurses, and family should have a copy of your plan. Also, you can get a few copies in your baby hospital bag.
You must know the hospital requirements in which you wish you give birth. If anything goes wrong and you don’t have your insurance information, it can be risky for both you and your baby. This is why you must have your insurance and ID in what to pack on hospital bag for delivery placed in an easy-to-access pocket. Having these documents in hospital bags for moms will save you from unnecessary stressing and ensure that both of you receive the care you need.
Include Toiletries in Hospital Bag List
The process of labor can be difficult and messy, regardless of which method to give birth you opt for. Hygiene is of utmost importance during and after birth, so you need to pack everything that will help you during this time. Thus, you should pack some essential things for taking a shower such as soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, wipes, toilet paper, flip-flops, and hand sanitizer in the hospital bag for mom.
Many of these things are provided in some hospitals, but they are not the healthiest, so it is best to carry yours in the baby hospital bag. Since you will be in a lot of contact with your newborn baby, it is essential to use natural products not to affect the baby in any way.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag: Clothing Items
You want to be in comfortable clothes during and after labor, so there are a few essential things to remember to include in the hospital bag for baby and yourself. If you plan to breastfeed your baby after birth, a nursing bra and pregnant hospital gowns will be of great help. Ensure that you have the right fit for a nursing bra to avoid discomfort, especially since your breasts will be full after delivery.
It may also be a bit cold at the hospital, especially if you are not in a VIP air-conditioned room. The hospital maternity pajamas won’t be enough to keep you warm. For this reason, you can carry light but warm nursing hospital pajamas or blanket and some leggings.
You may not be able to use the clothes that you went to the hospital in. So, remember to put an additional pair of comfortable clothes in your pregnant hospital bag for when you get discharged. Your clothes should be soft and hypoallergenic, so nothing affects your baby.
Things for Entertainment and Relaxation
Now, when it comes to how you can relax and keep your mind occupied during a long labor, it depends on what works for you. For example, I noticed that calming music helped with my breathing. No matter if you like rock-and-roll or classical music, you can make playlists to play in your maternity room playlists.
You can also watch a movie or read books approaching labor time. However, moving around with music helps with contractions and allows you to have a smother birth, especially if you are going to give birth naturally.
Phone, Charger, Snacks, and Cash
As you will take your phone with you, it is worth including an extra charger in the pregnancy hospital bag. Also, it is always wise to carry some cash in the pregnancy hospital bags, even if you have a credit card since you may want to get something from the vending machine in the hospital. However, I recommend packing some non-perishable snacks or something that won’t go bad while in the bag. This can be anything you like, and that doesn’t affect your well-being.
Cash also comes in handy if you forget something to put in your bag, so you can ask someone to buy it for you. Ensure that you have at least $20 in cash in your hospital bag for labor for some special needs.
While you are in labor, your look will be the least of your worries. However, after giving birth and a short rest after, you will probably notice how tired and dry your skin is, and your eyes look like you haven’t slept in years.
That is why it is good to include a few skincare items in the hospital bags for labor. Again, because of your newborn, keep it to a minimum or at least get organic products that won’t harm your baby. You can carry some shea butter that is excellent in giving your skin life, lip balm, and a moisturizer for your face.
Most mothers like to pack for hospital bag products that can be useful for both you and your baby. So, instead of having your own set of bath items and skin products, carry items that both of you can utilize. For example, babies can be oiled with organic shea butter, too. You may also get some baby shampoo that will be perfect for you both.
Earplugs and Eye Mask: What to Pack Diaper Bag Hospital
Labor is quite a rollercoaster. That’s what many moms will tell you. It is exhausting, and after your baby is born, you will be wholly wasted, so you need to get your rest. Rest is not only crucial for the sake of your baby but also for your physical and mental health.
Hospitals may not be the quietest places, especially in the maternity wards. So, if you want to relax, you may need earplugs and an eye mask included in what to pack in a hospital bag. Alternatively, you can have some noise-canceling headphones playing calm music to help you relax and sleep. However, nothing beats the peace you get with some good earplugs.
What to Pack for Hospital: Maternity Aftercare
While not many people talk about this, you will need a little help to heal after labor, and there are a few items you need. The maternity pads are usually provided in many hospitals. But I recommend including in what to pack for the hospital some heavy ones. It is normal to bleed a lot after delivery, especially for the first couple of days, so you will need to change pads quite often. Many good brands offer soft and absorbent ones, so make sure to look out for them.
You should also pack some comfortable cotton underwear, that is large enough to fit you and those large maternity pads. This is not the time to carry your sexy lingerie in your hospital bag for delivery, so you can go for that ugly underwear that you would usually not wear. When fitting yourself before packing, ensure that it is soft enough on your parts since you will be quite sore.
Alternatively, you can go for incontinence pants. These are huge pants with a pad on the inside, so they look and pretty much feel like you are wearing adult diapers. However, they are perfect for the first days after delivery and pretty comfortable.
Remember that there will be quite a bit of soiling, so some old underwear and delivery clothes are best. So, this way your clothes won’t get stained, and you won’t have to worry about it.
Hospital Bag Essentials: Nursing Products
Other than the nursing bra, you will also need breast pads since you will likely start leaking soon after the first feeding. I prefer reusable ones since they are more affordable and, honestly, more comfortable.
Pack some beautiful cotton absorbent pads that do not leak in your hospital bag checklist for baby. If you like sewing and making things, you can also find some DIY directions on how to create your pads. Actually, it is easy to do, and it will be an excellent thing for you to engage in before delivery time comes.
Dry and painful nipples are quite common after labor, which is why you should also get yourself a nipple balm. You can check from a baby shop for an organic option that you should include when packing hospital bag. For example, you can use lanolin to massage your nipples. The balm massage helps in opening the ducts so that milk flows smoothly. Moreover, for those who have flat nipples, it helps in raising them.
If you are a first-time mom, then there must be a lot that you are uncertain about. You must have read so many educational books for future mothers, but somehow, once you deliver, you may not be so sure anymore. It is an absolutely normal feeling, and the fact that you have it in mind means you understand the responsibility that you have. However, it is a good idea to have a few helpers in your go bag checklist.
You can always ask your nurse any questions that you may have about babies. However, if you would like to learn on your own, carry some reference books in the maternity hospital bag, so you know exactly what to expect and what is required from you. Books come in handy so that by the time you leave the hospital, you will have a lot of knowledge about baby care.
Extra Pillow and Bedding
I don’t mind hospital bedding, but sometimes you may prefer to carry your own, especially the pillowcase. If you know that you will need it, make sure to pack a pair for your use.
Getting an excellent comfortable pillow can also help you to be relaxed in the maternity room. Many moms prefer carrying their pillow for pregnancy Amazon, which is perfect if you have a long labor. You can bring one or two small ones, so your luggage isn’t too big.
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What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Baby
The majority of the items on this list have been for the comfort and convenience of the mother. It is also wise to put in a couple of items for the baby you are expecting. After all, he or she will be the star of the show once they’re born. So, here is a helpful diaper bag checklist:
Clothes and Blankets
Make sure to pack a few clothes for the newborn. You can carry a few bodysuits or one-piece items to save on space in the hospital bag checklist for baby. Depending on the season, you should consider having both light and heavy clothing to make your baby comfortable.
Remember that a newborn doesn’t need too many clothing items since this could lead to a seizure. Pack some socks and a warm blanket. The hospital will probably provide a blanket, but there is nothing wrong with being prepared with your own in the checklist for baby.
Some mothers prefer giving newborns their first baths in the hospital, but it depends a lot on how long you stay there. These are details that should be in your birth plan. If you have that in your hospital packing list, then you need to carry bath items for your baby. You should have the bath soap, shampoo, and towel.
Make sure to check that the items you use are organic and safe for your baby. Opt for the purest form of everything since the more ingredients are in a product, the more likely it has something that may cause an allergy.
Baby’s Skin Care Products
A newborn baby can also have a sore bottom, so a balm or powder are vital to include in the maternity hospital bags. The good news is that there is a variety of organic balms for newborn babies available, so you won’t have any problem finding a suitable one.
Usually, hospitals provide diapers for the first days so that you can have yours. You can also carry a nasal aspirator since it is common for newborns’ noses to get clogged. Of course, there are nasal aspirators in the nursery at hospital, but many of these are usually not easy to use without assistance. Having your own is great since your baby will need it even after getting discharged.
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A Baby’s Car Seat Might Also Come in Handy
While this is something that you will not carry with you, you must have it in the car that will come to pick you and bring home. Ensure that you have the right size of the newborn car seat, and it is set in the vehicle correctly. It is wise to practice fastening the baby car seat before delivery, because it may not be as easy as it looks.
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FAQs about Maternity Hospital Checklist
I have tried to give as much information as possible on what you need to pack in your bag. Additionally, here are some frequently asked questions that moms have. I have answered them to provide you with the last notes.
When to Pack Hospital Bag: What is the Ideal Packing Time?
I understand that you seek the right time between being too early and too late. I recommend packing your hospital bag between weeks 32 and 34.
Week 32 is the best time since you can see the date drawing close, so you can buy everything you would need. It is also a perfect time since it is common for mothers to go on labor two weeks early. So if this happens, you will be all prepared for the arrival of your little one.
What Items Do Hospitals Provide?
Hospitals provide a lot of items that you may not need to pack unless you prefer your items. Some of them include maternity hospital gowns, flip flops, disposable underwear, soap, and maternity pads. The hospital can also give you diapers, t-shirt, thermometer, binky, nasal aspirator, baby formula, and blanket for the baby. However, I recommend asking such things at a nursery in a hospital.
Can You Do Without a Hospital Bag?
Well, yes. You definitely can, but I assume that it will be a bit uncomfortable for you. If you don’t want to make a fuss of it, check with your hospital to find out what they provide. Then, pack the rest.
You may not need any of the extra items such as birth robes, so you don’t have to pack them. If you do decide to pack the bag, then make sure that it is ready to go at all times, or at least have someone who can bring it to you.
How Large Should the Bag Be?
There is no limit on how large or small your bag should be as long as you know that there is enough space to store it. If you end up packing a lot, make sure you ask your nurse before your due date. To avoid packing too many things, create a checklist of the most important items, and plan your hospital outfit for mom.
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Baby Hospital Bag Checklist Bottom Line
The hospital bag comes as a lifesaver since it assures you that you are prepared for everything. Thus, all you should focus on is having a successful delivery and a healthy baby. Make sure to customize your list into whatever you like as long as it is essential for you and won’t harm your child. However, if you are minimalist, take note of those critical items that you may not get from the hospital. These can be clothes, postpartum pajamas, nursing pads and bra, toiletries, phone, charger, and money.
Once you know what to pack in hospital bag for mom and you get to the hospital in good time, everything should work out smoothly. If you are a heavy packer, you can divide your things into two. The first bag will contain what you may need before and during delivery, and the second one – what you will need after that. If you have a birthing partner, he can bring the second bag to you, so you don’t have to carry too much luggage. Remember to communicate with your family and partner throughout the process of packing so that they can help in case you forget something.
What essential items went into or will go in your pregnancy checklist hospital bag? Let me know in the comments section below.