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Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby
Updated on
June 24, 2024

Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby

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Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby.
Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby

Your due date is approaching, and it’s time to pack your hospital bag.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas. (Psst: There’s also a hospital bag printed checklist below!)

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

You should have your hospital bag ready to go by 36 weeks or 37 weeks pregnant, just in case you go into labor before your due date.

It’s fine to throw some items in at the last minute, like your toothbrush, but you’ll want your bag mostly packed and easily accessible by this point in your pregnancy.

Some items are essential (you’ll need a car seat, for example); others will make you feel comfy and remind you of home. We asked Babylist parents what their must-have items were and also drew on our own childbirth experiences.

Here’s an extensive list of everything you may want or need with you in the hospital.

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

First, pack your hospital bag for yourself—you’ll want personal items to make you feel more comfortable during and after labor.

  • Comfortable clothes. Comfy clothes are a postpartum must. Avoid anything too restrictive (other than a supportive bra) and keep in mind a few options in case of a C-section. If you plan on breastfeeding after delivery, pack a few nursing bras or tanks in your bag. Pair your tank top with a soft, loose pant like joggers or lightweight sleep pants. Another option is packing a nursing-friendly pajama set or nightgown. Postpartum leggings can also be comfy. If you plan on laboring in water at any point, pack a dark-colored sports bra or a bathing suit top. For footwear, grippy socks are great for keeping feet warm and cozy (and for handling slippy hospital floors). Bring slip-on shoes like Birkenstocks, Crocs or flip-flops for going home. Your feet might be swollen from IV fluids, so you’ll be thankful for shoes you can easily 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. Don’t forget these! You’ll want your hairbrush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, body lotion, extra hair ties and face wipes (Babylist parents recommend these in case you’re not up to showering right away). Remember extra contact lenses (plus contact lens solution) and/or glasses, if you wear them.
  • 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.
  • An extra-long cell phone charger cord. Babylist parents could not recommend this enough. Hospital beds are notoriously far away from an electrical outlet, and you’ll want a fully charged phone for all the pictures you are about to take of your new baby and for video chatting with excited friends and family. Maybe even pack a few of them!
  • Snacks and drinks. Pack a reusable water bottle (we like ones with straws for easier sipping), and, if you want something more than water, an electrolyte drink, like Gatorade or coconut water. You’ll also want some easy-to-eat snacks, like granola bars, pretzels, dried fruit etc. (More snack tips below.)
  • Pillows and a bath towel. As it turns out, hospital towels are the exact opposite of luxurious hotel towels—thin, scratchy and entirely too small. You may find yourself happy that you brought a towel from home for your first post-delivery shower. Same with hospital pillows—Babylist parents also recommend bringing your pillow from home.
  • Nipple cream. If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive.
  • Adult diapers and other postpartum care products. The hospital will hook you up with pads and mesh undies (or you can bring your own), but many Babylist parents said adult diapers, like Depend, were more comfortable and felt more secure. Another option to consider is reusable postpartum absorbent underwear, like ones from Thinx. A perineal spray is also a priceless addition to your postpartum arsenal. (Your bum will thank you.) And if you’ve found the best prenantal vitamins that work for you, toss those in your bag too—many experts recommend that you continue to take them after the baby arrives. Want all the goods in one place? Consider a postpartum recovery kit like FridaMom’s Labor and Delivery + Postpartum Recovery Kit or Bodily’s Care for Birth Box.
  • Portable Bluetooth speaker and Spotify playlist. Playing music during labor can be an asset for some. If you make a birth playlist, add a lot of songs to it—labor can last 24-plus straight hours, and you don’t want to listen to the same 10 songs over and over the entire time. Though you may find you just want silence!
  • Nice-to-haves: One Babylist parent said they brought a diffuser to the hospital and used it to make their room smell like a spa. That same parent also loved having a portable fan since you can’t open windows. Some Babylist parents also recommend bringing a nursing pillow for comfort if you’re planning to breastfeed.


What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Baby

After your hospital bag has comfort items for you, it’s time to move on to the essential items for baby.

  • A car seat. If you’re driving home, this is non-negotiable—they won’t let you take your baby home from the hospital without a car seat, and it should be already installed.
  • A coming-home outfit. Pack two different outfits in different sizes because you don’t know how big or small your baby will be! Aim for one outfit in newborn size and one 0-3 months. Don’t forget hats and/or socks, if weather-appropriate, to keep baby warm.
  • Your pediatrician’s contact information. The doctors and nurses will ask you for this information several times, so it’s good to have it handy. Include the email or fax number for the pediatrician’s office so they can easily forward your baby’s medical records.
  • Bottles. If you’re bottlefeeding from the get go, pack at least two bottles for the hospital if you’re set on using a certain brand. If you plan to formula feed, pack some of your preferred brand, as well, though the hospital will most likely have samples for you.
  • Do not bring diapers or wipes! The hospital has all the diapers and wipes you’ll need. In fact, one Babylist parent suggested bringing an extra bag for all the freebies you’ll bring home from hospital.

What Your Partner or Support Person Should Pack

If you have a birth partner or support person attending the birth and staying in the hospital or birth center with you, remind them to pack some things as well. In addition to clothes and personal toiletries (partners want to brush their teeth too!), here are some things to bring.

  • Book/iPad/laptop/headphones & general entertainment. Download a few new podcasts to listen to in case there is some down time.
  • A lightweight sleeping bag and pillow. Hospital blankets, sheets and pillows can be scratchy and thin.

What Snacks to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Yes, this gets its own category. Pack lots of snacks! Try to pack something from each of these categories: salty (like pretzels or Goldfish crackers), sweet (such as hard candies, M&M’s or gummy candy), protein (think beef jerky or protein bars) and healthy/fresh (granola bars, dried fruit or carrot sticks, for example). The laboring parent will appreciate these post-birth too. Also look into restaurants nearby that deliver for that first post-birth meal, if you don’t want to celebrate with hospital food. (Check with your hospital or birthing center for their specific guidelines.) And bring a reusable water bottle.

Once you pack your bag, you’ll be all set to head to the hospital when baby is ready to come.

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag Printable Checklist

Download or print this hospitable bag printable checklist as a reminder of what you’ll want to bring in your hospital bag.

Download the Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist

Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.