What To Pack in Hospital Bag Checklist

Ultimate Checklist: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Posted by Hello Postpartum on

Whether you’re procrastinating packing or trying to get ahead, this hospital bag checklist covers everything you’ll need (and some helpful extras to consider!).

Packing up your hospital bag is an essential step when preparing for the arrival of your little one, and it can seem daunting trying to figure out all the things you might need to bring for the big day, especially if this is your first baby!

I get it — packing your hospital bag can feel  overwhelming  (you might even put it off to the last minute!).

This ultimate  hospital bag checklist can help make your hospital stay feel more comfortable and organized. Whether you have a vaginal birth or a cesarean, this list will  help you get started on packing.

When should I have my hospital bag packed and ready?

It’s a good idea to get your bag ready between  35 and 37 weeks  of your pregnancy, but there will likely be a few items that you won’t be able to add until the time comes to head to the hospital. (More on that below!)

Personally, I packed mine around 36 weeks and put it in the baby’s nursery  so it was out of the way but in an easy-to-access location ( near the front door is another great idea!).

If you are in a  high-risk pregnancy  or have experienced pre-term labor, it’s a good idea to have your bag packed  earlier  rather than later. There’s nothing wrong with being overly prepared!

At 38 weeks or so, I had my husband  install the car seat and put the hospital bag in the trunk of the car we’d (most likely) be driving to the hospital.

This was also when I  added the pre-wrapped sibling gift for my older child to the trunk  of the car so we could walk in with it from the hospital. That was such a game-changer and really helped set the tone for the new addition to our family.

Using our hospital bag checklist to be better prepared

Going over a hospital bag checklist and ensuring you have everything you need can help make your labor or c-section much more stress-free experience.

From  practical necessities  to personal comforts, what you bring can make a significant difference in your time at the hospital.

Of course, every country and hospital varies greatly with what is provided to moms, so adapt this list to fit your personal preference!

We’ve covered the basics as well as the lesser-thought-of items  that you will be thankful to have in this comprehensive checklist. You’ll also find some items to pack for your baby and dad/partner.

Hospital bag essentials

Here’s a high-level of what you’ll need in your hospital bag. Keep in mind that everyone has a different labor and birth plan, birth outcome, and feeding plan, so your list might vary.

We’ll go into more detail about what you’ll need to pack in each category below.

  1. Comfortable clothing

  2. Toiletries

  3. Important documents

  4. Electronics and chargers

  5. Snacks and hydration

  6. Nursing bra and breast pads

  7. Postpartum necessities

  8. Baby necessities

  9. Going home outfits

1. Comfortable clothing

  • Look for items that are loose and comfortable

  • Consider easy access for breastfeeding (if you’re nursing)

  • Pajama sets and soft loungewear are a must

  • Add in slippers, grippy socks, and a cozy robe

Trust us when we say that there is nothing else you will want to wear in the hospital other than loose, comfortable clothing  after you give birth (hello, maternity leggings).

Many new moms are surprised that they still look pregnant after giving birth, so make sure the clothes you pack in your hospital bag are practical and the right size.

Opt for items that allow for easy nursing  while being as comfortable as can be, and bring some pieces that will  keep you warm since hospitals can be quite cold.

Pajama sets, soft loungewear, slippers, warm socks, and a soft robe are favorites among moms everywhere! Consider also packing a  couple of pairs of non-slip socks  if you want to walk the halls while still in labor (the hospital floor can be quite slippery!).

2. Toiletries

Bringing toiletries, especially if you have specific products you prefer, is important to remember when packing your hospital bag.  Travel-sized toiletries  help save space while ensuring you have everything you need.

Here’s what you definitely want to include in your bag:

  • Toothpaste

  • Toothbrushes

  • Shampoo

  • Conditioner

  • Soap

  • Dry shampoo

  • Hairbrush

  • Deodorant

  • Face wash

  • Moisturizer

  • Slip-on shoes

  • Lip balm

  • Contact lenses and solution

3. Important documents

Keeping an organized folder with your photo ID, driver’s license, insurance card, birth plan, and any hospital forms ready in your bag is vital and will save you plenty of stress when you go into labor and it’s time to get checked in.

4. Electronics and chargers

Have items like a camera (if you wish to get higher-quality photos and video while in the hospital), any  necessary chargers , and a portable Bluetooth speaker if you want to listen to music while in the delivery room packed up and ready to go.

Your phone is something that you likely won’t pack up until the day of, but it’s an important item you don’t want to forget!

5. Snacks and hydration

  • Electrolyte packets 

  • Granola bars

  • Bone broth

  • Dried fruit

  • Crackers

It’s a good idea to bring some non-perishable snacks in your hospital bag, such as granola bars, bone broth, dried fruit, and crackers, to stave off hunger during those long hours in the hospital.

Every hospital is different, and  some might not allow you to eat  while you’re in labor, but snacks are still helpful to have on hand for when you can eat.

Also, consider  what food items you might want to eat  meal-wise, as hospital food isn’t always the best. Packing a large reusable water bottle and some electrolyte packets   can also be handy for avoiding dehydration.

6. Hair ties and accessories

There are few things more irritating than when your hair gets in your way during dire moments, such as when you’re in the throes of labor.

Definitely be sure to pack extra  hair ties, claw clips, and a headband to keep your hair away from your face so you can focus on relaxing and being as comfortable as possible.

You might consider throwing in some dry shampoo, too.

7. Nursing bra and breast pads

If you plan on breastfeeding,  bring a comfortable nursing bra  for support and easy access during feedings and a jar of nipple cream.

Also, bring a few pairs of breast pads to put in place to help manage any leakage, even if you’re not breastfeeding! In some circumstances, you might consider bringing your breast pump, but that typically isn’t necessary for most.


Pro tip: most hospitals have a lactation consultant on staff, so you can request to meet with one if you  have any questions  about feeding your baby.

If you aren’t breastfeeding  your baby, consider exploring some natural ways to lessen your milk supply, and also  talk to your medical team  about the best practices to avoid mastitis and clogged ducts.

8. Postpartum necessities

The hospital  should provide you with the basic necessities  during your stay as well as some extras if you request, but some moms prefer to also have their own.

It’s helpful to include the items below, plus any other postpartum care items that your healthcare provider recommends to your hospital bag checklist.

Some items that aren’t essential but could be nice to have include essential oils, a nursing pillow, face wipes, an eye mask, and gifts for your labor nurses.

If you had a  c-section birth , make sure to pack some probiotics, peppermint essential oil (add a drop to the toiler to encourage peeing after your catheter is removed), a nursing pillow, grippy socks, and anything else you think might help you stay comfortable.

9. Baby necessities

Once again, the hospital should have the main things you need for the baby, but it’s  always a good idea to bring your own , as well.

This includes diapers, wipes, swaddles, burp cloths, warm clothes, hats, and mittens. You can pack these in a small diaper bag to keep things organized.

10. Going-home outfits

A special  coming-home outfit is a fun tradition a lot of families like to plan out for special memories to look back on.

Pack a  comfortable outfit that’s easy  and that you feel good in, as well as an outfit for your little one that’s cozy and that you simply love.

Other hospital bag additions

Some additional items you might want to include when packing your hospital back are comfort items, such as your  favorite pillow  (hospital pillows aren’t usually great!) or  lightweight blanket  from home as well as things for your partner or the support person joining you in the delivery room.

Separate bags  aren’t necessary , but might be a great idea.

They’ll need a few changes of clothes, toiletries, snacks, their own pillow, and maybe a book or headphones if there’s downtime for them.

Ideally, you can walk them through your packed hospital bag  before  y ou head to the hospital  so they know where everything is packed, lessening the chance of frustration and overwhelm while in the hospital (speaking from personal experience here…).

Bags to use for your hospital bag

Having a packing list is one thing, but finding the right bag is another.

You can either  use a bag you already have at home  (like a rolling suitcase or a duffel bag) or purchase something new that you can continue to reuse over time.

No matter which bags you choose to use for your hospital bag, make sure it has  a lot of pockets  for easy organization, or use packing cubes to keep things tidy.

Our community has told us this six-pocket Mama tote  makes the perfect hospital bag (and it’s under $20!). Here’s a little message we received from a follower.

Getting prepared for the baby’s arrival

As you spend the time going over your hospital bag checklist and deciding what you’ll need, remember that  each item serves a purpose , even if you don’t end up needing every single thing in your bag.

Every person is different, so be sure to  also check in with yourself  and personalize your bag to your needs as you see fit.

If you have other moms in your life,  it can be helpful to reach out  to see if they have any guidance to offer regarding items they were so thankful to have or maybe some essential items they wish they had in hindsight.

From the everyday essentials to the sentimental items that you’ll hold onto in your memories and photographs,  packing your hospital bag is a big milestone  in the motherhood journey.

As you get ready for this next phase of life,  know that you are prepared  for whatever comes your way and cherish every little beautiful moment that lies ahead.

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