The Essential Hospital Bag Checklist for Pregnant Moms

The hospital bag checklist to help you be prepared for your new arrival.

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! You have nine entire months to absolutely prepare for the arrival of your sweet little angel.

Baby room decorated? Check!

House completely baby-proofed? Check!

Diapers, wipes, onesies, sleepers, socks, bibs and receiving blankets acquired, folded and put away? Check!

While most of the preparation for the newest addition centers on when the baby arrives home, it is important that you remember to prepare for the actual birth of your child.

Before you begin labor and head to the hospital, you want to make sure you have packed a hospital bag with the essentials needed to care for yourself and your newborn.

What to Pack in a Hospital Bag

Before you run around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to gather all the necessary items for your hospital bag, check with the hospital as to what they will provide. Some hospitals provide items such as diapers and pads while others do not.

Whether or not the hospital supplies you with the bare essentials, here is a checklist of everything you will need during your hospital stay.

Hospital Bag for Mom

When you are packing your bag for the hospital stay, focus first on what items you will need to take care of yourself. Pack all the necessary toiletries you would require for an overnight stay.

For clothing, be sure to pack comfortable and loose fitting clothes for before and after birth. If you have any nursing bras or shirts, pack those as well. Try to avoid under-wire bras; while there’s no hard evidence to prove that they hinder milk production, they may hamper your attempts to be comfortable.

My absolute favorite nursing bra is this one! Soft, comfortable and was easy to use!

Stock up on some heavy duty pads for after the birth. There may be residual bleeding and you’ll want something adequate to absorb it.

Think about keeping yourself entertained during the day. While your focus will be on taking care of your sweet newborn, you may find yourself getting bored while he or she sleeps. Bring along your phone or tablet to play on (don’t forget the charge cords!) as well as books and magazines. Pack a journal if you wish to document the experience.

Hospital Bag for Labor

Everything in your “Mom” bag is to take care of you before and after the birth. However, you will want to have a few items on hand for during labor.

First of all, make sure all important documentation is packed and ready to go. This includes your birth plan, insurance forms, your identification, health card and/or Medicare card.

Second, bring some comfort items. Pack your favorite pillow from home; hospital pillows are often thin and uncomfortable. You may want a big, fluffy pillow to hold on to while you are experiencing contractions.

Something as simple as a tennis ball may be helpful in alleviating back pain during labor as well as massage oils, ice packs and hot water bottles.

Bring your own water bottle and some snacks to keep your body satiated and some lip balm to keep your lips moist. You may notice them becoming dry during labor.

Hospital Bag for Baby

You’ll want to keep your little one warm and comfortable during their hospital stay. Pack a few infant hats, onesies and sleepers as well as an outfit for going home. Depending on the weather, you may want to pack outdoor gear such as a warm hat, snowsuit with attached booties and mittens.

Before your baby can go home, you must have an approved car seat. Hospitals will usually inspect the seat and want to see you buckle the baby in appropriately before allowing you to leave. Bring along a blanket to tuck around your baby once he or she is in the seat.

My twins coming home from the hospital

While you are in the hospital, you little one will need diapers and wipes. Since it can be difficult to determine how big your baby will be when they are born, bring both “newborn” and “size 1” diapers.

Lastly, whether or not you plan on breastfeeding, you should bring a couple of bottles and formula. In the event that breastfeeding doesn’t work out, you want to be sure you have a way to feed your infant. I unfortunately didn’t do this and my milk didn’t come in for serveral days. We ended up purchasing donor milk instead.

Also grab some receiving blankets for spit-ups.

Hospital Bag for Partner

If you have someone staying with you during your hospital stay, they’ll want to make sure they have a few things packed too.

Their hospital bag does not have to be packed as extensively as yours. They’ll just need the essentials as if they were packing for a weekend.

Tips for Packing Your Hospital Bag

While you don’t want to be rolling into the hospital with a collection of luggage, you want to make sure you bring all the essentials. Try to organize everything into 2 bags: one for mom and one for baby.

It is generally recommended to have your bag packed by 37 weeks, since this is considered to be full-term. If you are at risk of a preterm pregnancy, or are pregnant with multiples, you should pack around 35 weeks.

Once your bag is packed, keep it by the door or leave it in the car. Make sure it is easily accessible and can be grabbed quickly on the way to the hospital.

Don’t pack anything flammable (like candles or incense) or any scented items. These may violate hospital policy.

The Hospital Bag Checklist

For Mom:

  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, glasses, contacts, hairbrush, elastics, deodorant, etc.)
  • Comfortable clothes (socks, undies, wire-free bra/nursing bra, housecoat)
  • Phone/Tablet (headphones, charger)
  • Pads (heavy duty)
  • Books/Magazines/Pen and Paper/Journal
  • Shampoo and body wash
  • Slippers

For Labor:

  • Birth plan
  • Insurance forms
  • ID
  • Health card/Medicare card
  • Pillow
  • Tennis ball
  • Unscented massage oil
  • Ice pack/hot water bottle
  • Lip balm
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks

For Baby:

  • Infant hat, onesies, sleepers
  • Receiving blankets
  • Diapers, wipes
  • Bottles and formula
  • Going home outfit
  • Car seat (approved)
  • Blankets
  • Outdoor gear appropriate for season

For Partner:

  • Clean shirt, pants, undies
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Cash and change for snacks and food

Your Hospital Bag Checklist!

There ya go!

Your essential guide to having the most important items for your hospital bag checklist! If you’ve been through this once before, share in the comments your most essential hospital bag item!

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Elna is a mom to twins who blogs and writes for a living. She loves all things mom. While she's not blogging, you can find Elna meal planning, organizing and helping other moms in her Facebook group, Mom to Mompreneurs.

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