Labor and delivery are probably some of the most uncomfortable situations you will be in. But while this cannot be avoided, you can make your life easier by being prepared with a well-packed hospital bag. To do that, you will need a helpful hospital bag checklist.
You’re going to be stuck in a hospital/ birthing center for 2-3 days. You’ll be sleep-deprived, stressed, in pain, in bliss, and all the other emotions that come with this experience. The least you can do for yourself is have a hospital bag that offers some level of comfort.
What To Pack In A Hospital Bag
While this hospital bag checklist is comprehensive, you will want to add a few more things. This will depend entirely on what YOU want.
For example, if you can’t sleep on any pillow other than your own, pack it. If you want your partner to give you a massage to help you relax during labor, be sure to pack your preferred oils. If you are giving labor during the summer and a handheld misting fan or water spray bottle would help you cool off, pack that. If music relaxes you, bring headphones
What To Pack For Mom In A Hospital Bag
- Extra-absorbent maxi pads (Pack the brand you prefer, unless you’re okay with what the hospital provides)
- Body wash
- Lip balm
- Hand cream/ lotion
- Brush/ comb
- Hair ties
- Contact case & solution
Clothes For Mom
- 2-3 Pairs of socks
- Maternity pajamas
- Going home outfit
- flip flops (for shower)
- Nursing bras
- Nipple balm
- Nipple pads
- Nursing pillow
- Nursing cover
- Nursing nightgown
- Nursing tanks/ tops
These are optional but recommended in case you want to take photos in the hospital. Even if you don’t plan to take pictures in the hospital/ birthing center, you may want to pack them anyway. Photos can happen organically and you want to be somewhat prepared for them.
- Hairdryer/curling iron
- Makeup remover wipes
What To Pack For Baby In A Hospital Bag
The most essential items your baby needs will likely be provided by your hospital or birthing center. This will include diapers, etc.
- 2-3 Sleepers
- 2-3 Onesies
- Swaddling blankets
- Sleep sack
- Baby mittens
- Burp cloths
- Pacifier clip
- Going home outfit
- Baby wash
- Nail file
What To Pack For Dad In A Hospital Bag
Your husband might not have had a chance to shower. By having toiletries and a fresh change of clothes of him, he will not need to leave your side. Also, if you are going to be taking photos, he might feel more comfortable in a clean shirt.
- Sweat pants
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 2-3 Pairs of Socks
- Comfortable shoes
- Insurance cards
- Your birth plan
- Phone (to take photos/ videos, to communicate, and for entertainment)
- Phone chargers (try to get chargers with long cords that will reach the hospital bed.)
- Healthy snacks
- Laptop and charger
- Empty duffel bag (Optional, but advisable. You will need somewhere to stash all the gifts, samples, and supplies that will be going home with you.)
Here are two additional free printable hospital bag checklists. To print, please be sure to set your printer to Portrait.
When To Pack Your Hospital Bag
Babies don’t care about due dates. They’re going to come when they are good and ready, and that might be earlier than expected. Therefore, you’ll be best advised to pack your hospital bag during the third trimester. Week 36 is usually a good time to get your bag packed.
What Kind Of Bag Is A Hospital Bag?
You’re going to be in the hospital or birthing center for approximately 2 days. As per the hospital bag checklist, there are a lot of things you’ll need to pack, so make sure you have a bag that will accommodate everything you need.
A carry-on suitcase or a duffel bag is a good idea. Whatever you choose, it should be:
- easy to transport;
- able to fit two changes of clothes for both mom and dad, baby’ clothes, toiletries, and breastfeeding essentials, (if you’re planning to breastfeed.)
You may want to bring an extra bag for snacks.
What To Pack For Siblings?
If this is not your first baby, there will be siblings in tow. They will not be at the hospital/ birthing center as long as you, but they may need to spend a significant amount of time there. Be prepared for this by packing a few things in another bag for them.
Think about what he/she/ they like, and pack accordingly. A few ideas to consider are:
- Art supplies like crayons and coloring books, paper, colored pencils;
- Activity books;
- Reading material – be sure to get a book/books they have never read before;
- An electronic device like a kindle, etc.
- Healthy snacks – try not to go overboard on the sugar—you don’t want them bouncing off the walls.
- Cash/ coins – they may want to get water, etc from the vending machine. If you already have cash ready and waiting, no one needs to be looking for change.
Note From The Author
My babies came at 37 weeks, 37 weeks, 36 weeks, and the twins at 33 weeks. I’m certainly not trying to scare you into packing that hospital bag. I am trying to encourage you to pack sooner rather than later.
While you’re at it, buy the car seat and get it installed. The hospital will not let you leave without a properly installed car seat base, and of course—your baby securely strapped into the car seat.
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