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Congratulations! If you are reading this post, you are likely going to have a baby soon! And one of the last things you need to do to make sure you are prepared for your new bundle of joy, is to pack that hospital bag. The tricky part here is being certain that you aren’t overpacking, but aren’t leaving any essential items at home. So what do you really need to pack in your hospital bag?
My first time around, I got really excited about packing my hospital bag and packed it a month in advance. And then for the next month, I just added items to it until I had WAYYY too much stuff. Some of those items were completely useless (diapers) and since my bag was so full, I did miss some of the items that I really needed (face wipes, a phone charger).
Pregnancy brain is a real thing and in your last month of pregnancy, you have a lot going on, so it is REALLY easy to miss something when you go to pack your hospital bag for both mom and baby.
I had a c-section which means I was in the hospital a little bit longer than your average delivery stay, but I don’t actually think that changes much on what you pack in your hospital bag.
What our extra time in the hospital did make me realize is:
You do not want to be sending people to your house multiple times because you forgot to pack something.
And you don’t want to have so much stuff that the hospital has to find you a cart to clear out your room (guilty).
So what are the actual ESSENTIALS to pack in your hospital bag?
I would recommend having two small bags. One bag is just for mom and it is only the things you need for labor. The second back will be for baby and mom and will have the items you need for post-partum.
Leave the second bag in the car until after the baby arrives and you get checked into your post-partum room at the hospital. That way there is less for you to keep up with and worry about – because you will have just pushed out a baby so you will have your hands full.
Need to Skip Ahead?
You can download this entire checklist in PDF form by signing up for my email list with this form. That way you can print the list and use it as you back to ensure that you don’t add any extra stress to your delivery by forgetting something important in your hospital bag!
“Labor and Delivery Bag” Checklist
This bag should be small so don’t overpack! Most of what you need for this portion of your hospital stay will be provided to you by the hospital. In fact, for my c-section, I didn’t actually take anything in the hospital with me and the only thing I needed was a gown, which they supplied me.
But there are a few things that I know are pretty vital for natural labor!
- Chapstick/Lip Balm – This is the most recommended item when I ask my friends or Instagram Community what they would want to pack in their hospital bags.
- Snacks – These are for dad. And for you post delivery.
- No slip socks – Be prepared to part with these when it is all said and done.
- Hair ties
Things to leave at home:
- iPad, Books, Magazines – Unless you are going to be induced, you aren’t going to have a lot of time to kill. It is all pretty entertaining on its own and then once the baby is here, you won’t have any need for extra entertainment items because you are just going to stare at that little kiddo. Or sleep.
- Diapers, Wipes, Pacifiers – The hospital will supply you with all of those items, so don’t waste space in your bag!
- Your breast pump – If you do need to pump in the hospital, they will supply you with a pump (which will be hospital grade and fantastic). You will not need to lug that thing in and out of the hospital.
- Bottles or formula
- Multiple outfits – for you or baby. Don’t pack em because you won’t wear em.
“Post Delivery” Hospital Bag Checklist
Once all the fun of labor is over, you will likely be moved to a different room and someone can run out to the car and get your larger bag with the items for both mom and baby.
Essential Hospital Delivery Room Packing List for Mom:
- Long Phone Charger – Get this 6 ft one from Amazon (and get one for dad too – trust me)
- Sleep Mask – I wish I would have packed one the first time around, there are so many monitors with lights in your room it is impossible to get the room completely dark
- Your own Pillow or Blanket – The hospital provides both of these so you don’t have to bring one, but I always sleep better with my own pillow.
- Underwear (BIG ONES) – The hospital gives you some gorgeous mesh underwear, but you may want a pair of your own to leave the hospital in.
- Robe – I put on my robe after delivery and did not change out of it till we went home. I got this hospital gown the first time (great for nursing) but made a little upgrade to this Milkmaid Goods robe so I could match with baby boy for pictures.
- Nursing Bra – Pack a couple of these. I just wore them under my robe with those sexy mesh undies. I love the Kindred Bravely brand. Very comfortable.
- Nursing pads – Highly recommend these Bamboobies. They held up so well during my year of breastfeeding.
- Minimal Makeup – Moisturizer, mascara and a CC cream or light foundation. You won’t feel like putting on a whole face but you may want to look a little refreshed for pictures and guests.
- Makeup wipes – You may not have a full face washing in you, but makeup removing wipes will feel really great.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hairbrush and dry shampoo – you are not going to feel like styling your hair so leave any hot tools and the blow dryer at home. If you are having a scheduled c-section, go ahead and get a blow out the day before you deliver. I didn’t wash my hair while I was in the hospital and my hospital had a shower cap for me to use to keep my hair dry during that first shower after delivery. You can see all of my favorite time-saving hair products in this post!
- No slip socks – Bring a couple of pairs and be prepared to still feel like you should part with them after walking on a hospital floor
- White Noise Machine – You can also use an app on your phone if you don’t want to pack something extra. After having a toddler, we are addicted to falling asleep with white noise, so we need that soothing ocean noise to get any shut-eye.
- Sandals for the shower
- Nursing Cover – this is nice to have to cover up quickly when visitors come.
- Outfit to leave the hospital in – I recommend a dress or sweats, not leggings. Don’t make my mistake and bring pre-pregnancy jeans because you think everything is going to snap back to normal in 48 hours.
Optional Items to Pack for the Hospital
- Bellefit Girdle – If you have a c-section a compression girdle may be really helpful. This will help you feel more stable as you start to recover. I have also heard that it helps your body bounce back quicker, but I haven’t tested that theory myself.
- Sibling Present – If this is not your first baby, it is nice for young siblings to “get a gift from the baby”. We got our daughter a teddy bear and a coloring book from her new baby brother and she loved it. Our hospital also delivered cake to the room for older siblings and she told everyone that her baby brother got her cake when he was born!
- Letterboard – I would say this is EXTREMELY optional, but many people love getting that baby announcement Instagram pic with a letter board. They are cute shots, but I really don’t know when you find the time to put that together! Maybe grandma can do it?
- Diffuser – If using oils is going to help you relax and stay calm, then, by all means, bring it.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Baby
The things you need for your baby should be able to fit in your large back or in dad’s bag. You really don’t need much because the hospital supplies pretty much everything you need. So just focus on bringing what you need to go home and any items that you want to bring for special pictures.
- Boppy Nursing Pillow
- Socks – We forgot these with our DECEMBER baby. The nurses were very skeptical about our preparedness as parents.
- Carseat – Leave this in the car until right before you need to leave, but you will need to bring it in. Our nurses made sure we had a car seat before they would discharge us.
- Outfit for pictures – And by outfit, I mean a cute onesie. We have packed a monogrammed one in our bag for each of our kids.
- Coming home outfit – Be sure that this is seasonally appropriate!
If you are packing more than 3 outfits for your newborn, you are overpacking. It is actually pretty amazing how little those babies need aside from just needing their mama. It is incredible that you are really all your child needs and it will be so special to spend that time with them.
Want to be sure you don’t forget anything? Download this printable Hospital Bag Checklist PDF to use as you pack!
Did I leave anything off? Let me know in the comments! And if you need to save this post for later, pin it to your Pinterest board so you don’t forget to pack something vital!