Simplify your delivery with my stress-free hospital bag checklist. Learn what to pack for mom, baby, and partner for a comfortable hospital stay.
You’re nearing the end of your pregnancy and it’s getting sooooo real! It’s exciting.
But figuring out the hospital bag checklist? That’s when some anxiety starts to trickle in. What do you pack? When do you pack? How much is too much?
As a mama who’s been there quite a few times now, let me assure you that it doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember, you’re having a baby, not planning a vacation. Keep it simple.
While I get the temptation to pack everything but the kitchen sink because you’re worried that you’re forgetting something for the big day… it’s not necessary.
Don’t pack 87 extra things “just in case”. Focus on the essentials for the delivery of your baby.
Figuring out what to pack in your hospital bag can be such a fun part of being pregnant! Stick to the basics that I outline below and it’s sure to be a stress-free experience.
Now, let’s get to making your ultimate hospital bag checklist! I’ve even included sections for you, your partner, and your baby who will be making their grand entrance very soon!
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
First things first – WHEN do you pack your hospital bag? You’ll get a wide variety of answers if you ask around.
The best time to pack your hospital bag will be around the 8-month mark of your pregnancy. You’re still comfortable enough to plan what to pack while also being close enough to your due date that it feels real.
I want to really emphasize not to wait until last minute like I have too many times. Because y’all — the last thing you want to be doing is running around the house frazzled as you’re contracting.
You 10000% will forget things that way.
Not to mention you want to be prepared in case of preterm labor where your baby decides to make an early appearance! (Fingers crossed you don’t have to worry about this part of it!)
Packing early will give you peace of mind AND you’re less likely to grab random crap you don’t actually need. Overpacking is a lot less likely this way. A frazzled state of mind will think you need EVERYTHING “just in case” (spoiler: you don’t).
Trust me, nothing says panic like trying to decide if you need your entire makeup collection while you’re having contractions. Been there, done that, wouldn’t recommend.
Instead, take your time. Sit down with your favorite drink and really think through what will serve you best. Be intentional. My recommendations are just that – recommendations. Use it as a guide while you plan out anything not mentioned you think you might want.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
Now let’s get to the real reason you clicked on the post, shall we? What on earth do you ACTUALLY need?!
A few things, but not as much as you might think.
Important Documents and IDs
If you registered for birth ahead of time, you might not actually need all these things. But it’s good to have them just in case there’s a problem.
Consider bringing the following:
- Photo ID or driver’s license
- Insurance card
- Hospital paperwork you’ve prefilled
- A list of prescription medications
- A copy of your birth plan if you have one
Next is comfortable clothing. I’m willing to be 80% of first time moms overpack this as it’s sooooo easy to do. As much as you think you’ll need… you need less.
You’ll need these essential clothing items:
- A going-home outfit that’s loose but comfy
- Non-skid socks or slippers of choice
Literally. That’s it. That’s the list. If you want to, you can also bring your own gown and a robe. But you seriously don’t need that much as far as comfortable clothes go.
Toiletries is another area where I’ve seen many overpack. You don’t need a curling iron or an entire line of makeup. Seriously.
You’ll want some things like:
- Extra hair ties (seriously the only thing I’ve ever regretted not bringing)
- Shampoo and body wash (my local hospital sat with the baby while I took a shower)
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Lip balm or Carmex
- Any daily medications you take
You may also want face wash or some other basic skincare items. But I don’t use those so I didn’t include them here.
Depending on your personal preferences, you might also want some personal items for comfort. Be careful not to overpack here.
Consider things like:
- Your favorite pillow
- A soft blanket for warmth
- A few healthy snacks
- Water bottle
- Cell phone charger
- A good book or two
There might be a few other things you want to include but be careful of overpacking. You won’t be there long enough to need to bring a bunch of extras. I chose to bring my iPad so I could draw in procreate, but that was definitely an extra, not one of my essential items. It might be a good option to consider bringing your own pillow, though.
The hospital staff is going to provide a lot of items as far as postpartum care items. But there’s going to be a few things you’ll want to consider.
A couple of suggestions might be:
- Nipple cream if you plan to breastfeed
- Cooling pads with witch hazel
Most postpartum care items will be best suited after you return home. The hospital is going to provide pads, disposable underwear, a peri bottle, etc. I’ll cover more on this in another post as most of that is going to pertain to the weeks following your return home.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
Next, let’s discuss packing for your new arrival – that precious little baby! Or, babies? While it’s tempting to pack everything under the sun here… I stress on the true essentials here.
The hospital will provide a lot so you don’t need much.
For clothing, focus on what you’ll need for the return home. If you want some extras for super cute pictures, have at it. But I’ve never felt the need for those extras.
My suggestion is as follows:
- 1-2 outfits to bring baby home in. I suggest NB and 0-3 sizes just in case you give birth to a bigger baby. The hospital will provide some clothes though so don’t worry about what they’ll wear after birth.
- Socks or booties to wear home will be helpful to keep warm.
The hospital will provide a lot of clothing, blankets, hats, etc so you really don’t need to worry about much here.
Feeding and Comfort
Again, the hospital will provide a lot here but it can vary depending on what your preferences are. I breastfeed my babies so I won’t bring really anything at all for this category.
You might consider the following:
- Specific pacifiers you prefer (but the hospital provide awesome options)
- Specific blankets you want to have (again, the hospital will provide these so this is optional)
- Specific diapers or wipes you want to have
- Preferred breast pump (I usually avoid this for the first 12 weeks while supply comes in but I’ve heard others prefer to bring this)
- Nursing pillow (I thought about bringing this before since pillows are annoying to handle, but this is definitely an extra item)
I also want to note that it’s a good idea to have the infant car seatinstalled and ready to go! You’ll want this done before you get there so everything goes smoothly. Make sure to have it checked by a technician as well.
The hospital provides quite a bit for baby so if there’s anything you think you’ll need, be sure to ask your local hospital. This section largely comes down to personal preference so just think about what you’d like to have with you that the hospital won’t provide.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Your Birth Partner
We can’t forget the partners who will be sitting by our side, now can we? They might be pacing the room, offering encouragement, or letting us squeeze the life out of their hands LOL.
There are a few basic things they’ll want to have as well, so make sure to pack these!
The majority of your partner’s packing list will be focused on basic needs. They really won’t need much but there’s no reason they can’t be comfortable!
A few options include:
- A change of clothes or two
- Basic toiletries such as toothbrush and deodorant
- Slippers or no-skid socks
- Phone chargers
- A pillow and blanket if they plan to stay overnight with you
There really isn’t a whole lot they will need and they can easily go grab some things if needed, but this is a good starting point!
They may also want a few support items to help them through the journey of being your support person.
Some other things might include:
- High energy snacks such as granola bars
- Cash or a credit card for late-night vending machine runs
- Entertainment options like books or movies
Our local hospital was awesome and provided meal options for my husband. I don’t know if this is common though so be sure to check in advance and plan accordingly. You want to make sure you can cover the cost if needed!
What Not to Pack
As I wrap up this hospital bag checklist, I want to make a note of things that you really don’t need to pack. It’s common to want to bring things “just in case” but I encourage you to leave a few things behind.
Unnecessary items might include:
- Valuables such as your wedding ring
- A full collection of makeup or skincare items (a few basics will suffice)
- Excessive amounts of baby clothes (just enough to wear home)
- Diapers, wipes, swaddles, etc (unless you have specific preferences)
- Wipe warmers
- Most postpartum care items
As a last reminder, check with your local hospital to see what they provide. My experience may not be the same as yours so make sure there isn’t anything extra you need to supply!
I want to really emphasize that less is more when it comes to making your hospital bag checklist. You don’t need a lot and if you pack more than you need, it can just complicate things.
Focus on the bare essentials and providing comfort for your new family as your due date approaches.
If your local hospital is anywhere near as great as mine, they will provide lots of things for you and your baby! Most things will go unused until you get home.
Focus on bonding with your new baby once they arrive. Until then, have a peace of mind that you won’t need much.
I hope this handy checklist is helpful as you prepare for a wonderful delivery experience!