Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom & Baby: What You REALLY Need
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As a pregnant mom, a hospital bag checklist for you and your baby can be life saver.
You can stop worrying about forgetting the essentials, and say goodbye to over packing. Hooray!
When I went in to labor, I arrived at the hospital at 2 am and I remember throwing a few key items in my bag at the last minute. Thankfully, we lived close enough to the hospital that if we really did forget anything, my husband could run home and grab what we needed.
Unfortunately, we moved!
That means the next time I find myself headed to the hospital I need to make sure I’m prepared. And that means a hospital bag checklist for mom and baby is right up my alley!
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Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby
If you want to skip right ahead and grab the free printable hospital bag for labor checklist just click here!
I’ve included a list of hospital bag “must haves” and “nice to haves” – as some things are really about personal preference. If you’re a minimalist mom, just focus on your hospital bag must haves.
I also broke the list down in three parts
- Hospital Bag for Labor – the stuff you actually need during labor
- Hospital Bag for Mom – the stuff you’ll want after you deliver your baby
- Baby Hospital Bag – what your little one will need
- Hospital Bag Items for Dad – a few things you should have along for dad
What Your Hospital Will Probably Supply
Thankfully, most hospitals will supply you with some basics during your time at the hospital. These aren’t just for you, but your baby too!
It’s always a good idea to check with your hospital to see if they supply a list of items they provide during your labor and delivery hospital stay. This will help you know what to pack and what you can leave at home.
Here’s what your hospital will probably have on hand for moms:
- Those Fancy Mesh Underwear you’ve heard so much about (they really are SO GREAT post labor!)
- Dermaplast (numbing spray)
- Tucks Pads (numbing/cooling pads)
- A Peri Bottle for Washing (because wiping with toilet paper will be a big no-no!)
- A Robe or Hospital Gown
- Shampoo & Soap
- Medications (for pain and to soften stool as needed)
Here’s what your hospital will probably have for your baby:
- Diapers & Wipes
- Nose Sucker
- Baby Soap
- Outfits for while your baby is at the hospital
- SleepSack or Swaddle
Hospital Bag for Labor
Some women labor for hours, while others end up barely making it to the hospital!
If this is your first birth, VeryWellFamily says the average length of active labor is 8 hours. Keep in mind, this is just an average! Some women will progress through labor much more quickly, while others may take longer.
Due to varying labor times, and the excitement that occurs, you really won’t need much in your hospital bag for labor.
Hair ties for labor are a MUST.
If you have short hair I’d opt for a headband.
While every mom’s labor experience is different, there’s a good chance you’ll get sweaty – and having your hair in your face is one of the last things you’ll feel like dealing with.
Since your labor time can be so unpredictable, it’s a great idea to bring something to pass the time.
You’ll be encouraged to rest, but sometimes, you’re just too excited (or uncomfortable) to rest!
So whether it’s a book, music, or watching a movie with your spouse – grab a little something to throw in your bag in case you have some downtime waiting for baby’s arrival.
Hospital Bag for Mom
I’m not talking about your favorite cute leggings either. While comfortable is key, don’t forget about those mega mesh underwear and pads you’ll be wearing. Not the most flattering look under your leggings.
If something is truly your favorite, you should think hard about whether you want to bring it to wear. It’s a very real reality that your body is healing and you might be leaking blood postpartum.
Be sure that you bring clothes that you’re happy being photographed in. Chances are you’ll have pictures and visitors coming to see you and your sweet new baby!
Here’s the clothing breakdown:
2-3 pairs of pants
Pajamas that are Breastfeeding Friendly
Shoes – Slippers and Flip Flops
I wore my robe so often after delivery. It was way more cozy and soft than the one provided by the hospital. Getting in your own clothes, even just your robe, can help you feel so much more like yourself right away.
Nursing Bra & Nursing Sleepshirt
If you’re choosing to breastfeed, make sure you pack nursing bra and nursing tank to sleep in. Getting up to feed your baby during the night is a new experience, and you’ll want to make it as easy as possible! My favorite and the most comfortable nursing tank I found was from Target. I found it a few months after starting to breastfeed and wish I had it right away when I was in the hospital.
Phone & Charger
Whether you’re texting your mom updates or sending sweet newborn pictures to everyone in your phone, you’ll want to have your phone handy and charged.
For all those brand new baby moments, make sure you bring your camera.
Make a small bag for your basic toiletries – from deodorant, to shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, a tooth brush, and even chap stick! I promise, even though the hospital has these things, it just feels SO good to use your own.
There’s a good chance you won’t need these in the hospital, but for some women your breast milk can come in quite quickly. Grab a few nursing pads and stash them in your bag. They’re small and easy to pack in your hospital bag! These are so soft and my absolute favorite!
I had my husband run home and grab this nipple cream and bring it back to the hospital for me! Breastfeeding is an adjustment and chances are you’ll be a little sore when you first get started.
Breast Cooling Pads
As I mentioned above, it takes a few days for your breasts to adjust to a baby nursing! My lactation consultant brought me two of these gel cooling pads and I could have hugged her! Oh, the relief! And they’re reusable! These will definitely be on my hospital bag checklist next time around. For more breastfeeding and nursing tips check out these 17 Breastfeeding Hacks!
Make Up Bag/Hair Tools
If make up and styling your hair isn’t your normal routine, definitely skip these! For me, however, I was so glad to have my make up bag and products to keep my frizzy hair in control. Keep in mind you’ll probably have a lot of visitors and pictures taken while you’re in the hospital.
Having a baby is HARD WORK. You and your husband are going to love having some snacks tucked away for when you get hungry between meals.
Baby Hospital Bag
Coming Home Outfit
Whether it’s a cozy onesie or an adorable coming home outfit (check out these cute ones on Etsy!), your little one will need something cozy to wear home from the hospital.
Car Seat Installed and Ready to Go
This is an absolute hospital bag checklist MUST. Before you can take your baby home, you’ll have to have a car seat installed and ready to go. If you’re having a baby in the winter, be sure to have a blanket or cozy cover (we loved this one!) to keep your new baby warm and snug.
Hospital Bag for Dad, Too
While labor and delivery seems to focus pretty heavily on moms and babies, we can’t forget about the dads! While dads don’t need to worry about packing and not leaving the hospital, there are still a few essential items that should be in the hospital bag for dad.
The amount really depends on how long your husband is planning to stay at the hospital. If he’s never leaving your side, he should pack clothes for 2-3 days. If he plans to go home and sleep there, just an extra set is a great idea!
Phone & Charger
Whether you’re taking pictures or updating family, you’ll want your phone somewhere nearby!
Pillow & Blanket
While the hospital likely has a couch for your husband, odds are it isn’t going to be the most comfortable. If you have time, grab a pillow and blanket – you never know what time you are going to deliver!
While this is totally not a necessity for your hospital bag checklist, some labors are LONG. It can be a great idea to have something to pass the time and help distract you during labor.
Gifts for OB Nurses After Delivery
If you’re choosing to give a gift to your OB nurses who will care for you during labor and delivery, you don’t want to forget it at home.
Hospital Bag Necessities
While there are definitely some key items that belong in your hospital bag, try not to stress about packing your hospital bag for labor. Anything that is truly a necessity is supplied by the hospital or can be brought to you.
Just pack your bag a few weeks before your due date, use the hospital bag checklist, and excitedly await your new baby!