Hospital Bag Checklist |What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Mom & Baby

*This Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist | 17 Items You Need + 4 You Don’t! was first published October 2017 and updated July 2020.

As you prep for your baby to arrive there’s so many things to do – decorate the nursery, buy all the baby gear, wash all the onesies and pack your hospital bag! As a new mom it can be hard to know what to pack in your hospital bag. As a mom of 3, I’ve perfected my hospital bag checklist to share with you!

Use this simple maternity hospital bag checklist of essentials for mom and baby to reduce any stress and feel prepared before delivery! The last thing you want to do during labor is run around the house between contractions trying to fill a hospital bag.

Print off this free printable Hospital Bag Checklist (at the bottom of the post), and get yourself organized and ready to have your baby! Read on to find out when you should pack your hospital bag too.

**Keep scrolling – #5 in the optional items saved me for my last 2 babies!

What should I pack in my hospital bag?

When it actually came time to use the things I packed, I realized that most of the lists included WAY more than you actually need, and most of them didn’t have things that I actually wanted during labor and postpartum!

hospital bag checklist when having a baby

Thankfully, we live 5 minutes from the hospital, so Rishi ended up going home and getting a few things that I actually wanted. (One thing specifically was a pair of leggings!)

I wanted to share the things that I used to help you start a hospital bag checklist for yourself!

Each person is different, so some of the things on my list may not resonate with you, but I hope it helps you when figuring out what to pack in your hospital bag. Use this as a starting point when you go to pack. Then add things you can’t live without and don’t pack things you never use.

Another thing to note – each hospital is different and everyone’s insurance is different. It never hurts to call your hospital to see if they provide diapers, nipple cream, etc. and your insurance company to see what they cover during your stay!

When should you pack your hospital bag?

Ideally, you should start packing your hospital bag for labor when you are about 36 or 37 weeks along. You want to make sure you have a start just in case you go into labor early.

I like to get my hospital bag out early and fill it with all the essentials I won’t need in the meantime while waiting for baby to come. Then I put my hospital bag checklist printable (find it at the bottom of this post!) on top of it with everything I’ve packed checked off, so I can easily see what I still need to put in it.

I’ll also put notes on where to find things or if there’s anything else I want to bring with to the hospital. This helps put my mind at ease that my husband can take care of it if needed or that I won’t forget something if the contractions come on quickly!

So without further ado, here’s a hospital bag checklist for you and baby!

Hospital bag checklist for mom and baby!

hospital bag checklist for mom and baby

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What to pack in hospital bag for mom

First things first – pack your hospital bag for labor!

1. Nursing bra and/or nursing tank

Bring a nursing bra or nursing tank (or both if this is your first baby). This is helpful if you’re planning on breastfeeding, especially if you have visitors! I really loved the Bravado brand of nursing bras.

I wore a nursing tank by itself a lot of the time (even while nursing I don’t have large boobs, so I don’t need much support). Side note: I wear nursing tanks to bed while our babies are breastfeeding overnight. It’s easier to keep nursing pads in them (I leak the most overnight and in the mornings), so I always buy quite a few of these!

I bought this nursing tank before the birth of our 3rd baby, and it was by far my favorite. It’s super comfortable and slimming. I felt like it kept everything in place better and didn’t bunch up like the cotton styles!

2. Nursing cover

You may not use a nursing cover while in the hospital, but it’s nice to have – especially ones that double as a car seat cover (like Milk Snob‘s below). We seemed to always leave the hospital when the weather was gross (even in June and August!) so we used this when we were outside getting in and out of the car.

Again, not a necessity, but it’s nice to have!

hospital bag for labor  – black white stripe milk snob nursing cover and baby bling bow

3. Leggings

I brought sweatpants when I had Roy but wanted leggings after delivery so the ice pack/pad/witch hazel sandwich in my mesh undies stayed up where it was supposed to. I found that they kinda sagged down a bit when I wore sweatpants. No sense in using all that postpartum stuff if it’s not going to stay where it’s supposed to!

I brought these Girlfriend Collective leggings and wore them for all 3 of my deliveries! I lived in these! They’re not only amazing for post-pregnancy but they’re one of my go-to leggings for working out.

4. Outfit to go home in

You’ll want a comfortable outfit to go home in that’s different than what you arrived in. Ideally, pick something loose or stretchy since you’ll still look quite a few months pregnant and your pre-pregnancy pants likely won’t fit yet! I stick with leggings and a flowy tank (with a cardigan during the cooler months).

5. Robe

Robes are ideal for when guests pop in so you don’t flash them! 😉 When I’m in the hospital, I typically wear my nursing tank and a robe over it. That way the nurses are still able to see what they need to see, you’re able to breastfeed easily and the robe keeps you covered when you need to be.

Pink Blush has a million really cute delivery robes. If you’re going to be in bed with mesh undies on when visitors stop in, you might as well look as cute as can be in a fun robe, right? 😉

pink blush maternity robe - hospital bag checklist
robe – hospital bag checklist for mom

6. Slippers

With my first two babies, I wasn’t a huge fan of walking around the room barefoot and didn’t want to wear socks all the time.

I brought these Ugg slippers because they have a hard sole (and come in a million colors ). They’ve been perfect for the hospital (and at home!). I’ve had mine for almost 4 years now, and they’re still in amazing shape!

With my 3rd baby, I wore socks the entire time and didn’t even use my slippers! I brought big, thick socks that were super cozy and didn’t take them off. 🙂

things you need to pack in your hospital bag when you're having a baby!

7. Sweatshirt that zips or cardigan style

This style of top keeps the easy access to nurse but perfect if you are chilly and the robe isn’t warm enough. This is another item Rishi brought back with him that I didn’t originally pack!

8. Toiletries

Toothpaste, toothbrush, contacts/glasses, shampoo, small loofah, etc. I like bringing my own travel shampoo and conditioner, but most hospitals have stuff for you to use!

One thing I especially liked having was a loofah to scrub off all the aftermath of labor. I needed a good scrubbing to feel clean!

9. Hair product + flat iron/curling iron

Totally personal preference on this! I brought product to allow my hair to air dry but also a flat iron because I know I would get annoyed by my crazy cowlicks if I didn’t do something with them.

If you’re someone who does your hair every single day, my guess is you’ll want to do it at the hospital. If you’re someone who never does their hair, chances are you aren’t going to starting doing it with a newborn!

I also brought my hair dryer because the ones the hospital had weren’t very good quality.

10. Makeup

Same as above with regards to it being personal preference!

I brought my “everyday makeup” – foundation, blush, mascara (although with Penelope I got eyelash extensions, so no need for mascara!). Basically, I wanted to feel more like myself, especially for photos.

You may want your entire makeup kit or you may be fine with just some face lotion. Do what you feel most comfortable with and what will help you feel like yourself!

What you need to pack in your hospital bag when you have a baby!

11. Phone charger

You really don’t want to have a dead phone! 😉 If you have an Apple Watch, etc. don’t forget to bring those chargers too.

12. Camera

If you have a nice camera and know how to use it, bring it with you! I like to have some photos of our babies in the hospital, so I bring mine with.

If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, don’t bother bringing it. The last thing you need is to get frustrated taking a photo right after you just birthed a baby! 🙂

13. Computer/iPad/magazine

You may have downtime, so bring stuff to pass the time. Our hospital didn’t have Netflix on their TVs yet, so we watched things on our computer.

If you use a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime, download a few shows or movies to your device ahead of time just in case you don’t have strong WiFi at the hospital. You’ll likely want it to be light, feel-good or funny – nothing too dramatic or heavy.

No need to over-pack entertainment though, as it may go untouched.

14. Extension cord

Your outlet might be far from the bed, so I would throw one in your hospital bag – just in case! Nobody wants a dead phone at 2am when you’re up with your baby because the outlet was too far!

What to pack in hospital bag for baby

You won’t need a ton for your new baby! When I was pregnant with Roy (our first), I brought a diaper bag full of everything you might possibly need for babies. That was overkill. This is what you actually need in your hospital bag for delivery for your new baby!

Check out this video for ways to organize all your baby stuff!

1. An installed car seat

Unless you have a giant hospital room, I wouldn’t bring the car seat in until you’re getting ready to leave, but be sure it’s installed and ready to go! With all of our babies, my husband brings our bags to the car and brings in the car seat right before we get discharged. That way we’re not leaving with all of our stuff, and we don’t have to have our car seat in our tiny room.

*We love our Nuna Pipa car seat for newborns! It’s one of the lightest car seats on the market, weighing less than 8 pounds! I highly recommend getting an extra base if you have 2 cars!

2. A going home outfit

To be real, we actually had pajamas for each of the kids as their “going home outfit”.  They’re just squished into a car seat anyway, so you can’t really see what it is.

You’ll just likely need something other than the white onesie shirts the hospital gives you (if that’s what your hospital uses), especially if it’s winter when you deliver!

3. An outfit to take your “we had a baby” announcement in

We get our kids “Hi. I’m ___” onesies from Hi.Little.One, and take their photo in the hospital to post on social media.

I can’t wait to share news (and I am capable enough to take a few photos myself), which is why we do it in the hospital.

If you want to do a proper photo shoot with your new baby when you get home, then definitely don’t bring this outfit to the hospital. One thing to note – I actually had our firstborn in his custom onesie when they took him to do some tests on him and he came back without it and they couldn’t find it! If the nurses or doctors need to run any tests on your baby, I would take it off. 😉

things for hospital when having baby - including a personalized onesie!

Optional items for your hospital bag

1. Breastfeeding pillow (Boppy/Brest Friend pillow/etc.)

I bought one and used it in the hospital but then never really used it at home. If you think you’re going to use it, then I suggest bringing it, and the lactation consultants can help you figure out how to use it.

They’re pretty big, though, and you can always use pillows at the hospital instead of bringing in your own breastfeeding pillow.

2. Your own pillow

If you need your own pillow to get any sleep, then definitely bring it. You can always ask for more pillows.

3. Eye mask

If you need pitch black to sleep, this will come in handy! There are always random lights on in our hospital room!

4. Hemorrhoid cream

I got really bad hemorrhoids during childbirth with Roy and hated waiting for the hemorrhoid cream to be ordered and delivered! I’m bringing my own, so I can apply it right away if I get them again. 🙂

My hospital provided me with Tucks pads for both deliveries, but I’m not sure all do. I also bought some for home since they help a lot!

*Update: with Penelope and Miles I didn’t actually get hemorrhoids so I didn’t need it! Regardless, I was glad I had it just in case!

5. Nipple covers for sore nipples (if breastfeeding)

My boobs were starting to get really sore and painful like they did with Roy, and I didn’t want to go through the week or two of intense pain like I did with Roy, so I mentioned it to my nurse.

She quickly came back with these amazing nipple covers and this lanolin ointment to use and let me tell you, it saved me! I actually used them both for about a month and had zero issues with pain.

For what it’s worth, I brought the nipple covers to the hospital with me for my 3rd baby! My breastfeeding experience was a night and day difference between my first and second. I contribute a lot of that to not having sore nipples!

If you plan on breastfeeding, I highly recommend asking for these at the hospital if you start feeling pain or soreness, or just getting them right now and bringing them with! I now recommend them to all my friends!

Things you don’t need in your hospital bag

1. Diapers/wipes

With Roy, I brought diapers and wipes with me. All of the lists I found said I need them!!

Well, turns out, the hospital has plenty of these for you to use and they sent us home with a ton, which makes sense – ha! After each kid, the nurses gave us bags of baby items including tons of diapers to bring home!

If you’re nervous about this, just call the hospital where you plan on delivering to ask them! This is another thing you could ask your insurance about as well.

2. Nipple cream

Again, the hospital has lots of nipple cream for you to use. And more importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for it! I didn’t really know they had things to help until after having Penelope.

I’m not sure if the hospital charges more than Amazon or Target for these items, so it’s something to think about.

My hospital sent me home with tons of little sample tubes of nipple cream, so there was zero charge for them! It was also great because I put them everywhere (diaper bag, bedside table, car) for whenever my nipples were feeling sore.

3. Tons of clothes for baby

You don’t need to bring a ton of clothes for your newborn! If it’s anything like our hospital, they will be in little white snap shirts and swaddles that the hospital provides most of the time!

We put Roy in a onesie for a photo, and when they took him to a check up we never got it back (like I mentioned above). I would just wait until you’re ready to go home before you put them in special clothes!

4. Nice clothes for yourself

Post birth is pretty nasty. Until you’ve showered, you likely won’t want to wear anything nice that might get ruined. I honestly just wore the same comfortable leggings and nursing tank the whole time I was in the hospital.

I put it on after I shower (I usually shower the morning after I delivered) and then change into something fresh to go home (mostly because we don’t go straight home and have to pick up our other kids/dog before heading home).

What to pack in hospital bag for your partner or support person

You have a lot to think about when it comes to labor and delivery, so let your partner or support person pack their own bag! 😉 All you need to do is copy and paste the link to this post and send it off to them. They’ll get the hint!

But just like it’s likely your first time having a baby, it’s likely your partner’s first time at this as well. Here are a few things they should consider bringing.

1. Snacks!

Mom may not be able to eat anything after you arrive at the hospital, but depending on how long labor is, your partner’s likely to get hungry! Packing some protein bars, pretzels or trail mix, dried or fresh fruit and maybe even some sweets will be helpful – both if your labor is extra long and also after the baby arrives! I loved having fresh fruit to munch on after our babies were born so that was always a must.

Our hospital had a snack station for patients and support people. When I was in labor with Roy it took quite a while, so our sweet nurses convinced Rishi to go eat a snack or two so he could have enough energy to support me during pushing. By our third baby Rishi got smart and ordered a meal via BiteSquad to bring to the hospital! He ate it while my mom and I walked around the hospital to get things moving.

2. Comfy clothes

There’s a lot of sitting around at the hospital both during labor and after the baby is born. Bringing a pair of cozy joggers and a comfy shirt will help your partner or support person be a bit more comfortable.

3. Toiletries

Just like in the mom’s list, your partner will need to pack up toothpaste, contacts/glasses, and anything else they may need to spend a day or a few days in the hospital.

4. Phone/camera/phone charger

Both of you don’t want your phone to die or worse, to forget it! I relied on Rishi to snap a few photos of the process and to text updates to family members.

5. A pillow

Just like above, if you’re picky about your pillow, you should bring it with! You can always leave it in the car and grab it after the baby is born and you’re settled into your recovery room.

{Pin this hospital bag checklist pin to reference later and to help other soon-to-be new mamas!}

Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom and Baby! What needs to be in the hospital bag.

You may disagree with some of the things on this hospital bag checklist, and I might be missing a few obvious things!

My biggest takeaway from having Roy was I really didn’t need a whole lot other than my daily essentials, which helped me feel like myself.

People who visit are likely very close friends and family and don’t expect to see you in your Sunday best, so plan for comfort! They’re likely going to be paying more attention to the newborn anyway. 🙂

Also, do your research! Call your hospital and ask if they have things like swaddles, diapers, etc. for you to use. Every hospital is different.

And definitely call your insurance company to see what they cover. If your insurance isn’t the best or you don’t have it, you can always consider bringing things like ibuprofen or nipple cream with you so you don’t have additional costs. A few phone calls can be very beneficial in the long run.

Hospital Bag Checklist Free Printable

Here is an easy-to-use Hospital Bag Checklist to download and print off!

hospital bag checklist free printable

What’s on your hospital bag checklist when having a baby?

Share with us what was on your hospital bag checklist that I missed! What was your favorite thing you had in your hospital bag or what did you forget that you needed?

Thanks for reading and following along! Be sure to check out one of my favorite posts, 8 Things To Do In Your Baby’s First Year or 15 Mom Hacks to Make Your Life Easier!

Now what?

Now that you know what to pack in your hospital bag, next up is what do you need for after you get home from the hospital? The 25 items below are exactly what I picked up for our 3rd baby. Be sure to start stocking up on your new mom survival kit!

new mom survival kit

I hope these posts help you!

With love,

Jen

14 thoughts on “Hospital Bag Checklist |What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Mom & Baby”

  1. As a labor & delivery nurse, I have to say that this is the BEST list I’ve seen! Far too many moms come in overpacked and don’t even use 1/2 the stuff they packed because the hospital provides it or they simply just don’t need it. Often times moms will dress babies in their own clean clothes or blankets and babies spit up on them within a few hours anyway… it creates more work for them once they go home and have to wash everything. This list has everything you REALLY need. I don’t know why people assume hospitals don’t have pads, ice packs, or even underwear. I don’t work in the most up-scale hospital in the area but we do provide comfy disposable undies. Who wants to worry about washing 5 pairs of bloody underwear when they come home with a new baby? Not me! If anything, call the maternity ward you’re planning to give birth in to ask what they supply, don’t get stuck dragging 3 suitcases when you can get by with one duffle bag! I love this list for having things the hospital actually won’t supply on them, and will refer all my pregnant friends to this list!

    Reply
  2. I would add snacks. The hospital had food but I was happy to have a box of my favorite oat bar so I could eat right after delivery, in the middle of the night, and to curb my appetite anytime I was waiting for food.

    Reply
    • I totally agree! I packed a variety of snacks and was so glad to have them when I gave birth in the middle of the night and the cafeteria was closed. Not to mention the 2 following nights when I was up all hours of the night starving from breastfeeding around the clock!

      Reply
  3. Love your list! We are having baby #3 in a few weeks and I’ve been refreshing my memory on all things baby. There is one thing that was a must bring for me and that was the baby book, my wonderful nurses would put the babies foot prints in the book for me while they did all of the baby measurements.

    Reply
  4. This is definitely the best list!! Thank you so much! I’m definitely going over my hospital bag and checking it against this list! Again, best one yet and so accurate! This is my second baby and I wish I’d seen a list like this for my first! Love it and thank you!

    Reply
  5. The only one I disagree with is the wipes and diapers as it really depends on the country you live in and/or the hospital you deliver at. Here in Australia, we had to bring our own pads, wipes and diapers. So I’d say make sure to ask what the hospital will provide for you and baby and not just assume they will or you could be painfully disappointed.

    Reply
  6. I would add chapstick and cough drops. I never knew that I would yell/groan during painful contractions. My throat was hoarse! And snacks for your partner too!

    Reply
  7. One thing we found really useful that isn’t on the list (in addition to snacks) was a travel sound machine. It helped baby (who was used to the noises of the womb) to get a little sleep at night, and it helped my husband and I sleep through some of the weird hospital noises. Other than that, I agree that most lists have way too much on them. I usually brought my kindle so it helped me stay awake for all those nighttime nursing sessions (I’m not a big tv watcher). I get a lot of hospital visitors (family), so I really like to have my nursing cover with me. I’m currently packing my hospital bag for our 4th baby, and this list matches mine pretty well!

    Reply
  8. This is totally not a suggestion but more of a pro-tip. I had all 3 of my babies without any pain medication but afterward I was so swollen. It took my nurse over 3 hours to get approval for Motrin and another hour for the pharmacy to bring it up. Then the hospital charged me $200 for 2 pills. After that I started packing my own and taking a couple tablets as soon as my babies were born. Btw, it is against most hospital policies to take OTC meds without doctor direction so do this at your own discretion..

    Reply

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