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When it comes to what to pack in your hospital bag, it can be easy to go overboard. Although it’s important that you are fully prepared, you don’t want to come into the hospital carrying a huge suitcase.
Once you know the important things to pack, it will also ease your mind and lessen the stress of making sure you have everything ready for the big day.
First of all, you should check your hospital or birthing center for the things that they will be providing you during your stay. They will differ of course depending on the hospital but most of the time, they will be providing you with the essentials.
You can also take a tour beforehand to really get a feel of the place and also to inquire about what items they can provide, and what they won’t. Usually, hospitals will provide things for the baby like diapers, wipes, swaddle and receiving blankets, baby shirts, hats, mittens, formula, bottles and pacifiers.
What does the hospital provide?
Hospitals may provide mothers things like hospital gowns, pillows, maxi pads, postpartum mesh underwear, an abdominal binder (if you get a c-section), ice packs, towels, breast feedings support, and pain relief medication.
Keep in mind though that even when you can get these things at the hospital (you could be charged as well), you might still prefer to bring your own products, especially if you have specific and special needs/requirements.
When to pack your hospital bag
It is recommended to have your bags packed and ready at 35 weeks. This means you should start the packing process around 30 weeks to give you time to order some things you might need and it will also give you an allowance in case your due date comes earlier than expected.
When you go into labor the last thing you want to worry about is what to pack in your hospital bag so make it easier on yourself and get it packed earlier!
The first thing you will need is an actual bag to pack everything in! You may want to use a travel duffle bug or you can also use a small carry on suitcase so you would just need to roll it instead of carrying it.
A two-piece set like this one has an extra bag for your baby’s things and you can just put it on top of your suitcase for easy transport. Or you can pack the babies items in the diaper bag you plan on using. :
When determining what to pack in your hospital bag, you can even further classify it into categories like for mom, for dad, and for baby.
Related: Third Trimester Checklist
Here’s an example of my ultimate list of what to pack in your hospital bag when having a baby:
What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag: For Mom
You can divide your things into two parts, for labor and delivery and postpartum. This would make it easier for you as well when you are looking for different things during the various stages of your hospital stay.
Labor and Delivery
Hospital gown/ robe/ comfy PJ’s –
Although the hospital can provide you with a gown, sometimes we want to feel more comfortable and wear our own clothes/ or even something that you find cute that will make you feel a little bit better.
It’s also useful for when you have visitors and you want to put on something a little more decent, you can just cover up with a nice robe. Robes are great for covering up but still give you easy access for when you are breastfeeding your baby.
Here are a few cute ones to check out:
Hospitals can get cold and you would definitely need these to stay warm and cozy. You would also need to be walking around especially during labor so a good pair of socks are essential.
Non-skid socks are also helpful to prevent slipping whenever you would need to go to the bathroom for example. Some women experience varicose veins during pregnancy and this is where compression socks can be a lifesaver.
When you will be walking around or going to the bathroom, you definitely would want to wear comfy shoes or slippers like these to protect your feet from the cold and germs.
Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, hairbrush, hair ties, dry shampoo, body wash, face wash, facial wipes, contacts solution, moisturizer.
Makeup is an option and some women prefer to bring some while others prefer to go natural, it’s up to you! You can also order a travel kit online since it is affordable and you can get everything all at once and the sizes would make it easier to bring around.
Lip balm can be helpful especially during a long labor period since your lips might get chapped.
These would include your ID, insurance card, wallet, registration forms. Since there can be a lot of paperwork involved, it is also good to bring a document holder or folder.
Birth plan –
Some hospitals would provide you this wherein you can basically identify the things you want and what you don’t want during labor and postpartum.
If your hospital doesn’t have it, you can always print your own and give it to your nurse. Even plans could change, having a plan will give you a clear idea going into the hospital.
Of course, the hospital will provide you with these and there are vending machines as well but if you are a picky eater, you can bring your own snacks like granola bars. You might also need a midnight nursing snack and these can keep you going!
You can bring other foods like nuts, oatmeal, dried fruit, or peanut butter. Pineapple juice is also known to be very helpful during breastfeeding since it is anti-inflammatory and can bring in your milk supply.
Medication/ Prenatal Vitamins –
Tech devices –
A phone is a vital device especially if you are communicating with family or friends (or Facetiming your kiddos that are at home!), or just to have a distraction during all the waiting.
Don’t forget to bring your phone charger or any other charger for your devices since you would definitely need to recharge. You can also bring extension cords and battery packs.
An iPad or tablet can also be another option. These devices are definitely useful to pass the time. A camera is also essential for documenting.
Miscellaneous entertainment –
This can be books, magazines, movies, music, audiobooks, or anything that can entertain you, especially if are planning to have an epidural. Birth affirmations are also some things you can look into in order to motivate you or just provide that extra boost of inspiration.
Comfy Underwear –
For extra coverage or support, make sure you bring comfy panties/underwear that can support your ice pack pad for example (yes, this goes right in your undies and feels like heaven!).
Big, cotton underwear is the most comfortable to have. You also want underwear that won’t be tight and suffocating.
You will most likely experience a lot of bleeding so it is best to leave your fancy or cute underwear at home. Instead, you can use things like boy shorts or leak-proof period panties.
Nursing Bras –
Nursing bras are essential for when you are breastfeeding since you can just clip it down making it easier. A good nursing bra should be comfortable and accessible especially when you would be learning how to breastfeed for the first time.
Nursing pads –
It usually takes a couple of days for your milk to really come in, but once it does you will need lots of nursing pads. Once your milk starts flowing, it could be a lot so nursing pads can help prevent your shirts from getting wet.
Going home outfit –
A nice pair of comfy shirt and pants are essential for when you are going back home. You can wear sweatpants, a large shirt, a maxi dress, a sweater or some leggings.
Sneakers/ flip-flops are also a good idea especially since you still might be a little off balance from the epidural and you wouldn’t want to wear something that’s difficult to go around in.
If you had a C-section, you won’t want pants that will rub on the incision so some yoga pants or maternity leggings are better options. You can also wear the same outfit that you came in in order to save some space in your bag. In the end, you should wear what you feel comfortable in and what’s right for you.
Nursing pillow/ Regular pillow –
A nursing pillow like this Boppy pillow is helpful for when you are feeding your baby and it can also help in relieving a sore bottom. It’s comfortable for when you are cradling your baby during feeding.
You may also want to bring your own regular pillow from home in order to feel more comfortable and get a good night’s sleep.
Postpartum supplies –
These are perineal sprays, lanolin, stool softeners (most likely your OB will prescribe one for you), maxi pads, to name a few. You could get these from the hospital but you can also bring your own, especially if you prefer products that are natural or organic.
Plastic bag –
Having this is better than putting all your dirty things back in your bag and mixing with your other things. When you get home it is also easier to grab them all and put them in the wash.
I just use a leftover grocery sack.
What to pack in your hospital bag: for baby
Receiving blankets/ swaddles –
Of course, you can use the hospital ones, but if you want something extra comfy, soft or stylish your baby, you can also bring your own. You would also need your own baby blanket in case it is cold for the ride home.
Baby’s going home outfit –
Don’t forget socks, mittens, hats, etc.. Your baby’s going home outfit is also something to consider since you would want it to be nice and at the same time comfy and appropriate for the current weather.
Some moms decide to go the extra mile and personalized the outfit/swaddle blankets and others to have the baby’s name on them or initials. It is totally up to you.
If you are not sure of the size of the clothing for baby, bring an outfit in newborn and one in 0-3 month sized clothes.
Other items: newborn diapers, cloth diapers, baby book, burp cloths, clothing diapering supplies, natural baby wash, non-toxic baby wipes, reusable shopping bag to put baby’s supplies in, props if you are planning any photos while in the hospital.
What to pack in your hospital bag for dad
Don’t forget to pack snacks, magazines, electronics, toiletries, his pillow and blanket, slippers, socks, change of clothes, chargers, camera, and entertainment. Some dads also like to give a “push present” for mom. This is like a gift or memento to give to mom to remember the special day.
You can pack your bag earlier than near your expected due date to give you enough time to gather everything and ensure that you haven’t forgotten anything. It will also give you time to purchase things that you might not have.
When it comes to packing for this special day, take a deep breath, have your checklist ready, and just enjoy the process.
Do you have any tips for what to pack in your hospital bag?