The Best Hospital Bag Checklist
Packing for labor and delivery can be tricky. You want to make sure you have everything, but at the same time, you don’t want to overpack for a day that might not happen. When preparing to give birth, be sure you’ve packed everything on this hospital bag checklist for you, the baby, and your support person.
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag for Having a Baby?
It’s always a good idea to start packing your hospital bag early in your pregnancy. You’ll want the bags packed and ready for when you go into labor. It may seem like preparing should wait until later on, but it can be helpful if you have time to think about what will work best for you during this process. There are some things to consider when you’re packing your hospital bag, so let’s get started.
There are many different ways in which people pack for the labor and delivery process. Some will pack everything they anticipate needing during their stay at the hospital while others may only bring a few key items that they really want with them throughout their experience. There is no one right way to pack for this experience, but the items listed below are some of what you may want to consider when creating your hospital bag checklist. Here is a list of what most hospitals will provide for you when you have a baby.
Here are the lists of things you’ll need to pack for your hospital birth. I also have a printable Hospital Bag Checklist you can access here!
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What to Put on a Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby?
If you’re a first-time parent, you’ll want to make sure you have what you need, and leave at home the things that will be provided. I have written an entire post dedicated to sharing with first-time parents the things most hospitals will provide when you have a baby.
If you’re a second-time parent, you probably already know what to pack. However, here are some reminders anyways.
These are some of my favorite baby blankets. They’re warm and comfy for both you and your baby.
One thing I quickly learned was that I needed mittens for my baby. I didn’t realize how sharp a newborn’s fingernails can be, but they can quickly have their sweet little face scratched up. And, you aren’t supposed to cut your baby’s fingernails until they have a chance to dry out for a few days. Baby mittens will help keep your baby from scratching their face.
Boppy Pillow/Nursing Pillow
Two of the most popular nursing pillow are the Boppy pillow and the My Brest Friend nursing pillow. Personally, I used the Boppy pillow because it can be used as a nursing pillow, but also as a prop pillow for your baby.
The hospital will likely give you one of the pink and blue hospital hats, but you’ll probably want to bring a couple baby hats of your own, especially if it’s cold where you live.
Infant Car Seat with 5-Point Harness
Before leaving the hospital, the nurses will make sure your baby is safely secured in a car seat with a 5-point harness. This can either be a baby carrier or a car seat you already have installed in your car. We used the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat and LOVED it!
Clothes for the Season
When your baby is born, the nurses will put a diaper on and then quickly wrap your baby in a blanket. Eventually, you’ll want to dress your baby in some cute clothes. If you’re like me and you want cute, yet functional for those first diaper changes, I HIGHLY recommend these baby gowns! There are so many cute colors and designs so check them all out. And, if you want some of the cutest coming home from hospital outfits, I’ve found those too!
Pediatrician Contact Information
An important piece of information you’ll want to have with you is the contact information for your baby’s pediatrician. The hospital will want to know that you’ve scheduled your baby’s first visit to the pediatrician before discharging you from the hospital.
Announcement Photo Props
Maybe you have a creative idea of how you want to introduce your new baby to the world. A lot of people (including me!) have used these awesome felt letter boards to announce the birth of their baby.
One of my absolute favorite things to take to the hospital when having a baby is the Swaddle Me swaddle blankets. Not only have all my babies loved them, but they’re amazing if you aren’t talented with the infamous swaddle. They come in a variety of colors!
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
As you prepare for your natural birth, think about the things that help you relax and stay calm. Consider the type of clothing you want to wear, snacks you want to have, and what type of music or podcasts may help you stay relaxed during labor. Some women like to pack their favorite books or magazines for the delivery room as well.
When you’re having a hospital birth, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to communicate your wishes for your birth to your medical team. Depending on what stage of labor you’re in when you arrive at the hospital, this may not be easy. You should create a birth plan ahead of time that has all of your wishes for your laboring, as well as your delivery so that your care team is aware of your wishes.
Photo ID, Insurance Card
Upon entrance to the labor and delivery floor, they’ll want to see your photo ID, likely your driver’s license, as well as your insurance card. A couple of weeks before your due date, make sure you have these easily accessible because contractions and searching your purse are not a fun combination!
I don’t know about you, but being hot and laboring did not work well for me. In fact, I ended up vomiting a LOT because of how hot I felt. The only thing we had access to at the hospital was washcloths that we made as cold as we possibly could and put those around my neck. I would recommend that you come better prepared with several neck cooling towels. You’ll want to be able to quickly switch them as your laboring.
You don’t know this yet, but you’re going to want a stroller fan for your baby (and this fan is my favorite!). Get it ahead of time and take it to the hospital with you to use while you labor. Once the nurses brought me a fan and I used the washcloths, I finally quit vomiting and could better focus on my labor.
Lightweight, Comfortable Clothes
I have written an entire post dedicated to what to wear after having a baby. Some of my favorite clothes for postpartum are loose-fitting clothes, especially if you have a c-section. Something like this comfortable shirt and shorts bundle would be ideal, especially if you’ll be breastfeeding.
Another thing you’ll want to pack in your hospital bag is nursing bras if you plan to breastfeed. I have several nursing bras that I recommend. One of my favorite nursing bras for first-time breastfeeding moms is this seamless nursing bra.
The hospital will give you a pair, but if you want comfortable non-skid socks for the hospital, try these unenow nonslip grip socks. You don’t want to fall after having a baby and gripped socks will help you stay stable on your feet.
Long Cell Phone Charging Cord
From my experience, you have two choices for making your phone charger reach your bedside. You can either bring an extension cord, or you can buy an extra-long phone charging cord. Either way, you’ll want to make sure your phone can be charging by your bedside.
In my experience, women in labor aren’t allowed to have snacks until after giving birth, with the exception of popsicles. BUT, you’ll want to make sure you have some snacks readily available right after giving birth as well as the length of your hospital stay. If you end up laboring for a long time and deliver at night, you may not be able to get food from the cafeteria until breakfast.
If you have hair that is long enough to be in your face, make sure you’ve packed hairbands. Being in labor requires focus, and you won’t want your hair to constantly be falling in your face.
You’ll also want to include in your hospital bag anything you use in your bathroom to get ready in the morning. Things like glasses/contacts, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, etc. If you have certain soaps that are energizing to you, pack those. I can tell you there is nothing more AMAZING than taking a hot shower after having a baby. You’ll feel like a new woman! If you’d rather have everything packed for you, try this toiletries kit.
Since most laboring women aren’t allowed to eat anything, I highly recommend that you pack some peppermints or hard candy to suck on while you’re laboring. This will give you a bit of sugar and it will allow you to have some flavor in your mouth.
Maternity Underwear/Adult Diapers
Although not a necessity, a lot of women prefer adult diapers over the disposable underwear the hospital will provide to you. These Always Discreet Boutique underwear are great because they’re designed with women in mind and they’ll be high enough above a c-section incision to not irritate your incision. If you’re trying to understand why you might need these, here’s why. The hospital provides you with mesh disposable underwear that you’ll need to place a LARGE pad into. By using the underwear, you minimize trying to place the pad in the right place.
Matching Hospital Outfits for Pictures
If you think you may want to take some hospital pictures with your new baby and you want matching outfits, you need to check out this adorable matching robe and newborn outfit set. With 30 different color/pattern options, you can choose one that is gender-specific or you can choose a more gender-neutral set if you’re not finding out your baby’s gender.
It’s always good to have some water with you during labor and delivery so make sure it is packed in your bag! I currently have the 40 oz water bottle from Simple Modern. They do have a variety of sizes available, as well as LOTS of colors and patterns to choose from. It’s also a great bottle to have around, especially if you’ll be breastfeeding and want to make sure you keep up with your water intake.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Your Partner/Support Person
It’s important that you make sure you have everything you’ll need for your labor and delivery, as well as the things you’ll need for your new baby, but you’ll also want to make sure your support person has what they need as well. Here are some suggestions for your support person’s packing list.
Make sure they’ve packed all the clothes they’ll need. Hospitals tend to be chilly, so keep that in mind. Also, for some reason, men often forget to pack underwear. I have no idea why, but make sure they’ve packed a couple of pairs. Ha!
Long Cell Phone Charger
Much like you, having a long phone charger will be super helpful in case an outlet isn’t close by.
Camera with Batteries Charged
If you want to document your birthing experience, or take hospital photos afterward, make sure your SO is in charge of the camera. When we had our first child, we did invest in a DSLR camera, which has been an incredible investment. This Canon EOS camera is a great beginner’s camera with the immediate necessities you’d want to have. It’s pretty user-friendly.
If you aren’t sure he will remember everything he needs in his hospital bag, you can grab one of these toiletry kits and be sure he hasn’t forgotten anything.
Snacks and Drinks
Make sure he has packed any snacks and drinks he would like to have for the duration of your hospital visit. With Covid especially, some hospitals are pretty locked down and it’s important to take in what you think you’ll need.
MORE Helpful Maternity Posts
As you’re preparing for the birth of your baby, and beginning to pack your hospital bag, look over the list several times and make sure you have what you need. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to begin packing and then not end up with all the things you need.
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