Your Hospital Bag Checklist: Everything You Need And Nothing You Don’t
If you’re in the third trimester of your pregnancy, you’ve probably done a great deal of work to prepare for the arrival of your new little one. As your due date approaches, it’s time to turn your attention to putting the finishing touches on the nursery, enjoying the last few months of your pregnancy, and preparing for labor. One way you can help ensure that you have a comfortable hospital stay and a smooth trip home is by packing a great hospital bag. Having all the essentials on hand to help you labor, heal, recover, and bond will make all the difference in the world. Here are our hospital bag checklists for baby, Mom, and partner!
Table of Contents
- When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag?
- Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom
- Hospital Bag Checklist For Baby
- Hospital Bag Checklist For Partner
When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag?
From setting up the nursery to picking a name, there are lots of things to think about when you’re preparing for the arrival of your baby. There is really no right or wrong way to prepare for their arrival and every parent tackles things differently. But, when it comes to packing your hospital bag, it’s good to get a head start. Here’s what we recommend:
- If you have a high-risk pregnancy or you have reason to believe you might go into labor early, make sure your bag is ready to go by the 35th week of your pregnancy.
- Generally, make sure your bag is packed by the 37th - 38th week of your pregnancy.
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Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom
When it comes to labor, you need to put yourself first. Your body will have to do some incredible things, and you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to make the process as comfortable as possible. Here’s our hospital bag checklist for Mom:
- Everyday essentials. Most of us rarely leave home without our wallets, keys, cellphones, and ID. But, as you can probably imagine, when you go into labor sometimes even the most obvious things can fall to the wayside. Because these are items that you likely can’t leave in your hospital bag for weeks ahead of time, make sure you have a list of things you need to grab and add to your hospital bag before you head out the door.
- Comfortable clothes. Pack your softest, coziest clothes. Make sure to bring tops that will make for easy breastfeeding and include a nursing bra or two as well as nursing pads
- Comfortable footwear. During and after your labor you may want to take short walks around your room or up and down the hospital hallways. So, it’s a good idea to have some comfortable footwear on hand. This could be cozy slippers or warm socks with some grip on the bottom. Whatever you choose, make sure your footwear is supportive and safe so you can avoid slips and falls. Depending on what type of labor you have and any fluids you’re given, you may be a bit swollen afterward, so make sure your footwear is easy to put on and comfy. (Think Uggs!)
- Adult diapers. The hospital will likely offer you some postpartum diapers but many Moms find that adult diapers are more secure and comfortable than those that the hospital has available. So, have a few pairs of these on hand in your hospital bag.
- Toiletries. For overnight stays, you’ll want to have toiletries in your hospital bag. We recommend having a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant, and face wash on hand. Some Moms also bring a shower wash, shampoo, and conditioner for showering. If you wear contact lenses, don’t forget your contact lens case and solution.
- Nipple cream. If you plan on breastfeeding, pack some nipple cream now and thank us later!
- Drinks. Staying hydrated during labor is important. Bring a water bottle and your favorite drink. While some Moms stick to water, others like to bring Gatorade, electrolyte powders, or coconut water along as well.
- Cell phone charger. You’ll want to be able to keep in touch with loved ones and we’re sure the FaceTime requests will come pouring in once baby arrives. bring a cell phone charger so you can connect and share the experience with your friends and family. You may even want to invest in a longer cell phone cable that way you can charge your phone and keep it nearby your hospital bed at the same time.
- Pillow. Hospital pillows can be flat, scratchy, and uncomfortable. So, bring your favorite pillow from home along with your coziest pillow cover.
- Blanket. The same goes for blankets, bring along a cozy blanket for those very special first cuddles.
- Bath towel. Like hospital pillows, hospital towels are not always what you’re used to. A fluffy, full-sized towel for your first postpartum shower can makes all the difference in the world.
A few extra nice-to-haves:
- Portable speaker. Labor is not easy. Music can be a powerful tool to help you get yourself through it. A portable speaker and a perfectly curated playlist are great additions to the hospital bag!
- Portable fan. You are typically not able to open windows in hospitals. A portable fan can help keep the air moving through the room.
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Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
Now that Mom’s essentials are ready to go, let’s discuss what you’ll need to have on hand in your hospital bag for your baby. Just like Mom, baby will go through a significant transition during labor and a few key essentials can make all the difference. Here’s is our baby hospital bag checklist:
- Contact information. Make sure you have your pediatrician’s contact information stored in your cell phone in case you need to contact them at any point during or after your labor. In addition to the clinic’s phone number, be sure to have an email and/or a fax number on hand. The medical team at the hospital will want to have this information available so they can send over relevant medical records.
- Car seat. An infant car seat is one of the most important items you’ll need to bring with you to the hospital. In fact, most hospitals won’t let you and your baby leave without one. Rather than including this in your hospital bag, it’s a good idea to get it installed and ready in your car ahead of time. One less thing to worry about!
- Going home outfit. When it’s time for your little one to leave the hospital, you’ll want to make sure you have soft and cozy clothing to take them home in. A romper is a great outfit for the ride home. If you live in a colder climate, don’t forget a cozy hat as well!
- Don’t worry about diapers and wipes. The hospital will have plenty on hand so save the space in your hospital bag for something else!
- Swaddle. Bring along the swaddle you will be using at home. This is a great opportunity to get some tutorials from the nurses who have likely been swaddling babies for years!
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Hospital Bag Checklist for Partner
Last but not least, if your partner will be present for labor, they will need to bring a few items along in the hospital bag as well! Here is our hospital bag checklist for your support person:
- Snacks. You will likely be spending an extended period of time at the hospital and vending machine food will only get you so far. A few non-perishable snacks are great to have packed for both Mom and partner.
- Cell phone & charger. Your partner will likely be responsible for documenting the experience so make sure they have their cell phone and charger on hand.
- Toiletries. Your partner might also want to freshen up, so a toothbrush, toothpaste and some face wash are a great idea.
- Entertainment. Mom and baby will need some time to rest so your partner might want to bring a book, an iPad, or a computer to pass the time.
Frequently Asked Questions
We recommend bringing two separate bags to the hospital:
One small bag that contains your delivery room essentials
A second, larger bag that you, your baby, and your partner will need after birth
Some practitioners recommend avoiding solid foods during labor while others believe eating during labor is fine. Talk to your doctor to find out what they recommend for you. For some women, Snacking during labor is a great way to help prevent the body from going into ketosis, a condition where your body begins to dip into fat reserves for energy that can cause nausea and headaches. When it comes to eating during labor, your best bet is foods that are high in energy but not too heavy. You’ll also want to avoid sugary foods as they tend to give you short-lived energy boosts followed by a crash that will make you feel groggy and tired. Here are some great options:
Sandwich with whole grain bread
Dried fruits and nuts
Your hospital may provide you with all of the diapers and wipes you’ll need for your stay at the hospital. You can inquire about this ahead of time. If your hospital provides diapers and wipes, don’t worry about bringing any extras in your hospital bag. In fact, you might even want to make sure you have some extra space in your hospital bag to bring home all of the changing supplies you’ll be given at the hospital.