A baby hospital bag checklist is the most important thing you can prepare before you go into labor. This labor hospital bag checklist will include the items you need, as well as the items that your partner and baby will need. Some of them will get you through labor and delivery, while others will become important while you recover in the hospital and when you get ready to go home.
A printed hospital bag checklist is a great way to get organized and make sure that nothing gets left behind when you go into labor. You can mark off the items as you pack them, ensuring that everything makes it into the bag well before the big day. Whether you’ve done this before or it’s your first time, use this handy hospital bag checklist for mom and baby guide to help you get it all ready to go.
- 1 When should you pack your hospital bag?
- 2 What do Hospitals Provide?
- 3 Mom’s Labor and Postpartum Checklist
- 4 Essential Basics
- 5 Paperwork
- 6 Comfy Clothing
- 7 Labor
- 8 Toiletries
- 9 Breastfeeding
- 10 Postpartum Care
- 11 Natural Remedies
- 12 Food
- 13 Optional Items
- 14 For Baby
- 15 Baby Essentials
- 16 For Dad
- 17 A Final Note
When should you pack your hospital bag?
Because many women go into labor before their due date, it makes sense to get your bag packed and ready to go a few weeks before you expect your little one to arrive. A hospital bag checklist for birth helps ensure that all of the necessary items are packed and ready to go.
Ideally, your hospital bag should be packed with everything you’re going to need, other than last minute items like a toothbrush, at about 36 to 37 weeks. Of course, if you expect your baby early, sooner is better.
What do Hospitals Provide?
There are some items that will be provided to you when you arrive at the hospital to give birth. Knowing what they are can save you some room in your bag for other important essentials. The exact items will vary from hospital to hospital, but you can expect diapers and wipes to be provided during your hospital stay. You will also get to keep the newborn hat that your baby wears after birth. Many hospitals also provide samples of baby wash, formula and other such essentials.
As a mother, you’ll get a peri bottle and some medicated pads to speed your recovery. You may also get other postpartum essentials, like maxi pads and numbing spray. Additionally, you may also get samples for nipple cream and breastfeeding pads. These supplies probably won’t last for more than a few days, so make sure you still include some of them on your pregnancy hospital bag checklist.
Mom’s Labor and Postpartum Checklist
When you create your hospital bag checklist for mom and baby, most of the items on the list will be for you. They will include materials for keeping you busy during labor, as well as those things you’ll need for postpartum care and for your transition from hospital back home with your newborn.
Your hospital bag checklist for birth is going to be very important for ensuring that you get everything in the bag before the big day. You can talk to your doctor about what essentials to include. This is especially important if you’re a first time parent and aren’t sure what you’ll need for labor, delivery and postpartum care.
Finding out you need something vital and being without it can be inconvenient and frustrating so it pays to double check your baby hospital bag checklist to be sure you have everything you need, which includes the following items:
- Phone Charger
- Cash (just in case)
There are a few things you’ll need for your hospital stay that don’t have anything to do with giving birth. If you take any medications, be sure you have those packed in your bag. Your doctor will want to include them in your chart and you won’t want to miss a dose while you’re in the hospital. You’ll also want to be sure you bring your phone and charger so you can take photos and stay in contact with loved ones as your labor progresses. It’s also a good idea to ensure that you have some cash on hand, just in case.
- Driving License
- Insurance Papers
- Copy of pre-registration papers
- Birth Plan
One of the best things you can do is get as much of your paperwork organized as possible and include it in your bag of essentials. Including it on your hospital bag checklist pdf helps ensure that it’s all there. In addition to your identification (driver’s license) and insurance papers (don’t forget your insurance card), you’ll also want to include copies of all of your pre-registration paperwork.
You can often find these forms on your hospital’s website or from your doctor. Print them and fill them out before the big day so that all you have to do is hand them over when you arrive at the hospital. You’ll also want to include a written birth plan. While there’s no guarantee when it comes to having a baby, your wishes will be known by your medical staff so that every effort can be made to adhere to your expectations.
Giving birth can take quite some time and it’s going to be strenuous when it comes time to deliver. You could spend many hours, perhaps a day or two, in your hospital bed waiting for your baby to be ready. If you have an epidural, you’ll have to stay put until it wears off. Once your baby is born, you’re going to be a bit sore and likely have at least another day in the hospital before you can head home. For all of these reasons, including plenty of comfy clothing on your hospital bag checklist for mom is something you’ll thank yourself for as you progress through your labor and have your new little one.
Of utmost importance is a pair or two of soft, comfortable pajamas. Keep in mind that labor can be sweaty work so you’ll probably want a clean pair to put on after you shower and settle in for your recovery. You’ll also want a couple of changes of underwear and socks for the same reason. You might even throw in a pair of slippers if you plan to walk during your labor, which will help keep your feet warm and clean.
A nursing bra will become important once your little one has arrived and a hoodie or sweater will help keep you warm if you get chilled, which can often happen in air conditioned hospital rooms. Don’t forget a few towels so you can shower and a loose fitting outfit to wear home from the hospital.
You’re not going to fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes so a maternity outfit is your best bet. A few hair ties to keep your hair out of your face while you push and a tube of lip balm will also be items you’ll be glad you have.
- Birthing ball
- Pre-natal Vitamins
- Back massager
- Tennis balls
Labor will be the most difficult part of your hospital stay. If you’re a first time mom, you can expect it to last a bit longer than if you’ve given birth before. However, there are no guarantees when it comes to having a baby so you could be in labor for just a few hours or it could drag into the next day.
An important addition to your labor hospital bag checklist for mom is the essentials you’ll need to get through your labor, no matter how long it happens to last. Many mothers go through labor without any of these items, while others want to have them all. They certainly aren’t required, but it’s a good idea to discuss which ones might be beneficial for you with your obstetrician so you can add them to your labor hospital bag checklist for mom and baby.
A birthing ball is something you might find a lifesaver while you’re in labor. The main purpose of a birthing ball is to provide comfort during labor by easing pain and pressure. If this is something you want to have on hand, make sure you have your labor ball with your bag before the big day.
A back massager is another great item to have on hand, though it’s not necessary and some women may find that they don’t like the feeling while they’re in the throes of labor. It can’t hurt to include it on your list though. You might find that it provides some relief in your back while you’re laboring.
Tennis balls provide similar benefits and are small and compact enough to find a space in your hospital bag. Finally, toss your prenatal vitamins in your bag as well. You might need to take one if your labor lasts for awhile and you could be advised to continue taking them if you’re planning to breastfeed.
- Natural Soap
- Toothbrush, paste, floss
- Natural deodorant
- Make-up remover
- Lip balm
- Travel Shampoo and conditioner
- Other hair and beauty products
Labor and delivery is nothing like going on vacation, but some of the items that should have a place on your labor bag hospital checklist will be the same as those you pack for a trip. Some toiletries may be provided by the hospital, but if you have favorites, you’re going to want to make sure you have them with you.
At the same time, some items you use on a regular basis might not be offered by the hospital, so it’s best to be prepared by including them in your packed bag before the big day arrives. To be absolutely sure you’ve got everything, think about what you’d bring if you were going on vacation and those are items you’re likely going to need at the hospital as well.
You’ll likely shower after delivery so you’ll want to have some natural soap to wash your body and your favorite shampoo and conditioner for washing your hair. You can likely get by with trail size versions, which helps save space in your hospital bag, but feel free to bring the big ones if you prefer. You’ll also want to toss in your favorite natural deodorant, which you’ll need after your shower. As mentioned above, labor can get sweaty so you’ll also want to be prepared for reapplying as necessary.
Don’t forget to pack a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss since you’ll be there for a day or two and won’t want to add dirty teeth and bad breath to your discomfort. Lip balm is another item you won’t want to be without. Add makeup remover, cosmetics and any other beauty products you use on a daily basis so you can keep up with your routine the best you can.
- Non-toxic Nipple cream
- Non-toxic nursing bras
- Nursing tops
- Nursing Pads
- Comfortable nursing robe or gown
- Non-toxic nursing Pillow
- Pump bag
If you plan to breastfeed your baby, you’ll want to be prepared with the essentials to get you started while you’re still in the hospital. The nurses will be available to help you figure out how it works, which is especially helpful if you’re a first time mother. While some supplies may be given to you in the hospital, it pays to add some of them to your pregnancy hospital bag checklist so that you’re as prepared as possible. Talk over breastfeeding with your doctor so you know what to expect before you need to get started.
You’ll quickly find that a non-toxic nipple cream will become a good friend because the beginning stages of breastfeeding can lead to dry, cracked nipples, which the cream can help relieve. A non-toxic version is safer for your skin and won’t hurt your baby if it happens to get into his or her mouth during breastfeeding. A couple of non-toxic nursing bras will also come in handy. These bras open at the top of your breast and fold down, making it easy to breastfeed without having to remove your bra. They’re also more discreet so you can nurse in public places.
Nursing tops serve the same purpose so make sure to pack a couple of them as well. Nursing pads are another great option. Simply place them inside your bra to help soak up milk leakage and keep your clothes clean and dry. A nursing robe will keep you warm and comfortable while you’re in the hospital and a nursing pillow helps you adjust your baby’s position so that you’re both comfortable during breastfeeding. Finally, a bag for your breast pump as well as storage bags allow you to express and store excess milk for later use.
- Non-toxic Maternity Pads or cloth postpartum pads
- Herbal Sitz
- Post-natal vitamins
- Wet bags
- Healing and soothing vaginal spray
- Heating pads
While you’re certainly going to be elated with the arrival of your baby, there are some things you can expect in terms of your recovery that might not be quite so pleasant. Giving birth is difficult and it will take a bit of time for your body to heal and get back to normal. While this time can be uncomfortable and even painful, there are lots of products and materials that can ease these issues and speed your recovery. Adding them to your labor hospital bag checklist is something you’ll thank yourself for later.
One of the most important things to include your hospital bag are non-toxic or cloth postpartum pads. You will continue to bleed after giving birth, sometimes for a couple of weeks. These pads are an easy way to contain the mess and keep your underwear and clothing clean and dry. Some pads are also designed to provide pain relief via the addition of witch hazel. Your doctor can help you choose the right ones for your needs.
You’ll also want to pack Herbal Sitz. This is another way to ease the pain and discomfort associated with giving birth. Postnatal vitamins are another item you’re going to need. They’ll provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need to nourish your body as you recover. On top of this, they ensure that you and your baby are getting enough nutrients during breastfeeding.
Postpartum wet bags give you a place to secure soiled items until you can get them home and into the washing machine. A healing and soothing vaginal spray and heating pads are additional items that can help control the pain and discomfort you feel as you recover from labor and delivery. So make sure your hospital bag checklist for mom and baby include these items as well.
- Clary Sage
- Essential Oils
- Essential oils diffuser / personal inhaler
- Magnesium oil or BioFreeze for numbing pain
Among the important items on your hospital bag checklist for birth should be some natural remedies to help you get through labor, delivery and recovery. Clary sage should not be used during pregnancy but can help stimulate contractions during labor. Other essential oils that are beneficial include lavender for its relaxing properties and ylang ylang to create a calming atmosphere in your hospital room. Frankincense is a good oil for healing the scar left behind after a cesarean delivery.
Be sure that you bring along an essential oil diffuser if you plan to use oils during labor and delivery. You might also want to bring along some magnesium oil or Bio Freeze, both of which have numbing properties that will come in handy to ease the pain and discomfort you might feel after delivery. If you want to use these natural remedies or others, make sure that’s included on your birth plan so everyone is on the same page.
- Trail mix or nut butters
- Oat and Protein bars
- Dried fruit, dates or energy balls
- Chamomile or herbal tea of choice
- Cooler with pre-made meal or snacks
Rules about eating during labor differ from place to place, but it pays to be prepared with some snacks to get you through. If your labor lasts for a long time, you’ll need some protein for energy so keep that in mind as you choose the snacks you want to bring along.
You might also want to consider having some snacks on hand for after your little one is born, while you recover and wait for the go ahead to pack it up and go home.
There are a variety of healthy snacks to choose from, including trail mix, nut butter and protein bars. These options will boost your protein and energy levels at the same time. Dried fruit, energy balls and dates are other tasty choices. You might also want to pack some herbal tea to keep on hand. A small cooler can protect items that need to be chilled, such as pre-made meals or snacks.
- Baby scrap-book
- Birth Affirmations
- Picture of family member or faith
- Gift for older siblings (“from Baby”)
- Treats for birth Staff
- Books, Magazines, Music, Kindle
There are quite a few optional items that you can tote along with you when you go to the hospital to give birth, but they aren’t necessary. You might give each of them some thought to decide if it’s something that will be important to you while you’re in the hospital. If you decide it’s needed, add that item to your hospital bag checklist printable, so you don’t forget to pack it.
A baby scrapbook is one thing you might want to bring. You can use your recovery time to start adding items to the book, such as your little one’s weight and length when born, time of delivery and photos, if you have them ready. You can also prepare birth affirmations to be sent out when you get back home. Filling in the information while it’s fresh in your mind means checking one item off your to do list.
You may want some family photos to bring you comfort and familiarity while you’re in labor, especially if those people aren’t able to be there for the birth. Other items to bring along are gifts for older siblings and gifts for your birthing staff. Pack some books, magazines or other items to keep you entertained. You might also want music so pack your musical device and charger so it’s ready to go.
You won’t need as many items for your baby, but there are some essentials that you’ll want to make sure you bring along. Your hospital bag checklist for mom should have a place to list baby items. Some of them are vital (in fact you may not be able to leave the hospital without them), while others are simply nice to have.
Being as prepared as possible makes the transition from hospital to home with your newborn much simpler and smoother. As mentioned previously, the hospital will provide some items, including samples of formula and baby toiletries. You’ll also get diapers and wipes and a hat and blanket. Beyond that, it’s up to you to have what your new little one is going to need. Your doctor is a good resource if you need more guidance with ensuring that you have everything.
A correctly fitted car seat is of utmost importance. You may not be able to take your baby home if you don’t have one. Make sure the seat is firmly and properly secured into your vehicle and that the straps are snug, but not tight, when you place your baby in the seat.
- Receiving Blanket
A receiving blanket keeps your baby cozy and warm during the trip home and is also a lovely keepsake to remind you of the momentous occasion. Receiving blankets come in all colors and patterns so choose one you love.
Babies aren’t able to regulate their own temperature right away, so you’re going to want to have some warm clothes to dress him or her in for the ride home and possibly during your hospital stay if the room is chilly.
Natural baby wash allows you to bathe your newborn while you’re still in the hospital. Ask the nurses for an infant tub and use your natural baby wash and warm water to gently cleanse your baby’s skin and hair.
It won’t be easy to carry everything home without a diaper bag. Choose one that has plenty of space, including pockets so that you have a place for diapers, wipes, extra clothes and anything else your baby will need as you’re out and about.
Babies need diapers so be sure you have a good stock of non-toxic or cloth diapers with you. The hospital may provide some, but if you want a natural version, you’ll likely need to supply them yourself.
The same is true when it comes to baby wipes. The hospital will give you some, but if you prefer a natural version, come prepared by putting a package or two into your hospital bag. There are many to choose from, but unscented are usually best.
- Nail Clippers
Many babies are born with long fingernails and you’ll want to be prepared to take care of them so that your new little one doesn’t scratch him or herself. A pair of baby nail clippers won’t take up much space but will come in handy.
The hospital may provide a gown for your baby to wear after being born, but chances are you’ll want something special to take your newborn home in. Pack a going home outfit that’s a newborn size and that is weather appropriate.
- Baby Book
If you want to get started on your little one’s baby book, make sure to find room for it in your bag. This is a great way to entertain yourself while you’re in the hospital and waiting for the doctor to release you to go home.
- Cell phones
- Chargers and extra batteries for any electronics
- A soundtrack for mom
- Change of clothes
Yes, dad can be responsible for his own things, but you might want to consider a hospital bag checklist for dad, in addition to your list for yourself and the baby. If labor lasts for a while or he plans to sleep in the room, he’ll want to be prepared and comfortable. Slippers, socks and pajamas are ideal for this reason. He’ll also want toiletries if he plans to stay.
In addition, dad should bring his cell phone and his laptop if he plans to work while you wait. Bring along a camera, as well chargers for every device and extra batteries, just in case. He might also want to toss in a change of clothes and a music soundtrack or device that you can listen to during labor and delivery.
While dad is able to come and go, he won’t want to miss the big moment because he’s running home to get a forgotten item, so make sure he’s prepared too.
A Final Note
Giving birth is a huge moment and one that you’ll remember forever. By having your bag properly packed and ready to go before the big day arrives, you’ll all be ready for the entire process. Look below to print a FREE downloadable hospital bag checklist.
Do write in the comments to let us know if these helped you, and which ones you found most useful during your hospital visit.