hospital bag on shelf in labor room for birth

Hospital bag checklist

Preparing for the arrival of a new baby is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful, especially when packing your hospital bag. As an expecting mama, you want to ensure you have everything you need for yourself and your baby during your hospital stay. Here is a comprehensive hospital bag checklist to help make sure you have all the essentials, plus a few nice-to-haves.

There are five sections to this hospital bag checklist:

  • Check-in items (ID, paperwork)
  • Labor support items (drinking cup, hairband, maternity bra)
  • Post-partum items (loose pajamas, hairbrush, snacks)
  • Baby items (onesies, scratch mitts, burp cloths)
  • Support person items (anything they’ll need so they don’t dig into your stuff)

Now let’s look at each of these sections.

packing a hospital bag

Hospital bag check-in items

Keep your check-in items, including important ID and documentation, in a nice packet so the paperwork stays together and organized:

  • Driver’s license
  • Health care card
  • Health insurance card
  • Prepared hospital paperwork
  • Birth plan with extra copies
  • List of your medical professionals (w/contact information for each)
  • List of visitors allowed or not allowed in your hospital room (w/contact information)
  • Prescription medications

Keep all the paperwork together in an envelope or binder where papers can’t fall out during the sometimes-hectic hospital check-in process.

hospital bag on shelf in labor room for birth

Hospital labor support item checklist

While there are times that packing light is a must, I’ve found that laboring is not one of them. I’ve never been more thankful for a large plastic cup with a straw, a good hairband that doesn’t fall off, and for some reason, lip balm. Here are some labor support items to consider packing:

  • Phone & Accessories
  • Large Drinking Cup
    • Plastic Cup w/Straw
    • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Electrolyte Drink (if recommended by medical provider)
  • Clothing
    • Robe
    • Dark sports maternity/nursing bra
  • Toiletries
    • Hair elastics
    • Headband
    • Lip Balm
  • Calming Accessories
    • Music (bluetooth speaker, headphones, calming playlist)
    • Essential oil diffuser
    • Massage oil or lotion
  • Labor Support Items
    • Birthing ball and air pump
    • Tens machine
  • Cord Blood Banking Kit (if applicable)
breast milk pumping colostrum at hospital with pump
Hospitals tend to have their own breastmilk pumping supplies and other feeding items that might turn out to be necessary.

Hospital bag checklist for post-partum mom

You’ll definitely be in need of some basic self-care after labor or surgery. Here are some things that I have brought along during at least one of my three hospital births and was thankful to have:

  • A FridaMom postpartum recovery essentials kit
  • Maternity bra, nursing pads
  • Nipple cream, nipple shield, Haakaa breast milk collector things
  • Disposable toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash
  • Hairbrush, comb, hair elastics
  • Lotion, lip balm, deodorant
  • Face wash, shampoo, conditioner
  • Makeup and whatever else you need to feel human
  • Glasses, or contacts and saline solution if you wear lenses
  • Giant maxi pads (the hospital will provide some, but you might want to use your fave brand)
  • Disposable overnight period underwear
  • A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined. The hospital will have disposable pairs, which some love and others hate. Check out low-rise postpartum underwear if you’re prepping a c-section hospital bag.
  • Pajamas (loose, baggy, maybe a nightgown)
  • Warm robe or sweater and sweatpants
  • Cozy socks with grip soles or slippers
  • Snacks, drinks, and water bottle(s)
  • List of restaurants nearby the hospital that deliver
  • Your “who to call” list so you can share or text the good news
  • Small bills or change for vending machines and the hospital cafeteria
  • Reusable water bottle or another beverage (juice, Gatorade)
  • A comfy pillow from home (with a unique pillowcase that can get ruined)
  • Gift to siblings from baby
  • Empty tote bags for miscellaneous items
  • The clothing for you to wear home (think baggy, loose, soft and comfortable!), sized as if you were six months pregnant.
  • Flat, slip-on shoes
packing a few going home outfit options
Bring both newborn sized and 0-3 months if possible

Hospital bag checklist for baby

You’ll have a whole new person to feed, clothe, and generally pack around a bunch of stuff for. I like to pre-pack the baby’s diaper bag and use that for the majority of the smaller baby items. The car seat can stay down in the car until after delivery.

  • Diaper bag
  • Pacifiers (plain are nicer for photos)
  • Infant car seat
  • Outfit choices for your baby to wear home (newborn size and one 0-3 months), including socks, booties, hats, sweaters, et cetera
  • Scratch mitts and maybe some nail clippers
  • Baby lotion, diaper cream, and a few newborn diapers (though the hospital will provide plenty)
  • Swaddle sleep sack, receiving blanket, and a couple of burp cloths
  • Any photo props for hospital photoshoots
  • Warm blankets for car seat ride home
  • A few bottles, if you’re using them or unsure
  • Nursing pillow
  • Baby book

Hospital bag checklist for support person/partner

Your partner or support person will be at the hospital for a long time too, and you definitely don’t want them in a bad mood or swiping snacks from your stash.

  • Snacks, energy drinks, et cetera (possibly in a cooler with ice packs)
  • Cash and change for vending machines and parking meters
  • Toothbrush, deodorant, and other toiletries, including glasses/contacts
  • Toiletries and personal items: hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends; here’s a smart travel kit with most of the hospital bag essentials)
  • Sleeping bag and pillow if they are a needy sleeper
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Change of clothes
  • Flip flops
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Prescription medication

What not to pack in your hospital bag

There are a few things that are better left at home than brought to the hospital. Think twice about including any of the following items.

  • Jewelry
  • Valuables
  • More than two or three baby outfits
  • Excessive amounts of diapers & wipes


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