Packing a go-bag for the hospital before labor is always a highly recommended task for parents-to-be. But what exactly should you pack in it? Ideally, you should have your bag ready to go halfway through your third trimester just in case you go into labor before your due date. Some items are essential (like a car seat), while others will make you feel more comfortable and remind you of home. For moms, babies, and partners, here’s an extensive baby hospital bag checklist of everything you may want or need with you in the hospital!
Baby Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
Bath Towels and Pillows
Unfortunately, hospital towels are the exact opposite of luxurious hotel towels – thin, scratchy, and entirely too small. You may find yourself happy that you brought a towel from home for your first post-delivery shower. It is also recommended to bring your pillow from home.
Print a few copies – one for your chart, some for your labor nurse, and perhaps another to tape up in your hospital room. It’s a good idea to highlight some key points for quick reference so you, your doctor, and anyone else in the room with you knows your ideal plan for labor and delivery.
If you plan on breastfeeding after delivery, pack a nursing bra or tank in your bag. Pair your tank top with soft, loose pants like joggers or lightweight sleep pants. Another option is packing a beautiful, dark-colored PJ set. Postpartum leggings can also be comfy. If you plan on laboring in water at any point, pack a dark-colored sports bra or a bathing suit top. For footwear, slipper socks are great for keeping cozy. Bring slip-on shoes for going home as your feet might be swollen. Lastly, a comfortable robe is one of the best postpartum clothing items out there.
Diapers and Perineal Spray
When we say diapers, we don’t mean for your baby. The hospital will hook you up with pads and those mesh underwear, but many new parents say adult diapers, like Depends, were more comfortable and felt more secure. A perineal spray is also a priceless addition to your postpartum arsenal. Your bottom will thank you.
Don’t forget these! You’ll want your hairbrush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, extra hair ties, and face wipes. Remember extra contacts and/or glasses if you wear them. Bring any toiletries that will help keep you feeling refreshed and comfortable both during and after labor.
Pack a reusable water bottle and, if you want something more than water, an electrolyte drink like Gatorade or coconut water. Electrolytes will keep you hydrated for longer, which means you won’t be constantly needing water and feeling the need to take a bathroom break as often.
Long Phone Charging Cord
Hospital beds are notoriously far away from an electrical outlet, and you’ll want a fully charged phone for all the pictures you are about to take of your new baby and video chatting with excited friends and family. Your phone is also a nice thing to have if you need to pass some time during labor with some shows, games, or reading.
If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive. The first experiences with breastfeeding can be a learning curve, so having come extra care for yourself in this department will at least help you feel more comfortable.
Portable Speaker and Labor Playlist
Playing music during labor can be an asset for some. If you make a playlist, add a lot of songs to it – labor can last 24-plus straight hours, and you don’t want to listen to the same 10 songs over and over… and over the entire time. Though you may find you just want silence!
Baby Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
If you plan to bottle-feed from the get-go, or even if you plan on breastfeeding, pack at least two bottles for the hospital. If you plan to formula feed, pack your preferred brands, though the hospital will most likely have samples for you.
If you’re driving home, this is non-negotiable – hospitals won’t let you take your baby home from the hospital without a car seat, and it should be already installed for a stress-free exit from the hospital.
Do not bring diapers or wipes! The hospital has all the diapers and wipes you’ll need. Bring an extra bag for all the freebies you’ll bring home from the hospital.
Pack two different outfits in different sizes because you don’t know how big or small your baby will be! Aim for one outfit in newborn size and one 0-3 months. Don’t forget hats and/or socks, if weather appropriate.
Pediatrician’s Contact Information
The doctors and nurses will ask you for this information several times, so it’s good to have it handy. Include the email or fax number for the pediatrician’s office so they can easily forward your baby’s medical records.
Baby Hospital Bag Checklist for Partners or Guests
There can be quite a bit of waiting during the labor process, so be sure to bring a few forms of entertainment to keep you entertained. Download a few new songs, podcasts, movies, and shows to listen to and watch in case there is some downtime.
Lightweight Sleeping Bag and Pillow
Hospital sheets and pillows can be scratchy and thin. Pack something to make it easier to sleep in, such as a light sleeping bag, a quilt, and some comfortable clothes to top it all off. Bringing your own pillow is also highly recommended and can be a big help for comfort whether you’re sleeping or not.
Plenty of Snacks
Try to pack something from each of these categories: salty, sweet, protein, and healthy/fresh. The laboring parent will appreciate these post-birth too. Also, look into restaurants nearby that deliver and follow hospital guidelines.
Reusable Water Bottle
The labor process typically takes many hours, and if you need to stay hydrated, the paper cups at hospitals just aren’t going to cut it. Bring your own reusable water bottle to cut down on trips to the water fountain.
The main things to consider when creating your baby hospital bag checklist, the main things to focus on are the ones that will help you feel the most comfortable and at ease before, during, and after your delivery experience. Pack things ahead of time when you can to ensure you aren’t rushing at the last minute when the time comes! And if you forget something small, don’t panic. The hospital will have all the necessities for you and your baby. The sooner you plan, the less stress you’ll have during this exciting moment in your life!