The crib is assembled. The car seat is installed. The onesies are washed. You are ready, or as ready as you’ll ever be.
What’s left to do? Pack for that hospital stay! So what do you bring with you for this monumental journey? Here’s a list of all the essential things you should pack in your hospital bag—and some items best left at home.
In this article:
What Do You Really Need to Pack in Your Hospital Bag?
If you’re stressed about what to pack in your hospital bag to have a baby, allow me to assure you: you truly don’t “need” to bring anything with you other than a support person and maybe your insurance information.
If you’re planning a hospital birth, the hospital has everything you need. I learned that the hard way after showing up to labor and delivery looking like I was ready to move in. (Oops)
But by the time my fifth child was ready to be born, I had perfected my hospital bag list. Here is my advice on what you need to pack in your hospital bag for both you and your baby.
A Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
OK, moms, listen up: here’s a quick checklist of everything that you will want to bring to the hospital for you.
Yes, the baby is important, but you’re a patient too, so here’s what you’ll want to consider bringing:
- Information folder. This will include important paperwork like your insurance information, OB information, pediatrician’s information, birth plan, disability information (if it applies). Chances are you will be getting more information during your stay, so you will have someplace to put it.
- An extra-long charging cord. Those hospital outlets can be far from your bed!
- Nursing-friendly pajamas/nightgown. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck wearing the hospital gown. Also, pro tip: you may want to pack an extra pair because leaks happen.
- Waterproof flip-flops. Hello, hospital shower floor.
- Your favorite toiletries. I recommend travel-sized so you don’t have to pack/repack.
- Lip balm/moisturizer. Hospital air = dry skin.
- Your going home outfit. Think: something comfortable and easy to get on and off, as well as nursing-friendly if that’s your plan.
- Comfort items. If you want, it might be helpful to pack an item or two that reminds you of home that can provide you with comfort, such as an actual photo you can look at during labor, drawings from your other kids, birth affirmation cards, etc.
- Snacks. I can’t stress this one enough. Your favorite snacks are a must-have.
- Nursing pillow. If you plan on breastfeeding your baby, a nursing pillow can make a huge difference in making feedings easier, especially in the beginning.
- Cord blood banking supplies. If you plan on banking or donating your baby’s cord blood, you’ll need to be sure to bring all of the cord blood banking supplies with you. Check with your hospital first, but typically, you’ll get a kit from the cord blood bank that you take to the hospital with you.
Chaptstick Total Hydration
Be sure to stash a classic ChapStick in your hospital bag to combat all that dry air and sleepless nights. Plus, you'll probably be doing all kinds of smooching to that new precious babe. Pucker up!
AEZO 3-Pack 10FT Extra-Long Charging Cables
Why have one charger when you can three? Truly, you will appreciate having a back-up charging cord both in the hospital as a new parent and at home (you're not going to want to move once that baby is settled in your arms!) This 3-pack of extra-long charger cords are compatible with iPhone XS MAX / XR MAX / X/8/8 Plus/7/7 + Plus/6/6S/6 Plus/6S Plus/iPhone 5/5C/5S/SE/iPad/Air/Mini/Mini2/iPad 4/iPod 5/iPod 7.
Twist Knot T-Shirt Dress
Something like this super-casual and budget-friendly T-shirt dress would be perfect for a new mom coming home from the hospital. It's V-neck, so it's got plenty of pumping or nursing access, it's roomy, and easy to pull-up to change those postpartum pads. (Hey, we're real here.) Plus, it can be paired with leggings and a cardigan for colder weather or be worn alone in warm weather--or when those postpartum hot flashes hit. Hello, hormones!
LAVRA Womens Flip Flops
Toss these simple and budget-friendly flip-flops in your cart and then in your hospital bag to take with you when you have your baby. Along with walking on the hospital floor after giving birth (and the messes that can bring), these will be helpful for showering in the hospital shower as well. Those places have seen a lot and having flip-flops can make it easy not to worry about germs. Then, throw them away before you leave.
If you have a baby, you need a Boppy pillow. This all-so-functional pillow can be used for breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, tummy time, or just hanging-around time. It's the perfect supportive pillow, especially for the early newborn days and can be used for long to come. Plus, it comes in a variety of machine-washable covers, so you can customize style--and throw in the washer when it's dirty.Read Review
Silk Pajama Set
Silk pajamas just seem so luxurious and grown-up, don't they? We love this pair because they're super-soft, comfortable, but still look incredibly stylish, a la Breakfast at Tiffany's. Plus, the top is a button-down, so it's nursing friendly too.
A Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
Next up? It’s all about the baby. But I promise you that you need way less for your baby than you think. Here’s what I recommend packing:
- A name. I’m serious! This is more common than you’d think, but in case you didn’t know, most hospitals won’t let you leave without one. If you’re having trouble deciding, be sure to visit Truly Mama’s baby name directory–we have all the baby names you could want!
- New car seat. Again, this is required for you to have in order to leave the hospital. If you need help acquiring a car seat, the hospital should be able to refer you to some resources to help you find one, or check with your local women’s shelter or pregnancy center.
- Going home outfit. Of course, pack two if you can’t decide. Options are important.
- Photo props. This could include a blanket, new pacifier, or a special hair accessory.
- Blanket or hat for the car seat. Babies can’t regulate their own temperatures just yet, so you’ll want them snug and cozy. Just be sure to always supervise them on the way home and anytime they’re around a blanket or have a hat on!
And that’s it! I promise you that the hospital will provide everything else you could possibly need for your baby, from diapers to wipes to even extra bottles of formula.
Britax B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit Car Seat
Britax is one of the most recognizable names in child-safety products, and the B-Safe Gen2 FlexFit seat lives up to that reputation. This rear-facing infant car seat comes with all the safety features Britax is known for, including two layers of side impact protection, a steel frame and a shock-absorbing base. The Gen2 FlexFit is more spacious than older Britax models with 6 headrest positions instead of 4 and a removable infant pillow. Like other Britax car seats, the Gen2 FlexFit is compatible with Britax strollers using Click and Go technology, meaning you can simply click the infant car seat into a stroller without having to remove your baby from the carrier.Read Review
Carter's Organic Cotton Coming Home Set
How cute is this simple 3-piece coming home set from Carter's? Available in three gender-neutral colors, it's the perfect way to welcome your baby home in perfectly soft organic cotton. Comes complete with a cozy hat and separate shirt and pants, making diaper changes easy. Plus, it's affordable, which is important for an outfit your baby is going to really one wear once. This is an online-only item, so be sure to toss it in your cart ahead of time so you're ready when baby makes his or her debut!
Zestt Organics Organic Cotton Heirloom Baby Set
Your baby's first blanket is an heirloom, so you may want to choose a quality product right from the get-go that you can cherish forever. This heirloom-quality blanket is made from 100% organic cotton and is machine-washable. It comes complete with a beautiful scalloped edge and adorable bunny rattle that your little one will love to play with as they grow.
What NOT to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Your Baby
Did you notice the list for Baby is much shorter than the list for Mama? That’s because your hospital will have everything you need for baby to get through the first few days.
You don’t have to pack a bunch of diapers, wipes, formula, and blankets in your hospital bag, I promise!
Furthermore, most nurses will encourage you to take the leftover diapers, wipes, and whatever consumable items that are already in your room as they won’t be able to reuse them anyway. That includes any mesh undies and ice packs for down there. (Trust me, take them!)
If you are dead set on having your own pillow, exercise ball, diaper brand, pair of socks on hand, then by all means, bring them if it will make you feel more comfortable. But otherwise, stick to the basics.
More Hospital Bag Packing Tips
- Keep the car seat in the car. Depending on your hospital or gestational age of your baby, you may need to complete a car seat test before you go home. But there’s no reason to have the car seat in the room when you’re in labor.
- Treat yourself with toiletries. After my first baby, I made a tradition of scouting the beauty aisle of Target and buying luxury travel sized bath products. After you give birth, that first shower is such a relief.
- Pouches are your friend. They keep things contained, organized, and separated.
- Don’t overpack. The last thing you want to do when you come home is put away a bunch of stuff you didn’t use.
- Keep outfits simple. Don’t make the going home outfit too complicated, for both of you. Easy in, easy out is what you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
What week should you pack your hospital bag?
The answer here is: whenever you want. If you have been having an uneventful pregnancy, Week 37 is the sweet spot.
What should I pack in my hospital bag for labor?
The hospital will cover everything you need for your baby, so other than a going-home outfit, focus on stuff for you. Practical items include: phone charger, Chapstick, moisturizer, and snacks. (Always snacks.)
What should I pack in my hospital bag for a 3 day stay?
For a longer stay, pack a couple changes of clothes for yourself. The birth recovery process can get messy and having a fresh pair of pajamas can make a world of difference. For longer stays, you may want to include your own favorite snacks in case you get sick of hospital fare.
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