Hospital Bag Checklist
For weeks I've been researching how to build the perfect hospital bag. Most first time moms over pack because let's face it, we don't know what we are doing yet. After research and planning, I'm 98% sure I have the perfect bag. Not too much, not too little, but a bag that’s just right.
First things first, pack your bags when you are somewhere between 35 and 37 weeks pregnant. According to my OB, 4% of babies come on their actual due date so unless you are having a scheduled cesarean, baby is in charge. It is always smart to be prepared.
Secondly, for my organized mamas, I suggest two separate bags for labor and recovery. This way you can find everything easily or keep your recovery bag in the car to limit excess stuff in your room. CLICK HERE to download the hospital bag checklist PDF.
This is not a necessity but from my understanding, hospital gowns are not ideal. They're breezy and who knows many people have used the gown you are given. I got myself a cute, inexpensive gown that comes with a pillowcase so you don't get your pillow mixed up with the hospital pillows.
Make sure to get the ones with a grip, otherwise you will receive socks from the hospital which I'm sure are fine, but again, comfort is key while delivering a little human being.
This is helpful since hospitals are usually chilly. It will also help with transitioning from labor to recovery.
Typically you are in recovery for 24 hours after a vaginal birth and longer if you are having a cesarean. Bring your pj’s or favorite sweat pants. Remember to pack something loose fitting, comfort is key.
If you plan on breastfeeding, bring a nursing bra or nursing tank. In the beginning, you and baby are learning together and it is always smart to make the learning process as smooth as possible.
Every woman is different and you may find that these aren't a necessity but they are small and easy to tuck away so I'd rather be safe than sorry.
The dreaded granny panties; think comfort, not fashion. You are going to be using a maxi pad for the lochia and will want undies that fit properly. I packed a few high waist panties that I wouldn’t mind tossing later.
The hospital will have some but if you want something specific, bring them. Otherwise, you will end up wearing theirs and hospital pads are uncomfortably thick.
Going home outfit
If you haven’t already heard, you will be leaving the hospital feeling 6-7 months pregnant, so pack accordingly. Sorry mamas, pre baby body isn’t back yet.
Bring a shower bag with everything you may need like shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, hot tools, etc. I wanted to save space and packed travel size items.
I.D. and insurance card
I'm sure you've heard this a hundred times by now but heads up, they'll ask for them.
Some women have them, and some don't. I personally do because I practiced Hypnobirthing, which I highly recommend. Birth plans help everyone stay on the same page so there’s no miscommunication. Remember to show your OB or midwife prior; most hospitals need to approve birth plans.
For your Partner
Think about what you would bring to spend one night at a hotel; toothbrush and toothpaste, pj’s and a change of clothes. Maybe a pillow but keep it simple.
Depending on your hospital, most baby items will be given to you. They will have diapers, wipes, onesies, swaddles, and a few other items. You can be a minimalist mommy for this bag if you’d like and bring only a going home outfit, blanket, and car seat. For the mamas who would prefer to be better safe than sorry, here's what you may want to bring:
I packed 3, my husband is 6'1 and I'm 5'7 but I measured small at every visit so my baby could be tiny or pop out at 23 inches like my niece. I wanted to be prepared and brought 2 newborn sizes and a 3 month just in case.
Diapers and wipes
The hospital will provide you with size 1 diapers but I would bring a couple newborn size diapers as well, and a small pack of wipes.
This can be used for all sorts of things in the hospital: swaddling, cleaning up baby, or covering up while learning to breastfeed. Baby blanket is a must in my eyes.
Going home outfit
If this is your first baby, you may want to go with something easy, like buttons or zippers, it can be tricky dressing a newborn. Don’t stress and go for comfy if you're having trouble finding the right outfit but remember, you will probably want a few pictures so keep that in mind. Don't forget baby’s socks, mittens, and beanie!
I was gifted one and so happy that I was. It's super cute, intimate, and will help you remember all the little things you may otherwise forget.
The hospital will not let you leave without one and some hospitals will watch you put it in the car. Be prepared and make sure you have this part down in case you have an audience. If you need assistance you can always go to your local fire department.
Snacks or cash for vending machines
You may be there for a while…
Camera, cell phone, laptop, and chargers for all. Again, you may be there for a while and depending on your birth plan you may want these items. Plus, your partner can be entertained if you decide you don't want him/her next to you every single minute.
Now I'm sure some ladies may be thinking, really, who am I trying to impress after giving birth, but there will most likely be pictures. Trust me, you will thank me later when you don't look like death because you packed your foundation, blush, and lip gloss.
I haven't experienced this first hand since this is my first baby but apparently your lips get very dry while giving birth. It will be nice to have it close by.
I've heard hospitals offer these but charge you for them, so best bring your own if you plan on using one.
For my ladies that want to help set a calm relaxing mood, this extra item is lovely. If you have essential oils, even better. I packed mine with lavender oil.
For the nurses
They do a lot for you and its always nice to make the people who are caring for you feel appreciated. Something small and inexpensive will do just fine, like chocolate or suckers. It's the thought that counts.