Updated: August 19, 2020
What to pack in a hospital bag for labor and delivery
After 9 months of pregnancy, what to pack in a maternity hospital bag for labor and delivery should not be stressing you up. It is why you are looking for a printable hospital bag checklist for labor and delivery and you, my friend, are in the right place.
I am assuming you are preparing for labor nice and early before your due date, but don’t worry if you feel like you are late. It’s never too late until labor starts and even then, some mamas have been known to pack a few hours before delivery.
The good thing is, in this hospital bag checklist you will find only the things you need and nothing you don’t. We don’t have fluff here. I have been through this twice already and I love my preggo mamas.
If a no-fluff hospital bag packing list sounds like something you want, then keep scrolling. I will also be sharing my suggestion on when you should start packing your maternity bag.
In case you might be asking yourself how I know what you don’t need, well, let’s say I kinda “moved” into the hospital when delivering my first baby. And then, the second time around I packed a minimalist hospital bag. And I really mean minimal. As in my hospital bag was a backpack diaper bag plus my small handbag. Yeah, I am side-eyeing myself too.
To be fair, the hospital where I delivered was only 5 minutes from my house so that gave me some confidence.
Now having been on both ends of the spectrum, I can give you a balanced view. I know what you DO NOT need to pack in your hospital bag because I have been there done that.
On the other hand, I also know exactly what YOU NEED to pack in your hospital bag because I know what I missed the second time- which wasn’t much, (not so) surprisingly.
The Practical Hospital Bag Packing Guide – Everything You Need For a Comfortable Labor and Delivery at the Hospital
You can finally stop googling “what should I pack in my hospital bag for labor“, “what to pack in your maternity hospital bag“, “the best hospital bag checklist“, “what to bring to the hospital for mom, dad, baby” or whatever phrase you have been searching for, because I got you, mama.
I’m laying out what you should pack in your hospital bag for mom, for dad, and for baby. The best part is, it is a very practical printable checklist that you can download and use for delivery prep packing!
Honestly, you really do not need to pack a huge suitcase of stuff for a few days stay at the hospital. You will most likely be there for only 2 to 3 days.
Sometimes I think about it this way: if you were broke and the only thing you were able to pack in your hospital bag was an outfit for your newborn, do you know you would be just fine?
Yeah. You would.
But I know, you want to be a little more than just fine. You want to be comfortable and in my experience, that is possible. After multiple overnight hospital stays during my second pregnancy, I think I got this packing-a-hospital-bag thing down. So let’s get to it.
Let’s get your pregnancy hospital bag packed up for comfort but also without all the unnecessary fluff.
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But first, allow me to answer the big question – when to start packing your hospital bag for labor?
When should you pack your pregnancy hospital bag?
I would highly recommend starting to pack as soon as you get to the third trimester at around 28 weeks and be done by around 36, or 37 weeks for us last minute people. The earlier you can finish, the better.
Wait until you find out the baby’s gender before shopping for the baby coming home outfit. Alternatively, you can get gender-neutral outfits like these ones I loved here
Ultimately, just start packing your hospital bag as early as you can. If you find it too stressful trying to put all the essentials together, this hospital bag bundle would be great for you.
Related: Stop by this page for all my Amazon picks for pregnancy and postpartum
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
Here are the things you need to pack in your hospital bag for mommy. You will need some of these before or after delivery but you need to have them during your overnight hospital stay:
- Birth plan
- Hospital paperwork
- Hair ties
- Lip balm
- Slip-on shoes
- A comfortable robe
- Nursing bra
- Nipple cream
- Nursing pads
- A going home outfit
- Phone and charger
- Makeup kit
- Labor and delivery gown
The Things You Will Be Glad You Packed In Your Hospital Bag While In Labor
1. Birth plan
Your birth plan will basically have the details on how you want to deliver your baby. Do you want to be medicated, an epidural, skin-to-skin, and so many more details. You can make it as detailed or as brief as you want.
If your birth plan is to go with the flow, that is also fine. (I’m the go-with-the-flow kind of girl)
Some hospitals will go through your birth plan with you in a pre-delivery visit but it is still a good idea to print it out and keep it in your labor and delivery hospital bag so that you have it with you to give to your caregivers at the hospital.
2. Hospital paperwork
You need to carry your ID, Insurance Card and any other paperwork that you might need at the hospital. I was given a “labor card” during the pre-delivery visit which you show security when you come in for delivery so that they let you in as quickly as possible.
Make sure all your paperwork is top in your hospital bag and in a position where they are easily accessible.
Don’t miss to pack your toiletries in your hospital bag. The toiletries provided at the hospital are honestly not good enough.
Just carry your own toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, facial cleanser, bathing soap/body wash, lotion/moisturizer, deodorant. By the way, you can get this convenience kit that’s already done for you. I am all for easier ways of doing things.
4. Hair ties
You would not want to be controlling your hair while dealing with contractions, would you? Pack those hair ties.
5. Lip Balm
Nobody likes cracked lips and trust me, forgetting lip balm is the worst. Ask me how I know.
6. Labor Affirmations
Print out some positive birth affirmations to recite during labor especially if you are doing an unmedicated birth.
The Things To Pack in Your Pregnancy Hospital Bag that You Will be Grateful For During Your Hospital Stay and After Delivery
7. Nursing bra
A comfortable nursing bra is great not only for support but because it allows you to breastfeed easily. You will definitely need one when going home. I really like this one.
8. Nipple cream
Definitely pack nipple cream because you don’t want to start dealing with sore nipples. This is the one I used and love and I would advice you to start applying it to your nipples even before you experience any pain. Your nipples will thank you for it.
9. Nursing pads
Sometimes your breast milk will come in and do so in plenty. Leaking breast milk is totally normal but you don’t want to stain your clothes so I suggest you have these nursing pads packed in your hospital bag ready.
You should pack some slippers to wear at the hospital. Can you imagine walking barefoot on the germ-ridden hospital floors? It’s horrible. You can pack flip-flops or sandals that you can also use in the bathroom. Maybe it’s just me but I hate being barefoot in hospital bathrooms.
11. A comfortable Robe
Pack a nice robe ( I got this one and loved it) to wear on top of your hospital gown. The hospital gowns have open backs, in case you haven’t been in one before.
It can get very uncomfortable if someone comes to visit and you are in the hospital gown and can’t really move around without looking ridiculous.
Another good option is to buy your own labor and delivery gown.
12. A labor/delivery gown
The hospital gowns are not bad, but they can be quite ugly and uncomfortable. Buying your own gown can make you feel better and more comfortable. I personally bought this one because I hate the way the gowns given at the hospital had no way to close them nicely at the back.
I decided not to wear mine until after delivery because I did not want to soil it when giving birth. If you want to wear it before and after delivery, I’d suggest you get two of them.
They are really cute and honestly, I lived in mine for the first three months after birth. Several months later and I still wear it to bed sometimes but shh don’t tell anyone.
Giving birth to a baby is no easy task so you want to stay hydrated. Make sure to pack a water bottle or your favorite drink for hydration.
Get an extra-long charging cord to charge your phone at the hospital. For some reason, the sockets at the hospital seem to always be too far from the bed. I don’t know why.
15. Camera/ Phone
I’m pretty sure you would want to capture the moment you hold your newborn baby for the first time. Make sure to have your camera packed in your maternity hospital bag. You could also use your phone if it takes really good pictures.
You can also book a photographer to come in and do a family photoshoot or take photos of your newborn at the hospital. Check with your hospital on their guidelines on this.
Some of them have a specific time set for this and some restrictions that you have to adhere to.
16. Makeup kit
You don’t have to pack a makeup kit but if you are planning to do a photoshoot while at the hospital and would like to touch up a little, make sure you carry your kit.
Even if you aren’t hiring a photographer, you will feel good when you are taking photos with your newborn and your face is well done.
17. A going home outfit
18. Pillows & Bath towels
The hospital provides pillows and towels but they are not luxurious. I don’t care much for these so I did not bother to pack them when I was going to deliver but I have realized that other moms struggle with this.
If you are very particular about your pillows and towels, then be sure to carry some.
Should I pack a breast pump in my hospital bag?
You probably noticed that I did not include a breast pump in the list of items to pack in your hospital bag for mom.
Most of the time, you won’t need it, latching your baby on breast that early is the best way to start establishing breastfeeding. Also, if you need a pump while at the hospital, some hospitals do provide one.
However, if you are planning to exclusively pump, it may be a good idea to pack your own breast pump so that you start getting comfortable with it while you have the help of the nurses.
What To Pack In The Hospital Bag For Baby
Baby will not need much while you are at the hospital as things like diapers, blankets are provided while at the hospital.
For all the items you will need for the baby once you are back home, see the newborn essentials checklist here. It includes a printable version which you can download and use.
Most of what you pack in the hospital bag for baby are things you will need when leaving the hospital rather than during the hospital stay.
Hospital Bag Checklist For Labor – Baby
19. Going home outfit
A onesie and a simple footed sleep and play like this one or a cute 3-piece outfit is enough. I would advise you to carry two outfits. One should be in newborn size and the other 0-3months because you don’t know what size the baby is going to be.
You will probably have a hat in the going home outfit set but if you don’t, these are pretty cute and will keep the baby warm.
21. Soft blanket
Perfect for swaddling/ covering the baby when going home. These are my favorite swaddle blankets, we still use and love them.
22. Car seat
The car seat should be installed in the car, don’t carry it to the labor/delivery room 😀
you can opt for an infant car seat like this one or a convertible one like this one. Make sure the car seat is properly installed as the hospital staff will not help you to install your car seat or put your baby in the car seat to avoid liability. If you are not sure how to install, you can have your car seat inspected at your local police department or by a local CPS technician near you.
Hospital Bag Packing List for Dad
23. Lots of snacks.
Most hospitals provide food for mom but not for dad so pack up lots of snacks. He will need the energy to help you through labor.
24. Convenience kit
Pack his toothbrush, moisturizer, and other grooming items. He is going to be there with you the whole time and you don’t want his mouth stinking because he hasn’t brushed his teeth for 3 days.
25. Change of clothes
At the very least pack an extra shirt and underwear. You can carry a shirt that will allow dad to have some skin to skin time with the newborn.
26. Camera or a fully charged phone for pictures
You want to capture the first moments when the baby arrives. How the baby looks changes very fast within the first 24 hours so get as many pictures as you can. Since mom will obviously be exhausted, pack this in the hospital bag for dad so that he is in charge of the pictures.
27. Pillow and blanket
Dad is going to be sleeping on a pull-out chair which is not so comfortable if he decides to stay the night. Pack a pillow and a blanket from home can make it a little more comfortable for him. Some hospitals might provide these while others may not. Leave them in the car and get them when you need them.
Have a book, iPad, laptop, or Bluetooth headphones with some entertainment to keep dad occupied while at the hospital while waiting. Sometimes labor takes a really long time before the baby comes and if you are having an epidural, there is really not much dad can do other than being present. Some entertainment will some in handy in this case.
Free printable hospital bag checklist for mom dad and baby + printable:
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Things you don’t need to carry because the hospital will provide
It is always a good idea to ask what is provided by the hospital during your maternity tour. It will help you avoid carrying a whole lot of unnecessary stuff. Once you know what they provide, you do not need to pack those items.
Here is a list of items that are commonly provided by hospitals:
- Baby wipes
- Giant mesh underwear
- Maxi pads for post-partum bleeding
Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Labor and Delivery
Now that your maternity hospital bag for delivery and labor is fully packed, it is time to wait for the baby to arrive at any time. I hope this printable hospital bag checklist for labor and delivery was helpful and can make packing easier for you.
What item do you feel you cannot do without? Did I miss something in the hospital bag checklist for delivery? Let me know in the comments.