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A Realistic and Totally Practical Hospital Bag Checklist {with a FREE pdf printable!}

A Realistic and Totally Practical Hospital Bag Checklist {with a FREE pdf printable!}

Pregnancy Hospital Bag Checklist

 

Congratulations on your baby, momma! Whether this is your first baby or maybe your second or third- this labor checklist is meant to be simple and no extras. Just necessities. You’re NOT moving to the hospital 😉

Make sure you grab your free checklist for your hospital bag by signing up near the bottom of the post. It has space for you, baby and your support partner (AKA Dad or whoever is tagging along.)

Hospital Bag Checklist for Labor and Delivery

  • Lip balm
  • Birth affirmations
  • Socks/slippers
  • Comfy sweater or cardigan
  • Change of clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Car Seat
  • Snacks
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing pads
  • Water bottle
  • Nipple cream
  • Pillow from home
  • Phone/charger
  • Perinneal spray
  • Birth plan
  • Newborn diapers
  • Wipes
  • Swaddling/recieving blankets
  • Newborn outfits
  • Baby moisturizer
  • Nursing pillow

Having a scheduled C-Section? Click here for a C-Section Hospital Bag Checklist.

So, What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag For Labor?

I way over packed when I went in to the hospital to give birth to my daughter. I was searching Pinterest daily for the ultimate hospital bag checklist for labor and delivery.

I’m not sure an “ultimate” list is what you need when delivering a baby. I think “realistic” is the word we’re searching for here.

I only ended up using half, if that, of all the useless stuff I brought.

There are a few things you want to keep in mind for your hospital bag:

  • Being comfortable
  • Emergencies
  • What you genuinely NEED during labor and postpartum
  • What would be nice to have
  • Baby essentials
  • Things for your partner

Alright, let’s get to it!

Hospital Bag For Mom

  • Lip balm
  • Birth affirmations
  • Socks/slippers
  • Comfy sweater or cardigan
  • Change of clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Car Seat
  • Snacks
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing pads
  • Water bottle
  • Nipple cream
  • Pillow from home
  • Phone/charger
  • Perinneal spray
  • Birth plan

Lip Balm

Yeah, I know. How the heck is this first on the list? If this is your first baby, trust me- you want lip balm in the hospital! It’s so incredibly dry in there plus with breathing through contractions, your lips will dry out so fast.

My husband always looks at me like I’m crazy when I ask for lip balm between contractions but I don’t care and you won’t either!

I make a super easy 3 ingredient lip balm at home that I LOVE- you can find the recipe here! But if I really don’t have time, this brand has amazing flavors 🙂

Birth Affirmations

Are you worried about labor and delivery? Most women are- that’s normal!

Something that will help you rock labor and birth are positive birth affirmations cards. You can grab your set here.

Socks or Slippers

The hospital floor is gross. Your feet may get cold. You’ll want something for your feet, whether is comfy slippers or just a pair of socks. Or super cozy slipper socks!

These slip on slippers are legit my favorite type of slipper! So easy to slip on and don’t feel too bulky- perfect for the hospital!

Cozy Sweater or Cardigan

You’ll really want something warm, comforting and easy to slip on and off. The temperature fluctuations in the hospital can be insane.

One minute you’ll be roasting in your nursing tank and the next you’ll be wondering why you didn’t pack your parka!

These chunky knit cardigans are ridiculously cozy and soft.

RELATED: No Fluff Breastfeeding Must Haves (you don’t need much)

A Change of Clothes

Pack at least 2 changes of clothing in case you happen to be there overnight. With my second baby, everything went so smoothly that I actually under packed for my 3rd baby by a little bit.

I ended up missing a dose of antibiotics and they had to keep me for 48 hours and I wished I had packed more clothing.

Don’t pack your cute pre-pregnancy clothes. Just don’t. Yes, you’ll lose some weight with giving birth but oh my goodness you’ll still want your maternity leggings.

Your body just went through some crazy ass shit. Pack clothing that is loose, breathable and COMFORTABLE.

These maternity leggings are so comfy and forgiving to your body after you have a baby- I wore them all through my pregnancy, home from the hospital and in the following weeks until my belly really shrunk down.

Toiletries

This can be different everyone. I read lists that told me to pack a curling iron AND a flat iron- like, heck no!

Pack whatever is comfortable for you. Are you going to want conditioner? Pack it! Do you straighten your hair religiously every day? Then, by all means, pack your straightener.

The things you will for sure want/need are:

RELATED: Realistic Breastfeeding Tips For Success!

Car Seat

Make sure your car seat is set up and installed properly BEFORE you are heading to the hospital! It’s stressful enough without having your partner trying to install it before you’re going home with a baby.

Look into getting a convertible car seat that will last from newborn to toddlerhood to save some money.

Nursing Bra

Pack a nursing bra that is super comfy and forgiving. Your milk is going to come in and it is gonna be crazy town.

I searched high and low for a nursing bra that I loved and this is the only one I recommend– it’s comfortable, supportive and holds up well to the never ending washing!

RELATED: Does the Perfect Nursing Bra Even Exist?

Snacks

Bring some easy to eat snacks that your body will thank you for! Fruit with a peel that’s easy to eat is so amazing during labor and after you give birth.

Seriously, it’s heaven and hospital food can be somewhat lacking.

These nut bars are low sugar, minimal ingredients and totally delicious! I loved having them.

And it’s nice to have a protein boost, I prefer Lara bars to Clif bars because they don’t taste like cardboard- they’re pretty tasty. Peanut butter and chocolate chip is one of the best ones!

RELATED: Get Organized for Labor and Birth with These Free Printables (checklists, planners and more!)

Water Bottle

Bring your own water bottle! It’s way easier to drink out of opposed to a hospital cup during labor and even after birth. These Contigo water bottles with the spout– seriously the BEST for drinking out of during labor.

Nursing Pads

Grab some disposable nursing pads to use in the hospital. It’s easier than keeping the reusables to wash when you get home.

These will help save you from having to change your shirt or nursing bra every feed.

RELATED: 15 Really Weird Signs of Labor Starting

Nipple Cream

Start using this right away, even if it seems like you have won the ‘pain free nipples’ lottery. Chances are, painful nipples will happen.

This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just your nipples getting used to constantly being sucked on (lol).

This usually doesn’t last too long as your body gets used to breastfeeding. But I find if you just start applying it right after the first feed, it doesn’t get as bad.

I’ve used the same cream with every baby, it’s from Earth Mama Baby Angel. It smells like chocolate and is totally safe for your baby to taste.

Or, if you’re a DIY’er, try this Vegan Healing Balm – just be sure to leave out the tea tree oil!

Pillow From Home

I forgot my pillow with my third baby and just about cried. There is something so comforting about using the pillow that you’re used to and smells like your house.

You may actually have a chance of getting some sleep if you bring it!

*Note– put a pillowcase you don’t care about over your pillow from home if you are planning on having it in the delivery room.

RELATED: The No B.S. Truth About Postpartum Recovery

Your Phone

I know you won’t forget this one but just in case you need a reminder.

A Charger

Don’t get stuck with dead electronics! It suuuucckkkkss. If you do forget it, you can always grab one from the hospital gift shop so don’t worry too much.

Grab Your FREE Hospital Bag Checklist So You Can Pack Confidently!

This list includes sections for mom, dad, baby, nursing tools and extra notes!

Perineal Spray

Everything stretched, you may have tearing, and hey, you just pushed a baby out of there! This perineal spray has a cooling effect and helps soothe everything going on down there after you deliver baby.

Perineal spray is LIFE SAVING after giving birth.

A Birth Plan

Although I did NOT have a birth plan- many moms are more comfortable having one. They can be your guiding star when everything goes to shit and you’re wondering what the heck happened.

You can grab a free birth plan template here.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag for Labor and Delivery

When Should You Pack Your Hospital BagYou should have your hospital bag ready to go between the 32 and 35 weeks of pregnancyYou may start packing it at any time in your pregnancy, but it is important to have everything packed by your 35th week in case baby comes early.

Americordblood

Others may pack it around 36-37 weeks. You do want to have it ready to go a bit early just in case baby arrives earlier than expected.

Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby

  • Newborn diapers
  • Wipes
  • Swaddling/recieving blankets
  • Newborn outfits
  • Bum cream
  • Baby moisturizer
  • Nursing pillow

Newborn Diapers

The hospital does supply diapers. Sometimes you run out in the middle of the night and you really don’t feel like calling the nurse. So I like to bring a small pack of my own just in case!

You can grab a bundle of diapers and wipes from HelloBello for $16 off by clicking through this link– they’re sending a bottle of free hand sanitizer and offering free shipping with every order 🙂 use the code SAVE16

Wipes

You can look into what your hospital will supply. For ours, it was wetting down a huge cloth in the sink and using that for a wipe.

I didn’t really care for that since a pack of wipes is much easier to work with and it’s relatively small and easy to pack.

Definitely get baby wipes that are NOT scented and have minimal ingredients for your newborn baby- their skin is SO sensitive so the less harsh things you put on their skin- the better!

RELATED: How To Induce Labor (fast and from home!)

Receiving Blankets

Receiving blankets are probably one of the most used things with a baby. I use them for swaddling in a pinch, wiping up spit up or as a nursing cover. They’re really multi-purpose! Bring a few with you for all those reasons.

Swaddling Blankets

What is the difference between receiving blankets and swaddling blankets, you ask? The swaddling blankets are quite a bit bigger and usually use a more breathable material, like muslim, to keep your baby’s temperature regulated.

aden+anais are my favorite brand, they’re huge and perfect for keeping your baby the right temperature!

Again, they will probably supply these in the hospital but they are hospital material. I liked having my lighter and easier to work with swaddling blankets.

Nursing Pillow

I SO wish I’d had a nursing pillow with me after my first daughter was born. Breastfeeding is a hell of a learning curve and if there’s one thing that can genuinely help, it’s a nursing pillow.

Get one that is sturdy enough to hold your baby at the right height so you don’t hurt your back and shoulders and have to go in for a chiropractic appointment when your baby is 7 days old.

This one actually has an adjustable strap to hold it in place and works wonders!

You can get a free nursing pillow here, just use the code NEWMOMMA20. Be warned that they just aren’t as good quality though!

Clothing

Bring some sleeveless onesies and some full sleepers. Your baby just needs to be warm, comfortable and safe. They don’t need to look like they popped out in the middle of Baby Gap!

If it’s winter, bring a newborn toque to keep their head warm. They’re used to being warm and cozy tucked in your belly so keep them that way!

Bum Cream

This is important. Your poor baby isn’t used to being wiped clean and then having their sensitive skin dry out.

Find a low ingredient, super sensitive one that’s good for newborns. I like to make my own Healing Balm or if I’m out of time for that, The Honest Company has a diaper rash cream that’s really nice.

RELATED: How to Make Labor Easier (and faster!)

Baby Moisturizer

Seriously, the hospital air is incredibly dry. It really isn’t nice for anyone’s skin- let alone a brand new baby.

Bring some cream with minimal ingredients and no scents in case your baby has very dry skin. I trust everything Earth Mama puts out- they don’t use artificial fragrances or any harsh ingredients.

Their calming baby lotion is organic and free of all the crap you don’t want on your baby’s skin!

I make my own Healing Balm that I use for pretty much everything- diaper rash, dry skin, minor cuts and scrapes- you name it! If you’re making it for this just leave out the tea tree oil!

Hospital Bag Checklist For Dad

  • Change of clothes
  • Snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Wallet
  • Phone/charger
  • Pillow

Change of Clothes

Your partner may be awake and with you for a long time, it’s nice for them to be able to change if they need to.

Snacks

Again, snacks at the hospital leave something to be desired. Pack some healthy snacks that your excited about and can help you sustain your energy!

Have you ever gotten a snack subscription box? They’re so fun and you get to try a bunch of new stuff you’ve never tried before! Vegancuts is having a sale- use the code 10FORME to get 10% off your first box.

Water Bottle

Dads get thirsty too and he may not have a chance to leave once you’re getting in to the intense part of labor! Better to be prepared with a good water bottle.

Wallet

Dads- you’re on snack duty, parking duty and whatever else your lovely baby mama might need during this crazy time! Do NOT forget your wallet!

Phone/Charger

Just don’t forget these!

Pillow

A pillow for your partner is a good idea. Every time we go in to have a baby, my husband ends up sleeping in the craziest places. And though he says he’s fine, it looks like a pillow might be pretty helpful!

RELATED: Hospital Checklist For Dad/Birth Partner

***

What To Pack In Hospital Bag (that’s realistic!)

There may be things not included on this list that you really want to bring- bring whatever that may be! Packing can be generalized but there’s a lot that is personal preference.

For myself, I didn’t like the ‘ultimate hospital bag‘ checklists because they just put every single thing they could think of on there. The ‘less is more’ approach is great because you need to think of:

  1. Getting there- it sucks lugging all this crap that you’re not going to use, especially if you’re in a hurry or have to park far away.
  2. Leaving- going home is even worse because you now also have a precious newborn baby in a heavy car seat, plus all the stuff you brought! Make it easy on yourself. Only bring what you need!

What You Should NOT Pack in Your Hospital Bag

  • Pre-pregnancy clothes
  • Dressy clothes
  • Full beauty bag
  • Books or movies
  • Lots of cute baby clothes

Pre-Pregnancy Clothes

This can be really hard and upsetting. After you have a baby, you’re likely to still look 6 months pregnant. Be kind to yourself and only bring maternity clothes that are comfy and will fit!

Dressy Clothes

It’s tempting to bring something dressy but it’s really not worth it. Childbirth is so intense and now you will have postpartum things to deal with (like blood, stitches and milk coming in) on top of a newborn baby.

Leave the dressy clothes for your first night out!

Full Beauty Bag

There probably won’t be time to use everything in your beauty bag and that’s okay! Bring minimal makeup and hair products- just the essentials.

Books or Movies

Honestly, I wish I could tell you that you’ll be kicking back and reading a novel or watching a movie but you really won’t.

There will be no time between labor, birth and taking care of your newborn. And you probably wouldn’t want to anyway! You will be in awe over your sweet baby 🙂

Lots of Cute Baby Clothes

Newborns need clothing that is warm, comfy and soft. Don’t bother packing a million cute outfits (though I understand why you want to!) because it’s just not necessary. Onesies and sleepers are perfect!

Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Labor and Delivery

Leave a comment letting me know something you can’t go without on your big day! Don’t forget to grab your free printable hospital bag checklist- there is a chance right above this. Good luck momma!!

MORE LABOR, DELIVERY AND POSTPARTUM TIPS:

5 Things You Can Do To Induce Labor (Naturally)

How To Breastfeed Like You’ve Done It Before

Your Top 10 Burning Questions About Labor and Delivery

Emotional Signs of Labor {REAL moms share their experiences}

No Bullshit Breastfeeding Essentials For New Moms

Best Tips For A Natural Birth

Signs Of Approaching Labor

How To Have A Faster Labor

Epidurals-Should You Get One?

45 New Mom Hacks- Tips for new mom life

More fun stuff from The Mommyhoodclub:

hospital bag checklist pdf/printable hospital bag checklist for labor and delivery
hospital bag checklist for labor/labor bag checklist

PRINTABLE HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST PDF

angel watkins

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Thanks so much for the list its 20 yrs since I had my daughter so this really helped me to stop stressing about what to bring. Good luck with the little ones and thanks again.

Jenni

Thursday 9th of July 2020

Hey Angel-

Thanks so much for commenting! It's funny how you forget with every baby, I would forget even though my babies are only 2 years apart lol. And I thought I had it down by the 3rd but ended up staying for longer than anticipated so this list was meant to be a good mix for over packers and under packers. SO MUCH LUCK TO YOU <3<3

Tessa

Sunday 10th of May 2020

Thank you so much for this! I'm due in June with baby #2 and I wanted a refresher on what to pack. There are so many "ultimate" lists out there and I just want to be practical! I also would really like to access the checklist but I don't see it on here or a link to it. Sorry if I missed it!

Jenni

Sunday 10th of May 2020

Hey Tessa, I'm so sorry about that! A sign up form is in the post, it's about half way down. Click this link to get the form: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/q0y8a0

Good luck with your new little one :)

Courtney

Thursday 16th of April 2020

Thank you for the no bullshit list! 35 weeks with baby #3, and I knew I was forgetting some things to pack! This was perfect.

Jenni

Sunday 19th of April 2020

Hey Courtney, you're so welcome! Good luck with baby number 3 ❤