Hospital Bag Checklist - What to Pack for Labor & Delivery

Hospital Bag Checklist - What to Pack for Labor & Delivery

As any Mother can attest to, you will never forget that moment when you make the Decision that it’s time to go to the hospital to deliver this baby you’ve been carrying in your body for what seems like an eternity.

Every woman’s experience with making that trip to the hospital is different - no one person’s experience with making that trip to the hospital is the same. For some, it happens way too early and the trip to the hospital is filled with apprehension and panic. For others, the trip happens when they’re two weeks overdue and they can’t wait to get to hospital to get. this. baby. out. And there are those who have a scheduled C-section and are operating against a clear and predictable timetable. But there’s one thing that every experience has in common: it is life changing and you never feel 100% prepared for what’s to come.

One thing that can make the experience feel more manageable and under your control (even if just a little bit) is properly packing a hospital bag ahead of time. You might stay at the hospital for just 24 hours or you might be there for 4-5 days. Either way, the last thing you need to deal with is feeling uncomfortable and unprepared during a stay away from home. Because you’ve got a fresh, straight-outta-the-womb human being to worry about!

Here are some tips and suggestions to make packing your hospital bag easy, breezy, beautiful, Cover Girl.

When should I pack a hospital bag?

Timing the packing of a hospital bag right is super important. If you pack it too early, you’ll have to keep pulling daily essentials out of the bag, which guarantees that you will accidentally leave something important at home. If you pack too late, it’s a recipe for more stress and chaos. Experts suggest that you should have you bags packed between 35-37 weeks. 

What kind of bag should I use for a hospital bag?

We recommend a large duffle/weekender bag or small suitcase. Using a large suitcase means that you’re more likely to over pack, and bring items that you won't need. Plus, labor & delivery and post-partum rooms are usually pretty small, so there’s not much space available to store a large suitcase. This weekender bag is roomy and can fit a surprising amount of stuff. This small suitcase is lightweight and easy to maneuver. 

One more tip: it’s best to pack all of your items into one bag. Don’t bring a duffel bag, and a backpack, and a purse with you to the hospital. Once you check into the hospital, you will likely get moved through many different rooms throughout the hospital: triage, labor & delivery, post-partum. It’ll be easier and you’re less likely to misplace something if all of your belongings are stored in one centralized bag. 

What should I not pack for the hospital? 

Leave your valuable jewelry and sentimental jewelry at home. We recommend taking off any rings before leaving for the hospital, as there is a high likelihood your fingers will swell during labor and delivery. Also avoid packing clothes made out of delicate fabric like silk or satin. 

What will the hospital provide? 

There are some items you won't need to pack because hospital will give you some of the essentials you'll need for yourself and the baby during your stay. These items include: swaddle blankets, baby diapers, sanitary pads for post-partum bleeding, disposable underwear, a large water bottle. 

What to pack for in your hospital bag for yourself: 

1. Important personal items: 
  • wallet with ID and insurance cards
  • cell phone
  • keys 
  • eyeglasses if needed
2. Clothing
  • Comfortable robe. It can get chilly in the hospital room. Plus there will be people coming in at all hours to probe you. A comfortable robe will make your stay more enjoyable. This short fuzzy robe is a good option. 
  • Fuzzy socks. Help prevent cold feet and freezing toes with a pair of thick socks. 
  • Plastic flip flops/slip-on shoes. There will be a lot of shuffling back and forth between the hospital bed and the bathroom. It's handy to have a pair of waterproof shoes on hand. 
  • Loose comfortable clothes. sweatshirt, sweatpants, anything with an elastic waistband. 
  • Nursing tank top. A simple nursing top like this one is handy if you choose to breastfeed. 
  • Large cotton underwear. Leave your nice underwear at home. 
  • Disposable adult diapers. The hospital will likely provide you with disposable mesh underwear. But we find higher quality adult underwear is more comfortable. 
  • Eye mask. A plush eye mask to block out the bright blinking lights emanating from the various machines in the hospital room will help you catch a few more Zs. 
    3. Toiletries 
    • toothbrush and toothpaste
    • contact lens case and solution 
    • shampoo and conditioner
    • moisturizer 
    • lip balm 
    • hair brush
    • make-up if you plan on taking photos
    • hair dryer if you plan on taking photos 
      4. Electronics 
      • cell phone charger with extra long cord
      • ipad 
      • portable sound machine
      • portable speaker 
      5. Snacks 
      • granola bars
      • energy bars 
      • nuts 
      • trail mix 

        What to pack in your hospital bag for your baby: 

        • infant car seat
        • clothes for the trip home
        • infant pacifier 
        • baby blanket 

        Screenshot or download a copy of our handy hospital bag checklist to help you prepare and get organized for the big day!