Printable Hospital Bag Checklist: Everything You Need for Mama, Dad, and Baby!

Last Updated: March 20, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Looking for a hospital bag checklist? As a first time mom, I was SUCH a slacker when it came to packing my hospital bag for labor. I was lucky I didn’t go into labor a few weeks early because I would not have been prepared!

For my second birth, I wanted to be way more organized and thoughtful about my hospital bag situation. As a result, I put together an awesome Printable Hospital Bag Checklist that you can download for FREE by filling out the form below!!

Hospital Bag Checklist-1

And for those that also want an article to reference, read on!

The long and short of it is that I’m a BIG fan of packing individual bags for labor, recovery, partner, and baby. This keeps everything so much more organized.

And if you are a soon-to-be C-section mama, you are also in luck! I have a hospital bag article just for you! It includes 30+ hospital bag items that are recommended by veteran C-section mamas!

Ready mama, let’s get packin’!

Follow @mommy.labornurse on Instagram to join our community of over 640k for education, tips, and solidarity on all things pregnancy, birth, and postpartum!

When to pack your hospital bag

I get asked this question all the time! Ideally, you would have your hospital bag packed around week 35 or 36 but definitely shoot for no later than 37 weeks

To avoid this being a daunting task, I recommend packing a little at a time. I’m more of a “knock it out in one go” kind of gal (maybe the procrastinator in me!) but I realize that this approach isn’t for everyone. 

If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of packing your hospital bag then I highly recommend breaking it up into smaller chunks.

What bag to use for your mommy hospital bag?

I’ll go into this a little more later but I highly recommend packing your stuff in two separate bags or compartments. One for labor and one for postpartum. If you need something specific during labor, it’s much easier to find this way!

Now that we’ve touched on that tip, you might be wondering “What bag should I use for my mommy hospital bag?” Great question! If you are heeding my advice above, then you can use one smaller bag inside a larger one or packing cubes. 

Some women prefer a weekender or duffle bag and others a rolling suitcase – either works! Another great option is a backpack! I love this one because it allows your hands to be free and isn’t as cumbersome as other bags.

Hospital bag checklist for mom

I mentioned this above but I’ll say it again. I really liked packing up all my stuff into two separate bags (well, technically a smaller bag within a bigger bag). One for labor and one for postpartum. This way, my husband didn’t have to root through (and dishevel) a million extra items to find something I wanted while laboring.

It also meant that my postpartum bag was nice and organized and ready to go for the second half of our hospital stay. While this isn’t essential I really liked the way this worked out.

I said that packing cubes were a great option to keep things separate. Using a hard shell suitcase that has two separate sides is also another great idea. One side of the suitcase can be for labor and the other for postpartum.

Your hospital bag checklist for labor

  • Gum: I know I’m not the only mama that likes to have minty gum for labor. It can help with dry mouth and nausea
  • Essentials oils: There are all kinds of ways to use essential oils for labor! I made a special blend to use as a massage oil during birth (see what I used in this highlight) and also brought a roll-on blend for nausea
  • Chapstick: Lips get super dry during labor because of all the heavy breathing. Definitely bring this and put your partner in charge of making sure you use it
  • Hospital gown: You don’t have to bring this, but some mamas like to bring their own gown instead of using the one provided
  • Hair ties/bands/bobby pins: Get that hair outta your face!
  • Preggie Pops: Again, nausea during labor was a thing for me, so I wanted to be super ready for it. Remember these from the first trimester? They’re baaaaaaack
  • Ginger candies: The other good thing about all these hard candy options? A nice burst of sugar/energy during labor! These ones have honey in them which is a popular little labor pick-me-up

Hospital bag checklist for postpartum

  • Phone charger: Your phone is going to be running on low battery with all the texts, phone calls, and pictures you’ll be taking. So, common sense, just don’t forget it!
  • Your own personal toiletries: I brought skincare stuff, toothbrush, toothpaste, dry shampoo, a brush, etc. But you bring what you need to feel clean and comfortable
  • Shower sandals: I see how yucky those floors get and how they get cleaned. Bring some $1 plastic flip flops from Old Navy
  • Loose PJ pants for night: So, I am totally a yoga pants kind of girl. I live in them. But in postpartum, you’re actually going to want to bring some loose pj’s or sweat pants for sleeping to accommodate your postpartum pad situation. Ones with a wide waist band are perfect
  • Robe/Nursing-friendly PJ shirt: Something loose with easy access to the boob. I love this nursing friendly PJ set
  • Night nursing bras or camis: This will be a personal preference, but having some light support will keep you more comfortable when your milk comes in, even if you don’t typically sleep in a bra. Kindred Bravely’s are my favorite!
  • Maternity leggings and nursing tanks for day: I personally felt more comfortable putting on more “daytime” clothes, but you can totally hang out in PJs the whole time
  • Socks: My feet get freezing! Extra fuzzy, grippy socks are a great choice
  • Your own pillow: Hospital pillows suck. Bring yours from home and thank me later
  • Breastfeeding pillow: Something like the Boppy or My Brest Friend. These make nursing a lot easier, and learning with one from the start can make a WORLD of a difference
  • Breast pump: You probably won’t need to pump during your hospital stay, but it’s a good idea to bring it because the lactation consultant on staff can teach you how to use it if you ask!
  • Sound machine: Hospitals can be pretty noisy! Make the most of the sleep you will get by bringing a sound machine to drown out those extra noises
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Hospital bag checklist for baby

I always pack pretty minimally for baby. The hospital will provide you with MOST of the essentials. In fact, I always say that you could literally show up with nothing for baby (or yourself for that matter) and you’d actually be totally fine.

The hospital will have diapers, wipes, baby care stuff, and free samples so don’t go too crazy. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Cute swaddles: It’s nice to have a few of your own for picture purposes instead of the generic hospital swaddles
  • Nail clippers: Sometimes babies come out with sharp little nails that already need clipping. This one by Frida Baby is my top choice if you are looking for a set
  • Pacifiers: Most hospital don’t have pacifier on hand, so if you would like to introduce one to your baby early, be sure to bring your own
  • Hand mittens: Even with trimmed nails, it is so easy for babies to scratch themselves. Hand mittens to the rescue!
  • Going home outfit: YAY! So fun to pick this out ahead of time. I like to bring a few choices, one in newborn size, one in 0-3 month, and for different temperatures. This way you can pick what’s just right!
  • Aquaphor: Bonus tip! Put this on baby’s booty right from the start. It makes it SO MUCH EASIER to wipe off the sticky newborn poop (meconium)

Hospital bag for partner

This is the easiest bag to pack for sure, and one you shouldn’t have to worry about! But, to get your partner on the right track, here are a few must-haves:

  • Toiletries
  • Shower shoes
  • Chargers
  • Clothes/undies/socks
  • Comfy clothes/PJs
  • Snacks

What you don’t need on your hospital bag checklist

I remember making a HUGE list of items that I thought I needed during my stay, only to find out I didn’t really need the things I thought I did. So I wanted to include some of the leave at home items too!

  • Multiple outfits for baby: You’re only going to be there for 2 or 3 days max. Other than a going home outfit, I would not stress about bringing more than *maybe* one other cute outfit to put baby in
  • Underwear: WHAT?! DON’T BRING UNDERWEAR? NOPE. Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section, you’re going to be bleeding after you give birth. Leave your own underwear at home and take advantage of the disposable ones the hospital provides. ALTHOUGH, these lovely postpartum panties are a godsend to have once you leave
  • Baby book: You’re not going to have the time or energy to write in this thing. But once you get home, I do REALLY love this one to keep track of memories and milestones
  • Diapers and wipes: The hospital provides all diapers and wipes for baby, so you do not need to worry about bringing any of this stuff!

Ready to pack your hospital bag?

There you have it! And like I said earlier, don’t over-pack. It’s just more you have to UNPACK when you get home and have a baby to take care of.

One more tip – once you’re all packed up, put a notecard or post-it on top of the bag with any last-minute things that need to be added before go time. Things like chargers, your wallet, or that favorite pair of maternity leggings you don’t want to be packed away for the next 3ish weeks?

And while we’re on the topic of labor, I have to ask – have you taken a childbirth class yet? It’s not too late and will make ALL the difference in your birth experience. Head here to learn about my online birth classes!

Happy Delivery Day, mama!

Hospital Bag Checklist-1
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve spent countless hours with women who felt anxious — even fearful — about giving birth. I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way for you!

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