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The Only Hospital Bag Checklist You’ll Need (Plus Free Printable!)

Need a printable hospital bag checklist of what you need to bring to hospital for labor for mom, dad and baby? Here you go!

As it gets closer to baby time, you’ll probably find yourself packing and repacking your hospital bag. Rearranging your baby’s clothes for the millionth time. And cleaning the skirting boards.

Ah, nesting. Such fun times!

You’ve probably spent time researching what to pack for labor and delivery, poring over lists of what moms swear they needed in their hospital bag for mom and baby… maybe you even considered packing a hospital bag for dad!

As a mom of two, I finally think I have this ‘what to pack for labor’ thing figured out – the first time I overpacked but forgot some important items. Second time – nailed it! In this post I’m laying out my best advice for you.

What to Pack In Your Hospital Bag For Labor and Delivery

If you’re lucky, your hospital will provide a good whack of the things you need to use after baby is born. This is something you should definitely find out when you do your hospital tour OR by looking it up online or in the stacks of paperwork they give you. There’s always stacks of paperwork.

You need to know about this as you’ll save yourself quite a bit of time, effort and money by not taking along what your hospital is already providing for free.

The list here is pretty much all inclusive, because that’s what I had to bring to hospital – yes, the only thing my hospital provides is a knitted hat for baby (and blankets and towels.) So, just in case you need the full list – this is it!

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Here’s what I packed in my hospital bag:

Hospital Bag Checklist for Labor and Delivery – What to Pack In Your Hospital Bag for Labor

This is the stuff you need to bring along to make labor and delivery more comfortable. Your hospital probably won’t provide any of it, so make sure to pack it in your pregnancy go bag!

1) Flipflops

For getting around the hospital corridors and for wearing in the shower (especially if you have to share). Love my Havaianas!

2) Hair Ties

If you have long hair, you won’t want to leave it down during labor. It gets kinda sweaty and in the way. Put it up so you don’t have to think about it.

3) Lip Balm

Yes, this really is a labor bag essential. You’ll be surprised how dry your lips get at the hospital and totally regret it if you don’t pack it.

4) Water Bottle

You probably won’t want to drink an insane amount of water during labor… but I still think you should bring the biggest water bottle you can just in case you need it during your hospital stay. Like this ginormous gallon one.

Your hospital may provide water, but for me that was in itty bitty cups and a tiny jug. Trust me, you will not be in the mood to refill your water bottle every hour or two after giving birth and you will be THIRSTY.

5) Snacks

You may not be hungry during labor. Or you might find you need something small and snacky to get you by. Include some small food items in your labor bag just in case – I like crackers and cheese, nuts, or salami sticks.

Make sure you bring breath mints (and share)!

6) Labor aids

If you want something with you to help with labor, you’ll probably need to bring it (especially with the new rules in 2020) – so, if you want to bring squeeze balls, a TENS machine, essential oils, heat packs, music, a labor ball, or anything else, pack it!

7) Birth plan

Don’t forget your birth plan! Print a copy and tuck it into the top of your hospital bag or keep it with your important documents.

You want your midwife/L&D nurse and doctors to know what your plan is for the birth. Still need to write one? No worries >>> check out this post here.

8) Socks

It gets cold in the hospital and having warm, cozy feet is just what you need to feel a little bit more comfortable.

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Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom (After Birth)

Hopefully your hospital will provide you with:

  • maternity pads (or incontinence underwear – these are really awesome for post birth!)
  • mesh underwear,
  • peri bottle,
  • pain meds, and
  • stool softeners

after delivery so I’m not going go into detail into these items… but do check and make sure!

You will also want to bring along:

8) Robe

A pretty robe is nice to have to throw over whatever you’re wearing if you’re cold or need to cover up in a hurry. It helps you feel a bit more put together. You’ll probably live in this for a while at home too! This one is so stinking cute, I’m putting it on my list for baby #3 (if we go there.)

9) Nursing Sleep Bra

There’s something about having a bra on that just makes you feel more human. Especially when your breasts are working overtime producing milk for your new baby.

You definitely want a nursing bra that you can sleep in for the hospital, like this one, as they are super soft and comfy.

10) Nipple Balm

If you plan to breastfeed your newborn, make sure you’re prepared with nursing bras, nursing pads and nipple balm. Those first days can be really tough on your nipples and you will want something to soothe them. Don’t wait until they’re raw though – apply balm as often as you need.

11) Basic Toiletries

Don’t be like me and forget your shampoo and conditioner! Take along a mini kit and enjoy that first shower after birth with your own products. There’s nothing like using your familiar stuff to make you feel more like yourself again.

12) Basic Makeup

Optional but nice to have so you can get some good photos at the hospital. Don’t bring your full kit – just some tinted moisturiser, mascara, blush and lip gloss is enough.

13) Spare Clothes (Dark Colors)

While you may prefer to just wear hospital gowns while you’re there (saves you doing laundry!) there’s nothing like getting back into your own clothes to make you feel more ‘normal’.

Pack a couple of changes of clothes in dark colors – NOT your prebaby clothes. You’ll still have a baby bump for a little while after birth.

Dark colors are preferred… because postpartum can be super messy and you don’t want to get anything visibly stained.

14) Bottom Spray

Toileting after birth can be super painful – this spray helps you get through those first few painful days.

And a couple more items you want to pack:

  • Phone Charger – don’t forget the phone charger. You’re going to want to take lots of photos, send announcement texts and phone calls… and maybe start recording your baby’s breastfeeding and sleeping times in an app.
  • Your baby book – got one (or 3) for your shower? Bring it along so you can fill it in if you get any downtime at the hospital. But, you might find that your stay is a whirlwind of friends and family visits, doctors and nurses popping in to check on you and baby and breastfeeding, nappy changing and showering.
  • Maternity PJ’s – breastfeeding essential! You can wear a shirt or a dress but constantly pulling it up will give you a cold belly.
  • Slippers – keep your feet warm when walking around with slippers.
  • Going home outfit – take a basic outfit with you to wear home. You won’t immediately fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes so, just pack one of your maternity outfits.
  • Breast pads – as your milk starts to come in, things can get leaky. Be prepared and tuck breast pads into your nursing bra to soak up any milk leaks. It’s possible you’ll be out of hospital before you need to worry about this – but you might as well bring them along!
  • nursing pillow so you can use it from the start

Baby Hospital Bag List

If you are fortunate, your hospital will provide just about everything you need for baby while you are there, including:

  • newborn diapers
  • baby wipes
  • baby blankets
  • baby clothing, including hat and socks

(Just make sure you have these items at home and you’ll be fine!)

Other than that, you don’t really need to bring much along for baby unless you want to. For me that meant I also brought along:

It’s not really something to bring… kinda… but you’ll also need to have:

15) Baby Car Seat Installed

So you can get home safely from the hospital. It might also be a good idea to get familiar with how to work it and adjust things so it fits your newborn.

What about a Dad Hospital Bag?

Should you pack dad a hospital bag? Of course! Well, he doesn’t really need *too* many things, so his bag will be small unlike a mom and baby hospital bag.

Here’s what to include in dad’s bag:

  • spare clothing (including underwear) – include one change if you live close by the hospital and dad can duck home to get changed if needed. Consider a few extra changes if he won’t be able to go home during your stay.
  • swimwear – no, not for swimming – if you plan to use the bath, birth pool or shower during labor, you might want your partner to support you in the water. Which means he’ll need swimwear. While the L&D nurses don’t mind seeing YOU naked, dad is a different story!
  • snacks and cash for vending machines or the cafe.

When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag?

I recommend packing at least some items into your hospital bag from around 30 weeks. Obviously not the snacks!

You never know what’s going to happen and having at least some things ready to go will help immensely.

I’d just repacked my hospital bag the morning I went in for an appointment at 37 weeks with my first baby and wasn’t allowed to go home. My husband wouldn’t have had a clue what to pack if he’d had to do it himself!

It was so good to be able to tell him to just grab the two bags from beside the door in the nursery.

I forgot to pack a few things, but it wasn’t the end of the world. By the time I was allowed to leave the hospital I was really looking forward to getting home and washing my hair!

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