Need a hospital bag checklist? Plus printable? Here you go!

As you begin to anticipate the birth of your baby, 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!

Now, what you’ll actually need in your labor bag depends on what your hospital provides – some hospitals provide EVERYTHING you could possibly need… make sure you find out when you do your hospital tour or call up and ask.

Sadly, my hospital provides nothing but a knitted hat for baby. Everything else, I need to take… yes, it’s a lot of stuff!

Here’s what I’m packing in my hospital bag:

For Labor

  • Flipflops – for getting around the hospital corridors and for wearing in the shower. Love my Havaianas!
  • Hair ties – to keep your hair out of the way during labor.
  • Birth Plan – so your midwife and doctors know what your plans are for birth. Still need to write one? No worries >>> check out this post here.
  • Dressing Gown – nice to have in case it’s cold and it helps make you feel more at home.
  • Chapstick – make your lips comfortable. Labor makes your lips dry out, or perhaps it’s the hospital air that’s drying. Either way you’ll regret not packing it.
  • Snacks and Drinks – you probably won’t want much, but small candies, mints, and electrolyte-filled drinks can help you get through labor more comfortably. I love tic tacs!
  • Labor aids – squeeze balls, TENS machine, essential oils, music, heat packs. If you plan to use anything during labor to help you through, make sure you pack it in your bag. Your hospital may provide heat packs, but you might want more than that. Not sure why you’d need squeeze balls? Read this post on the best labor advice.
  • Tissues – just in case they aren’t provided.
  • Food for dad – because he’ll probably get hungry at some point!

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For Your Hospital Stay

  • Maternity pads… or Depends – does it seem too weird to buy incontinence underwear for post-labor? Many women swear by it! You’ll either need a few packs of Depends or a load of maternity pads for after birth. Oh, and if you’d rather buy them online, check them out at Amazon.
  • Toiletries (don’t forget shampoo and conditioner) – bring toiletries. The hospital probably won’t provide you with anything. I forgot shampoo and conditioner. Yuck!
  • Hairbrush
  • Nursing bra – there’s something about having a bra on that just makes you feel more human. Especially when your breasts are going crazy producing milk for your new baby. Hint – get fitted properly. Wearing the wrong size bra is uncomfortable in normal circumstances but while you’re breastfeeding it increases your risk of mastitis. This is the brand I used, they were so soft and comfy.
  • 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.
  • Extra clothes – don’t forget to pack clothes. Nothing like getting out of a hospital gown to make you feel human again.
  • Underwear – there’s no nice way to put this, but expect to ruin some underwear post-birth. Don’t wear your best, most beautiful undies. In fact, a pack of super cheap high waisted underwear in size huge will be best (gotta fit those maternity pads in + plus cooling pads)
  • Socks – it’s cold at a hospital. Bring socks. Keep your feet cozy.
  • 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.
  • Nipple cream – there’s a bit of a learning curve for breastfeeding – for you and for your baby. It takes some time to adjust and until you do, you might find your nipples are a bit sore and raw. Nipple cream can help make you more comfortable.

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For Baby

  • Newborn diapers
  • Unscented Baby Wipes
  • Muslins – great for wrapping baby up, snug like a bug.
  • Blankets – good for keeping baby warm.
  • Hat, jacket, cardigan – if it’s cold, keep baby warm with these.
  • Socks – if you have footless sleepers, socks are definitely needed.
  • Sleepsuits and vests – don’t get too complicated with baby clothes. I struggled getting anything over baby’s head for the first 6 months or so! The best clothes ever? Zippy sleepsuits like these. No fiddly bits over baby’s head. No snaps to try match up at 2am. Too easy.
  • Going home outfit – cute clothes for baby are easy to find… but don’t get too complicated. A cute sleep suit will do. I know one of those complicated and frilly going home outfits look so cute, but do you really want to struggle getting baby into an uncomfortable outfit to sit in the car seat and then take them out of it as soon as they get home? *shrug* I didn’t, but it’s up to you.

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 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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