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Hospital Bag Checklist for Labor & Delivery

When you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy, one of the most stressful things is packing your hospital bag. You don’t know what to expect, what you’ll need, what baby will need, or more importantly, when you’ll need it all.

It’s all very overwhelming! But never fear, I have your hospital bag checklist right here. I’ve done this three times now, so I know what’s truly essential, and what’s nice to have, and what’s flat-out not needed.

Packing a hospital bag for labor & delivery can be daunting – but this list of essentials for mom, dad, and baby will have you completely prepared!

{And if you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy, make sure to stock up on these Unexpected Postpartum Essentials, too!}

Hospital Bag Essentials

I’m sort of a minimalist, so I really only bring the essentials to the hospital for labor. I’m not one to pack tons of outfits and accessories (for myself or for the baby), because frankly, there’s just not time or need for it during your short two-to-three day hospital stay.

After you give birth, whether vaginal or c-section, you’re going to be in pain. And it’s going to be difficult to get around. So the last thing you need is to be digging through a hospital bag full of unnecessary stuff looking for something you actually do need.

Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll go into labor spontaneously, and end up rushing to the hospital at a moment’s notice. So you don’t want to be rushing around the house, stressing to grab all the things, and then lugging a heavy, over-stuffed bag to the hospital with you.

Stick with my hospital bag checklist, and you’ll have everything you need, without any of the nonsense.

Grab the free PDF download at the bottom of this post, print it out, and check off everything as you pack it!

Hospital Bag Checklist: For Mom

My first pregnancy, I packed all sorts of clothes to wear during my hospital stay. Dresses, pants, undies, everything. But honestly, you don’t need that many clothes.

Doctors and nurses will be in and out of the room, checking you constantly. And when they’re not checking you, you’ll have a baby attached to you. Skin-to-skin time is super important in those first few days, so whether or not you’re breastfeeding, you’ll likely have the baby on your chest for most of the day.

The easiest wardrobe for a brand new mom is a hospital gown and a robe. That’s really all you need!

If you expect to have visitors, then bring a nursing tank and some comfy yoga pants or leggings to wear under the robe, but otherwise, less is more.

Don’t bother packing underwear. The hospital will give you mesh undies that you’ll live in for the first few days. (You’re gonna want to stash some in your bag to bring home with you too, just FYI.)

You’ll need an outfit to wear home – again, think stretchy, comfy, loose – but that’s it.

Other than that, just bring your bathroom essentials – shampoo, body wash, deodorant, etc. – and some light make-up, if it’ll make you feel human again.

You should definitely plan on taking a shower while you’re there. It will feel daunting to do, but it’ll make you feel 100 times better.

Hospital Bag Checklist: for Baby

Believe it or not, you really don’t need to bring all those cute PJs and outfits for baby to the hospital. Because just like you, nurses and doctors are going to be popping in and out of the room checking baby non-stop. There’s lots of pricking and measuring and poking and prodding.

Plus, don’t forget that your baby was cramped up in your belly for the last 9 months. Newborns are most comfortable being swaddled up, so baby will probably live in a diaper and a swaddle for those first days in the hospital.

Baby will need an outfit to ride home in – that’s where you get to have fun with all the cuteness – but that’s really it.

Maybe a cute hat or bow and a swaddle blanket if you have a special one you like – but the hospital will have some for you to use, too!

Hospital Bag Checklist: for Dad

Dad can pretty much fend for himself, but I like to include his stuff on the list, since he’ll most likely be in charge of throwing everything together if/when you go into labor.

He just needs the basics – a couple changes of clothes, his shower stuff, some snacks, and a pillow. Easy peezy!

Hospital Bag Checklist: Miscellaneous Items

Okay, I’m not totally a minimalist. I do recommend bringing a few extra “nice-to-have” items that can keep you and your husband occupied during labor, and during your stay – after all, the days (and nights) with a newborn are loooong.

A tablet or e-reader is always good to have with you, loaded up with shows, movies, books, and games.

If you have a DSLR or Instax camera, make sure to grab that too! If not, just make sure you’ve got your phone charger with you, so you can take endless photos of your new little nugget for the ‘gram.

If you plan to breastfeed, I recommend bringing your nursing pillow with you. It’ll be way easier to get used to breastfeeding with your pillow, and the lactation consultants in the hospital will help you get acquainted with different holds using the pillow for your at-home set-up.

And that’s pretty much it – you’ll be all set!

What NOT to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

The list of what to pack is important, but so is the list of what not to pack for the hospital!

The hospital will provide just about everything you’ll need for recovery, so a lot of the things you might think you’ll want will already be there waiting for you.

Don’t worry about packing:

  • Pads
  • Dermaplast / Numbing Spray
  • Underwear
  • Breast Pump
  • Medications – you are typically not allowed to take any medication from home; the hospital will bring you all your medications, even your existing prescriptions!

You’re already going to feel like you’re moving in when you lug all your stuff into the hospital (likely while waddling and having contractions…), so there’s no sense in dragging along extra items that you don’t actually need. You’re paying for these things in your hospital stay costs anyways; might as well get the most out of it!

When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag?

I recommend printing off the hospital bag checklist below, and throwing everything you can into the bag when you’re around 34 weeks pregnant. Then, leave the list on top of the bag, so you or your husband can add the last-minute items in when you go into labor.

If you don’t have everything you need for the bag yet, don’t worry! Just gather together whatever you can, and start picking up the rest now. Having something packed is better than nothing, if you happen to go into labor early.

If worse comes to worst, and you go into labor before you’ve packed, you can always forward this list to a friend or family member to get together for you.

Download the checklist now!

Download this checklist of hospital bag essentials for labor and delivery!
This hospital bag checklist from a mom of three has everything you need for labor & delivery, and none of the unnecessary clutter!
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