Printable Hospital Bag Checklist_What to Pack Your Hospital Bag

The FREE Ultimate Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Baby and Dad. . . Everything that you’ll ACTUALLY need! (for real . . . for real)

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The Ultimate Printable Hospital Checklist for Mom, Baby & Dad

Truth be told, the hospital will actually provide you with everything that you actually need however that’s not always the case. Plus for certain things, a lot of us moms like to bring our own for a much more comfortable experience. This printable hospital bag checklist is the only thing you’ll need when deciding what to pack in your hospital bag.

Everything that’ll be covered:

  • What size hospital bag should I use?
  • What should baby, mom and dad pack in the hospital bag?
  • When should you start to pack your hospital bag?
  • What do I actually need for my hospital bag when giving birth?

When it comes to what you need to pack in your hospital bag . . . To be very honest, every situation is so different so it really depends on your preference and situation.

For instance. . .

  • You may go to the hospital and it’s an easy peasy process and then you’re home 2 days later.
  • You may be faced with the decision to have an unplanned c-section. This means your healing process will be different and you’ll end up staying a little longer in the hospital than expected.
  • The baby may decide to arrive too early and have to spend time in the NICU.

There’s really no way to know everything single thing you’ll want to bring with you because the birthing process is so different for each mom. . . However, this printable hospital bag checklist is gonna help you plan and be prepared for just about any and everything that may come your way!

When should you start to pack your hospital bag?

With us, our firstborn decided to come 2 weeks early, and unfortunately I had not got around to packing my hospital bag. So I went to the hospital with very minimum – which wasn’t the end of the world because the hospital provided everything we needed (which most do!). This is not always the case so be sure to check with your hospital to confirm what they offer.

Being that you can pack your hospital bag anytime during your pregnancy, you definitely want to try to have your hospital bag packed between week 32 and week 34 (at the latest) . . . Because you just never know when baby will come! 

It’s better to have your bags packed early than to not. You can always take things out and add things as the due date gets closer. Don’t be like me . . . Pack your hospital bags and place them somewhere you can easily grab them and go. 

Side Note: Due to COVID, hospitals have been very strict. I highly recommend you contact the labor and delivery department at the hospital to verify what will and will not allow. Most hospitals nowadays will only allow one support person with you during your labor experience & will not allow that person to leave the hospital. Also, certain things may not be offered so be sure to check (ex. hospital tour, etc).

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The Ultimate Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Baby & Dad

What size hospital bag should you use?

It depends but usually a weekend size bag (like a carryon bag) should do. That could be a duffle bag or a roller. A backpack and/or diaper bag is also good to use for the baby and hubby. If you feel like you want to pack more, pack a separate “just in case” bag and keep it in the car. 

The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist Printable: Must-Haves

What should mom pack in the hospital bag?

Going home outfit – Once it’s time to go home, make sure you have comfortable loose-fitting clothing (preferably dark-colored leggings or a loose-fitting dress) to go home. Pack at least 2 options.

Postpartum Belly Band – depending on if you have a vaginal or C-section birth will determine which type of postpartum belt you will want use. Also, be sure to check with L&D to see if the hospital will supply one. If they don’t be sure to take your own! For c-sections . . .this one, this one or this band/binder is recommended by other moms.

Comfortable bras – having 2-3 really comfortable sleeping bra, nursing bra, sports bra, and/or nursing tanks after the baby arrives can make a big difference. You could let the girls go free but it might be a little uncomfortable. Trust me . . . You’re gonna what to have the girls supported!

Compression socks – if you have experienced your feet swelling throughout your pregnancy and delivery, these are gonna be an absolute must! These or these are great if you’re a plus-size mom and have larger legs (like I do!). 

If you intent to breastfeed:

Breast pads – most nursing bras already have removable pads however it really depends on if you want to get an additional set of disposable or reusable pads. I personally use these and these.

Nipple cream – this is great use if you will be breastfeeding. It helps with the soreness that you will experience with nursing.

What should be packed in baby's hospital bag?

Swaddles  – the hospital will provide you with the traditional receiving blankets (that every baby gets) but many moms prefer to bring their own. You can go with the traditional, velcro or this baby swaddle. 

Newborn hats – these are also provided by the hospital however it’s the standard one that all babies get. 

Pacifiers – remember it’s gonna be an adjustment for the baby to get use to sleeping outside the womb. This may help soothe baby! Even though it’s recommended that you don’t introduce a pacifier until later on, some moms still choose to implement them right away.  If you decide you will, I highly recommend taking 1-2 different kinds.

Newborn outfits – you only need 1-2 going home outfit and 1-2 one-piece sleepers. Make sure you get the girl or boy sleepers with the 2-way zipper (those are the best!). Because you don’t know the baby’s actual size, you may even want to pack a outfit in newborn and the other in 0-3 months size.

Outerwear – if it’s cold where you are. Being in South Florida, we tend to not have to really think about this. 🙂

Car seat – this is a must so I highly recommend installing it at least 4 weeks prior to baby’s arrival. Make sure you put the infant insert in it as well!

Grab the FREE Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Baby & Dad!

Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom

What should dad pack in the hospital bag?

Change of clothes – he needs enough clothing and underwear for 2-4 nights.  

New “Dad” T-shirt – of course, this is not required however it’s a really cute idea! 

The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist Printable : Comfort Items for Mom and Dad

Extra-long phone charging cord and/or an external charger – you’ll want to have a long charging cord and/or use an external charger because the hospital beds are usually far away from an electrical outlet. If you’re like me, you will want to have your phone within reaching distance the entire time. . . take either or!

Entertainment – Every situation is so different so you may have some downtime or you may not. You’re gonna be pretty busy with everything going on & with the new baby however, you’ll want to have a playlist of your favorite jams, podcast and/or movies/shows just in case you or your support person get some free time. Some dads get really bored so they choose to take their laptop, Nintendo Switch, Roku/Amazon Firestick, Playstation, etc. . . Anything to keep them busy! 

Water cup (w/ straw & lid) – while the hospital will provide water cups however they usually leak. Many moms prefer using their own.

Stool softeners  – this is a MUST-HAVE if you have a c-section. If you have a planned C-section, you want to start taking these a couple of days prior to the delivery date. If an emergency C-Section happens be sure to start taking them as soon as you are able to. 

Any important docs – photo ID, insurance info, your birth plan & contact info for your child’s pediatrician. Even though things may not go according to your plans, it’s always good to keep your birth plan with you and give a copy to the nurse.

Medications – if you’re already taking medication you will want to take yours so that you don’t have to wait for the hospital to go through the proper channels to get them to you.

Snacks  – pack lots and lots of these for you and dad! 

Gum 

The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist Printable: Health & Beauty for Mom and Dad

  • Toilet paper – what’s available at the hospital may not be comfortable, take your own if you feel the need to.
  • Towel – some moms prefer to take their own towels because some places don’t have them or they’ve been extremely rough on your skin.
  • Personal care items – lip balm, lotion, or body balm, toothbrush & toothpaste, deodorant 
  • Haircare – shampoo (dry), brush/comb, hair ties & flat iron/curling iron
  • Makeup 
  • Glasses/contacts 

What should I actually pack it in my hospital bag?

Things you want to consider Packing in your hospital bag for Mom and Baby

Because every situation is so different these are things that some moms have come to find very useful.  

Delivery gown – this is something moms are starting to bring into the hospital more and more. So of course the hospital will supply you will a clean gown however some moms are more comfortable wearing their own.

Shower shoes – some moms are very particular and do not like to take a shower outside of your home without shower shoes. If this is you, bring them!  

Sleepwear – this will give you so much more comfort during your stay. This one is good if you plan on nursing or not. I bought this one and it’s comfortable and fit great!

Bluetooth speaker – great for listing to music during the entire time at the hospital!

Anti-Slip Socks or Comfy slippers  – provides extra comfort during your stay. I personally prefer slippers over socks.

Robe – a robe is great to wear around your room and should you decide to leave your room. Love that this one and this one is available for us plus size mommies!

Comfy blanket and/or pillow – the hospital sheets and pillows are usually not at all comfortable (said to be scratchy & thin). If you & your support person want to be extra comfy, you’ll want to bring your own. Just make sure you use them after the delivery to keep from being spoiled during delivery.

Breastfeeding pillow – if you plan on nursing, this will come in handy or if you want to keep things at a minimum, you can use pillows instead.

Baby lounger pillow – a great place to put baby when you’re not holding them. There’s the bassinet that’s provided but not all babies like the bassinet – I know mine didn’t! I remember being so tired and sleeping that I had little or no strength to hold her after feedings. Having a baby lounger pillow can be a lifesaver. The alternative to this is using pillows to prop the baby on. 

Sound machine – this helps mimic the sounds babies hear in the womb.  It helps baby cope with being outside the womb and sleep better. I never used one of these before however, I will be buying this one for this time around. My firstborn cried a lot during our stay at the hospital. I feel a sound machine would have definitely helped and anything that could help the little . . . will help us.  

Small fan – it’s usually pretty cold while you’re in the hospital however you’re the type that gets hot easily and normally likes very cold air, don’t miss this one!

Earplugs and/or eye mask – it’s kinda tough getting any sleep while you are at the hospital because the nurses are in and out of the room consistently. Also depending on the location of your room may be a lil on the noisy side. Along with the sound machine, earplugs and/or an eye mask will help you get some rest! 

Heating pad – something some moms can’t live without! Great to help with discomfort throughout your pregnancy & during the recovery period.

Baby formula & bottles – If you’ve done your research on baby formula and decided to use a certain brand, I would highly recommend taking some with you to the hospital. Even if you plan on breastfeeding! You just never know what will happen once the baby actually arrives. The hospital will only provide you with the traditional options they give to all the babies (ex. Similac, Enfamil, etc). All babies are different so depending on the baby will determine what bottles you will use. If you plan on bottle feeding, pack a couple of different bottles as well. Call L&D to confirm what they offer.

Breast pump – if is really based on your personal preference and situation whether you will take your own breast pump to the hospital or not. You could pack it up and leave it in the car just in case. At the very least, I suggest taking this one.

Check with L&D and/or the hospital to see if they offer any kind of breastfeeding services. The hospital will usually provide you with a hospital-grade breast pump but you could still choose to use your own. Keep in mind, the hospital will charge you to use theirs so if you’re paying out of pocket or have a portion you will be responsible for, that maybe something you keep in mind.

If you are a first-time mom, this would be a great time to get help from the lactation specialist at the hospital with your specific pump (etc. make sure you have the right size flanges, the baby is latching properly, etc). They may or may not be able to help you with the actual settings because every breast pump is different

Because every hospital is different, call the Labor & Delivery unit and verify if they provide a breast pump or not. Baby may not latch and it may be suggested that you pump to help get your supply going. If the baby is underweight and/or a preemie, it might be best to use the hospital grade breast pump (if provided at the hospital).

Side note: It’s recommended by many certified lactation consultants that in a normal situation you wait at least 4-6 weeks before using a breast pump so that you don’t overstimulate your milk supply however there may be situations that will cause you to pump immediately after birth.

What should I NOT pack in my hospital bag?

Things you want to leave at home

Baby mitts – Not needed since the newborn outfits and sleepers already have the built-in hand covers. 

Baby gowns – you will not be able to take baby home in these since they are not made to be worn in the car seat. It’s also said to be inconvenient during your stay at the hospital. 

Too many baby outfits – typically you wont be a the hospital long and baby won’t need more than a 2-3 outfits. 

Diapers & wipes – the hospital will provide you with all that you’ll need. 

Grab the FREE Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Baby & Dad!

Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom

The Takeaway

Every delivery experience is so different. The best thing you can do is to prepare as much as you can and pray things to go as close to what you plan as possible (because things normally don’t happen EXACTLY as we want).

  • If there is anything to make you feel more comfortable then by all means pack in in your hospital bag. I know for me this means a couple of nursing lounge dresses, my favorite slippers & my favorite pillow.
  • Delivering a baby can be messy! Any clothing used during the delivery may get spoiled so be sure to keep that in mind or only use it after the delivery. 
  • Some might feel packing extras isn’t necessary however these things are gonna make for a better transition. . . It’s gonna be a big adjustment for you & baby! Try to stay optimistic and take little by little. 

Is this your first pregnancy? 

Is this your 2nd, 3rd or 4th time around? 

Either way, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below

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Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom

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