Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack For Mom Dad and Baby

Want to know what you should include in your hospital bag checklist for mom dad and baby?

Then, you’re in the right place.

In this post, you’ll find out all you need to put in your hospital bag for mom, dad, and baby.

Also, I’ll share my experience with you when I was preparing my hospital bag for my delivery day.

If you ever get stuck while packing your hospital bag, I believe that this resource will be useful for you. 

Let’s get started.

What to Pack in a Hospital Bag: For Mom

newborn baby in the hospital

As a mom, here is the list of things that should be in your hospital bag checklist for labor.

Birth Plan: 

I had my birth plan detailed out already; I will advise you do the same. If you have one already, it is essential that you make it known to the doctors, nurses, and other staff that will enable a perfect execution.

If you don’t have one yet, I recommend that you do so immediately. You can check Amazon for some amazing birth plans compiled by experienced moms.

Please do not be reluctant about what you want specifically and how you prefer it to turn out. Again, emphasize the stage or process you deem more important.

You could also save yourself and others the stress by printing out copies of the template and sharing with the doctors and nurses to get familiarized with it in advance.

Also, don’t miss out on some essential documents like Photo Id, insurance, and even hospital ID.

Birthing Ball: 

Try to find out from your hospital if they will provide one for use. But just in case they don’t, get your birthing ball in advance. Inflate it with air, but if it won’t fit properly inside your car; you can have it deflated and pump it later.

In case you’re wondering where you can get some birthing ball for delivery. Here are some really cool ones on Amazon.

Most birthing balls come with their pump, so you shouldn’t worry about pumping it after you have deflated it.

Robe: 

Oh, I remember when I needed some walk in the hospital, the robe made my movement seamless. You know that feeling when even your hair becomes too heavy for you to carry? Lightweight robes did the magic for me.

So that moment when you will feel too uncomfortable, and you will want to offload even your tiniest nail to get comfortable, robes are what you need. Because it will lighten the burden on your body when you put it on.

Here is my in-depth review of the best hospital gown for labor and delivery.

Slipper and Flip Flop: 

flip flop for delivery

Truth is, our body system reacts to pregnancy in different ways. In my own case, my feet were swollen close to my delivery period and wearing any footwear was like stepping on thorns. Although some hospitals give socks out, trust me, it doesn’t come close to using slippers and flip-flops.

Even after my delivery, I still wasn’t comfortable with any footwear aside from the flip-flop which I bought before delivery.

Nursing Nightgown: 

Some hospitals do not allow you to come with a nursing gown, so before packing one, make findings to be sure if you’ll eventually need it. 

Packs of disposable Underwear: 

You will need your disposable underwear mostly during postpartum. Like you already know, during this period, you will battle with nonstop blood flows, and the last thing you want to do is stress yourself with changing your undies.

Hospitals give out diapers for this purpose, but unfortunately, it is not too comfortable to wear during postpartum. 

The first time I tried using the hospital diaper, I had difficulties in cleaning it and myself. Ever since I have opted for disposable diapers.

Because of the change in size and shapes that occur after giving birth, I found out it is better to buy the ones a little oversized while you are still pregnant. It will fit perfectly after giving birth.

To help you choose an underwear for postpartum, I did an in-depth review of the best mesh postpartum underwear out there.

File folder: 

No doubt that paperwork could be overwhelming, especially after your delivery. The file folder will save you time and headache. 

Such that, you won’t be searching endlessly in case you were asked to bring any document. Not only that, when your paperwork is saved in the folder, the chance of losing any document is slim.

While I was packing my bag, even though I packed a file folder, I underrated it but it turned out to be a life-changer.

Hair accessories: 

Occasionally, during labor, your environment could get hot, and you might want to get some fresh air. Some hair accessories that will be useful in this case include hair ties or ponytails and hair dryers.

Lip Balm: 

Even when I wasn’t pregnant, lip balms were a constant companion. I mean, who likes to have a dried lip? I bet you don’t.

Since your breathing rate will increase rapidly during labor, it makes perfect sense to have a lip balm that will moist and soften your lips in case of any tears.

Phone Charger: 

The effect of dopamine which we derive from social media is still relevant. And so, you don’t want your phone to shut down due to low battery power. 

In my own case, I went with an excellent charger, but the cord wasn’t long enough! So most times, I have to wait a while for my phone to charge before I could use it.

Since some hospitals do not have a socket close to the bed, it is a wise option to get a phone charger with a long cord. 

Snack and Chocolate candy: 

snacks for expectant mom

I will never forget my first labor experience. After a couple of pushes and relaxation to get the baby out of the womb, my energy went low.

So, my partner asked me to try the chocolate candy that we bought from a mini-mart and guess what? It was the only thing that gave me little energy.

While chocolate worked well for me, yours might be entirely different, and snacks might work for you—and if you enjoy both, good luck.

Toiletries: 

I see a lot of first time moms who don’t pack this in their hospital bag. 

For some, they think because it is time for labor, there is little or no need for personal hygiene and cleanliness. 

Don’t be one of those! It would be best if you packed toiletries, like shampoos, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, and moisturizer, so you won’t feel irritated.

You can check out some toiletries for a hospital bag on Amazon.

Oh, do you wear contact lenses or glasses? Pack them too.

Drinks: 

You will need them a lot. Recycling bottled water and other drinks like Gatorade or other non-alcoholic drinks will serve its purpose. I will suggest you pack different drinks in your bags should you not want water. 

You can take other types of drinks, and in case other energy drinks are not your preferred, you can always have water.

Even though I took Gatorade a lot during my maternity period, I couldn’t resist the urge to take only water during labor.

What to Pack For After You Deliver

When packing your hospital bag, you should also prepare for post labor. Here are some things that you should include to prepare for post-delivery.

Comfy Nursing bras: 

I recommend that you should buy the ones without a bra wire. 

Nursing bras are cost-friendly. I purchased mine some days to my delivery, and one good thing about them is that they come handy after breastfeeding.

Nursing Tank: 

You shouldn’t forget to pack this in your hospital bag as an expectant mom. 

They are very comfortable around your tummy, especially if you have a big belly like me, then there is no harm in packing and using one. It doesn’t stick tight to your stomach but gives the needed fitting. 

I recommend that you should pack at least five lifesaving nursing tanks to the hospital and see how handy they come through for you. 

Even though I am out of the breastfeeding stage right now, the ones I bought before delivery still serves its purpose — providing comfort.

Comfy clothes: 

You surely need clothes like pajamas that are light and comfortable to wear. Dark garments will serve you better because they won’t expose some stains that come with postpartum.

Ideally, I like colored and flashy clothes, but while I was packing my hospital bag, I had to sacrifice them for dark-colored ones. You can do the same too.

Prenatal vitamins: 

In most hospitals, you will be provided with prenatal vitamins, but if you are like me, who dislikes drugs that contain petrochemical or even suspect of ingredients that big pharma cares less about, you will go with your prenatal vitamins.

However, I suggest that you get prenatal vitamins that are made from real food and serve its purpose.

Going Home Outfit: 

Don’t be surprised that you will not regain your normal size and shape immediately after delivery. 

I still looked like someone who is four months pregnant after giving birth.

Therefore, you should bring along with you going home outfits because those skinnies and tight you might desire to wear won’t come through for you.

What to Pack in a Hospital Bag: For Dad

New dad

When packing the hospital bag for your partner, make sure that you include items that won’t make him get bored while at the hospital with you.

Trust me; most men don’t like to stay in the hospitals, especially during labor.

To ensure that you both have a seamless experience here, below are some essential items you should include while packing your partner’s hospital bag.

Entertainment items:

One way to keep your husband active and not bored is to pack some things that will entertain him while staying at the hospital. Since having fun has no age limitations, you should include games and the likes in his bag.

My husband enjoys playstation a lot, hence it was an easy call for me to make in his case.

I remembered when he couldn’t endure looking at me again because of the labor pain; he took solace in playing the playstation I packed for him.

After some minutes, he came back to check on me. I doubt if he completed a game on it, but it sure was a lifesaver for us.

In your case, it might not be a PlayStation but find anything that could serve entertainment purposes for him.

Camera and charger: 

If you can afford the first-rate camera, I promise you won’t regret it. It would help you capture and record how things unfold before and after your labor.

My husband isn’t a professional cameraman, but the memories he captured to date are still priceless to our family.

You can get high-quality indoor and outdoor cameras on Amazon.

Dad's camera

Can you use a phone? You ask. Well, as long as the phone has quality pixels and an excellent resolution.

Snacks: 

If, like my husband, your partner doesn’t like to eat out or get snacks from the vending machine, then you should pack some of his favorite snacks in his hospital bag. It will also boost his energy. 

Plus, most people don’t find it convenient to eat anything other than snacks while at the hospital.

Pillow: 

You sure want your husband to have a goodnight rest, then pack a comfy pillow into his hospital bag. In most cases, the pillows that will be provided in the hospital might not be as comfortable as the ones you have at home.

Water Bottle: 

Your spouse will most likely be dehydrated while watching you during labor. Hence packing a water bottle will go a long way.

Extra clothes: 

While I was packing, I had a few clothes packed for my husband, and it was these clothes that saved the day when he needed to put on light wear because of the temperature around the labor room. It is best to have a mix of warm weather and cold weather clothes.

Optional Hospital Bag Checklist for Dad

Here are some optional things to include while packing the hospital bag for the expectant dad.

Extra cash: 

One of the purposes of money is for precautionary motives. You will need some spare cash in case you didn’t pack some snacks for your spouse. 

Also, after labor, you might want to get something to eat. You can always make use of the extra cash with you to get something from the cafeteria.

In my own case, since we had some snacks packed for my partner, there wasn’t a need to have extra cash with us. Hence we didn’t go with any.

Hand fan:

While I was packing my hospital bag, I included a hand fan. Even though I wasn’t sure if it’d be of any use. But fast forward to the day of labor, and I was feeling unusually hot and sweaty, the AC was no longer sufficient. 

So, if you become stressed due to labor, this might as well happen to you. So, you can always have your partner make use of the hand fan during this period. It is useful and lifesaving.

Pen and Paper: 

Assuming that you are running on a low budget, and don’t have enough cash to get a professional camera for documenting and capturing the moments of the occasions, then a paper and pen should save the day.

Since your husband won’t be actively involved in the labor process, packing a paper and pen for him for journaling will go a long way.

Also, this will allow your spouse to note the descriptions and recommendations given to you by the doctors, nurse, and even your lactation.

No doubt that having a full grasp of things could be a challenge after giving birth, so it is logical that your spouse put this to use to aid further application of advice even after leaving the hospital.

Gifts: 

gift for a newborn baby

The norm in most societies is that gifts are presented to the expectant parents, but no law says that parents of a new baby should not also give out freebies.

So, you can pack some gifts in your spouse’s hospital bag to be given to visiting families and friends. 

It doesn’t have to be anything too expensive. It is a gesture of strong bonds.

These gifts should be presented to others in the baby’s name.

Toiletries: 

This should include items like toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, and bathing soap. Your spouse will probably pass the night beside you if you will stay for over 24 hours. And so, it is natural that he freshens up for the next day.

What to Pack in a Hospital Bag: For Baby

Below is a list of essentials items you should include in your hospital bag checklist for a baby:

Baby Car Seat: 

This is one of the most essential items you should have in your hospital bag checklist for a baby. In case you don’t know, no hospital will allow you to leave their premises without confirming that you have one. 

This is a must-have in your car as a parent according to the law

Also, ensure it is properly fixed and placed before you put your baby. 

Here is a YouTube video that shows you exactly how to properly install your baby car seat based on the requirements of health officials.

By using a car seat, it gives you comfort and makes it easy for you and the baby to have an itch free ride back home. 

Plus, it allows you to handle the baby with care both while the baby is awake or asleep. 

Here are some really cool car seats for a newborn baby on Amazon.

Going Home Outfit: 

Babies vary in size and weight after birth and getting a clothing size that fits them accurately could be confusing. 

Hypothetically, most babies will fit perfectly in the default outfit size for babies. 

What I did was to get an outfit that is a size below the default baby size and another above the default baby size.

The purpose is to ensure your baby is wearing something comfy on the way home; it doesn’t have to be the most expensive in the world.

Car seat Canopy: 

Having one will surely help you a lot especially if you deliver at that time of the year which is windy. 

I remembered how I used the baby car seat canopy to prevent our baby from the particles in the atmosphere the day we were leaving the hospital the first time.

Diaper Bag:

Being organized is one quality we all cherish and expect from every mom. Going to the hospital with your diaper bag will help organize and put things in place. The diaper bag should have many compartments.

Also, you want to choose a neutral color bag so it will come handy whenever your spouse wants to go out with it. 

diaper bag

The diaper bag I bought before delivery has been used by me and my husband since then.

White Noise Machine: 

Even as an adult, I still find peace in listening and playing white noise. It improves one’s concentration and makes you more relaxed. Since you almost need to focus with your spouse while driving home, white noise will help serve as a lullaby to help the baby sleep.

Baby Onesie: 

Perhaps you are not sure of the condition of the hospital room, then packing a baby onesie in your hospital bag will help greatly. In case the room is above the average temperature, putting the baby in onesies will regulate the temperature. And if the room is too cold, an onesie and foot sleeper comes handy.

Soft and comfy Blanket: 

Bringing a comfy baby blanket will allow you to cuddle and breastfeed your baby seamlessly. It has a lot of purposes that can’t be ignored.

Baby Care Products: 

This includes all the items that the baby will need and use after a bath. Most people don’t subscribe to having their baby bathed immediately. 

Personally, I wanted the nurse to bathe my baby immediately after birth, so I packed my baby products alongside other essentials. This includes baby shampoo, Balm, Ointment, and so on.

You can get pre-packed baby care products kit on Amazon.

Optional Hospital Checklist Bag for Baby

Diaper and Wipes:

It will shock you to know that most hospitals do not have this readily available. Your best shot is to make findings from your preferred hospital ahead of time if they have it in abundance. This is because diapers and wipers are not items you want to be economical with. 

So, if your hospital won’t provide you with one, then you should go with some soothe and moist wipes.

Vaseline: 

I didn’t eventually use the one I packed because they provided me with one at the hospital. Hence I include it in my optional checklist for a baby. 

However, if your hospital will not provide you with one, kindly pack it in your hospital bag. 

Vaseline provides the mild and smooth comfort that your baby needs at birth. When your baby could look pale, applying Vaseline comes to aid.

Baby Hat: 

There are adorable and super-duper baby hats for a newborn. But, you don’t have to break the bank to get one, though it will make your baby a cutie.

Baby Pacifier:

A baby pacifier at the hospital costs more than buying it from the store or online. If you come with one, you’d be able to save some extra cash.

I highly recommend that you check out this in-depth post I wrote about the best pacifiers for your baby.

Burp clothes: 

This saves me some face when my baby spits out some milk on well-wishers and visitors. So, having it handy will go a long way.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

preparing a hospital bag

You may be wondering when exactly is the best time to pack your hospital bag.

Well, if you are like me, that forgets things easily when packing for traveling or vacation, then the best time to start packing your hospital bag for yourself, partner, and baby is now. 

For me, I started packing my maternity bag for myself, partner, and first child at 30 weeks. This gave us all the time to prepare ahead and also to add things that we needed in the long run.

Generally, it would be best if you started packing your hospital bag around, say 30-35 weeks of your pregnancy

There are no rules of thumb that make it obligatory to pack at a particular time, but knowing yourself is the key—as some expectant moms make the best preparation a few days to their labor day.

I’d advise against waiting for a few days to your due date before packing your hospital bag unless you are a seer. 

Why Should I Pack My Hospital Bag Ahead of Time

You can know the likely sex of your baby using a sonography test. However, with the technology at our disposal; there’s no device that predicts the exact time for childbirth yet.

What comes close is the Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD).

EDD

Therefore, since you are not sure when this will happen, it is safer to get ready now than later.  

One surefire way not to miss out on anything on your hospital bag checklist is to pack early. Plus, there is a feeling that comes with checking things off your checklist and getting ready for the d-day. 

Not only that, your EDD could be for a particular date and the baby might decide to come before then. This happens a lot of time and it’s because childbirth depends on several factors which are beyond human control.

Where Should You Put Your Hospital Bag For Birth

Now, this might seem trivial, but trust me, it’s worth its weight in gold. After packing your hospital bag checklist ready, you may not really be sure of the best place to put it.

Well, since you will go to a hospital for delivery, I highly recommend that you keep your maternity bag in your car or your partner’s. 

By putting your hospital bag in your vehicle before the d-day, you have a higher chance of not missing out anything.

If you decide to wait for the labor day where both you and your partner will be tensed and even in sixes and sevens, especially if you are a young couple—the experience could be daunting.

putting your hospital bag in the car

Another compelling reason to put your hospital bag in your car is because you might be asked by your doctor to wait when you go for your prenatal care.

In such a situation, if you have everything packed in your car, there won’t be a need to go home.  

Also, make sure that your spouse or any close relative knows exactly where you kept your hospital bag, in case you get overwhelmed by the pains of labor.

How to Pack Your Hospital Bag

For most new moms, they’re confused on how to pack their hospital bag.

This happened to me too when I had my child, and it wasn’t an experience I cherished in any way.

In my own case, here are some of the steps I followed when packing my hospital bag.

Step 1:

Make a list of things listed in this guide that you, your spouse, and baby will need in a particular order.

Step 2:

Go through your list and pack the items into your hospital bag one after the other. That way, you don’t miss out on anything.

Step 3:

Arrange your items based on the weight and size, that is the bigger and heavier ones should come before the light ones.

Step 4:

Do not overload your hospital bag with weighty items beyond its measure.

Step 5:

To avoid multiple selections, strike out the items on the list that have made it to the bag.

Here is a YouTube video that I found really useful when packing my hospital bag for labor.

I’m sure it will guide you greatly on how to pack your hospital bag

What You Don’t Need in a Hospital Bag

You won’t believe me when I say this: Most first-timers often pack things they won’t need in their hospital bag than what they will need.

This is understandable as the anticipation of the d-day, excitement in the air, and the momentum of the expectation could make one want to pack everything. 

As I mentioned earlier, the goal of this guide is to help you pack only the things you’ll need in the hospital.

Based on my experience and interview with other experienced moms, here are some non-essential things you might not need in your hospital bag

Flow pads:

I know it is surprising to see this on the list because you will experience heavy flow during and after birth. In most cases, the hospital will provide you with a heavy flow pad that will be enough for your use throughout your stay.

Pillows: 

Most new moms usually include pillows in their hospital bag checklist, as the hospital might not have comfy pillows available.

hospital bag pillow

I think you might not really need it throughout your stay in the hospital and you could lose it easily. That said, if you are going with a very small size pillow, you should include one. 

Diaper:

Diapers are one of the essential items for a baby, but it won’t do you good to pack them. Most hospitals have more than enough diapers that will be disposable and comfy for your babies and so buying and packing them in your hospital bag might not really be a good idea.

Baby’s Book:

Another thing you shouldn’t pack in your bag is a baby’s book. The hospital usually provides this for your baby’s footprint.

Reading Material: 

It might sound strange, but most new moms still pack this in their hospital bag. For most people, your labor period might not be the best time to complete your favorite book. If at all, you will need one, it will happen after you have given birth.

Entertainment Item for Yourself (Watching Movies): 

Isn’t it surprising that some new moms pack entertainment items to keep up with time during their labor? Well, personally I believe it is best kept at home. 

If you pack them, you may have just served the nurses and your attendance a job of watching movies. And instead of paying attention to you thoroughly, you have only done enough job to distract them.

Does that mean it has to be boring all true? NO. 

Baby sleeper:

In case you have bought and packed many clothes for your baby to sleep with, don’t be surprised if you don’t end up using them. Most hospitals will provide you with swaddles that your baby will sleep with.

Nipple Cream:

I have to be 100% honest here, nipples cracking varies from one person to the other. For some, their nipple breaks take many days to occur after they have left the hospital. So, they end up not using it in the hospital. If you have issues with your nipples cracking, you might consider getting a good nipple cream on Amazon.

Baby Toys: 

baby toys

As the expectant mom, it is only logical that you start with what you will require during and after childbirth. 

Even though you will need toys sooner or later it is not something you want to pack in your hospital bag checklist for labor. Neither you nor your baby will be needing them now. 

Hence, if you have bought some baby toys, it is best you keep them at home until the baby is old enough to use them.

Final Thoughts

In this post, I have shared with you the ultimate hospital bag checklist for mom dad and baby.

If you’re an expectant parent, I believe the information shared in this post will help you prepare for the d-day as you expect your bundle of joy.

I highly recommend that you have a printable hospital bag checklist for mom dad and baby handy, so you don’t forget anything while packing your hospital bag.

Is there anything you think I missed in this list, kindly share your thoughts in the comment box below.