Once you reach the home stretch of your pregnancy, you’re probably starting to think “what do I really need in my hospital bag?” Luckily, we’ve compiled an ultimate, all-encompassing hospital bag checklist for mom and baby. Welcoming your new baby is a scary, stressful, but very exciting time, and having a well-packed hospital bag will help make everything a whole lot easier.
The One Thing You 100% Need
A car seat! The hospital won’t let you take baby home without one, and they’ll likely check to make sure it’s safe. Make sure the seat you select is installed around the same time you pack your hospital bag, and you’re confident that everything is in working order.
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
By week 33 or 34. Yes, this does seem early, but if you go into labor before the 40-week mark, you’ll be glad to have one less thing to think about. No one wants to be scrambling around looking for socks and blankets in the middle of the night after your water’s broken! Once you’re packed up, toss the bag in the trunk of the car you plan on taking to the hospital, and have it with you for any doctor visits from here on out.
Hospital Bag for Baby
Ah yes, the reason why we’re all here. Babies are small, but they need a lot of stuff. It’s a good idea to bring multiples of everything, just in case.
- Receiving blankets or swaddles
- Going home outfit
- Newborn diapers and wipes (the hospital probably has these, but it’s a good idea to have some of your own just in case)
- Car seat and stroller for going home
Hospital Bag for Mom
You’ve probably gotten advice, solicited or not, from everyone you know about what to pack in your hospital bag. Every woman’s birth experience is different, so think about what you’re the most comfortable wearing when making your hospital bag checklist.
Paperwork for The Hospital: The most important part! Hospital WiFi can be spotty, so be sure to have easily accessible hard copies of everything.
- Insurance cards
- Your birth plans
- Obstetrician and pediatrician contact information
- List of important phone numbers
Clothes: Here’s where many opinions differ. While you’re definitely not going to need your pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, what clothes you pack is really up to you! Definitely don't bring anything you'd be upset about ruining since labor and delivery can get very messy. Think about what you’ll be the most comfortable in.
- Nursing bra
- Dark-colored maternity or recovery underwear (anything full-coverage should work)
- Flip flops for the shower
- Going home outfit (lots of moms opt for dresses or loose pants)
- Toiletry bag stocked with the travel size versions of your favorite products, especially soap and shampoo!
Hospital Gear: The hospital should supply most of what you’ll need during and after labor. This is a messy process, so you’re probably best off leaving your stuff at home.
- Water bottle or tumbler with a straw
- Nursing gear like a nursing pillow and nipple cream
- Maxi pads for post-partum
Hospital Bag for Your Partner
Whether you’re bringing your husband, mom, or best friend, your co-pilot is going to need to have a bag of their own. It’s a good idea to make sure your partner has copies of your paperwork since you’re probably not going to be thinking clearly when it’s time to present your insurance info.
- Copies insurance, ID, birth plan, doctor’s info, important phone numbers, etc.
- Extra-long phone chargers
- Camera and charger
- Toiletry bag
- Change of comfortable clothes
- Cash for vending machines and parking
- Entertainment like magazines or a tablet for long deliveries
- Extra bag for bringing gifts home from the hospital
- Snacks and drinks
For the New Big Brother or Sister
Adding a new baby to the mix can be a tough time for siblings, especially if they’re transitioning from being an only child. A small gift like a doll or train from the new baby will make them feel included and less overwhelmed.
As with all things, what one woman finds essential, another may find useless, and vice versa. Think about what will make you the most comfortable while welcoming your bundle of joy into the world, and do what feels right.