I remember when I had my first baby 16 years ago I was absolutely clueless about labor and delivery especially what to pack in a hospital bag. I remember showing up at the hospital totally unprepared with a toothbrush, a hairbrush, and some clothes to come home in that I thought I would be able to fit back into leaving the hospital.
I know what you are thinking, “Why didn’t you look on Pinterest?” These were pre-Pinterest days and a hospital bag checklist was not readily available to look at!
The next baby I had two years later I was over-prepared. I think I packed everything and the kitchen sink… I didn’t use half of it and I spent most of my time moving the stuff out of the way when people came to visit.
On baby number 3 I got a little smarter, I thought about what to pack in a hospital bag, wrote it down and analyzed if I actually used it the last time I was at the hospital.
This method helped me create the perfect hospital bag checklist that I am going to share with you!
This pregnancy hospital bag checklist is ACTUALLY stuff that you will use and need at the hospital.
It is not one of those fluffy hospital bag checklists that you typically see that are 2-3 pages long of stuff that you would never think to take with you to the hospital that are now “must-haves” so you run out and grab them and now you need the biggest suitcase possible to fit it all in.
So if you want an easy no-fuss hospital bag checklist stick around because we are sharing what to pack in your hospital bag that you will actually use!
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag?
The most asked question around the internet other than what to put in my hospital bag is when to pack my hospital bag and that is really up to you.
Honestly, if you had to, you could throw some things in a bag on the way out the door if you needed to. But with that being said, the best time to pack your hospital bag is about 35 weeks pregnant. This is 5 weeks before your due date which gives you plenty of time to be prepared.
So what do your need to pack in a hospital bag? I will tell you what I actually packed and used with baby number 3 and baby number 4!
The Real Hospital Bag Checklist of things you will actually use!
Before we start packing our hospital bag, there are a few things to remember, I know it is fun to pack your diaper bag and get it all ready to leave the hospital bag with your baby in one hand and your cute diaper bag in the other, but you don’t actually need your diaper bag. You are simply leaving the hospital and coming straight home.
Unless you live far away from the hospital there is not going to be a need to stop and feed your baby or change their diaper.
Plus the hospital usually provides you all the diapers and wipes that you need when you are at the hospital.
The same goes for you, the hospital is usually really great about providing postpartum care must-haves that you need while at the hospital.
Back to the Hospital Bag Checklist!
Things you Need While You are in Labor
When packing your must-haves for the hospital you want to make sure the things you need when you are in labor make it into the bag first!
There is nothing worse than being in labor only to realize you have forgotten a hair tie or lip balm and have to start begging for one from your sweet nurses.
The things you need after labor aren’t as important because your husband can always run get them or you can have a family member or friend bring them to you.
Items Needed While In Labor
That’s it! Those are the only things I have ever actually used while in labor. Of course, some people might want a new Spotify music playlist, a birthing ball, their own water bottle, or maybe massage oil. I never really found these things necessary though.
Essentials to Take With You to the Hospital
Some essentials you don’t want to forget that you will need for check-in purposes even if you are pre-registered are
- Drivers license / ID card
- Insurance card
After Labor No Fluff Checklist
When packing your hospital bag you want to remember that 99.9% of the time the hospital will have almost everything you need like the awesome mesh hospital underwear, ( I know what you are thinking, I am not wearing those, but trust me they are so awesome! In fact, I always ask for extras to bring home. Of course you can always buy some mesh underwear online.), stool softener, over the counter medication, like Tylenol, the big thick pads you want after having your baby, a peri bottle, and things like that.
If you are worried that they won’t have these items, you can always call the hospital to double-check.
What to Pack in a Hospital Bag- After Delivery
- Nice Big Stretchy Pants, darker color, at least 2 pairs
- Comfy T-shirts, 2-3 shirts, your smaller sized maternity ones will be good for this
- Socks, only if you don’t like the hospital socks they give you
- Flip flops, because who likes walking on the hospital floor without shoes?
- Comfy Sleeping Nursing bra
- Nursing Bra
- Mesh Underwear, yes the hospital provides them, but these are a little bit better quality.
- Phone and Charger
- Camera, if you don’t want to use your phone to take pictures
- Disposable Breast Pads, or Reusable Breast Pads, whichever you prefer
- Nipple Cream, You will thank me later for this making the list!
- Nursing Pillow, totally optional in my opinion, I never used one but I know it is a total lifesaver for lots of moms at the hospital.
- Stuff to take a shower, usually, the hospital has towels, but you will want to bring, face wash, shampoo/ conditioner, body wash or soap
- Hair products, dry shampoo (total lifesaver! Don’t leave home without it!), hairbrush, hair ties, hairspray. If you are going to be doing your hair more than that then perhaps a hairdryer, straightener, curling iron, etc. Again I was low maintenance and didn’t bring any of this…. But I did use my dry shampoo every single day of my stay.
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss
- Makeup, although some people find this to be not necessary, to be it was totally necessary. I just brought tinted moisturizer, eye shadow, and mascara.
This is seriously all that I used while I was at the hospital.
What to Pack in a Hospital Bag- For Dad
It is always nice to have some must-have hospital items for dad in our bag too. These are the things I found most helpful to keep in the hospital bag.
- Change of clothes (Don’t forget the underwear)
- Money, so he can go buy you snacks out of the vending machine
- A charger for his phone so he doesn’t take yours
- Toiletries, if he is staying the night
That was all he used while we were at the hospital. He would typically go home for a little bit, get showered, changed, etc and then would come back to the hospital.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
When it comes to packing your hospital bag checklist for your baby there is not much that they need. I mean you can get all fancy and bring lots of cute outfits, with cute hats, and bows, but this isn’t really crucial at all.
You won’t really need diapers, wipes, and diaper cream because the hospital usually provides all this for you. You can always call to double-check ahead of time.
These were the items that we actually used while staying at the hospital.
- Pacifier, some hospitals provide them, some don’t I always bring my own just in case.
- Onesies, I like white onesies, but there are all kinds of cute ones.
- Sleepers/bag sleepers, I love putting clothes on my sweet babies while at the hospital
- Blanket, only if you have one you love, the hospital has plenty for you to use.
- Going home outfit
- Car seat (Most important! It must be installed in the car. The hospital will check prior to letting you check out.
There you have it! Your no-fluff low maintenance hospital bag checklist!
Be sure to download our hospital bag checklist to make your life easier when packing for the hospital for your next baby!