Right when I hit the beginning of the third trimester I started thinking about my hospital bag, especially after my OB told me that I have be mentally prepared that the baby can arrive any day now. While it is rare for babies to arrive prior to making it full term, babies tend to have their own minds and arrive whenever they want. So I knew packing my hospital bag ahead of time would ease any stress when the time came. I probably started packing my bag around 30 weeks.
Thinking ahead and having my hospital bag packed early really helped because Carter arrived a week before my induce date. Which was 2 weeks before my actual due date. Tre and I placed our hospital bags right by our door. So on the day he was born, we had our bags packed and ready to go. We didn’t scramble to find where our bags were.
What To Pack In A Hospital Bag For Labor And Delivery
I did some research prior to packing our hospital bags. Let me tell you, A LOT of the hospital bag checklist seemed excessive. I’ve stayed at the hospital before, and I never had to bring that much stuff. I asked some of you on Instagram and some of you confirmed that the checklist is excessive. So I went with my gut on what to pack. I packed for myself, Tre, and for the baby.
So my hospital bag checklist is a lot shorter than most. I’m sure it’s very subjective but this is what worked for me! But I’m glad I packed the way I did. Less is more!! So everything I’m sharing is what I actually used while I was in the hospital. You really only need the essentials during your stay at the hospital / birthing center.
A lot of the things Mom will need, the hospital actually provided for me. But from what I hear, not all hospitals do that. I’ll be sure to note if I brought it or utilized the hospital’s supply. Therefore, prior to making any purchase, check with your hospital. That way you know exactly what to pack in your hospital bag.
I also didn’t get all dolled up. I brought my makeup with me because almost everyone told me I’ll regret if I didn’t get ready. But to be honest, I was not in the mood. Also, Carter was in the NICU and he rarely was in our room. We had to go over to the NICU to see him and we were not allowed to take photos there. So depending on how your situation is, getting dolled up and taking photos may be an option for you! Plus during COVID, visitors were not allowed.
Also, I did not breastfeed / could not breastfeed because I had a mastectomy. So keep that in mind when going through the list. There may be some additional things you will need if you plan to nurse your baby.
You need a decent sized bag. I love my Best of Seven Carryall Tote (you can mix and match colors to make it completely customizable!). It’s the perfect weekend bag / hospital bag. I use this bag for my stuff and baby’s stuff and it all fit perfectly! To separate my and baby’s stuff, I used packing cubes. It made organizing so much easier.
The type of toiletry items is again subjective. For organization, I placed them all in Stoney Clover Lane pouches. They come in fun colors and you can customize it, like adding “MAMA” to it. But you will need your usual essentials in a travel size such as toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body lotion, etc. I actually used sample products as my toiletries. If you don’t have any sample products, just walk into a Credo Beauty, Sephora, or BlueMercury and ask for a sample of the products you will use. They usually don’t have a problem. The sample size is the perfect amount you will need for a few days at the hospital. They take up less space than travel size items.
I did not shower at all when I was at the hospital. Maybe it is just me, but I was weirded out to shower in the hospital. I know, I’m a weirdo. So I relied on my dry shampoo to keep my hair fresh.
The hospital rooms are dry which means your lips will be dry. It’s a good idea to have lip balm on hand. Trust me, you will thank me! I’m a big fan of Burt Bee’s tinted lip balm. They have kept my lips moisturized AND it gives it a nice color. So I felt all done up without really putting on makeup.
I use the Thayer’s face mist all the time. I think it is a game changer for the skin. With the hospital’s dry air, this kept my face moisturized. Whenever I notice my face feeling dry, I just spritz this onto my face. I love that this has witch hazel because it is not only great for your skin but it fights bacteria too. You’ll notice that you’ll be using witch hazel as well for postpartum care.
Don’t forget your phone AND the charger. I highly recommend bringing an extra long charger cord because you never know where the closest outlet will be. And even if there is an outlet close to your bed, it is still a stretch. The 10ft phone charger was perfect!
Also, make sure your phone or your partner’s phone is fully charged when you deliver. You want to make sure these special moments are captured!
Even though I didn’t shower at the hospital, I wanted to feel clean and fresh. I’m a big fan of Yuni’s shower sheets. They’re body wipes specifically made if you don’t have time to shower. I used to use these when I would exercise in the middle of the day at work.
But if you do plan on showering at the hospitals, definitely bring flip-flops when packing your hospital bag. Love the Old Navy flip flops because they’re affordable and reliable.
I had a c-section so I was not allowed to walk. These face wipes were great because I was able to clean my face without leaving my bed.
Don’t forget to pack clothes that you will wear when you leave the hospital. I recommend bringing clothes that have stretch and accommodate size. Some people say your body will look 5 months pregnant. I love this jumpsuit. So comfortable and it accommodates whatever your size ended up being after delivery.
If the weather permits, a flowy casual dress is another good option.
Mesh underwear were provided for me while I was at the hospital (along with giant size pads haha). So I did not end up using these disposable underwear until I was home. Some people don’t like the underwear the hospital provides and found the Frida’s underwear much more comfortable. I love them and I used them all the time postpartum when I got home. They really feel like normal underwear and love that I can just throw them away and don’t have to worry about ruining my own underwear.
I didn’t bring any pjs. Which I’m glad I didn’t because I was bleeding so much (sorry for the TMI). I pretty much stayed in my hospital gown. However, when I left my room to see Carter at the NICU or tried walking, I wore this exact robe. I love this robe because it’s soft, VERY affordable, and I love the longer length. It also has pockets which is where I kept my phone.
I rarely had my hair down. I came into the hospital with my hair down. But after delivery, my hair immediately went right back up!
If you have a specific birth plan, don’t forget to bring it. I did not have a birth plan. I wanted to deliver my baby in whatever method was most safe. But my hospital made it a point to make sure you have your birth plan with you!
Book / Entertainment
This is just in case you have a lull time. Either you are in labor waiting for the baby or recovering. Carter was in NICU most of the time, so I brought a book to read to keep me occupied.
Also, don’t forget to bring your picture IDs, insurance documents, etc. I would say this is probably necessary if you are delivering at the hospital where your OB/GYN does their practice.
Going Home Outfits (have different size options)
You really don’t need to bring outfits for the baby during the hospital stay. The hospital will provide the onesies, diapers, wipes, etc. But your baby will need an outfit to go home in. I recommend bringing outfits in different sizes. You just never know what size the baby will be when it comes out. I brought newborn size, 0-3 months size, and 3 months size. Also, bring some outfits that have a mixture of footed and footless pajamas. Depending on where the hospital places the baby’s bracelet, the footed onesies may get in the way. Just remember that when you bring non-footed to bring socks too!
The hospital may provide socks for the baby but to be honest those socks never stayed on Carter! So we were glad we brought our own. I never thought to care about baby socks brands, but not all of them are great haha. I really love the Luvable Friends brand. They stay put on his little feet all day.
So you don’t actually pack a car seat but you should already have it out of the box and installed in your car. Most hospitals will not let you leave without a car seat. Right before we left, our hospital had a car seat specialist check on us to make sure we properly buckled up the baby!
This is a maybe and it all depends on the season. It was essential for us because it was March and it was still 40 degrees outside. We placed the baby blanket over the baby once he was strapped into the car seat. This kept him warm.
If you prefer to use your own swaddle, go for it! We used the hospital’s swaddle blanket up until we had to leave.
Some newborns immediately find pacifiers soothing. Carter didn’t understand pacifiers until our last day, but so glad we had it especially during the car ride home. He started to fuss, but once it was in his mouth he was calm.
Again, not necessary but so helpful! The sound machine helped drown out any background noise. We love this portable sound machine because we can seriously bring it everywhere. Just make sure it is fully charged.
The dad’s hospital bag is pretty simple but they still need to pack!
Similar to the mamas, just bring travel size toiletries or sample size!
Pajamas / Athleisure
Tre almost forgot clothes to sleep in. Trust me, your husband will not be comfortable sleeping in his day clothes. I recommend pajamas or comfortable athleisure.
Zip-Up hoodie is helpful for skin to skin if your husband doesn’t want / feel comfortable going shirtless at the hospital. Big thanks to my friend Kit for this tip!
V-Neck shirts are helpful for skin to skin similar concept as the v-neck. This makes it easier for dad to do skin to skin.
We didn’t experience labor since I immediately had to get a c-section, but there will be some lull time where your husband will be hungry. Tre was definitely hungry right after Carter was born. Thankfully the hospital actually had a welcome parents package in our room with snacks, but he also brought his own snacks too.
Phone and Charger
Make sure he has his phone and extra long charger as well!
Water Bottle / Preferred Beverages
Tre brought Powerade because he knows he faints easily. So he brought a few of them. Our OB was glad he came prepared!
So that’s about it. Like I said, I kept everything I packed pretty simple and only brought the necessities. However, if you do want to take photos, then you can most definitely bring a few more things. Also, if you plan on nursing then you probably need to bring things like nursing pads, nursing bras, etc. As I mentioned, I don’t have boobs because of my mastectomy so Carter went straight to formula!