The Essential Hospital Bag Checklist: What I Actually Used!

pregnant woman overwhelmed trying to pack hospital bag

Preparing for the arrival for a new baby is both exciting and overwhelming.

Packing the hospital bag can be especially overwhelming! I remember spending hours scrolling Google for newborn baby essentials, as well as the perfect hospital bag checklist, only to end up with a suitcase full of items I never even touched. I even overpacked the hospital bag for my second child! To save you from the same fate, I’ve put together a list of what I actually used during my hospital stay. From must-have essentials to a few comfort items, here’s the ultimate hospital bag checklist based on my personal experience!

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Hospital Bag Checklist: The Essentials

pregnant woman using hospital bag checklist to pack bag

Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom

The following are the must-have hospital bag checklist items for the most important person of the hour, you!

Important Documents and ID

This goes without saying but don’t forget to pack your photo ID, insurance card, and any required hospital paperwork. Some hospitals let you check-in in advance but it’s still good to have any important documents and ID on you.

A Comfortable Outfit

I stayed in my hospital gown for my entire stay. I just didn’t feel like getting dressed. You do want to make sure you pack one comfortable outfit for going home. It’s best to pack something loose-fitting or stretchy since you’ll likely be sore and uncomfortable.

Nursing Bra

Whether or not you are nursing, your breasts will likely be sore as your hormones start to go back to normal. A nursing bra can be more comfortable for your sore breasts, and will make nursing easier if you do plan to breastfeed or pump in the hospital.

Non-Skid Socks

I kept my non-skid socks on all the time during my hospital stay. You’ll want something comfortable on your feet for walking around your hospital room during labor and recovery.

Hair Ties

I lived with my hair in a messy bun so you’ll want to pack some hair ties! You never know when one will break so definitely make sure you have a few extra.

Basic Toiletries

Your hospital may provide some toiletries, but it’s good to pack some shampoo and body wash in case you’re up for a shower. A toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and lip balm are some other good toiletries to pack.

Glasses or Contacts

If you wear glasses or contacts don’t forget those! I used my glasses the majority of the time I was in the hospital.

Daily Medications

Make sure you pack any medications that you take on a regular basis.

Cell Phone and Charger

A cell phone is a critical item so you can keep everyone updated and take lots of pics. Also very important is a charger so your phone doesn’t die!

Nipple Cream

Nipple cream is a great item to include on your postpartum essentials checklist as well if you’re planning to breastfeed. Your hospital will likely give you some, but it doesn’t hurt to pack it if you have a favorite brand. I really liked Earth Mama Nipple Butter.

pregnant woman using hospital bag checklist to pack bag

Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby

You don’t need to pack much in your hospital bag for your baby since the hospital provides so much stuff. The following items are a few essentials to pack.

1 or 2 Outfits

Some people dress their baby in the hospital but the hospital does provide onesies and blankets. It’s always good to pack one or two outfits, mainly for going home. I also had a name announcement gown for my second daughter in the hospital so we could get some cute photos of the name reveal.

Socks or Booties

My babies were swaddled the majority of the time in the hospital but I packed a pair of booties to use for going home.

Infant Car Seat

Your infant car seat is near the top of the list of things you absolutely cannot forget. You won’t be allowed to leave the hospital without a car seat. I used the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System which comes with the Chicco Key Fit 30 car seat. It’s a really sturdy travel system that lasted through both of my girls.

Baby Essentials (if you want a specific brand)

I just used the diapers, wipes, and creams that the hospital provided, but if you have a specific brand that you want to use you can pack some baby essentials.

pregnant woman using hospital bag checklist to pack suitcase

Hospital Bag Checklist for Birth Partner

Your birth partner needs some items too! The following are must-have hospital bag checklist items for your partner.

Change of Clothes for Partner

Your partner may feel up to changing more than you, so a change (or two) of clothes should be packed.

Basic Toiletries for Partner

Similar to your basic toiletries, your partner should at least pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.

Non-Skid Socks for Partner

Your partner could likely use some non-skid socks or slippers for the hospital too.

Cell Phone and Charger for Partner

Since you will be out of commission for at least part of your hospital stay make sure your partner has a cell phone and charger to keep family and friends updated.

Travel Blanket and Pillow for Partner

If your partner will be staying overnight with you the hospital may provide a blanket and pillow, but it doesn’t hurt to pack a travel blanket and pillow just in case.

pin for the essential hospital bag checklist, what I actually used, image shows pregnant woman using checklist to pack bag

Hospital Bag Checklist Items I Didn’t Use

The following are items I came across during hospital bag checklist research for my first baby and packed in my bag but never used:

  • Multiple outfits – Like I said earlier, I didn’t have the energy to put on actual clothes!
  • Pajamas – I packed nursing pajamas but never took off my hospital gown!
  • Cosmetics – Unless you’ll be having lots of visitors, you probably won’t feel like using make-up.
  • Robe – I packed a comfortable robe but never took it out of my bag!
  • Pillow and Blanket – The hospital bedding was good enough for me!
  • Snacks – Your hospital will restrict what you eat during labor and mine provided enough food during the rest of my stay.
  • Massager – I packed one for labor with my first daughter but don’t remember using it.
  • Fan – This is another item I packed for my first delivery but don’t remember using it.
  • Breastfeeding pillow – I just couldn’t get comfortable nursing in the hospital.
  • Postpartum essentials kit – The hospital provided more than enough postpartum recovery items.
  • Book – I’m a big reader but was too tired to open a book!
  • Portable speaker – I made a playlist for my first delivery but never used it!

When to Pack the Hospital Bag

I would definitely recommend having your hospital bag packed by 36 weeks. I did mine even sooner, around 32-34 weeks. You never know if you will go into labor early and you don’t want to be scrambling around trying to get things together at the last minute!

pregnant woman happy and organized since using hospital bag checklist to pack bag

Packing your hospital bag is one of the final steps before welcoming your little one.

I hope this hospital bag checklist helps make the process a bit smoother for you. Remember, everyone’s experience is different, so feel free to adjust this list to your own preferences. The most important thing is that you feel prepared and comfortable. Try not to stress over packing your hospital bag, and instead, relax, take some deep breaths (and practice those positive pregnancy affirmations!) Soon, you’ll be holding your precious baby in your arms, and all the planning and packing will be worth it.

Wishing you a wonderful and memorable birth experience!

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