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  • Writer's pictureANH Team

Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack for Mom and Baby!

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Hello all! As a second time mom, I wanted to share my hospital bag essentials a you've undoubtedly been counting down the days excitedly anticipating when you'll meet the baby.

Are you deciding what to pack in your hospital bag? Wondering where to start? While you don’t want to leave out any essentials, there’s also no reason to overdo things. We've put together the ultimate hospital bag checklist for that special day.

When should I start packing my hospital bag for labor?

Everyone is different with regards to things that are necessary and unnecessary in their hospital bags. It’s certainly easy to overpack, so I wanted to break it down for you! I typically suggest packing your hospital bag no later than 37 weeks of pregnancy, and keeping it in an easy to grab spot. I was induced early with my first baby and I had nothing packed yet, so my hospital bag needed to be packed on the fly! There were a few things I completely forgot, that would have been nice to have (such as bringing deodorant, using my husband's deodorant for 6 days was not ideal). These are the items that I personally found to be necessary when packing for my hospital stay.

By 36 or 37 weeks pregnant, you should have your hospital bag prepared in case you give birth earlier than expected. You can toss in a few last-minute items, like your toothbrush, but at this stage in your pregnancy, you should have most of your belongings packed and within reach. A car seat, for instance, is a necessity, while other goods will make you feel comfortable and nostalgic for home. We also drew from our own labor and delivery experiences when thinking about the best must-have items.

What should I pack in my hospital bag?

  1. Toiletries: preferably travel sized, basically the necessities that you can’t live without. Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, hair products, hair scrunchies, etc.

  2. Underwear: Underwear won’t be needed after baby is born, so if you are being induced I suggest bringing a few pairs, or you can go without! After delivery you will most likely be wearing disposable underwear and a pad, which brings me to my next item

  3. Disposable Underwear: the hospital will supply you with plenty of pads and disposable underwear that you can wear after you deliver as well as take home with you. I personally preferred bringing my own, just because I found them to be more absorbent and comfortable than what was offered at the hospital (Always Discreet Sensitive, see below), but everyone is different!

  4. Bras/Nursing Bras: if you plan to nurse, I suggest bringing a few nursing bras. I wore one during labor, which made skin to skin and nursing after my son was born very convenient

  5. Robe: not necessary, but definitely helped me feel comfortable and more “at home” while in the hospital, also makes nursing and skin to skin easy!

  6. Pillow and Blanket: totally not necessary, but I truly believe that making the delivery room feel like home can improve your experience and comfort

  7. Breast Pump: most hospitals will be able to lend you a pump, but I decided to bring my own this time, I’m bringing my Elvie wearable pump just because of the portability, but I would suggest using a hospital grade pump if it is your first (I recommend the Spectra!). I also brought my Haakaa pump when I had my first, and it was helpful for collecting colostrum in the first few hours after birth

  8. Breast Pump Wipes: cleaning pump parts in a hospital room can prove to be difficult, and using disposable wipes to do so is an easy fix

  9. Snacks/Liquid IV Packets: very important especially if you will be in the hospital for a few days, or have a very long labor. I highly recommend bringing some liquid IV packets to add to your water, to keep yourself properly hydrated

  10. Rebozo/Baby Wrap: this will come in handy for labor, a Rebozo is a Mexican woven blanket that can be used in many different ways to offer support during labor, see the link below, Spinning Babies has an excellent article explaining and demonstrating the many uses for a rebozo!

  11. Labor Comfort Measures: this will depend on you, but basically its anything that will help you feel more relaxed in labor. I personally brought mints, a back massager, lavender essential oil, and a dim night light for the hospital bathroom (see link below)

  12. Outfit for baby to wear home: the hospital will provide clothes, blankets, and swaddles for you baby, but if you prefer to have baby wear clothing of their own, go right ahead!

  13. Clothes for you to wear home: I suggest bringing the biggest, comfiest, T-shirt, sweatpants, and socks that you own! As well as shoes that are easy to slip on, just in case you are swollen.

  14. Your Birth Plan: If you have a birth plan, print and bring a few copies: one for your chart, some for your labor nurse(s) and perhaps another to tape up in your hospital room. It’s a good idea to highlight some key points for quick reference.

  15. Extra-Long Phone Charger: Hospital beds are notoriously far away from an electrical outlet, and you’ll want a fully charged phone for all the pictures you are about to take of your new baby and for video chatting with excited friends and family.

  16. Nipple Cream: If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive.

  17. Portable Bluetooth Speaker and Spotify Playlist: Playing music during labor can be an asset for some. If you make a playlist, add a lot of songs to it—labor can last 24-plus straight hours, and you don’t want to listen to the same 10 songs over and over the entire time. Though you may find you just want silence!

  18. Pediatrician's Contact Info: The doctors and nurses will ask you for this information several times, so it’s good to have it handy. Include the email or fax number for the pediatrician’s office so they can easily forward your baby’s medical records.

When you’ve gone through the hospital bag checklist and are satisfied you and your partner have packed what everyone will need, stash your hospital bag in your car or by the front door if you plan on taking a taxi to the hospital—and get ready for baby’s arrival! Check out the product links listed below.

By: Dr. Megan Stavalone

Perinatal Certified Chiropractor at ANH Wellness

Disclaimer: "The information including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment."

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