Preparing your hospital bag in advance can help prevent any last-minute scrambling or missing items once you arrive at the hospital. It can also help to ease anxiety! By checking another item off of your To-Do list, you will feel more prepared and be able to focus on other important tasks. Knowing what to pack in your hospital bag for labor can be challenging! I have created a list of the essential items to make it easier for you and then updated that list to create a Minimalist Hospital Bag for those minimalistic moms out there.
Feel free to pack as early as you want, I didn’t pack my bag until I was 38 weeks but there was no real reason to believe that I’d be giving birth any earlier than my expected due date. I’m also known for procrastinating… So feel free to pack whenever it feels best for you!
When preparing my bag, I kept a separate list near the hospital bag of items that I wasn’t going to pack until I was sure I’d be heading to the hospital soon, such as my toothbrush or contact case. Most births are not as you see in the movies, where you are rushing out of the door without a moment to spare. While this is possible, it is not likely in normal and healthy births. Plus, it may give you something to do while in early labor!
Minimalist Hospital Bag Items
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- ID, Insurance Card, and any other necessary hospital paperwork
- Birth plan (if you have one)
- Nursing Robe/Gown
- 2 nursing bras – I love these comfortable ones
- Nipple cream
- Nipple pads
- Soothing Gel Pads for Breastfeeding
Trust me, you’ll want this during labor. This is my absolute favorite chapstick, it feels luxurious.
- Makeup Remover Towel
- Scrunchies/Headbands/Hair ties
- 2 pregnancy sized outfits (spoiler alert: you won’t be fitting into pre-pregnancy clothes immediately!)
- Prenatal Vitamins (and any other supplements or medications)
- Donut Cushion to sit on for the drive home (you’ll thank me for this later!)
For Both Parents
- Pajamas (2 sets)
- Travel-sized toiletries
- Face wipes (I preferred wipes over a facewash to minimize effort)
- Shampoo/conditioner (or just dry shampoo if you’re like me!)
- Body Wash
- Extra-long phone cord
- Laundry or plastic bags for dirty clothes
- Shower flip flops/sandals
- Snacks – For energy and nourishment. Your hospital also may not provide food right away if you give birth in the middle of the night. Some hospitals (especially during the global pandemic happening right now) won’t feed your support partner, please keep them in mind when packing food. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help you keep your snack list to a minimum in your minimalist hospital bag!
- Cooler bag with icepacks. Make sure you ask your provider if there is a fridge provided.
- Electrolyte drinks (coconut water, sports drinks, etc.)
- Honey, applesauce, or some other easy to consume source of sugar
- Protein/Granola bars (for energy!)
- Caffeine for both parents!
- Hard candies to help keep your mouth moist
- Ginger chews for nausea
- Sandwiches (or another easy food for your birth partner)
- Refillable water bottle
For Your Birth Partner
- 2 outfits
For Your Baby
- Nursing Pillow and Cover
- Sleeping outfit
- Mittens (to keep your baby from scratching themselves)
- Nail Clippers This is the one item that I did not anticipate and wish we had packed. The hospital did not provide any service to cut our baby’s nails and I was surprised by how long his nails were after birth!
- Coming home outfit
- Car seat (with the base already installed in the car)
- Diaper bag (filled with the essentials!)
Make sure you check out the original list of Hospital Bag Essentials to see if there is anything else that you feel you would like to have. Hospitals will provide basic items, like swaddles for your baby and disposable underwear for yourself. Be sure to bring your own if you have a strong preference for your own items.
You can find all of my hospital bag items on my Amazon Storefront’s Hospital Bag List.
What else would you add to your minimalist hospital bag? Leave a comment below to help others!