I had no idea what to pack in a hospital bag for labor and delivery. Especially if you are a first-time mom or have had a sizeable gap between kids. If you’ve found yourself on this page, you are not alone. But, you are in good hands. Now that I’ve gone through this myself, during a pandemic even, I’ve learned the hard way what items you might want with you.
Create Your Own Comfort
Of course, as you are reading this list, please keep in mind that everyone has different levels of comfort. My suggestion is to pack whatever you might need or want at the hospital during your stay to feel the most comfortable. I am of the belief that it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Given that I gave birth during the pandemic, my birth partner wasn’t able to leave to get anything I forgot or realized I might need later on. Honestly, your partner might not want to leave you while you are in labor. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a hard time tearing themselves away from that little bundle of joy once you give birth. I would be surprised if you were willing to let your support person leave you while you are struggling through labor or trying to recover after birth.
Prepare for More than the Hospital
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, like preparing for The Postpartum Period and your Postpartum Care Items.
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. There is also a Minimalist Hospital Bag post if that feels more like you. All of these items have been added to my Amazon Storefront’s Hospital Bag List.
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
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! In fact, packing and researching what to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery is a part of the nesting process.
When preparing my bag, I kept my checklist near my hospital bag at the door. I kept track 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!
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
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- ID, Insurance Card, and any other necessary hospital paperwork
- Birth plan (if you have one)
- Labor and Delivery Gown
- Nursing Bras
I live and sleep in this one. (use my coupon code AMB-breazieboo to receive $10 off of your first purchase)
- Nursing Robe/Gown
- Disposable undies (in case you don’t like the ones provided)
- Slippers or grippy socks
- 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!)
- Skincare products
- Prenatal Vitamins (and any other supplements or medications)
- Peri bottle
- Witch hazel wipes
- Donut Cushion to sit on for the drive home (you’ll thank me for this later!)
For Both Parents
- Pajamas (2 sets)
- Pillow and pillowcase that you are not attached to
- 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
- Camera/Camera bag
- Shower flip flops/sandals
- Snacks – For energy and nourishment. Don’t forget to pack some for your birth partner too! Here is a list of Good (and Healthy!) Snacks for your Hospital Bag. Having electrolytes, protein, and maybe a little caffeine were top priorities for me.
- Cooler bag with icepacks. Make sure you ask your provider if there is a fridge provided.
- Refillable water bottle
- Aromatherapy Oil (I chose a lavender roll-on version)
- Portable speaker (charged!)
- Entertainment for long labors – we chose to bring cards and our Nintendo Switch. Phones can be entertaining enough usually!
- Massaging Tools
A tennis ball is great and cheap!
For Your Birth Partner
- Bonding t-shirt (because skin-to-skin contact for dads and partners is important too!)
- 2 outfits
For Your Baby
- Nursing Pillow and Cover
- Breast pump and supplies
- 2 swaddles
- 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
- Picture outfit
- Extra outfits in different sizes
- Car seat (with the base already installed in the car)
- Letterboard for pictures
- Diaper bag (filled with the essentials!)
Need more love?
Check out these other helpful articles:
- Good (and Healthy!) Snacks for your Hospital Bag
- Postpartum Care Must-Have Items
- Becoming a Mother | Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery
- Newborn Essentials
- Body Acceptance During Pregnancy