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.
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!
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 Robe/Gown
- Disposable undies (in case you don’t like the ones provided)
- Slippers or grippy socks
- 2 nursing bras – I love these comfortable ones for sleeping and this one for a confidence boost because you should still feel sexy when you are a mom!
- Nipple cream
- Nipple pads
- Soothing Gel Pads for Breastfeeding
- Lip Balm
- 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 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
- 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!
- 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
- 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
What else are you planning to pack in your hospital bag for labor? Leave a comment below with any other additions you have to share with others!