Your due date is quickly approaching, and you would like to keep your hospital bag ready to go? Use this labor and delivery hospital bag checklist to go through everything you might need for yourself, the dad, and for the baby.
Every mom is different when it comes to what they need to be comfortable during labor. What one thinks is unnecessary is a deal-breaker for the another and vice versa.
Ask me; there was a night and day difference between the way I packed my hospital bag with my first pregnancy vs. the second. With my first, I packed the kitchen sink, and 3/4th of the items came back home untouched. With my second, I knew exactly what I needed and packed just that.
I put together a ‘realistic’ list, which I think every mom should bring to the hospital and will most likely use.I also have a printable hospital bag check list with a notes area where you can jot down some extras you might need.
If you are a first-time mom, I have an ultimate hospital bag checklist just for you so you can go through every single item on the list and decide what you might need for a better labor and delivery experience.
If you are someone who would get by with the bare minimum, I also have a minimalist hospital bag checklist for you.
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag For Labor?
One piece of advice that I would like to give new moms is that DO NOT wait till the last week of your due date to pack your bags. My babies were too anxious to come out that they arrived two weeks before my due date.
Ideally, I would recommend to get all the hospital bag essentials ready to go by the 37th week if you have had a normal pregnancy. For high risk pregnancies, Bump recommends getting the hospital bag ready at around 35 weeks.
Also, it is good to have a checklist of all the items that you need to grab at the last moment. Like tooth brush, phone chargers etc.,
‘REALISTIC’ Hospital Bag Checklist (AKA What I really used for labor and delivery) :
Both my babies were delivered vaginally, and had no major complications. However, with my son I took an epidural and my labor went on for nearly 22 hours.
My son also had mild jaundice so we were asked to stay in the hospital for an extra day and a half. On the other hand, my daughter was delivered naturally without any medications and we left the hospital the very next day.
If you had a normal delivery, you might stay in the hospital for a day or two (maximum three). If you are having a C -section, you stay might be a bit longer, usually around 4-5 days.
Here is everything I used during labor, delivery and postpartum during my hospital stay after giving birth.
Important Documents: Birth Plan, Id Card, Insurance (or Health card).
Snacks: Gone are the days that you were only allowed to sip ice chips during labor. If your doctor is OK with you eating, then please don’ t starve yourself during labor. Pack some easily digestible snacks for labor (like protein bars) that will keep you energized.
Water Bottle: Labor is intense work, and it will leave you dehydrated. I used this insulated water bottle because I liked my water warm. I was literally shivering every time they stripped me to check the dilation. I would have died drinking the cold water. But, if you like cold water, and if you want it to stay cold, get an insulated cup.
Lip Balm: Oh so important! Don’t be surprised when your lips start to bleed of dehydration. Drink your water and don’t forget to apply lip balm.
Hair Ties and Head Bands: Hair falling on your face when you are trying to push a baby out is ANNOYING! Use hair ties to pull your hair back and away from your face.
Comfortable slippers: Labor can be a long process if you don’t progress into active labor quickly. The hospital staff will wait until your contractions are frequently occurring before moving you to the L&D ward. You will probably be asked to walk or climb stairs for active labor to kick start. Bring comfortable slippers to wear in the hospital.
Water: Do you know what the first thing I asked my nurse after giving birth was? Can I drink Chocolate milk? They found it funny, but I was dying of thirst. Bring a big bottle preferably with a straw like this one to gulp in tons of water.
Pillow: Sure, the hospital had pillows, but they were too flat and hurt my neck. I loved my fluffy pillow.
Socks: Socks that you don’t mind throwing away because there are chances that they might get stained (with blood!).
A rope sweater: I mostly used the gown the hospital gave me, because I didn’t want to ruin my own clothes (there is a lot of bloody business happening down there) But I would have a loved a rope or a long sweater to throw on top when I stepped put of my room for a walk.
Nursing pillow: If you are planning to breastfeed, this is a must-have. As a first-time mom, I would have struggled to get my son to latch properly without a breastfeeding pillow.
Nipple cream: Whether you breastfeed or not, your boobs are going to feel different and probably dry. Your hospital might have one for you, but I wanted a quality organic one that is also safe for my baby.
Underwear: I bought my underwear but ended up using the mesh panties that the hospital gave me. I went home and bought more of those cause they were so comfortable.
Postpartum Pads: The hospital does provide you with pads, but there are moms who choose to use depends or cloth pads. If you are planning on using one of them, take them with you.
Postpartum Spray: The nurse gave me a peri bottle, the first time I didn’t know better and I used those. The second time around, I did some research and bought this peri bottle and used them with a herbal postpartum spray. It is a total game changer. Try these, and your lady bits will thank you!
Snacks: The first time, my husband was literally starving the whole time I was in labor. Poor guy couldn’t even go to the hospital cafe because I was holding him too tight and wouldn’t let him go.
Insulated Bottle for Coffee: Because no one is getting any sleep and hot coffee is important to stay sane.
Wallet (with change): For parking, vending machines etc.,
Phone: with a charger
Video recorder: if you would like to take birth videos.
Ear phones: So he can watch something without waking you or the baby.
Swaddles: My hospital didn’t have a swaddle but the nurse did an excellent job of swaddling the baby with the hospital receiving blanket. If you want to swaddle your baby in a soft, comfortable and cute swaddling blanket, get a couple of these.
Diapers: Again, the hospital provides a lot of diapers, they even let you take some with you when you leave. But, if you plan to use cloth diapers or diapers without chemicals then pack them. Your newborn will go through 10-12 diapers a day, so pack according to the number of days you will likely stay at the hospital.
Diaper Cream: The one’s the hospital gives most likely have petroleum and other unwanted/harmful ingredients. In the newborn stage, when you will be changing diapers a lot, your baby’s bum needs a lot of protection which a natural diaper cream like this one can provide.
Nail Clippers: Babies come out with big (and sharp) nails. Make sure to pack this item in your hospital bag.
Scissors: Those hospital bands are tough to get rid. Carry a small scissor to cut them off your baby’s hands.
Minimalist Hospital Bag check list:
For the Minimalist mamas out there, I suggest that you call your hospital in advance and get to know about all the items that your hospital will provide. This way you can cross out everything that will be available at the hospital and pack the rest of the labor essentials with you.
Many hospitals provide postpartum pads, towels, toiletries for mom as well as blankets, diapers and wipes for the baby. I am only listing the absolute must have items here, feel free to add anything that you might think is necessary.
- Car Seat
- Insurance papers, Birth plan, Wallet (with ID and health card)
- A set of change clothes for mom, dad and the baby.
- Phone and Charger
- Nail Clippers for baby ( my hospital didn’t have them)
Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist:
This ultimate hospital bag checklist will be useful to go through everything you might need at the hospital after giving birth. This list can be especially helpful for first-time mom’s who have no clue what to expect.
- Water Bottle
- Lip Balm
- Pregnancy affirmations or anything that keeps you going.
- Birth ball
- Nursing tank, nursing bra.
- Nursing pillow
- Toiletries (toothpaste, face towel, toothbrush, deodorant)
- Postpartum pads, underwear.
- A robe, pyjamas and a sweater to wear instead of hospital gowns
- socks and slippers.
- Makeup (if you are up for it)
- Hair brush, hair ties, hair brush
- Phone, Ipad or a music player.
- Video recorder (if you want to take birth videos)
For the Baby:
- Set of change clothes
- A special home going outfit
- Nail clippers
- Diapers, wipes, diaper cream
- Swaddles, receiving blankets
- Burp clothes.
For the Dad:
- Wallet with change
- Insulated cup for coffee
- Change of clothes
Let’s Wrap Up:
I hope this post gives you a broad idea of what you will likely need to pack in your hospital bag. Whether you are a first-time mom or a seasoned mom, I hope that this list will help you sort out the labor and delivery essentials you will need.
What did you pack in your hospital bag? What was the one item you wish you packed or wish you didn’t. Share with me in the comments below.