A frequent question many new mothers ask is, “What should I pack in my hospital bag for delivery?” Packing your hospital bag for delivery might sound stressful but preparing ahead of time will help you feel more at ease. It’s recommended to pack your hospital bag several weeks before your due date, since you could go into labor early. You don’t want to wait until you feel a labor contraction to start packing.
Pack two separate bags – one for you, and one for the baby. Packing early will help you save time when you feel ready to go to the hospital. This way, you won’t be scrambling to gather your belongings and forget to bring something important to the hospital.
What to Pack for Labor
Below are checklists of what to bring to the hospital when you deliver.
What to pack in hospital bag for mom
- Picture ID – Bring your driver’s license or other ID
- Health Insurance Card
- Any necessary hospital paperwork/forms
- Marriage certificate or acknowledgement of paternity if you are not married – Some hospitals require you to bring your marriage certificate so that you can register your baby’s birth certificate.
- Birth plan, if you have one – This is just a guide for the hospital staff, so keep your birth plan short. Remember, delivery plans can also change.
- Nightgown, bathrobe, slippers, socks – Hospitals will provide gowns and socks for you to use, but some women prefer to wear their own. If you choose to bring your own, make sure your gown is sleeveless or have short, loose sleeves so your blood pressure can be checked easily. A bathrobe and a pair of slippers may come in handy if you want to walk around the halls. Bring items that you do not mind getting dirty/ruined.
- Pillow – Some women prefer to bring their own pillow. If you choose to do so, bring a patterned or colorful pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed up with the white hospital pillows.
- Toiletries and other personal items – This includes hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, body wash, towel, lotion, lip balm, hair scrunchies, etc.
- Eyeglasses if you wear them
- Maternity bras/Nursing bras, and nursing pads – Even if you do not plan to breastfeed, you might find the extra support and leak-protection helpful
- Maternity underwear and extra-absorbent sanitary pads – The hospital will provide but you may want to bring your own in case you don’t like the ones that the hospital has.
- Comfortable going-home clothes – You will still need to wear a maternity outfit going home. Remember, you’ll still look six months pregnant so you won’t be able to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes just yet.
- Snacks – You might need an energy boost mid-labor and after labor. You may find it helpful to have some crackers and granola bars with you in case you get hungry in the middle of the night and the hospital cafeteria is closed. You don’t want to send your partner out scrambling for food.
- Cash and change – Bring some change in case you want something from the vending machine.
- Cell phone and charger
- Extra bag or two – You will receive free goodies from the hospital, such as diapers and formula
- Small basket of goodies or a box of chocolate as a gift for the hospital staff
What to pack in hospital bag for baby
- A going-home outfit – Bring socks and booties if the clothing doesn’t have covering for your baby’s feet. Bring a blanket and extra clothing layers if it’s cold. Make sure your baby’s outfit has legs (not a baby gown) so the car seat strap can fit between them. If you are delivering in the winter, you may want to bring a snowsuit. You’ll likely receive a receiving blanket and a hat from the hospital but you can bring your own if you want.
- Car seat – This won’t fit in your hospital bag, but you will need to have an approved car seat to take your newborn home with you. It’s crucial that you have a rear-facing infant car seat installed properly in advance, even before you go into labor. Learn how to install an infant car seat and read these car seat safety tips.
- Extra wipes and diapers – The hospital will provide them but you may want to bring extra.
What to pack in hospital bag for dad
There are plenty of advice and checklists for mothers to pack to go to the hospital, but fathers may also want to bring a bag with their own essentials.
- Camera – Bring extra batteries and memory card, especially if you plan on taking videos
- Snacks – Pack sandwiches and snacks so that you don’t have to leave your partner for a long period of time to find something to eat
- Pen and pad for taking notes
- Entertainment – Bring some music, magazines, books to keep you distracted when your partner is resting
- Pillow – You may need to grab some sleep in a chair so having your own pillow will help you feel more comfortable.
- Toiletries – You may want to bring your own toiletries, such as your toothbrush and toothpaste, to freshen up in case you need to spend the night.
- Change of clothing – You may be in the hospital for a while and might want to change your clothes
- Cash and change – Bring enough money for food and parking.
- Cell phone and charger – It may be helpful to add your partner’s contacts to your phone so that you can easily call her friends and relatives.
What not to pack for delivery
- Any clothes that you really like (they can get ruined if you bring them)
- White or restricting clothing – Pack comfortable clothing.
- Expensive Jewelry
- A lot of cash or other valuables
Each hospital is different and provides different items for babies and mothers. You can call your hospital to see what they provide and take those items off your list. If there is anything else that you can think of that you might need, add it to your own checklist! Bring whatever makes you comfortable or helps you relax.
Remember, you are not going away on a vacation so you don’t want to overpack. The hospital room may also be small. If there are items that you think you might need but are not essential, you can always leave it in the car.