When you start reaching the end of your pregnancy you need to start thinking about the future and planning things in advance.
It’s nice to feel organized and be prepared for things to come.
When you hit that third-trimester milestone things start to get real.
A baby is coming soon and it’s time to pack that all-important hospital bag.
That’s when a hospital bag checklist can come in handy!
What Is A Hospital Bag?
A hospital bag may seem pretty self-explanatory but just in case let me break it down.
If you’re planning a hospital birth then you need to pack a bag of essentials to take to the hospital with you.
You pack things that you’ll need, items your newborn will need, and some home comforts to make sure your labor goes smoothly and is as comfortable as possible.
What Should I Use For A Hospital Bag?
You can use anything for your hospital bag, there are no rules.
Some people may feel they need to use a small suitcase to fit everyone’s things in and others may use a backpack.
It all depends on what you choose to take.
You should be aware that you may not need everything on the list below and depending on how long you’re in hospital you can pack for 1-2 nights and get your partner to bring extra stuff in if and when it’s needed.
When Should I Pack My Hospital Bag?
Some people may know when the big day is coming and therefore can prepare in plenty of time.
However, most people won’t know when they’ll go into labor so it is best to pack your bags a few weeks before your due date.
That way you can add items to it as you go along and will have the essentials to hand so you can grab them and go!
I’m currently in a position where I know my baby is coming within the next 4 weeks.
My current pregnancy hasn’t gone as smoothly as I would have hoped and I’m not able to carry my baby full term so I have been researching what I need to pack for my little ‘getaway’ at the hospital.
So along with researching for myself I thought I would make a Hospital Bag Checklist with printable to help other parents to be when they need it.
Hospital Bag Checklists
Hospital Bag Checklist Items For Mom
I’ve put the checklist into categories to help you with your packing incase you’re putting into separate bags.
1. Large Comfy Knickers
I would say that this is one of the most important items to take with you!
I don’t think it needs much explaining as to why.
After going through all the labor we then have the joy of welcoming back sanitary products!
You’ll have to wear some pretty large sanitary towels afterward so having the appropriate ‘granny pants’ will benefit you greatly!
Comfort is key after giving birth so make sure they’re big enough and you feel ok wearing them.
I would recommend bringing quite a few pairs just in case and use ones that you won’t mind throwing away if needs be.
2. Maternity / Sanitary Pads
Along with the granny pants, make sure you have plenty of good-quality sanitary towels.
Paying that bit extra for some decent ones will help you to feel more comfortable and you won’t need to worry too much about any leaks!
Make sure they are the right ones for a heavier period as you may bleed quite heavily after labor.
3. Change Of Clothes
As you may be unsure about how long you’re spending in hospital it’s best to be prepared and pack a few changes of clothes.
You want something comfortable to wear when you’re in labor that is breathable and loose.
You want to then think about what you are going to wear after your labor, try and keep it loose and comfy as you may be in pain after and might not want to squeeze into your jeans just yet.
Bear in mind that you may want to wear something dark in color just in case you’re heavily bleeding, it’ll save any embarrassment if anything leaks!
4. Open Fronted Nightie
An open-fronted nightie is a perfect clothing item to wear in the hospital, especially if you’re planning on breastfeeding.
You won’t need to expose yourself too much if it is open fronted and it will be easier to go to the bathroom with a nightie rather than pajama bottoms.
5. Nursing Bra
I’ve written before about having a decent nursing bra as your boobs can do all kinds of crazy things during and after pregnancy.
Using a nursing bra means it is easier to breastfeed and they are more comfortable.
I would recommend using one even if you aren’t breastfeeding as a standard bra would be too uncomfortable at first.
6. Dressing Gown
Obviously, a dressing gown isn’t essential when packing your hospital bag but it is a home comfort that you may need!
Sometimes all you need is to pop your gown on and snuggle up, whilst you may not want that during your labor you might want it after!
7. Pair Of Slippers / Flip Flops
During your stay in the hospital, you’re not going to want to keep putting your shoes on to walk around so having a pair of flip flops or slippers to hand will be an easier option.
You may want to walk around a little during your labor or have to visit another section of the hospital so using your slippers can keep you comfy and save you from walking around barefoot.
8. Bath Towel
As you might just want to have a wash after you’ve just given birth, you may want to use a large bath towel to dry yourself off with.
Once again you have that extra home comfort and you don’t have to use a little hand towel to dry yourself with.
9. Breast Pads
You may be using breast pads in late pregnancy already so make sure you’re stocked up!
However, you’ll get a lot more ‘leakage’ after labor so be prepared to go through them quicker, have enough, and make sure you have a change of clothes just in case you leak onto them.
10. Basic Toiletries
I read somewhere that a good idea for your hospital bag is to pack travel toiletries to save on space as you won’t be dragging a big bag of shampoo and shower gel with you!
A few items you should think to include are:
- Face wash
- Dental floss
- Shower gel
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Dry Shampoo
11. Eye Mask
As you may be staying the night and chances are you won’t have your own room, an eye mask could be just what you need when staying in a ward.
It’ll block out the harsh lights and help you to relax as much as you can!
12. Own Pillow
Taking your own pillow will make you feel more at home and may help you sleep better.
Particularly if you have a pregnancy pillow, your bump won’t go down straight away so you may still find it uncomfortable to sleep so using your pillow you can use it to prop yourself up or balance yourself out.
13. Breastfeeding Pillow
This may not be a necessity to take to the hospital but if you’re new to breastfeeding it may help you in the beginning.
It can help you to get into a good position with the baby to latch on.
There are some debates on whether using a breastfeeding pillow is a good or a bad thing as the baby might not be close enough to latch on.
However, I think you’ll know what will work best for you when you do it so there’s no harm in trying to use one or not.
Don’t feel like you’re doing things wrong if you can’t get on with it!
14. Nipple Cream
When you start breastfeeding you may find it a bit difficult and notice your nipples are sore, dry, and possibly cracked.
Make sure you pack nipple cream to rub onto them to help soothe the pain, your boobs should start getting used to breastfeeding after a week or 2 so stay positive and don’t be hard on yourself!
15. Lip Balm
As well as your nipples being dry…..your lips may also feel dry and need a little dehydrating!
Your lips can be a lot drier during pregnancy as you become dehydrated easier as the baby is ‘sucking the life out of you’ so keep a lip balm to hand.
Treat yourself to a nice new one and apply when needed.
16. Water Bottle
Keeping hydrated is extremely important at the best of times and even more so when pregnant.
Drink lots of water and feel great for it!
Taking a water bottle to the hospital will help you to keep hydrated and you’ll always have it to hand which will be a great benefit during labor when you may forget to hydrate yourself.
17. Phone Charger / Phone
As if anyone will forget to take their phone anywhere!
But believe it or not, when I went into labor with my son I had my boyfriend and mom with me, my mom was in such a rush out the door she left her phone at home and couldn’t keep people updated on what was going on!
So try and remember to pack a spare charger and remember your phone when you leave the house.
You have no idea how long you’ll be at the hospital and people may be wanting to know how you’re getting on.
Also, you want to be able to take those gorgeous first pictures of your baby.
18. Hair Ties
There’s nothing worse than having your hair all around your face when you’re not in the mood.
So when you’re in labor you may want to have a messy bun and get your hair out the way!
Remember to pack those hair ties, pack multiple hair ties just in case.
A hair tie will also come in handy if you’re breastfeeding so your hair isn’t falling all over the baby and it’s one less thing to worry about.
19. Contact Lenses / Glasses
I don’t wear contacts or glasses but thought it was a good thing to add to the list as a lot of people do!
Like I’ve said before comfort is key so if you find contacts a pain, just take your glasses to save the hassle.
Just remember to pack something to help you to see whilst you’re there!
20. Makeup Bag
This is obviously a personal choice as a lot of people don’t wear makeup but for the people that do it might make you feel so much better after losing all dignity during labor!
Sometimes you can feel better just popping some mascara on and some women may not feel themselves without it!
No pressure though, everyone’s in the same boat in the maternity unit!
21. Medication / Prenatel Vitamins
If you’re on medication it’s a good idea to double-check you will have enough prescribed whilst you’ll be recovering and remember to pack it into your bag.
Prenatal vitamins are also important so pop them into your bag as some of them you will still take after the babies born.
As always check with a medical professional when taking any vitamins just to be on the safe side.
There’s no such thing as stupid questions when it comes to your and your baby’s health.
22. Essential Oils
Using essential oils during your labor can have some benefits such as reducing fear and anxiety, easing headaches and nausea, and also may help relieve some labor pains.
You can use them in many different ways such as a few drops into a bath, using them for massage, or a few drops on a hot/ cold compress such as a flannel.
23. Cash / Credit Cards
Cash and credit cards can be quite handy when in a hospital for use in things like vending machines.
You may feel like you need a refreshing drink to perk you up or a snack to keep you going!
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the car park and not going over your ticket time!
As you never know how long your labor may be you might want to take some entertainment with you…. depending on how you’re feeling that is.
This could be in the form of your Ipad, magazines, books, crossword puzzles, etc.
There will be a time when that’s the last thing on your mind but in the beginning, it may relax you to pop your favorite tv show on or catch on the latest gossip in a trashy mag.
Having your choice of music in the room may help you to relax a bit more and make you feel more at home.
You could make a playlist beforehand to play for the big day and you’ll always have those songs as reminders of the magical day you had giving birth!
Hospital Bag Checklist Items For Baby
So we’ve covered what mom needs now let’s have a look at what you may need for baby!
Although the list for mom was full of essential and non-essential items I feel most of the list for baby is quite essential so here we go!
26. Maternity Notes
This is quite an important one as your pregnancy notes as you may know play a big role throughout your whole pregnancy.
You may also have your birth plan written in them to help the staff know what your wishes are to save you repeating over and again to people.
27. Car Seat
You need to take the car seat with you as you may struggle to go home without one!
Towards the last weeks of pregnancy, it might be best to keep it in the car just so it’s there and there’s no chance of you forgetting!
28. Nappy / Diaper Bag
You may pack the baby’s things in their nappy bag so hopefully, you’ll remember it!
Your nappy bag should contain all the essentials you need when you have a baby and will become attached to you wherever you go.
29. Nappies / Nappy Bags
We all know babes going to need a nappy on pretty much as soon as they’re born….the babies just waiting to take that awful first poo!
So make sure you have a healthy supply of nappies to take with you.
Don’t go overboard but also you don’t want to run out!
Nappy bags are also handy for disposing of the nappies before putting them into the bin.
They help to keep the smell at bay!
30. Cotton Wool / Baby Wipes
Along with the nappies you need to pack some cotton wool or baby wipes to clean the baby when changing.
Once again you don’t need to go overboard a packet of wipes will last during your stay and if not I’m sure your partner can pop home or to the shop for more.
Once the babies born and cleaned up a little then it’s time to use those gorgeous tiny outfits you’ve been admiring over the past few months.
I’d recommend taking 2-3 sleepsuits just in case and I’d recommend sleepsuits at first as the baby will probably be worn out and sleeping a lot so you want them to be comfortable.
32. Baby Vests
Babies aren’t able to keep their temperature under control like adults can so it’s important to keep the baby warm so as well as a sleepsuit it’s best to pop a vest on babe also.
I would pack the same amount of vests if not one extra than the sleepsuits as you never know what ‘spillages’ can occur when you’re getting used to changing those nappies.
33. Socks / Booties
Take a couple of pairs of baby socks with you in your bag as they can sometimes be a pain and slip off babes feet!
You always end up loosing one.
But best to take to keep the baby nice and cosy!
34. Scratch Mittens
When my son was born he was ready for a manicure!
He had longer nails than mine and they were very scratchy.
Scratch mittens are important as it prevents baby from scratching their faces and body as their nails can be quite sharp!
35. Going Home Outfit
The exciting and terrifying bit!
Taking baby home, I always think the going home outfit is an important one as you’ll remember this day forever!
I still have my sons tucked away somewhere and can’t believe he actually was small enough to fit into it.
Plus if you’re into your social media putting baby into a beautiful outfit is sure to get everyone’s hearts melting and may well be the first picture you use to tell the world baby is here!
When a baby is born they will need to have a hat on, it’s not just to keep up with the latest trends either!
Babies need to wear a hat as they lose a lot of body heat from their heads as they’ve been all warm and cozy inside your stomach for 9 months they aren’t used to keeping their own body heat.
Make sure you remember to take the hat off when baby is in bed to avoid overheating or suffocation.
I loved picking out baby blankets for my son and received some lovely ones as a gift when he was born….which of course I’ve kept…( I’m not a hoarder I promise! )
We know baby needs to keep warm once born so packing a suitable blanket is a must.
Make sure it suits the time of year as you don’t want baby becoming too hot or too cold.
38. Muslin Squares
Once baby is here you’ll wonder what you ever did before without a muslin!
They are really handy to have to hand to help with protecting yourself from baby sick, covering yourself if needed when breastfeeding and even swaddling the baby so they feel safe and secure.
If you’re not sure what swaddling is, it means to wrap your baby up like a little burrito to help them feel safe like they’re still in the womb.
There are also so many lovely muslin blankets around at the moment so have some fun when picking one out!
39. Bottles / Formula
You may not even need to take bottles and formula with you but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.
We can never truly know how long we’ll be in the hospital so maybe an option just in case.
This obviously all depends on what you’re planning to do with regards to feeding, it’s important to remember to not be hard on yourself whatever you decide.
Motherhood can be overwhelming and if you can’t get to grips with breastfeeding it’s ok!
A taboo subject, to give a baby a dummy or not!
I say no one can have an opinion unless you’ve been there and even then new mothers don’t always want to hear it.
I didn’t particularly want to give my son a dummy but after a few days of no sleep, nipples that felt like they were going to fall off, and all he wanted to do was suck I gave in!
So once again don’t be hard on yourself.
We all have expectations and then reality so pack a dummy just in case and if you need it then great, if not then that’s also great!
41. Cuddly Toy
As I’ve said in my current pregnancy I have been told our baby will be coming early so I thought I would buy her a little teddy as it’s highly likely that she will be in the hospital a little longer than we would have liked.
So that’s one of the reasons I’ve added this to the list, of course, that’s not the case for most people but it can also be a nice little toy to give to your baby to celebrate their birthday!
Hospital Bag Checklist Printable
I hope this list has helped you as much as it’s helped me to pack for the big day!
Remember that if anything is forgotten it’s not the end of the world and things can still go smoothly.
Thanks for taking your time to read the hospital bag checklist. Here’s a summarised list of every item on here and I’ll put a link to the printable checklist below!
Take care and enjoy!
- Large comfy knickers
- Maternity/ Sanitary pads
- Change of clothes
- Open fronted nightie
- Nursing bra
- Dressing gown
- Pair of slippers/ Flip flops
- Bath towel
- Breast pads
- Basic toiletries
- Eye mask
- Own pillow
- Breastfeeding pillow
- Nipple cream
- Lip balm
- Water bottle
- Phone charger and phone
- Hair ties
- Contact lenses/ glasses
- Makeup bag
- Medication/ Prenatal vitamins
- Essential oils
- Cash/ Credit cards
- Maternity notes
- Car seat
- Nappy/ Diaper bag
- Nappies/ Nappy bags
- Cotton wool/ Baby wipes
- Baby vests
- Socks/ Booties
- Scratch mittens
- Going home outfit
- Muslin squares
- Bottles/ Formula
- Cuddly toy
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST
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