Hospital Bag Checklist: Everything You Need For Delivery Day
With delivery day getting closer, you’re busy putting the final touches on the nursery and preparing to meet your little one! One of the things you’ll want to do toward the end of your third trimester is get your hospital bag ready to go. A hospital bag checklist can help!
Here at Newton Baby, we’ve created an extensive list to give you an idea of the things you’ll need. It includes the must-haves as well as a few items that might not have occurred to you but will make your hospital stay more comfortable for everyone involved.
Let’s start by going over what you’ll want to do in the last few weeks of pregnancy to prepare for your baby’s arrival and when you should pack your hospital bag. Then we’ll give you our complete hospital bag checklist!
Preparing For Your Baby
Getting ready to welcome a baby into your home is no small feat! You have to prepare financially, emotionally, relationally, and medically. And, of course, your house will fill with baby things as you outfit your little one’s nursery.
In this article, we’ll focus on what to put in your hospital bag. But it’s important to remember that prepping for delivery day also involves making sure your nursery is ready and waiting for your baby!
Put the final touches on your nursery decorations during your third trimester. Then, when you’re getting close to your due date, get their room entirely ready so you won’t be scrambling at the last minute.
If you haven’t bought a mattress yet, opt for Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress. It’s the only washable mattress on the market, and with no foam, latex, or adhesives, our mattress is hypoallergenic, free of toxic chemicals, and exceeds the most rigorous 3rd-party emissions standards which test for off-gassing!
But that’s not all! It’s also 100% breathable. Why is a breathable crib mattress important? Once your baby learns to roll over by themselves, a breathable mattress will help keep them safe by reducing the risk of suffocation.
Put the cherry on top with Newton Baby’s Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets. Our four cute patterns are available in both standard and mini sizes to fit most mattresses.
When To Pack Your Hospital Bag
There’s no magic moment to pack your hospital bag, but it’s helpful to have it done well before your due date so you won’t be throwing things together as you’re going into labor.
Besides, you never know if your little one will decide to make an early appearance! That said, start putting your bag together as early as 35 or 36 weeks and, ideally, no later than 38 weeks.
There may be some items (like your toothbrush or phone charger) that you’ll want to keep using and put in your bag at the last minute. If so, make a list of things to throw in before you walk out the door.
Making A Birth Plan
It’s important to decide on a birth plan before preparing your hospital bag so you’ll know what to pack. But what should you include on your birth plan, and what can you leave out? Let’s take a look.
What Is A Birth Plan?
A birth plan is a document (typically a page or two long) that informs your medical team about your labor and delivery expectations and preferences, including everything from how you want to manage labor pain to the ambiance you want in the delivery room.
What Should You Include?
Here are a few things you may want to include in your birth plan:
- I’d like to move around freely.
- I’d like my labor to be filmed or photographed.
- I prefer for my water to break naturally (or not).
- Please don't try to give me any pain relievers. Natural pain relief solutions are what I prefer to use.
- Please offer me an epidural or pain meds as soon as possible.
- I’d like to try to push when and how I feel I should.
- Please provide me with coaching for when and how long to push.
- I have a certain delivery position I would like to use.
- During delivery, I would like to touch my baby’s head as it crowns.
- If I have a c-section, please lower the drape so I can view the birth process.
- I have some labor props I would like to use (e.g., birthing ball, tub, birthing stool, etc.).
- I'd like to hold my baby immediately after giving birth.
- I would like my baby to be dried off before I hold them.
- My partner should cut the umbilical cord.
- I plan to store my baby’s umbilical cord blood.
- If my baby needs medications or procedures, I'd like that to be explained to me beforehand.
- I’d like my baby to be bathed and evaluated in my presence. If my baby needs to be taken to a separate room for evaluations, I’d like my partner to go along.
- I plan to formula feed.
- I plan to breastfeed, so I would like to see a lactation specialist.
Now that you have a better idea of the way you’d like your labor and delivery to go, you can start the important job of packing your bag.
Complete Hospital Bag Checklist
As you think about what you’ll need and want at the hospital, it’s a good idea to ask your hospital what they provide. But keep in mind that even if they provide something on your list, you may still want the comfort of your own things from home.
Your hospital staff will also be able to give you an idea of what you are and aren’t allowed to bring or use during your stay. Take all of this into account when creating your own hospital bag checklist.
How Much To Pack
Should you bring one change of clothes or seven? Snacks to get you through one afternoon or three full days? How much you need to pack depends on how long you’ll be at the hospital.
If you have a normal, uncomplicated vaginal delivery, you can usually go home within a day or two. If you have a C-section, your hospital stay will be around two to four days.
Gauge how much you need to pack based on this. Sometimes, things happen that are out of your control, like an emergency C-section, so just do the best you can with the information you have.
When you pack your bags (yes, it very well may be more than one bag!), you’ll need to think about things for yourself as a pregnant and new mommy, things for your partner, and things for your new baby.
That’s how we’ve divided this list. Let’s jump right in!
Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom
Remember that this is not a list of only must-haves.
While some of these items might be more essential than others, a lot depends on your preferences and what will make you feel at home and as comfortable as possible!
Creating a birth plan will help you think through how you want to labor and what things you’ll need to bring from home. Take a look at your birth plan when packing your hospital bag.
Here are suggestions for some items you might consider including.
Clothes For Delivery
You’ll definitely want a comfortable outfit to wear during labor.
This can be as simple or complicated as you like, but we recommend loose-fitting clothing, such as a large T-shirt or a hospital gown.
Both of these options can be removed easily if necessary and allow freedom of movement that other clothing doesn’t.
Talk with your doctor and the hospital to find out if you’re allowed to bring a portable speaker into the delivery room.
Your favorite music is a great way to distract yourself during delivery, but some hospitals don’t allow speakers because the sound might disturb others and could interfere with communication between doctors and nurses.
You may be in the hospital for a few days. Pack a book or Kindle, your laptop, headphones, iPad, etc. for moments when you want to relax, too.
Don’t forget to grab both of your cell phones and chargers with long or portable chargers as well. And you’ll want to decide if you’re bringing a separate camera with a charger and an extra memory card or if you’ll rely solely on your phones to capture those precious newborn moments.
Headband Or Ponytail Holder
The last thing you want to deal with during labor is sweat in your eyes and hair in your face! Be sure to pack a cotton headband to absorb the sweat and keep your hair back.
Or, if a headband isn’t your style, throw in a ponytail holder or two to keep your hair back and off your face during delivery.
Your Favorite Drinks And Snacks
Most hospitals can offer you water, but if you want something else to drink, you’ll have to include it on your hospital bag checklist.
Sports drinks are an excellent choice, but be sure to talk to your doctor before packing this item as some hospitals only allow ice chips during labor.
You'll probably also be hungry after several hours of labor and won't want to rely only on hospital food. Bring your own snacks, such as fresh or dried fruit, crackers, granola bars, or anything else that's easy to eat and can help keep your energy levels up.
Water Bottle And Straw For Sipping
Drinking from a regular water bottle during labor can be difficult.
Instead, we suggest packing a refillable water bottle with a built-in straw for quick sips between contractions.
Your favorite pillow can be a great source of comfort during labor, so be sure to include it on your checklist.
Not only will you feel more comfortable if you need to nap should your labor go long, but an extra pillow is also ideal for supporting your head and back during the actual delivery.
This is often an oversight, but the pillows at your hospital might be uncomfortable, so bringing one from home can provide the comfort you need and make you feel more at ease. Also, if you're going to spend the night, don't forget to bring one for your partner, too.
While packing, it's very easy to focus on what you and your little one might need. That's important, but don't forget to add a few essential documents to your hospital bag.
Bring copies of your birth plan, a photo ID, information about your health insurance, and hospital registration paperwork. Regardless of whether you've pre-registered at the hospital, some departments will need to double-check your data before admitting you.
You can also add the baby's doctor's name and phone number to your checklist.
To be on the safe side, it’s always best to check with the hospital or birth center ahead of time to see if you need to bring any specific documents.
Extras You Want During Labor
If you want anything more than the basic items the hospital provides during labor, you’ll have to pack them yourself.
This includes things like massage oil, lotion, a birthing ball, and other supplies to make you feel more comfortable and relaxed.
Much of what you’ll need after you give birth will be toiletries and the right clothes — and by “the right clothes,” we mean “comfortable clothes!” As far as toiletries, pack travel-sized items to save space.
Here are some things you might want with you after delivery.
A comfy robe is an ideal cover-up to get you from your bed to the bathroom or for a stroll down the hall.
A robe is also easy to remove yet still keeps your shoulders covered and warm when it’s time to breastfeed your little one.
Toiletries And Cosmetics
At some point after the birth of your baby, you’re going to want to care for yourself (brush your hair, wash your face, and brush your teeth).
Including the toiletries and cosmetics you use every day makes this much easier. At the very least, include:
- Hairbrush or comb
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Face wash
- Shampoo (dry shampoo is ideal if aren’t quite up for a shower after labor)
- Flip flops for the shower
- Towel (the hospital may provide one, but you might prefer your own)
- Lip balm
If you think you’ll be taking a lot of pictures with your little one — they’re so cute! — you may find it helpful to pack cosmetic items, too, like foundation, bronzer, and mascara.
You may also want to pack less common items if you think you’ll need them, such as:
- Shaving gear
- Hair products
- Nail products
These items will make you feel more like yourself after the time spent in labor.
Glasses, Contacts, And Lens Solution
Once your little one arrives, you’re going to want to spend hours cuddling with them and staring at them. For that, you need to be able to see well!
Remember to bring your glasses (if you don’t wear them all the time), an extra pair of contacts, and lens solution.
With those items in your bag and ready to go, you’ll be able to see clearly when you meet your newborn for the first time!
Nursing Bras And Breast Pads
For support, coverage, and cleanliness while nursing your baby, pack several nursing bras and multiple breast pads in your hospital bag.
Not only do these items make you feel more comfortable, but they also — in many cases — make breastfeeding easier for both you and your little one.
Until your body gets used to it, nursing may feel uncomfortable — especially if your skin is dry, chapped, and itchy.
Nipple cream provides much-needed relief before, during, and after feedings. Just be sure to pack one that’s safe for both you and your precious newborn.
The hospital may provide a pair of mesh underwear for immediately after delivery, but you’re going to want your own soon after that.
Pack at least four extra pairs of postpartum underwear you don’t mind ruining. In lieu of specialized postpartum underwear, pack several pairs of regular underwear you’ve worn for a while instead.
The nice thing about old underwear is that, should they become soiled during the day, you can just throw them away and put on a fresh pair.
Before making your hospital bag checklist and packing your bag, search online for postpartum underwear to see all the options available and what suits your needs.
Staying comfortable, clean, and healthy after the birth of your baby is important. Maxi pads are an immense help!
The hospital usually provides a generic version of the store-bought variety, but having your favorite brand, shape, or size can mean the world in the hours and days after delivery.
At some point, you’ll feel ready to put your regular clothes back on. But, remember, you just gave birth and your body will be a little sore!
Soft, loose, and comfortable clothes are your best option at this point. Pajama pants or sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt or loose button-down flannel shirt (for easy access when it’s time to feed your newborn) are ideal.
A Going-Home Outfit
In addition to the comfy clothes you’ll wear at the hospital, pack a specific outfit to wear home when the hospital discharges you.
Not sure what size clothes to pack? Rather than stressing about what size you’ll be after your baby arrives, pack a dress or pants and a shirt that you wore during the end of your second trimester (month six or seven).
That size will probably be perfect for a going-home outfit!
Slippers Or Non-Slip Socks
Walking is a great way to speed recovery after labor, but hospital floors are notoriously cold and slippery.
To keep your feet warm and to help prevent accidents, include a pair of slippers with a non-skid sole or non-slip socks on your hospital bag checklist.
Be sure to pack necessary prescription medications to last at least several days just in case your doctor wants to keep you in the hospital after your baby is born.
Bringing an empty bag along is a great idea as well. You're bound to have more stuff coming out than you did going in. That's because you'll likely get some goodies from the hospital, such as blankets, diapers, wipes, and creams.
You might also get gifts from close family and friends. Having an extra bag or two to fit all these in will help you easily carry everything out when you leave.
Hospital Bag Checklist For Baby
Before you go all-out and pack your whole nursery, check with the hospital to see what they supply. They may provide things you need (such as diapers) for your little one for the first couple of days.
But even if they do, you still might prefer to bring your own supplies. Here are suggestions for what to bring.
A car seat should be the first item on your checklist. Without one, the nurses that wheel you out won’t allow you to leave.
What’s more, they may inspect the car seat to see that you’ve installed it properly and watch as you secure your little one to ensure that you’re using it correctly.
If they see a problem, they’ll help you correct it, but you won’t be able to drive away until everything is 100% safe.
While you’re at the hospital, you may choose to dress your baby in just blankets and a diaper. But when it’s time to go home, they’ll need clothes as well.
The goal is to keep them warm, so, depending on the weather where you live and the month in which you’ll give birth, be sure to pack such items as:
- A Hat
You can also use these items to keep your baby warm at the hospital in addition to their blankets.
Blankets And Swaddles
The hospital where you deliver will probably provide blankets, but they may not be as soft as you’d like. They may also get dirty during your stay, so it’s a good idea to have extras on hand.
Planning on nursing your newborn? A breastfeeding pillow is a lifesaver!
This specially designed pillow helps keep your little one in the ideal position, supports their head, and even provides extra support for you while your baby nurses.
Diapers And Wipes
Check with the hospital before your due date to see if they provide diapers and wipes. Even if they do, you may want to pack your own.
In fact, we recommend packing your own small container of wipes. In addition to cleaning your baby, these are especially useful for cleaning yourself, removing sweat and makeup from your face and body, and even tidying up messes and spills.
Props For Photos
You’re going to take lots of photos of your little one — it’s inevitable! — so plan on packing props such as baby books, stuffed animals, and cute signs to add a little fun to the images!
Baby Nail Clippers and Nail File
Newborns can easily scratch themselves on the face with their nails. To cut or trim those tiny nails, carry infant nail files or clippers or pack newborn mittens from home.
Hospital Bag Checklist Extras
In this list, we include a few things that you and your partner will want to consider adding to your master checklist.
Things For Your Partner
Don’t forget that your partner will also be going through labor with you and, more than likely, staying at the hospital. They should bring their own clothes, toiletries, medicine, and everything else they’ll need to hunker down for a couple of days!
While you likely took classes or did research on bringing a newborn home during pregnancy, packing a book or having a phone app that focuses on newborn care is also a good idea.
Of course, if you need assistance, postpartum nurses will be there to answer your questions and show you how to clean, nurse, bathe, and hold your baby. However, you may require extra guidance.
A book or a phone app can be a great resource, especially if this is your first child.
In addition, a notepad and pen can come in handy. Having these will make it easier to keep track of your baby's feeding sessions.
Some mothers also bring a baby book with them so they can record the details of the birth immediately. It’s totally up to you!
Gifts for older siblings can make all the difference in their acceptance of a new little one. The addition of a newborn will not only change you and your partner’s lives. It will also change their older siblings’.
A great way to get kids excited about this new addition to the family is to bring gifts that the baby will “present” to their older siblings. A “big brother” or “big sister” T-shirt is often a great option.
While thinking about your hospital bag checklist, it’s also essential to consider transport to and from the hospital or birth center.
Plan how you and your partner will get there at different times because you could give birth during the day or at night.
If you're traveling by car, ensure it's in good working order and that there's always enough gas in the tank. And if someone else has said they'll take you, have a backup plan just in case they're stuck in traffic, have car issues, or just don't show up.
Unnecessary Items For Your Hospital BagSometimes, it's easy to get carried away and pack everything in sight, even if you might not need it. Here's a list of a few items you can leave at home.
- Jewelry, large sums of money, or other items. You won't need any of it, and you don't want to be concerned about misplacing something valuable during this period.
- Baby bottles and nipples. The hospital will have them on hand if you wish to bottle-feed, so leave these at home to make room for other essential items in your hospital bag
- Candles. You won't be able to burn them in hospitals or birthing centers, so it's best to leave them at home. If you want to add some sort of ambiance to help you relax, check with the hospital to see if you can bring an essential oil diffuser.
Welcome To The World, Little One
Delivery day is a big day for everyone — for you, your partner, and your little one who is making their debut into the world! Use our hospital bag checklist to help you decide what to bring to the hospital on delivery day.
Equally as important as packing your hospital bag is preparing the nursery to welcome your baby into your home. Outfit their crib with a Newton Baby Crib Mattress and adorable muslin sheets, and you’ll be ready and waiting in no time!
With everything in order at home and a hospital bag packed and ready to go, all you have to focus on is your upcoming delivery experience. And, once you get home, resting and enjoying your sweet newborn!