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Hospital Bag Must-Haves: 22 Important Items For You & Your Baby

hospital bag must haves

Having the ultimate hospital bag checklist is something that every pregnant woman strives for before she goes into labor

The delivery room won’t have many things in the way of comfort, and having a checklist makes things much easier when packing up for the hospital.

In this article, we’ll help you build a bag checklist for mom, baby, and more so that you are ready and have everything you need when delivery day comes. 

It’s good to develop the mindset when going about this task that being prepared is the best way to be. It’s better to have and not need than need and not have.

Read on for your hospital bag must-haves.

Hospital bag essentials

Some people will tell you it’s best to have three bags and three checklists. This way, you can keep everything that everyone needs to be organized. 

The first bag is for the mom, the second for the dad or mom’s support person, and the third for the baby.

If all of this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. This article will help you build checklists for everything you may need so that you’re not sitting in the hospital bed bored, cold, and hungry when the time comes to have your little bundle of joy.

Hospital bag must-haves and baby gear

Regarding your hospital bag, you can pack separate bags for everyone or everything together. It’s a matter of preference.

For this article, however, we’ll leave out all the things mom may need and assume that mom will have her own bag. 

If you plan to do things differently, you can still use this list, just adjust accordingly based on which bag you choose to put the items in.

You may want to pack the following things for your baby and your partner or support person for the hospital. While not all these things are necessities, most will make the stay much more comfortable for the whole family.

hospital bag must haves

1. Comfy clothes

Your support person will want to pack something comfortable to change into, especially if you go into spontaneous labor and they leave work, and go straight to the hospital. 

Hospitals usually keep mom and baby for at least 24 hours, so sweatpants or pajamas are a good idea.

2. Going home outfit for baby

While the hospital will supply a onesie for your little one, you will want to pack them an outfit to go home in

Make sure you pack something appropriate for the season and weather. A hat and socks are also a good idea.

It may also be a good idea to bring a set of clothing that is newborn size and the next size up, which for most clothing lines is zero to three months.

There’s no real way of knowing how big a baby will be until the baby is born.

Please Note:

Many parents prefer to pack multiple outfits for photos in the hospital bag for the baby, aside from just the one going-home outfit. This is especially true of Team Green parents, who prefer to wait until birth to find out the gender of their newborn.

3. A good towel

This may seem unnecessary, but trust us when we say that hospital towels are generally small, scratchy, and not at all efficient. 

We’re certainly not talking about luxurious hotel towels here. Packing at least one or two towels from home is an excellent idea so that mom and dad can shower before going home.

4. Baby nail clippers

Some hospitals will trim your little one’s nails, and some won’t. Either way, this great addition takes up almost no space in a bag. 

Those little fingernails grow fast, and they are sharp! You don’t want to risk your newborn cutting themselves with their nails.

5. Car seat

This is a critical piece of baby gear to have with you. 

Nearly all hospitals will want to check to be sure that your car seat meets all safety standards and that your baby is buckled correctly before you are allowed to bring your baby home.

Ensure you install the car seat in advance, too, in case the baby arrives early.

6. Your own blanket

Your spouse or support person will most likely appreciate having something to cover up with an overnight in the hospital. 

It may seem like a bulky item to pack in your hospital bag, but warm blankets are essential. The majority of hospitals only have light blankets and sometimes only extra sheets.

7. Hospital forms

Documents like insurance paperwork, your pediatrician’s contact details, and other information that needs to be filled out are essential to have with you. Include all necessary legal and medical documents when packing your hospital bag.

8. Snacks

Most support people don’t get free meals in the hospital. Packing protein bars, trail mix, beef jerky, dried fruit, and other small snacks can help you control hunger at the hospital.

Mommy bag for the hospital

Giving birth requires some preparation. 

Packing a hospital bag for your baby’s arrival is essential, but if push comes to shove, your family or support person can run out and get things for your baby before you leave the hospital. 

Mom, however, can’t leave until she is discharged.

It’s essential to have everything packed for mom’s entire stay to make the delivery the most pleasant and easy experience possible.

The following is a bag checklist for moms that can be a lifesaver if you cannot think of what needs to be packed.

hospital bag must haves

1. Lip balm

It doesn’t matter how well you moisturize regularly. Your lips are going to get dry during the labor and delivery process. 

A good lip balm can be a game changer and prevent you from having sore, cracked, bleeding lips in your photos.

2. A warm robe

Hospitals are usually cold, and the hospital gown that you’re given isn’t thick. Having something warm to wear over the gown is something that you will appreciate after you deliver your baby. 

It will also help with the fact that most gowns are backless.

3. Your birth plan

This can go in your or your partner’s bag with the insurance, photo ID, and other needed documents. 

While it may be impossible to meet all your wishes listed on your birth plan, giving it to the nurses upon your arrival helps them understand what sort of experience you would like.

4. Maternity underwear

If you have a vaginal delivery, there will be bleeding to contend with. Packing maternity panties, or even high-waist “granny panties,” will help you secure the pad you need to wear.

Most hospitals supply mothers with mesh underwear that is shapeless and one size. While they’re free, and they’ll do in a pinch, they’re a poor substitute for cotton panties.

5. Your own pillow

Sleeping can be tough in a small hospital bed. 

Having a good pillow from home can make a big difference in the quality of rest you can get. 

If it doesn’t fit in your bag, have your support person bring it to the room separately. A comfy pillow is a game changer during your hospital stay.

6. Adult diapers

Pads are supplied at most hospitals, but adult diapers can be a lifesaver. 

They offer better coverage, you can get some that are more fitted to your size, and they are more comfortable. Some even boast total leak protection, which is nice to have when you’re worried about leaks.

7. Dry shampoo

No one wants pictures of their newborn in which they have greasy hair from all the sweating that occurs during labor and delivery. 

Having a bottle of dry shampoo can fix that, especially if you can’t get a shower right away.

8. Nursing bra

Even if you don’t plan to nurse, nursing bras are comfortable and stretchy and lend you some support. 

Your milk may come in while you are still in your hospital room before you are discharged. Nursing pads and a bra can keep this contained so that you aren’t leaking through your clothes.

If you are planning on nursing, you may also want to pack some nipple cream and your breast pump.

9. A soft bath towel

If you can shower in the hospital, you’ll appreciate something soft from home to dry off with. If you’re running out of space in your bag, this can probably go in the “nice to haves” category, as it’s not a necessity, but it’s certainly nice.

10. Maternity clothes

You will not lose the pregnant look during your hospital stay. Regardless of what you’ve seen in movies and TV, maternity clothing will most likely be needed when you leave the maternity ward.

It’s comfortable, and if you have a c-section, most maternity pants come up high enough to cover the incision site. Make sure they are comfy and lightweight clothing so your ride home is as pleasant as possible.

11. Slippers or flip flops

The recovery room is not warm, and walking around after having a newborn barefooted or with just socks on isn’t fun. 

Some comfy slippers or flip-flops will be a great addition to mom’s bag. Thong sandals are also great for showering.

12. Extra hair ties

Your hair may look cute as you walk out your front door near your due date to have your little one, but you’ll want to tie it up in a messy bun during labor. Having a hair brush and hair ties with you is incredibly helpful.

13. Baby book

Moms keeping a journal or baby book during the pregnancy should consider bringing it along so that the facts about their new baby can be written down. 

Information like weight, length, and time of birth are things that you may only have a little time to record once you’re back home.

14. Face wash

Toiletries like face wash, shampoo, body wash, and deodorant are great. You can put them in their separate toiletry bag to easily access them when you shower.

Packing the bags

Most babies have a hospital stay of about 39 hours before they are discharged. That’s quite a long time to stay somewhere if you need more preparation for packing. 

If you stick to this list, you’ll have most of the things you need to get through and stay in comfort.

You don’t need to pack wipes; the hospital will supply all the diapers you’ll need while your newborn is there. Just bring the things on this list, along with phone chargers, and you’ll be ready when the time comes to have your baby.

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