Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: What Other Moms Pack - my state of heart (2024)

If your brain went out the window when thinking about a hospital bag, then this ultimate hospital bag checklist can get your brain flowin’ once again!

So you’re having a baby?!?! Amazing!!!

And you want to be comfortable while you give birth?

Hm… That’s weird… NOT.

Going into labor and delivering a baby, especially for first-time moms, can be allllll the things. Scary, exciting, unsure, tiring, joyous. Your hormones and emotions are everywhere, all at once, and I don’t blame you for wanting your birth experience to be as enjoyable as possible. Packing the right things in your hospital bag can help with that.

Now, you need to know that the hospital has everything needed for you and your baby for you to have a successful birth. Is it going to be the best quality or the brand you prefer? Probably not. But is it sufficient? Absolutely.

You could literally forget your hospital bag, and you would be fine.

There is really only one thing you need to remember to bring in order to leave the hospital with your baby (spoiler alert: it’s a car seat!), so relax!

This post is all about the ultimate hospital bag checklist.

Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist

Okay, I tend to be more of a minimalist, and I packed only what I felt was absolutely necessary. No fluff. So if you decide that you want to go that route, I wrote a post about a Minimalist Hospital Bag that might be perfect for you (even with a home birth)!

But if you would rather pack it all, even if you end up not using it, just in case you might use it, then keep reading.

Now, don’t get overwhelmed, because this list is long… I talked to TONS of moms about their hospital bags and what they packed, so this list includes all the fluff, all the comfort, all the things I heard about for you to consider.

But I need you to remember that you should not pack all of these things in your bag. That would be insane. So pick what you consider your favorites and your necessities.

Here is a list of what other moms packed for their labor and delivery experience and why!


Important Documents/Information:

  • Photo ID: Needed for the hospital.
  • Insurance cards: Needed for the hospital.
  • Hospital forms:Needed for the hospital.
  • List of people to contact throughout L&D:Usually Dad will be in charge of updating family and friends. I would choose one main person for him to contact, and then let that main person update anyone else. My sister was my choice, but you could really have as many people as you want on this list. Some moms think that if you keep the number few, it makes it easier for both of you to enjoy the experience.
  • Birth plan:Many moms swear by this. Having multiple hard copies of your birth plan on hand helps the doctor and staff do their best to abide by your birth wishes. Examples would be any interventions you do or do not want, delayed cord cutting, skin-to-skin with baby, vaccine preferences, etc. Make sure your partner is well-informed of your plan as well so they can be your advocate.


  • Hospital gown:Some moms liked to bring their own gowns due to styling differences. You can get cuter ones online that also have more of a closed behind (so you aren’t mooning visitors) or ones that make breastfeeding easier. Honestly though, just wear what you are comfortable in (you might not know what that means to you until you are in active labor).
  • Heating pad:Moms use heating pads during labor to relieve back labor pain and general discomfort. It also keeps them warm if they get cold easily.
  • Massage oils:Similar to the essential oils below, massage oils are also very relaxing. Moms would ask their partners to massage sore parts of their body throughout labor to help ease discomfort.
  • Diffuser with essential oils: This can create a relaxing environment and also help my mamas out there if they are sensitive to any hospital or birth smells.
  • Portable fan:Sooo many moms mentioned how quickly they went from hot to cold and back again. Having a little fan to turn off and on offers instant relief without having to mess with the AC so often.
  • Birthing pool clothes:Some moms felt more comfortable wearing a bikini top while giving birth in a tub for some coverage. You just want something that is easy to remove when wet.
  • List of affirmations:Mostly used by moms who chose a natural birth, they provided a source of strength, ability, and trust in themselves.
  • Music playlist/meditations:These can be comforting and relaxing during the stages of labor and can drown out any of the other hospital noises you may hear.
  • Portable speaker/Earphones: If you have music or meditations, either of these are great for listening!
  • Socks:Non-slip socks for safety and comfort.
  • Sandals, slip-ons, or shower shoes: Some moms like more comfortable shoes during their stay, or flip-flops to wear while they shower. I am a germaphobe, so I would personally want flips-flops for the shower, but that’s just me.
  • Water bottle:Some moms found it easier to stay hydrated with their own bottle, as they were larger than the cups at the hospital.


  • Adult diapers:You are going to be bleeeeeding a lot. Hospitals give you like a mesh underwear with pads, so some moms brought their own comfy diapers haha! I lived in Depends Adult Diapers and they were awesome.
  • Belly band: Some moms talk about how they wish they would have put their belly band on as soon as possible at the hospital instead of leaving it at home. It gives much needed support and aids in recovery. Moms who wore it immediately after say it’s a lifesaver.
  • Robe or cozy cardigan:It’s nice to have something soft to change into after you have your baby that isn’t quite clothes yet.
  • Thank you gifts for nurses/midwives: Gifts are not necessary, but they are appreciated. Some moms delivered gifts a few weeks after their baby was born. Others brought them to the hospital so they wouldn’t put it off or forget. (Not sure what gift to get them? Here’s a list for nurses, and here’s a list for midwives)
  • Change of clothes/Going home outfit:You will need an outfit when leaving the hospital. Lots of moms wore something comfy like sweats. Others wore cute maxi dresses that were stretchy. Just nothing too tight!
  • FridaMom Perineal Comfort Cushion for car ride home:A few moms were so grateful for this pillow to sit on since their lady bits were sore after a vagin*l birth. And yes, you’ll be sore too!


  • Breast pump: Some moms didn’t know how to use their breast pump, and asked the lactation consultant for help. (Also, did you know that your insurance may cover the cost of your breast pump? Look into it to save some money!)
  • Nursing pillow:The hospital will adjust the pillows around you to prop up your baby, but some moms found it easier to use an actual nursing pillow instead of bed pillows.
  • Nipple shields:These sheilds help your baby latch to the nipple for feeding and have been a blessing for many moms in the breastfeeding world.
  • Nursing pads:You most likely won’t need these unless you are staying in the hospital for more than a few days. It takes your milk a few days to come in, so some moms brought them just in case. Many of them liked an organic reusable brand instead of the disposable pads.
  • Nipple cream:Because you might be breastfeeding often, your nipples will get sore if they aren’t used to it. The hospital provides lanolin, but some moms found it to be sticky and preferred an organic nipple butter cream instead, or even extra virgin organic coconut oil.
  • Nursing Bras:These seem to be a must-have for most moms. If you choose to breastfeed, you will be breastfeeding a TON, so easy access to the boobs are muy bueno. Nursing bras are great for that and keep you covered with visitors.


  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss: Hopefully this is self-explanatory… (if not, shame on you)
  • Stool softener: That first postpartum poo can be tough-but it doesn’t have to be!)
  • Hairbrush: Something to use to comb through your sweaty, luscious locks after baby is born.
  • Hair ties or headbands: You’ll want something to keep your hair out of your face during labor.
  • ChapStick:Your lips can get very dry during labor, especially if you aren’t consistent with drinking your water. So many moms loved their chapstick.
  • Deodorant and perfume:Freshen up, girl! I like to smell good- this is a must for me.
  • Shampoo/conditioner or dry shampoo:Most moms preferred their brand of shampoo/conditioner, but a lot of them also liked the ease of dry shampoo for a quick last-minute touch up.
  • Glasses if needed:So you can see, of course 😛
  • Makeup:After talking to all of these moms, I feel like most of them didn’t care about their makeup. Fake eyelashes were a big hit among them, creating that effortless look. There were a few that packed some basics though, just so they felt like they had some life in them when they had visitors.
  • Prenatal Vitamins/Medications:You will need to continue taking your vitamins postpartum and the hospital will not have these.
  • Bath towel:Moms complained that the hospital towels weren’t very soft or fluffy and that they were too small for their liking.


  • Snacks:Pack non-perishables! You may or may not be in the mood to eat. There is a vending machine at the hospital but, you know, vending machine food isn’t as scrumptious as your own snacks!
  • Drinks:Electrolyte mixes were recommended by a few moms to replenish your energy after baby.
  • Gum/mints:Just something to add some quick spice or flavor to your breath 😛

Nighttime/Keeping Cozy:

  • Blanket: A little bit of comfort from home.
  • Pillow with colored case:Moms talk about how flat the hospital pillows get and prefer their own. Just use a colored case so you don’t get them mixed up.
  • Sleep mask: Sometimes the hospital lights are bright and it can be a distraction during sleep.


  • Phone charger:The outlets can be far from the hospital beds, so a longer charger cord is recommended.
  • Extension cord (long): This works in place of a long charger.

Extra empty bag for goodies from the hospital: A few moms recommended taking an empty bag to the hospital for all the extra stuff they give you before you go home! Includes postpartum supplies or opened diapers, wipes, formula, etc.


Baby clothes:Your baby will need at least one outfit for going home. Usually, the hospital does not send any clothes home. If you want them to wear other clothes during their stay besides what the hospital provides, you can bring some baby outfits. Many moms wanted to bring cute clothes for photos.

Photo props: Some moms brought specific props for photos with their new baby. This can include any cute stuffed animals, fake flowers, signs/birth announcements, little baskets to put baby in, etc.

Diapers and wipes:Although the hospital has tons of diapers and wipes, a few moms preferred a certain brand or wanted to use cloth diapers. If this is you, bring them! Or you can wait to make the change once you return home from the hospital.

Car seat:This is absolutely necessary! If you want to go home with your baby, pack an infant car seat. Make sure the infant inserts are included so their head is secure.

Bottle and formula:This is also something to think about if you are choosing not to breastfeed and have a personal brand preference. The hospital will provide bottles and formula during your stay.

Pediatrician contact info:Some moms brought their child’s pediatrician information for the convenience of the hospital. It made it easy for the hospital to send any information over that was necessary, etc.

Coconut oil/Aquaphor baby: For baby’s first poo, you are going to want to have one of these options smothered all over their bum so the cleanup is easy. It’s called meconium, and it’s very sticky and thick! I used coconut oil, which made the meconium very easy to wipe away.

Baby swaddle: Hospitals have swaddles, but some moms said that they didn’t like the way their nurses swaddled their baby, or they liked the velcro swaddles better.

Binky: Some hospitals provide a binky, some don’t. You can bring one just in case, although there is some controversy about them interfering with breastfeeding, which is something to think about. Many moms swear by binkies. Personally, my baby doesn’t use them often.


Laptop: Some dads were able to get some work done while they were waiting for mom to progress in her labor. Most of these moms had an epidural, so his support wasn’t as intense as it would have been for a natural birth.

Entertainment: Other things the many dads liked to have to pass the time while they waited.

  • Books
  • Podcasts
  • Games:Whether they are games to play with mama or games on their phone, this fills in any “boredness”.
  • Face Cards/Conversation cards:These can be a good distraction for both Mom and Dad, passing the time while they wait but also having an enjoyable time.

Camera or Go-Pro: If Dad is in charge of video or pictures, these are some good options aside from a phone. A tripod could also be set up in the corner of the hospital room (out of the way of course).

List of ways he can help you: Sometimes, Dad isn’t quite sure how to help you. Writing him a list of things he can do for you might be helpful so he’s not constantly asking you.

Pillow with colored case: A little bit of home. Colored case so it doesn’t get mixed with the hospital pillows.

Blanket:More home and comfort.

Sleeping bag or blow-up mattress: Sooooo many dads complain about sleeping in the hospital chairs or an uncomfortable couch. Not all hospitals have a comfortable place for dads to sleep. These have helped Dad sleep so he can support Mom as best as he can.

Clothes: He’s going to be there for at least a day or two.

Toiletries:Hopefully this is obvious why he should bring these 😛

Wallet/cash: The hospital might need some kind of co-pay for the visit. There will also be vending machines in case either of you needs a snack.

Snacks:The vending machine can get expensive, so it’s a good idea to bring some snacks for the occasion.

Medication/supplements: The hospital is not allowed to give Dad any medication. Make sure he brings his own if he needs it.

Important documents or notes:It’s a good idea for both you and Dad to have multiple copies of this information below, just so nothing gets missed.

  • People to contact through labor and birth:Family and friends will be wondering how things are going. Pick your top people to keep in contact with throughout labor and delivery, but keep it minimal. My husband updated my mom throughout my labor, and then she would update the rest of the family for us. Kept communication simple and clean 🙂
  • Pediatrician info:For the hospital’s convenience.
  • Birth plan:This will help him advocate for you when you are in a vulnerable position. A BIRTH PLAN is very important for many moms!
  • Insurance information:For the hospital.

Shaving cream and razor: Only if he wants to shave, of course. I like facial hair soooo this was a no-go for my hubby 😉

Sleep mask: Sometimes the hospital lights are bright and it can be a distraction during sleep.

Sandals, slip-ons, or shower shoes: Some dads like more comfortable shoes during their stay, or flip-flops to wear while they shower.

Partners. REMEMBER! Your priority is to support Mom.


When you pack your bag is completely up to you, but if you’re like me and want a plan, here is a basic guideline.

Pack your hospital bag sometime during your third trimester, specifically between 32-37 weeks. The sooner you are expected to go into labor, the sooner you will want to pack. For example, if you are having twins, you should probably pack around 32-35 weeks. Most moms are safe to pack between 35-37.

It’s recommended NOT to pack your bag after 38 weeks, as labor will be coming on at any time if it hasn’t already. You’ll be pushing your luck if you wait this long.

Over 50% of babies are born between 39-40 weeks while over 25% are born between 37-38.

So, 32 weeks is pretty early, and 38 weeks is pretty late. I’d say that 35-36 weeks is that sweet spot. If you have any worries, there’s nothing wrong with packing your hospital bag earlier than recommended. It’s the last thing you want to have to worry about when you go into labor.

Keep in mind…

vagin*l delivery: You typically stay in the hospital for 1-2 days.

C Section: You typically stay in the hospital for 3-4 days.

REMINDER: I definitely do not recommend packing all of these things. As I already mentioned, I only packed what I considered the bare necessities (any one else singing the classic Disney Jungle Book?) for my at-home minimalist hospital bag. However, with this ultimate hospital bag checklist, you can at least see what other moms take and decide what is important to you.

I’m sure there are a bunch of things that I didn’t cover. If I missed something that you consider a hospital bag essential, share the goods and comment below!

This post was all about the ultimate hospital bag checklist.


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Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist: What Other Moms Pack - my state of heart (2024)


What should moms pack in their hospital bag? ›

Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, hair ties, and makeup (if you're planning to use it). Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but you might prefer your own. A hanging toiletry bag can be helpful, since there's usually little counter space in the bathroom.

What should a woman pack in her hospital bag? ›

2 packets of super-absorbent sanitary or maternity pads. your wash bag – with toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, flannel, soap, lip balm, deodorant, hair bands, hand sanitiser, body lotion and anything else you need. an eye mask may help you sleep on the brightly lit ward. towels.

What should my husband pack in his hospital bag? ›

Partner or Dad's Hospital Bag Checklist

Cozy footwear: comfortable shoes such as sneakers, Crocs, or other slip-ons. Sleep accessories: your own pillow and blankets from home. Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and more.

How many outfits to bring to the hospital for mom? ›

Too many clothes.

You'll likely be in your nightgown for most of your stay, so you won't need a lot of clothes. Pack a going-home outfit that is comfortable and easy to put on, like leggings and a loose shirt.

What not to pack in a hospital bag? ›

A Maternity Nurse's Guide to What NOT to Pack in Your Hospital...
  • Diapers and wipes. The hospital will provide for all diapering needs a baby may have.
  • Multiple outfits. The hospital will provide swaddling blankets and onesies. ...
  • Wipe warmers. ...
  • Video gaming systems. ...
  • White pillow cases and linens. ...
  • Valuables.
Oct 3, 2022

What to wear during labor? ›

Something cool and loose to wear during labour such as a cotton nighty or a large t-shirt, including something to wear in the birthing pool (the hospital can provide a gown if you would prefer this) Dressing gown, slippers and nightwear. Support bra to wear while breastfeeding.

How many outfits does a newborn need at the hospital? ›

Aim for one outfit in newborn size and one 0-3 months. Don't forget hats and/or socks, if weather-appropriate, to keep baby warm.

What are the best snacks for labour? ›

Some of the best snacks for labour include:

Wholegrain toast, biscuits and crackers. Energy bars (be sure to check the sugar content). Breadsticks. Dried fruits and nuts.

What week should you pack your hospital bag? ›

When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag? You should have your hospital bag ready to go between weeks 32 and 35 of your pregnancy, in case your baby comes a bit earlier than expected. A good time to start the packing process is around the 28 week mark, or at the start of your 3rd trimester.

What should dad wear to a C-section? ›

During a c-section

You can usually stay with your partner during a planned or emergency c-section unless they need a general anaesthetic. The midwife or operating assistant will give you a top, trousers and hat to wear in the operating theatre. This is for hygiene reasons.

What to wear to the hospital for labor? ›

Items for Mom

The hospital will supply you with a gown, slippers, disposable underwear, and basic toiletries. While it is nice to have your own clothes with you, labor and the first few days postpartum are most often a very messy time, so you may not want to wear your brand-new lingerie.

What should dad bring to the hospital for labor? ›

Fresh underwear, a clean shirt, and a pair of socks should be sufficient to keep you feeling clean and ready for anything. It also might be wise to include a warm sweatshirt in case the room is a little cool. Parents in labor often feel warm and may turn the thermostat down in order to keep cool.

Do you wear a bra during labor? ›

Some women get so hot they go it in the nude! But, if you'd like to cover up a little bit and keep your larger breasts supported, wearing a nursing sports bra is a smart choice during the hours (or sometimes minutes!) of labor.

What do babies wear right after birth? ›

Most hospitals prefer to dress babies simply, either in just a diaper and swaddled in a flannel blanket, or in a side-snap bodysuit or basic gown (all of these items will be provided for you).

What do you wear home from the hospital after giving birth? ›

Clothes wise, immediately post-partum or for coming home, I would recommend stretchy dresses or leggings and a large t-shirt or vest in the summer months. In the colder months, joggers, leggings, or trusty maternity dungarees are perfect. A hoody or cardigan to keep warm too.

When should I pack my first hospital bag for my mom? ›

Babies are unpredictable. They come when they are ready to come. But if you're a planner like me and want to be ready for your little one's arrival, I'd suggest having your hospital bag packed between 36 and 38 weeks.

When should I start packing my hospital bag? ›

When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag? You should have your hospital bag ready to go between weeks 32 and 35 of your pregnancy, in case your baby comes a bit earlier than expected. A good time to start the packing process is around the 28 week mark, or at the start of your 3rd trimester.


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