Hospital Bag Checklist: Everything You Need for Delivery

Is your due date just around the corner? Make sure your hospital bag is packed and ready with this handy hospital bag checklist.

By Bryce Gruber

Hospital Bag Checklist: Everything You Need for Delivery

Photo: iStockphoto

Here are all the must-haves (and some nice-to-haves) that should be on your hospital bag checklist for the hospital or birthing center. Make sure you check out our newborn checklist as you near your due date to prepare for baby, too.

This list is a good starting point, but every hospital and birth center does things differently, so ask ahead of time what they will supply and what you need to bring from home. And, if you're not signed up for one of the best baby registries yet, be sure to do that for free samples and discounts on several of the items below.

What to pack in a hospital bag: for you

What you pack in your hospital bag goes far beyond your cell phone and a handful of hair ties (yes, you'll need those!), which is why it's so important to make a hospital bag checklist that's both for you and baby. Flip-flops, lip balm, a pillow from home and nursing tops are usual suspects to bring to the hospital or birthing center, but we also included a bunch of other incredibly useful items.

Trust us, we've been through this—you'll want to pack all these items in your hospital bag so you have a comfortable experience and something to wear home.

  • Slipper socks: These are likely the most underrated hospital bag checklist item of all. You won't have the time or energy for real shoes, but you certainly don't want to slip on tile floors. We love these fuzzy, non-slip hospital socks. They're affordable enough to lose, too.
  • Robe, nightgowns or pajamas that can unbutton for breastfeeding: These hospital nursing gowns give your bump plenty of space and make nursing a breeze after delivery. Be sure to check out our list of the best nursing pajamas as well.
  • Nursing bras: Go for a larger size than you might normally wear. When your milk comes in, you'll be a full one to two cups larger than usual. This four-pack of crossover nursing bras is so comfortable that new moms swear they can "fall asleep" wearing them. Don't skimp on your nursing bra collection—you'll need to wash these daily.
  • High-waist underwear with mild compression: This stretchy c-section recovery underwear is perfect for the weeks after you've had surgery, but also a wonder for vaginal births thanks to ample space for maxi pads. These are brilliant alternatives to the crummy mesh underwear hospitals usually provide.
  • Loose, comfy clothes to wear home: We love these Kindred Bravely post-partum and maternity joggers. They easily grow and contract with your bump, making them your new go-to favorite piece for before and after baby arrives.
  • Toothpaste and toiletries
  • Plenty of hair elastics: This multipack of ouchless hair elastics just may be the best $5 of your life
  • If you plan to use the shower or Jacuzzi: a loose bra or top for you, swimwear for your partner
  • Lip balm: Do not skimp on the lip balm! It's your new best friend. Order this all-natural, organic lip balm multipack so you have one in every pocket.
  • Moisturizer: This is one of the bag checklist items for Mom that's often forgotten, but all that hand washing means plenty of dry skin.
  • Your birth plan, paperwork and insurance
  • Nursing pads: These organic, extra-large nursing pads are made of reusable and washable bamboo. Plus, they're incredibly affordable.
  • Nipple cream: We like this easy-to-use Lansinoh Organic Nipple Balm, one of our must-have bag checklist items for Mom if she plans to nurse.
  • Maxi pads: They're big. They're long. But wow, you'll need 'em—these postpartum maxi pads are designed to hold a pretty gross amount of fluid, blood and even pee. Ah, motherhood.
  • Breast pump of your choice: The hospital will let you use one of their motorized breast pumps (they're great!), but many new moms find a manual breast pump far more comfortable. We like the Lansinoh option because it's incredibly comfortable, affordable and easy to clean.

Other important details to add to your hospital bag checklist:

  • Phone chargers you don't mind losing: This three-pack of 10-foot iPhone cables is nearly as important as your doula. But only $10.
  • Flip-flops for the shower: We love these cloud sandals that offer extra support.
  • Snacks and drinks
  • Music, books or magazines, games, playing cards
  • Notebook, pen and personal items
  • Watch or smartphone with app to time contractions

Score music, movies and audiobooks at no cost thanks to all this free stuff from Amazon.

Mother holding her newborn baby after labor in the hospital. kieferpix / Getty Images

What to pack in a hospital bag: For your baby

You probably already know you need a good rear-facing car seat, but you'll want to pack a few more baby-specific things to ensure a cozy and safe first few days in the world.

Other hospital bag checklist items to consider:

While these certainly aren't mandatory, plenty of new and experienced parents appreciate having them on hand. The choice is yours though, because every parent welcomes new babies differently.

This article was originally published on May 16, 2022

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