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Hospital Bag Checklists For Mom, Baby, and Dad!

We think it’s a pretty fair statement to say that most people know that childbirth is no walk in the park (though husbands might not fully grasp just how easy they have it until they’ve witnessed baby number one arrive!). And we’re not even talking about the 9 months of childbearing that precede the actual day your bundle of joy finally decides to arrive. And, yes, that bundle of joy will come on its own terms and likely when it’s most inconvenient--your first taste of “baby runs the schedule now”!


So, while it may seem like you just show up to the hospital and baby pops out and everyone goes home happy it’s a bit more complicated than that. Add in the fact that a standard hospital stay for a problem-free vaginal birth is typically 2 days, while c-sections or more complicated births can be 3 days or more, and the need for a well-prepared hospital bag for labor and delivery is all the higher! 


As a group of women who have done this many times we thought it would be helpful to put together some hospital bag checklists for all participants that may need them - Mom, Dad, and baby. Not only have we put together checklists for each person but we’ve also included a variety of free printables for each person headed to the hospital. We’re positive you’ll thank us later! Just read through the lists for each person below, print out one of the free printable hospital bag checklists, and make sure you are fully prepared for your hospital trip and childbirth!


When To Pack Your Hospital Bag

We’d recommend you not wait until you’re super close to your due date to pack your hospital bag! Pack it early so you don’t have to stress about a last-minute bag-packing scramble, especially if your water breaks! If your pregnancy, and previous pregnancies (if any), is progressing in a normal fashion we’d recommend packing it at 36 or 37 weeks. If you’ve had past pregnancies finish well before 40 weeks, are deemed high risk, or if there are other reasons why it may be even earlier (like twins!) then it may mean you pack your bag around the 28-34 week range. While it may seem way too far in advance when you do it, you’ll have your hospital bags ready and it will just be grab and go and no stress! Again, we’re certain you’ll thank us later!


Hospital Bag Checklist For Mom

Let’s start with Mom since she’ll be doing all the heavy lifting, nay, pushing, while Dad chills on a nearby couch and/or offers moral support. :) Mom will also need the most stuff in her bag, followed by baby, and Dad’s bag will likely be the easiest. For c-sections and more complicated deliveries we recommend the same list but higher quantities of certain items (clothes, snacks, cash, etc.) Here’s what we recommend you add to Mom’s hospital bag:


Pads - Heavy flow overnight pads with wings. While the hospital provides heavy-duty pads right after delivery, you may want some in your bag for the ride home and especially if you plan on making any stops.

Undies - Yes, the grandma-looking ones. The hospital usually provides mesh panties, but you may want to wear your own if you find the hospital's to be too uncomfortable. For your comfort’s sake, it's better to have them a bit big (to fit over the heavy-duty pads that the hospital has you in or that you’ve brought along) than too small. Remember, this is childbirth and not a romantic evening with your other half. 

Nursing Bra - If you plan to breastfeed, you’ll need at least one of these. We’d recommend a couple.

Nipple Cream/Lanolin/Gel Pads - Because if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll be so happy you brought this!

Healthy Snacks - Most hospitals provide three square meals for mom each day for the duration of your hospital visit. But, let’s be honest - giving birth makes you hungry! So do yourself a favor and bring some healthy snacks that you can enjoy in between meals.

Toiletries - Shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, lip balm or chapstick, face cleansers or wipes, makeup, etc. If you wear glasses or contacts don’t forget your actual glasses, contact solution or a change of contacts and your contact case!

Towel - They provide these at the hospital, but if you’d prefer one of your nicer, softer, fluffier towels, bring your own dark-colored bath towel.

Slippers or flip-flops - So you don’t have to walk around barefoot.

Socks - To keep your feet warm under those thin hospital sheets!

Clothes to wear home from the hospital - Don’t pack your skinny jeans for your trip home - even though the baby’s out now you’ll likely be wearing the same size maternity clothes you wore on the way to the hospital. And don’t assume you’ll be able to wear the same clothes home that you wore on the way in. Birthing can be a messy and unpredictable process so we recommend at least one change of clothes. 

Insurance Card - Lest you pay a grand bill or hubby makes a return trip home make sure to have your insurance card/details with you!

Hospital Paperwork - If at all possible do this beforehand as most hospitals will let you pre-register and then you don't have to worry about doing it on arrival or packing papers! If you can’t or don’t do this in advance make sure to bring along any necessary paperwork for the birth of your baby. 

Photo ID - Make sure you have your driver’s license on you so that you have photo ID as needed.

Birth Plan - From pain management to post-delivery decisions if you’re particular about how you hope things will go make sure you have a birth plan prepared and packed!

Medicine - Don’t forget to include any daily medicines or vitamins you take.

Phone - But we assume this is a given since everyone is tied to their phones these days!


Optional:


Robe: Hospital “gowns”, we use that term loosely (no pun intended!), are anything but modest! If you’re wanting a bit more privacy while in and moving around your hospital room a comfy/favorite robe from home is a great thing to pack.

Tank Top - A tank or other comfortable shirt will come in handy for nursing your little one. Consider finding one specifically made for nursing moms.

Charging Cord - If you want to share any of those pictures you’ve taken while confined to your hospital bed make sure to bring something to charge your phone with! 

Extra Bag - Between all the papers, diapers and wipes the hospital room allows you to take home an extra bag is sometimes a lifesaver.

Garbage Bag - If you want to separate your dirty laundry from your clean ones for the return trip home.  

Drinks - If you want something other than water (think: Gatorade or something with electrolytes) make sure to bring some along. Your husband will likely appreciate your foresight as well. 

Sugar-Free Candy, Gum, or Lozenges - Never hurts to have something to keep your mouth moist post-delivery. 

Earbuds / Headphones - If you just can’t live without your favorite music or podcast bring earbuds or something similar along with you. Just remember to have at least one out at all times so you can listen for/hear baby. 

Breast Pump - Plan on pumping regularly? If so, this is an extra-extra as you’re likely to get a visit from a lactation consultant and it’s a great opportunity to pick the mind of an expert if you’re up for it. If you don’t have one, call your insurance company to see if it is covered.

 

Downloadable Checklists For Mom!

Download your preferred hospital bag checklist for Mom by clicking on an image below! A new tab will open with a printable PDF version. OR you can download all four via the text link just below the images. The checklists are PDFs that you can then print and use to prepare for the big day!

 

hospital bag checklist for mom

hospital bag checklist for mom

hospital bag checklist for mom

hospital bag checklist for mom

   

Download all four printable hospital bag lists for Mom here. 

 

Hospital Bag Checklist For Baby

You might think that you don’t need much for baby since for nine months they’ve lived on the inside but there are plenty of things you’ll want in a baby hospital bag! Once your little human makes its grand entrance into the world there is plenty you’ll need - both at the hospital and as you arrive back at home! So, while the hospital will provide a number of things for the duration of your stay here is what we’d recommend you add to baby’s hospital bag:


Onesie + Clothing - These are baby’s first pictures! And a great way to announce his or her entrance into the world. An adorable going-home outfit is a must! May we suggest a custom onesie? :) 

Hat - To keep baby warm and cozy.

Booties - Definitely optional but all the cuter!

Socks - To keep baby’s feet nice and warm.

Mittens - The hospital sometimes provides these but if you want a specific pair that matches the going-home outfit AND keeps your little one from scratching up their face then these are a must. Some preemie and newborn long-sleeve onesies actually come with mittens if you’re looking to save a little money!

Hair Bow/headband for baby girls - Not necessary, but totally fun!

Carseat - And be sure to have the base rear-facing and ready to go in the car. Make sure it is also approved and up-to-date as that first car ride is nerve-wracking enough! 

Carseat Blanket - To keep baby warm on the ride home.

Swaddle Blanket - Babies love to be swaddled. And they sleep better when they are swaddled!

Diapers and wipes - Most hospitals will provide these during your hospital stay, but it’s good to have a few in your diaper bag just in case you need them on the ride home. You’ll want the newborn size unless you know your baby will be born a little early, in which case you may want to bring some preemie diapers.

Pacifier - Some people prefer to wait until breastfeeding is well established before introducing a pacifier while others welcome the thought of giving themselves a break in the early (read: sore) weeks of breastfeeding.


Optional:

Pediatrician's Information - You’re likely to have to fill out or give information for your pediatrician so make sure you have access to it in some way, shape or form. Even better if it’s in an app on your phone - then you don’t have to pack a piece of paper!

Bottles - If you won’t be breastfeeding and have a preferred bottle type then make sure to pack along a couple of bottles for baby!

 

Downloadable Baby Hospital Bag Checklists!

Download your preferred hospital bag checklist for baby by clicking on an image below! A new tab will open with a printable PDF version. OR you can download all four via the text link just below the images. The checklists are PDFs that you can then print and use to prepare for the big day!

 

 baby hospital bag checklist

baby hospital bag checklist

baby hospital bag checklist

baby hospital bag checklist

 

 

Download all four printable hospital bag lists for baby here

 

Hospital Bag Checklist For Dad

As much as we joke about Dad’s role in all of this we sure do love our better halves and they really can be a big help during the process of childbirth! In our experience, while they may think they can just throw something together really quickly they’ll be forever grateful when you’ve (secretly or not) helped pack a hospital bag for Dad once they spend a night or two on a hospital bed couch and have limited food options from the hospital cafeteria! Here’s what we recommend for Dad’s hospital bag: 


Change of Clothes - Expect to stay at least 24-48 hours even for the smoothest of deliveries. We’ll let you and your spouse settle what that means for clothing amounts. Haha.

Comfortable Sleeping Clothes - There isn’t much privacy in a hospital room and this applies to Dad too. Better to have some comfortable sweats or shorts to sleep in rather than jeans or just undies. 

Toiletries - Hospitals are not hotels and don’t provide those awesome little shampoos and soaps in the bathroom. We’d include shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and if you hate facial hair, some kind of razor. :) 

Phone / Laptop / Book / Magazines - While we highly recommend both Mom and Dad sleep when baby sleeps there will also be times when Dad is awake while exhausted Mom and baby sleep. So, if Dad is like most others, make sure he remembers to bring his phone, a book, a laptop or all of the above! And don’t forget the charging cords!

Camera - If your phone does not have a camera, or you want to bring a DSLR, make sure this gets packed - you’ll want to look back at these sweet moments!

Snacks - Bring some of his favorites! And odds are pretty good that you’ll be eating some too so make sure you like what you’re packing him. Drinks will be helpful too!

Medicine - Don’t forget to include any daily medicines or vitamins you take.

Small Amount of Cash - In case the snacks are gone, the cafeteria is closed and Mom or Dad needs a snack from the vending machines!


Optional:


Pillow - Hospital pillows are anything but luxurious so if your hubby has any strong preferences around his pillow make sure it makes the trip!

 

Downloadable Checklists For Dad!

Download your preferred hospital bag checklist for Dad by clicking on an image below! A new tab will open with a printable PDF version. OR you can download both checklists via the text link just below the images. The checklists are PDFs that you can then print and use to prepare for the big day!

 

hospital bag checklist for dad

hospital bag checklist for dad

 

Download both printable hospital checklists for Dad here.

We hope your big day goes as smoothly as possible and that you’re beyond prepared after printing some of these hospital bag checklists! Happy packing! :) 

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