Hospital Bag Must Haves to be Ready for Labor and Delivery

Wondering when or even what you need in your hospital bag?

I think this is the part of pregnancy we over think.  Especially if you are a first time mom because you have no idea what to really expect or how long your stay might be.

Here is the good thing, the hospital provides a lot of what you need and what your baby will need.

But, there are a few things they don’t have for you that I think are important for you to include in your hospital bag so that you are comfortable during your labor, deliver, and recovery.

Let’s get started determining what really needs to go into that hospital bag.

When Should You Start Packing Your Hospital Bag?

There isn’t a specific week where your hospital bag absolutely needs to be packed, but I think there is a timeline to consider depending on how your pregnancy has gone thus far.

If you have had a complication free pregnancy and all signs are pointing to you making it to term or further, I would start considering packing your hospital bag around 32 weeks.

32 weeks is when I started having complications, so I think it is a good time to start gathering everything together.

I am no doctor, but I would say once you hit the 37-week mark anything can happen, so you will want to be as ready as you can be.

Don’t procrastinate packing your hospital bag, but you also don’t need to pack your hospital bag the day you find out you are pregnant either. 

If you are having complications or are high risk, you never know when the baby will decide to come or your doctor will say “ok it’s time”.

I would highly consider packing your bag as soon as you find out the gender, if you are finding out.

The week I was going to pack my hospital bag was the week I had another blood pressure episode and the doctor said just that to me!

You can read about that here.  I had NOTHING packed!

Trust me though you at least want to have a list of what you need sooner rather than later.  I didn’t have my bag packed at all and had to send my husband on multiple trips back home because I kept forgetting things. Lucky for me, we don’t live far from our hospital.


This is why I put together this hospital bag checklist for you.

With this checklist, you won’t forget a single thing and you can add your own items that apply specifically to you and your situation.


**This post may contain affiliate links where I will get a small commission at no cost to you if you use the links to make a purchase**

Alright, lets get down to the absolute must haves for your hospital bag starting with mom.

Hospital Bag Must Haves for Mom

Comfortable Nursing Friendly Clothes

If you have a complicated free birth, it is likely you won’t be in the hospital that long; however, you will want to be comfortable while you are there and when you get home.

Nursing Tanks/Night gowns/Robes/ Pajamas/Yoga Pants

These nursing tanks are great because they aren’t super tight on your stomach but covers it up with the flowy bottom.  It’s perfect because unless you have amazing genes, you are likely to still look pregnant leaving the hospital. They are great though; they come in a ton of colors and patterns and they ship through prime!

This nursing tank has two layers, and it is a little on the dressy casual side, so definitely a great tank for days when you will be out and about.

Here are some great nursing friendly nightgowns if you prefer that route.

Once I was taken off of the magnesium sulfate and the catheter was finally removed, I put on my own clothes.  I desperately wanted to be comfortable any way I could.

I find myself to be most comfortable in yoga pants, so that is what I packed.

I would HIGHLY recommend these from Bao Bei Maternity as I will be wearing these and their postpartum underweaer next time.

Postpartum Underwear

You don’t exactly HAVE to pack your own underwear because the hospital does provide mesh underwear for you, but if you prefer your own underwear then I would pack it.

This is an item that you could pack or not.

If you have a c-section, you will want to consider some high waisted light underwear because anything really touching your scar will be uncomfortable.

High waisted underwear gives you that light compression feeling that will help with the pain (a little bit) and make your stomach feel more in place.

Pumping Supplies

I did start pumping right away, and I just removed my shirt to do so.

However, I did use this hands free pumping bra which I highly recommend if you have to pump for any reason.

The hospital also provides a pump for you if you have to pump.  My hospital had the Medela pump, so if you have a different pump you plan to use, I would pack that as well.

What will you need to pack from home?

I had my husband bring my pillow from home.  I honestly don’t travel anywhere without it, even on planes.

If you were sleeping with any kind of pregnancy pillow, you might want to bring that as well; especially if you are having a c-section.  It hurt to toss and turn in the hospital bed, and I was very uncomfortable.

I continued to sleep with a pillow under my belly for a couple more weeks.

If you prefer your own blanket, definitely pack that as well.  You can adjust the temperature in your room, but I never got comfortable.

Don’t forget to pack things you will need to take pictures

Make sure you have your phone and phone charger or a camera if you don’t use your phone.

Don’t forget an SD card too for your camera if that is what is being used.  Also, rechargeable batteries or your charger for your camera.

Pack your toiletries in your hospital bag for after labor

Don’t forget your toothbrush or other toiletries if you choose to take a shower while in the hospital.

I definitely recommend taking a shower.  Taking a shower will make you feel so much better.

There is something about a shower that just rejuvenates you.  Bring shower shoes.  You also might want to bring your own towels for the shower.

Our hospital provided socks, but if you like to also walk around in slippers bring those as well.  I would buy some you can toss after you leave the hospital.

Make a hospital bag checklist for dad

My husband stayed with me all 5 days, but at the same time, we live close enough to the hospital for him to go back and forth as needed.

He brought his laptop because he can do some of his job remotely, so he was on his phone or laptop working when family wasn’t around or we weren’t in the NICU.  He would take his official time off when we got to bring home baby G.

Hopefully, your hospital stay will be short and your husband or significant other won’t have to worry about this too much.

Your hubby should be comfortable too

But, don’t forget a pillow and blanket for your hubby or partner because what they sleep on is not very comfortable.  Our hospital provided these for us, but nothing beats your own stuff.

Your husband or significant other might want to bring their toiletries if you guys use different stuff, so he can shower too if he doesn’t go home to do so.

He will also need his toothbrush and toothpaste.

He will want to consider sleepwear especially if he usually sleeps in boxers.  Between doctors, nurses, and family coming in and out of the room, he might want to be a little more clothed than normal.

What to do if your husband or significant other can’t stay with you the whole time

It is likely you will be busy learning to nurse (if you are choosing to do this) or sleeping, but in case you find yourself bored, here are a few things you could also consider packing.  Or, maybe your baby is in the NICU like mine.

Books are always a great way to pass the time.  You could even read a book while nursing if you are able to stay awake. Or, if you prefer reading from your tablet, you can download the Kindle app to any of your devices.

This for entertainment to pack in your hospital bag

Maybe you have some loose ends to tie up with work before you officially take your maternity leave, I would bring your laptop and its charger then.

There is still no guarantee you will have the energy, time, or want to do this, but it is a suggestion nonetheless.

Your hospital room likely has a television you can get caught up on all of the reality tv you want. :o)

There is always crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and word searches if all else fails.

But honestly, get some rest while you can.

What should you pack for the hospital for baby?

I mean the baby is the whole reason you are packing your hospital bag after all. :op

You will want to bring some onesies, socks, and mittens for their hands (so they won’t scratch their face).

My daughter would not wear the mittens and would send them flying across the room, so if you have them, great if you don’t, that is ok too.

Pack some hats for your baby too.

Pack your own swaddles

The hospital will provide the swaddle blanket for you, and they will perfectly swaddle your baby for you.

They will even attempt to teach this amazing swaddle job they do, but if you are like us, we just never were able to swaddle the same way.

So, we used these velcro swaddles; they were wonderful and so much easier to do.

Don’t forget their going home outfit.  I bet you have something fabulous picked out already.

If you are going to be nursing, you will need to bring your nursing pillow.  I used a boppy once I started nursing.

You will also want to consider nipple cream or ointment.  I used this nipple balm, and you don’t have to apply a lot, and it works great.

Lastly, make sure you have your car seat, and it is installed correctly.

There are just a few miscellaneous things to in your hospital bag

You will be hungry after. If you are able to you will either want to send a family member out for some food or make sure you have snacks.

If you are wanting to have a natural vaginal birth, you could take this birthing ball.

I had planned to take my essential oils and diffuser.  You could bring these whether you are having a medicated or unmedicated birth.

Regardless of how you are birthing your baby, you will need to get your hospital bag packed for labor and beyond sooner rather than later.

Congratulations!! Life just got a little bit more exciting!

What were your hospital bag essentials?

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