What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag? Hospital Bag Checklist

Getting closer to your due date?? You are super excited to finally meet your little one for sure. Did you remember packing the hospital bag too??

We see many women countdown weeks like crazy but tend to forget packing the hospital bag. They are seen packing hastily during labor contractions. You don’t do that! Prepare your hospital bag ahead of time for mental peace in case your baby decides to appear before the due date.

Few Tips on Packing Hospital Bag

  • Pack light
  • Pack only what is required. No extra stuffing
  • Don’t carry valuables and jewelry to the hospital
  • No extra cash, please!
  • Make separate bags for you, partner and baby
  • Make a separate c-section requirement bag which can be left in the car unless required

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag?

It is always favorable to pack a hospital bag in 35-week or 36-week just in case you go into preterm labor. The earlier, the better. At least pack once you are in your 9th month.

What Should You Pack in Your Maternity Bag?

Before preparing a hospital bag check with your hospital what they provide. So, you don’t overpack. Prepare 4-5 small but separate bags. Sound crazy?? No, It will lessen confusion. Pack a maternity bag, a post-delivery bag, another bag for coming baby, a bag for birth partner, and a separate bag for your documents. Keep all the bags handy for pickup in a moment.

Hospital Bag for Delivery

Here is an extensive list of must-have items in maternity bag-

  1. Documents and medical records– Keep your hospital file, insurance cards, and papers handy. Prepare a folder ready for all such docs plus your picture ID and medical history records. Also, keep a couple of passport- size photographs. Make sure to check all requirements and paperwork with the hospital. Also, take a few photocopies of all documents, in case required.
  2. Card and cash– Make sure you have a credit card to pay bills and hospital expenses. Keep some cash money and change for emergencies.
  3. Birth plan– have multiple copies of the birth plan to be shared with the hospital staff and for yourself.
  4. Labor gown– choose a loose, soft-fabric gown for labor. Although, hospitals provide for the same you are always free to wear your own if you don’t feel like wearing a hospital gown. Don’t go for anything fancy or expensive as labor is a messy thing. You may not feel like wearing a stained dress again.
  5. Flip-flops – A shower slipper works best as you can pace comfortably in them as you walk during labor or in case you decide to take shower.
  6. Extra loose clothes– keep a pair or two of loose comfortable clothes for a longer stay.
  7. Socks– Carry at least a pair of socks as feet tend to get cold during labor.
  8. Extra sheet or blanket– you can shiver during labor. So, it’s better to pack an extra sheet or blanket.
  9. Massage oil– massage during labor is very relaxing. Pack your favorite massage oil in your maternity bag.
  10. Spray bottle and wash clothes– spray bottles and cloths can come useful if you get hot and sweaty during labor. It’s better to keep one.
  11. Petroleum jelly or moisturizer– your lips become chapped and so do the skin. Keep something to moisturize yourself.
  12. Bottle with straw– trust me, moms-to-be need one. It’s easier to sip than drink during contractions.
  13. Extra pillows– keep a cozy and right-size pillow for you. Although the hospital provides one.
  14. Birth ball. Ask your hospital if they provide one. Check if they have the right size for you. Else carry one for you. Make sure to take a pump if you are carrying your own birthing ball.
  15. Favorite pass-time and relaxers. Pack music players and pods, magazines, essential oils, gadgets to surf the internet to keel time, and distract pain. Carry eye mask to doze off and earplugs.
  16. Snacks and drinks. Pop in your favorite candies, popsicles, energy bars, and drinks to keep you full during labor. Labor is a long process. You may need to keep refilling yourself.

Post-Delivery Hospital Bag

  1. Maternity dress. Pack a couple of front-opening comfortable dress if you decide to breastfeed. Choose soft and light fabric and warm color tones.
  2. Maxi- Pads. Your hospital may provide fully absorbent maternity pads. But it’s wise to pack plenty of them. It’s normal to bleed heavily after delivery. You need to change pads on an hourly basis for a couple of days.
  3. Maternity underwear. Pack at least half a dozen of panties or disposable underwear. Make sure you choose the right size and cotton fabric. Don’t opt for expensive ones.
  4. Nursing Bras.  2-3 nursing bras or maternity bras will suffice. Buy comfortable, well-fitting, and cottony soft as you may have sore breasts.
  5. Breast Pads. Pack a dozen of breast pads for leaking nipples.
  6. Toiletries– pack small towels, disposable wipes, moisturizer, toothbrush, mini toothpaste, facewash, hair wash, hair clips, and other essentials. Keep mini plastic bags to keep dirty laundry in. keep cosmetics if you are a makeup person.
  7. Contacts and eyeglasses. Keep your glasses, contacts, case, and lens solution if you wear the same.
  8. Phone and charger. Keep your phone and charger to make calls, click pictures, and share the great news. If you plan to keep away from gadgets then you may opt it out.
  9. Soothers. It would be wise to first consult with your doctors about purchasing soothing essentials like vaginal cream, ice-packs, witch hazel, pile ointments, sitz bath, or belly wraps. These products help in reducing the swelling and bruising. But you should never buy one with consulting with your medical staff.
  10. Gifts for medical staff and siblings. Bring gifts and favors for doctors and nurses as a token of thanks and appreciation. If you have other kids, present them gifts for the new baby to make them feel special too.
  11. Extra folder or an empty bag. Bring along an envelope or bag to keep hospital records, postpartum care, and baby care handouts, receipts, vaccination cards, and other important papers in one place.

Hospital Bag for Newborn Baby

  1. Bodysuits. Check with the hospital staff about baby dressing policies. Bodysuits and rompers are easy to fasten up. Choose an organic and soft fabric. It is always advisable to wash and detox baby clothes in advance.
  2. Receiving blankets and wraps. Keep a pair of muslin squares and double-layered wraps for a summer baby. One thick wrap or fleece blanket. And extra warm blanket in case it’s a winter baby.
  3. Caps, mittens, and booties. Keep your little bundle of joy well covered and cozy. Caps and booties will keep him warm as in the mother’s womb. Mittens prevent them to scratch their soft skin.
  4. Newborn-sized diapers. You are going to need too many of them. Pack 12 soft diapers for each day. Keeping your baby in soiled diapers may give him rashes. If you take care of this, you won’t need rash creams.
  5. Wet wipes and cotton. Use no fragrance wet wipes or moist cotton balls to wipe baby skin.
  6. Burp cloths and bibs. Pack half a dozen of them as babies pour out a lot. You may not want a change every time your baby pours out.
  7. Going home clothes. Pack special beautiful baby suits to go home. This is a special and emotional moment. Make it picturable. Dress your baby beautifully keeping in mind the climatic conditions.
  8. Car seat. Although a car seat is not a baby hospital bag essential. but, it is advisable to keep your car seat installed by professionals in case you plan to bring the baby in the car. Double-check the harness and switches.
  9. Spoon and Bowl. For formula feed in case, you are unable to breastfeed for any reason.

Hospital Bag for Partner

  1. Phone, charger, and camera. Phones are required to stay connected to people, to surf the internet for knowledge and entertainment.  Although phones serve the purpose but keep the camera ready to click sharper snaps of these precious moments. 
  2. Snacks. Labor can be longer than expected. Your partners will also need the energy to support you all the way. Keep energizing drinks and their favorite snacks.
  3. Notebook and pen. Many people don’t feel the need but they come handy to record contractions, feeding sessions, and noting down important information medical staff tells. They may need the same to write down essential requirements required in the last moment like feeding essentials, sanitary pads or diapers, medicines, etc. And yes, why forget recording baby birth details.
  4. Toiletries. It might be long and tiring labor for you. But, your partner is also in this with you all along. He may need to freshen up. Make a toiletry kit with all essentials like toothbrush, towel, soap, etc. Keep contacts and glasses if he wears the same.
  5. Clothes. One pair of clothing may be enough. Keep two in case coming home and changing is not possible.
  6. Pillow. Pack one small pillow for him to rest on.

C-Section Hospital Bag

Make a separate bag for C-section. Leave the bag in the car if you are driving to your birthing center. You may or may not need this bag if its not planned C-section. If its planned or elective you may need to add the below items to your maternity bag discussed above.

  1. Underwears. Disposable, organic underwear will be a wiser choice. Even if you are buying reusable ones, buy a high waist, loose and comfortable underwear that would be easy on the incision. A size larger may do for you
  2. Clothes. After Cesarean recovery time maybe 4-6 days. Keep loose and comfortable clothes accordingly.
  3. Belly support belt. This helps to hold your tummy in place and prevent clothes from pressing the incision. It helps to support your back and less pressure in case you sneeze or cough.
  4. Laxatives. Constipation is another problem after cesarean delivery. Ask your doctor to recommend one. You can also pack fiber-rich homemade foods.

Now your hospital bag is ready. You won’t go insane looking after things during labor contractions. It is advised to read about the right time when to go to the hospital for delivery.

Farha Naaz

Farha Naaz is a mother of a 10-month old baby.