If you are looking for a hospital go bag checklist from a fellow mom, you’ve come to the right place!
This hospital go bag checklist has everything you need to be prepared for labor and postpartum and nothing that you don’t!
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Hospital Go Bag Checklist
When to pack your hospital go bag?
I definitely don’t recommend waiting to pack your hospital bag until you realize you’re in labor! That’s a great way to forget anything important and packing also doesn’t sound like something you’ll want to be doing when the contractions hit!
You should start thinking about packing your bag once you hit the third trimester and you definitely should have your bag packed no later than 36 weeks. Because if you go into labor early, you won’t want another thing to worry about. However, if you are carrying multiples or have any other additional risk factors that make preterm labor more likely, you should consider packing your bag as early into the third trimester as possible.
Now that you know when to pack it, let’s get started on what you need to pack!
Clothing items to pack
Hospitals are often cold and a cozy robe is one of the best postpartum clothing items you can bring to stay comfortable! As a bonus, robes also allow for super easy nursing access! You can opt for a lighter robe or a fuzzy one. I personally loved having a warm fuzzy robe in the hospital postpartum!
Loose fitting comfortable PJs or outfits
Some people prefer to live in loose PJs the whole time they are in the hospital and other people like to bring daytime clothes to feel more like themselves. Either way, I suggest bringing clothes that would fit you around six months pregnant. Your stomach isn’t going to immediately disappear and you want things to be a little loose for a while. I recommend bringing at least one night gown too if things aren’t feeling good around your waist or if you end up with a c-section. I’m a stay in my pjs the whole time type of girl and I absolutely love all of the Stars Above pajamas at Target as well as my long sleeve button up nightgown!
Warm gripper socks (and slippers if you want them)
Hospitals are cold and there is nothing worse than cold feet! While the hospital will give you socks, I suggest bringing 2-3 pairs of cozy slipper socks from home. Just make sure that they have grippers on the bottom. You will be shaky enough after labor shocks your system, you don’t need slippery socks added onto it!
A going home outfit
The hospital hallway isn’t exactly a fashion runway, but if you plan on taking a lot of pictures you may want a semi-cute outfit to go home in. A t-shirt dress or a pair of maternity biker shorts with a cute T-shirt are both simple ways to stay comfy and feel a little more like yourself. (these maternity biker shorts are my absolute favorite!)
Slip on shoes
Bending doesn’t feel the best right after you’ve had a baby. I recommend either packing slip on shoes or coming to the hospital in them. They are also perfect to slip on for a quick walk in the hallway when you need to stretch your legs. Shoes like Crocs and Birkenstocks should do the trick.
Flip flops for the shower
Hospital showers are nasty! You will not want to take a shower in there without a pair of flip flops on! You can grab a pair at the dollar store if you don’t have any!
Your own toiletries
While the hospital may provide you with some travel size toiletries, you will be far more comfortable if you bring the products that you love. The shower that you take after labor is one of the best feelings in the world and it’s even better when you have the stuff you love!
A towel that isn’t the size of a wash cloth
Hospital towels are small, especially for us pregnant people. Even once you have your baby, you will likely be about the size you were at six months pregnant and a big comfy towel from home is the best way to wrap up that first shower after labor!
Hair brush and hair ties
Hair ties are a MUST in labor and a hair brush is definitely a must postpartum. Getting your hair brushed will help you feel a bit better and more like yourself.
Chapstick & hand lotion
Hospitals are super dry places and your hands and lips can get chapped fast! Make sure you have lotion and chapstick on hand to stay comfortable.
If you wear contacts or glasses, make sure to pack some back up contacts or glasses in your bag early on. Don’t forget to also pack solution and a contact case too.
If you don’t have the strength or energy to take a shower at first, just a good face wash can bring you back to life a little.
After giving birth, your body will go through a ton of hormone shifts very quickly. This will make you sweat a lot more and will likely make it smell a lot more. Make sure you pack some deodorant so you don’t have to smell yourself all day.
Make up if you want it
This one is totally up to you! For some people, make up is a hassle and for others it is something that they truly enjoy! If it helps you feel a bit better to throw a bit on then go for it!
Healthy snacks in case you labor through the night
If you happen to go into labor during the night and can’t get food from the kitchen (or even most restaurants), you may start to get really hungry! Bring some light healthy snacks for during and after labor. This is great to have on hand for both you and your partner if things take longer than expected. Just make sure to have the snacks you bring for you approved by your OB.
Gatorade or other electrolyte drink
Being an athlete all my life, I personally was looking for a bottle of Gatorade when the labor process was over. Luckily, I had thought to pack a bottle and man did it taste good!
Cash for vending machines
If you run out of your own snacks or they just don’t sound good, it’s good to have a little cash on hand for the vending machines in the hospital. This can also come in handy if your partner needs an energy drink, coffee, or a snack during labor.
Nursing bras & nursing tank tops
I personally will be packing a few nursing bras as well as a few nursing tank tops this time around. I absolutely love my Kindred Bravely Racerback Nursing Sleep Bra. It is so insanely light and comfy and will definitely be in my hospital bag! Since I am an ambassador with them, you can also use code MonicaB15 for 15% off your order!
Breastfeeding pillow or boppy
Breastfeeding is difficult at first. I almost gave up in the hospital with my first and I was wishing so bad I had some sort of nursing pillow with me! I personally bought a Boppy pillow because it worked great for nursing and also doubled great for tummy time later on! I know a lot of people swear by the My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow though, which goes all the way around your body and has a pocket for bottles or snacks for you!
Insulated water bottle
Your body needs a ton of hydration to properly recover from labor and even more if you are choosing to breastfeed. In fact, it’s recommended that breastfeeding moms take in a gallon of water (128 oz.) every day! I personally struggle with my water intake unless I have a large insulated water bottle keeping my water cold! I bought a knock off Stanley mug that was a third of the price and I have absolutely loved it! It comes in a ton of cute colors too!
Instant ice maxi pads
The Frida instant ice maxi pads or “padsicles” are the best of both worlds! They are not only an instant ice pack but they are also absorbent too! It’s literally the perfect combination for postpartum! While the hospital will have plenty of supplies for you, I recommend packing a few of these in your bag too!
Upside down peri bottle
Peri bottles are a godsend when it comes to bathroom trips postpartum since they can help you clean up without the added pain of wiping. The hospital will give you a peri bottle but the straight nozzle will make you end up with your hand inside the toilet to use it. This upside down peri bottle makes cleaning up down there a whole lot easier!
The hospital that I delivered my first born in gave me this Dermoplast pain, burn, & itch spray and it was AMAZING postpartum! Being able to spray it on without having to touch anything was incredible and I just ordered another can for postpartum this time!
Super long phone cord
The outlets in hospital rooms always seem to be on the total opposite side of the room. I highly recommend a 10 foot phone cord or bringing along an extension cord with our charger!
Birth plan if you have one
A birth plan is a great way to quickly get all your doctors and nurses on the same page and aware of your expectations for the birth process. Having one can help you avoid answering the same questions over and over again.
A sticky note to leave on top of your bag with a list of last minute items
Some things are must haves but they also can’t be packed immediately. Put a note or sticky note attached to your duffel bag once it’s packed to remind yourself to grab any last minute items (eg. license, insurance cards, any hospital paperwork you have, or any last minute toiletries)
Items for Baby
A few cute swaddles
While the hospital will give you the classic blue and pink striped swaddles (that is less than soft if you ask me), you will probably want a few other cute swaddles/receiving blankets to take cute photos of your new little one.
A few cute hats
Baby hats are not only adorable but they will also help keep your little ones head warm! Definitely bring a few so you have some to choose from!
A pair of scratch mittens
Since newborns can’t control their arms very well yet, they tend to accidentally scratch themselves (and you). These adorable little no scratch mittens are great cause they almost can’t fall off!
Going home outfit that is weather appropriate
Whatever going home outfit you choose for your baby you’ll want to make sure that it’s not only cute but also weather appropriate. If you are having a fall or winter baby, make sure to bring along a long sleeve.
Baby blanket for the car
If you are due in the fall or winter, you may want to bring along a cozy baby blanket to throw on top once you get your baby buckled.
Car seat (in your car not the bag)
While the baby carrier obviously won’t fit in your bag, it’s smart to get it cleaned (if this isn’t your first baby) and in the car. This way, you can’t forget it in the heat of the moment.
Items for Your Partner
2 or 3 changes of clothes
If your partner plans to stay overnight with you in the hospital, they will feel much more comfortable with a few changes of clean clothes.
Hoodie or jacket for food runs
Whether it be down the hall to the vending machine or running out to your favorite restaurant (or to get some decent coffee), it’s inevitable that you will be sending your partner out on food runs! Pushing out a baby creates quite the appetite!
A reusable water bottle
Rather than asking the nurses for water or going down the hall to repeatedly refill the shot sized glasses they give you at the hospital, I highly suggest having your partner pack a reusable water bottle.
A good pillow and blanket
Some hospitals will have a bed for your partner to stay with you and others may only have a chair or couch. Bringing along a good pillow and blanket can make things a little more comfortable for them as they try to support you and your baby well.
Since you will likely be in the hospital a day or two, your partner will probably also want to take a shower with their own toiletries.
Even if you have a very smooth delivery, it is likely that you will be staying overnight in the hospital at least one night. Make sure that they have any necessary medications they take regularly and maybe some Tylenol if the baby crying and long nights start to get to them.
Hospitals are cold and just like you’ll want some fuzzy socks to stay warm, your partner probably will too.
Other Things to Consider
Bluetooth speaker and/or headphones (and charger)
If you have created a labor playlist for yourself or you want some music to pass the time in labor, I suggest bringing along a bluetooth speaker and/or headphones. Some women find music powerful to help them get through their contractions.
Pillow from home
Hospital pillows suck. I suggest bringing a pillow along with you but just make sure you don’t put it on your bed until you are in the postpartum suite. Things are a bit too messy in labor and your favorite pillow might get ruined otherwise.
An extra bag for all the freebies the hospital gives you
Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, baby wash, nasal aspirators, pads, disposable underwear, you name it. The hospital will set you up with a ton of freebies and an extra bag can be helpful to get it all home.
Sound machine night light
Hospitals are loud and the lights in the rooms are insanely harsh. Since you will have nurses coming into your room throughout the night to check on you, I highly suggest having a touch night light and sound machine beside your bed. The Hatch Night Light Sound Machine does both! This helps avoid turning on the lights every time someone comes in and lets both baby and your partner sleep when the nurses come to check on you.
Gum to help with nausea
Mint gum is not only insanely helpful for nausea in the first trimester, but it can also help when nausea hits during labor. And if you have any nausea candies or ginger chews left over from your first trimester, you may want to bring those along too!
A thank you to your nurses
Labor and delivery nurses put up with a lot and clean up a lot of nasty stuff. They take care of you when you are your most vulnerable and they truly do feel like superheros during those tough moments in labor. While your nurses likely don’t expect a gift from you, it can still be a great way to show them how much they are appreciated for all they do. Here’s some gift ideas for labor and delivery nurses from Mommy Labor Nurse!
What to Leave at Home
Too many baby outfits
I definitely can empathize with the fact that it’s insanely hard to pick what baby outfits to bring to the hospital. But do your best to limit it to one or two outfits in a newborn size and one or two outfits in 0-3 month sizes. The hospital has plain onesies and they will probably be wrapped up in one of your adorable swaddles most of the time anyways! There is no need to fill up your whole hospital bag with baby clothes.
Diapers, wipes, or diaper cream
The hospital will provide all the the diapers, wipes, and diaper cream that you need! There’s no need to tap into the stash you have at home!
Formula & bottles
If you plan to exclusively use formula, know that the hospital will provide formula and bottles for you. You can leave yours at home unless you have a specific kind of formula or specific bottle brand that you want to use.
Unless you want help learning how to use your breast pump, there is no need to bring it with you to the hospital. The hospital will provide one for you if you need one.
Unless you are very particular about a certain brand of nipple cream, you can leave yours at home. The hospital will provide plenty for you.
Socks without grippers
Postpartum shakes and the slippery hospital floors don’t go well together. Don’t take your chances on socks without grippers, no matter how comfortable they might be. You don’t want to risk a fall for yourself or while holding your new baby.
Your own underwear
Leave all your cute underwear at home unless you want to throw it away. Things are going to get messy and there is no use in destroying all your favorites. The only underwear I like to bring with me is a pair or absorbent period underwear to go home in.
I highly suggest you leave all your jewelry at home. You will be asked to take it off anyways and if you bring it it will be left unattended with your things.
Your favorite blanket
Unless you want it to get ruined, I highly suggest you don’t bring any blankets with you to the hospital. Giving birth to a baby involves a lot of bodily fluids and I doubt you will want them on your blanket.
This post was all about a hospital go bag checklist created by a mom and for moms! Don’t forget to download the checklist below before you leave and check out all my other free printables!