Updated: February 28th, 2020
Printable Hospital Bag Checklist for Mommy to Be – know WHAT to pack for labor and delivery
Despite my husband’s repeated requesting (almost every day for two weeks) that I pack the hospital bag for labor, we still needed to race home – in the two hours the hospital allowed us – to throw some stuff in a bag. (Sure, I’d spent plenty of time googling “pregnancy hospital bag checklist” and “what to pack in hospital bag” – don’t we all?!)
But I just hadn’t bothered to actually PACK the bag.
Don’t tell him (husband) I’m saying this, but he was right, and I should have packed the freakin’ hospital bag at 8.5 months pregnant.)
I don’t REALLY know why I didn’t get around to packing the bag before I went into labor, except I’ve always been a last-minute sorta girl, and that’s just that.
Perhaps it’s actually because I was avoiding the reality of labor, or maybe I just had other things on my pre-baby to-do list (third-trimester checklist) that seemed more important. Those both seem like valid reasons.
It’s actually not any fun to be in labor and asking yourself “What do I need for my labor hospital bag?” (Because really, you can’t answer that, having never been in labor before, and totally unable to concentrate on anything at all.)
So I just ran around grabbing stuff.
Any stuff, really.
Things that seemed like they might be useful while you’re trying to get a baby out of your body, and things that I had heard I might need. This is a bad bad way to do this, and having a labor bag packing list on hand is probably wise.
I ended up having to call my mom and ask her to please come meet the baby, but first, stop at my house and pick me up about 9 things.
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Is it just me, or is there an abundance of “fluffy” pregnancy hospital bag checklist articles out there?
I am a sort of basic kinda girl… I did not want to pack the “extra stuff” in my hospital bag – music to labor to, or nursing nighties. (Like, we know we’re not moving into the hospital, right?)
I can’t decide if authors of these labor and delivery bag checklists legit DO take that much stuff with them to the hospital, or if they’re just trying to come up with more stuff to write. Or maybe they add the fluffy stuff to make the birth experience seem more exciting and less… terrifying and messy. I dunno.
Here’s what I ended up using at the hospital.
(And remember that the hospital has most of the stuff you need for the baby, and even a lot of things for YOU – I took a bunch of giant underwear along and didn’t wear a single pair. Those huge mesh hospital undies are awesome. I WILL buy extra of those next time.)
So there I was, at the hospital with a bunch of unused underwear and a husband who hasn’t eaten anything in 24 hours.
We ended up spending FIVE days in the hospital, and inevitably, I like I said, I had to call my mom with a list of things I actually needed ASAP – because I had packed a lot of absolutely useless stuff.
Here’s the most important stuff to pack in your hospital bag for labor, the realistic stuff you ACTUALLY WILL WANT:
“While I’m in labor” stuff (put these on the top of your hospital bag packing list!)
Seriously – throw these things in a small bag on TOP of everything else, or in a side pocket so they’re quickly accessible once the real fun starts. Don’t be like me and realize the lip balm is in the car. Seriously. You NEED the lip balm. Labor is hard work and your lips will crack and bleed without it. (An amazing nurse found me some vaseline once I started begging for lip balm.)
♥ Lip balm.
♥ Hair ties.
♥ Socks (perhaps socks that you could throw away. I definitely did throw away one pair of socks…)
♥ BIG water bottle with a straw (this one would be ideal). (We didn’t have this and my husband made probably 15 trips to the sink with the tiny cup they gave us. It’s an essential om my hospital bag checklist for mom for next time, and you’ll want it after you deliver as well.)
♥ Snacks for dad.
“After it’s over” stuff – A Realistic Hospital Bag Checklist
Remember – the hospital likely provides underwear, pads, a peri bottle, over the counter pain killers, stool softeners and all that sorta medically necessary stuff. (You can always check beforehand if you’re worried they won’t have this stuff.)
They also generally provide diapers, wipes, bum cream and all manner of baby things. (If you want to be 100% sure you won’t be without those things, again, ask first. But really, you probably don’t need to pack these. You do want to have them ready at home, to avoid a stop at the store when you get out of the hospital.)
What you DO need to pack in your baby-time-go-bag:
♥ DARK, comfortable pants. 2 or 3 pairs.
♥ DARK, comfortable (preferably front opening) shirts. 2 0r 3.
♥ DARK, warm socks. 4 pairs. (Possibly socks that you could throw away.)
(Note the trend. Do not take white things to wear after delivering a baby. If you’re confused as to why – read this: 8 things that totally shocked me about postpartum recovery.)
♥ Sleep nursing bra, like this one. (Remember the point here is comfort, not support.)
♥A pack of these undies. YES, you need these. The hospital does provide them, but they can be chincy (is that a word?) with how many they’ll give you. I wanted extra!
♥ Robe. (For if it’s cold, and for covering up quickly. This is one thing I didn’t have that I will take next time.) If you get something super comfy like this, you’ll probably find you sleep in it at home too – for those first few busy nursing months.
♥ Your own pillow. (If you’re picky about your pillow, which I am.)
♥ Phone & charger.
♥ Camera (unless you will just use your phone).
♥ Basic toiletries (toothbrush / toothpaste / shampoo / moisturizer / deodorant).
♥ This spray (for your “downstairs” after delivery) – I didn’t get mine ordered in time – but it’s been HIGHLY recommended to me! (The same company makes this cream, which I have just started using on the squishy baby… and I LOVE it.)
♥ Breast pads – JUST in case you’re still in the hospital when your milk comes in. (Grab 10 FREE pairs of reusable breast pads here with the coupon code mommyonpurpose50)
These next things are definitely optional, but you’re probably going to have your first family picture a few hours after delivery, and you will probably look like you are dying without these things:
♥ Hairdryer and hairspray, unless you have wash and wear hair. (I have wash and scare hair. Very different.)
♥ Concealer, mascara, blush. (I did not regret taking these things one bit. I DID use them.)
And since you’re not the only one there:
♥ Change of clothes for dad. (Or at least underwear and a shirt.)
♥ Pillow & blanket dad (can leave this in the car until later).
♥ Book or magazine for dad. (Maybe you want one too, but I didn’t. I had sleeping / hanging out with my baby to do.)
♥ Nursing Pillow. (Grab a FREE nursing pillow here with the coupon code mommyonpurpose50.)
Baby Hospital Bag Checklist:
Remember, baby REALLY doesn’t need you to take a bunch of things to the hospital, I promise. The hospital has almost everything you’ll need. Really! But you SHOULD definitely take these things:
♥ Sleeper / coming home outfit for babe.
♥ Blanket for babe. (These are the nicest ones I’ve ever found!)
♥ Car seat, installed. (Grab a FREE car seat canopy here with the coupon code mommyonpurpose50. I have one of these and I love it!)
Grab this free printable hospital bag checklist for mom here!
You can PRINT this hospital bag checklist by clicking here to open the PDF. (No email required!)
Your hospital bag for labor doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Don’t overstress about the checklist for hospital bag too much, and don’t hugely overpack. Even in five days, we hardly used half the things we brought. The pillows, the clean clothes, the toiletries, the snacks, and the phone and charger were the things we would have truly missed.
(And the lip balm. You really will want that.)
What essentials would you add to this realistic pregnancy hospital bag checklist? Are labor music and nursing nighties high priority for you?
Am I missing out by not having the “fluffy” stuff on my hospital bag checklist?