The ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist (2024)

There are so many different lists out there that tell you what you need to pack in your hospital bag for your labor and birth. As a doula, I have helped many clients prepare for their hospital stay. With this experience, I have created the ultimate hospital bag checklist that I promise will have everything you need!

NOTE: You’ll want to ensure your hospital bags are packed and in your car no later than 37 weeks.

I recommend leaving your hospital bags in your car at this time or sooner because you want to be prepared. It’s good to be prepared just in case the OB-GYN or Midwifekeeps you after a prenatal visit or sends you to the hospital because of an emergency. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

The ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist (1)

Below I have different lists for the mom, dad/partner, and baby! Here is our hospital bag checklist—everything you’ll need at the hospital during labor, birth, and immediately postpartum.

Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist

I recommend that moms have TWO bags. One bag is for labor, and another is for their recovery/postpartum room.

Labor Bag Checklist:


Yourbirth plan(if you have one) and yourinsurance information.


If you wear contacts, you should bring your glasses along with you. If you end up needing a c-section, some doctors/anesthesiologists ask you to take your contacts out before surgery.

What you’re going to wear during labor

It will probably get a bit messy, so don’t bring anything too nice to wear in the hospital. If you aren’t sure of your options, here’s more information about what to wear at a hospital birth.

Massage oilorlotion

If you want to be massaged during your labor, I recommend bringing massage oil or lotion so your partner or doula can massage you. (If you hired a doula, she will probably bring this with her in her doula bag.)

Birth ball or peanut ball

I think having a birth ball or peanut ball is a must in our hospital bag checklist. These can really help you during labor. A peanut ball is particularly great for women preparing to have an epidural. I highly recommend it. Just bring an air pump so your birth partner can inflate it if you didn’t come with it already inflated.

  • What is a peanut ball for labor?
  • How to use a birthing Ball

NOTE: Some hospitals have birth balls and peanut balls for you to use. Ask during your maternity hospital tour if they are available at your hospital.

Lip balm

Your lips can dry out quickly with all the deep breathing you will do in labor. Having some chapstick or lip balm will help.


First, make sure that your doctor/hospital will allow this. Most of the time, they will only let you have ice chips at the hospital in labor, but they may have sugar-free popsicles there for you.

  • Snacks to pack for labor and delivery
  • Foods to eat (and not eat) in early labor
  • Labor-Aide Recipe: The Drink to Fuel You ThroughLabor

Things to help you relax and pass the time:

If you are going to have an epidural:

Bring books, magazines, a card game, or your tablet orcomputer. They also have TVs in each L&D room so you can watch a show or a movie to help pass the time. I also recommend trying to take a nap. It’s great to catch up on as much rest as possible before the baby arrives.

If you want an unmedicated birth:

Create a birth playlist and bring music, a focal point (for example, it could be your baby’s ultrasound picture), massage lotions, a heating pad, rice socks to heat up so that you can put on your lower back, essential oils for labor and delivery, etc.

Headbandsand/orponytail holders

If you have long hair, you may want it tied up since it can get in the way during labor. I recommend getting headbandsand/orponytail holders that don’t leave a kink in your hair. That way, if you want to take pictures with your hair down after birth, you won’t have a crease in your hair!


Take your Bluetooth speaker, a CD player and some CDs, or use your phone. Some hospitals provide CD players and Bluetooth speakers, so I would ask what they will have available in your room.

Camera, charged battery, charger, and a big memory card

You never want to forget the day you first welcomed your baby into the world. Many parents take pictures with their phones, but if you have a nicer camera that you want to bring to capture this special time, bring it!

Cell phoneandcharger with a long cord

You don’t know where the outlet will be, so have an extra-long charging cord so you can keep your phone close if it needs to charge.

The ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist (2)

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:

Backless slip-on slippers

Your feet can get cold during labor, so it’s great to have some slippers that you can easily slip on and off. The hospital typically has non-skid socks (super sexy! 😉 ) that you can use if you prefer those instead.


The hospital might not have enough pillows to make you comfortable. Usually, each room has about two. And often, hospital pillows are very thin and uncomfortable. If you bring your own pillows (I would), ensure your pillowcase is not white. Otherwise, they could toss your pillowcase and pillow along with the rest of theirs, and your pillow will go missing. I would recommend adding it to your hospital bag checklist.

Baby Book

After your baby’s born, the nurse will get your baby’s footprints, so if you bring your baby book, she can also get those sweet footprints and/or handprints in your baby book too!

Postpartum/Recovery Room Bag Checklist:

In addition to the below information, check out these resources:

  • Postpartum Must-Haves for a Faster and Easier Recovery After Birth
  • Postpartum Essentials for Mom and Baby



You’ll need loose, comfortable clothes to wear while in the hospital and on the journey home. You will still look about six months pregnant after the birth of your baby since your uterus still needs time to heal and get back to its pre-pregnancy size. So I recommend still bringing some soft maternity clothes for your trip back home.

Nursing bras and/or nursingnightgowns

If you had healthy labor and birth and your baby is doing well, you will probably only stay at the hospital for two or three days. I suggest bringing two or three nursing gowns or nursing bras to make breastfeeding easier and remain comfortable during your stay. If you decide to wear your nursing bras, bring front-opening shirts so it’s easier to breastfeed.

  • Breastfeeding essentials
  • Our favorite nursing bras
  • How to choose the right nursing bra for you


Bring a couple of packs (disposable or washable). Whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak protection.

Nipple Cream

You want nipple cream to protect your nipples from chapping and cracking.

Your toiletries

Having smaller bottles or buying travel versions helps save space in your recovery bathroom. Bring the usual toiletries you need: hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body soap, razor, deodorant, face wash, makeup (if you’d like), makeup remover, lotion, hair ties, contact lens case, and solution, etc.

Postpartum underwear or disposable underwear.

Don’t bring your nice, cute undies with you. You need big, cotton, breathable underwear. I recommend purchasing postpartum underwear. Some people even get Depends Silhouettes, so they can easily toss them after using them.The hospital will have disposable mesh undies with a large pad, which some women find handy, and others find gross.


It’s nice to be able to bundle up and feel covered and warm when getting out of bed or having guests in your hospital room.

Hair dryer

Snacks and drinks

Some hospitals have good food, and others don’t. If your hospital doesn’t, and you don’t have someone to bring you food, bring some beverages and snacks to keep you nourished.

  • 20 Easy Postpartum Snacks

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:

Nursing pillow

You can bring your Boppy pillow, My Breast Friend, or other breastfeeding pillows, depending on your preference.

  • Benefits of using a nursing pillow

Breast pump

If you plan to use a breast pump, I recommend bringing yours. Most hospitals have lactation consultants that visit each room to help you with breastfeeding and show you how to use your pump correctly.

Nipple shields

You don’t need to bring these with you. However, if you have some latching issues or if your nipples start to hurt or have inverted or flat nipples, the lactation consultant may recommend a nipple shield. You may be able to purchase them at the hospital as well.


If you received any booklets or handouts about getting breastfeeding started, you can bring them as a reminder. The lactation consultants aren’t always there to see you, so these can help.

Bath towel

The hospital does have towels, but they are small and pretty thin. If you prefer to have your own thicker towels, you can bring your own.

Heavy flow pads

The hospital also has large pads for you to use after birth (since you will be bleeding for several days, sometimes weeks, after giving birth). Bring the brand you prefer if you are picky about what type you want to wear.

Husband/Partner’s Hospital Bag Checklist:

In addition to the below information, have your partner read the following:

  • Tips for dads during labor and delivery
  • Best ways dads can help a new mom
  • Ways dads can help with breastfeeding


Extra changes of clothes

I have had some dads/partners change their clothes even when their partner is still in labor. For example, they may think the room is too cold, so they put on a jacket or a long-sleeved shirt, or they sweat too much because they’re nervous or working hard too, so they need new shirts. So having some extra pairs of clean clothes is good to have on hand.

Comfortable shoes

They may be walking up and down the halls with you, running to get you ice chips, or going to find and talk to family. So having comfy shoes are essential.


They need something comfortable to sleep on for the same reason as you. The pull-out couches aren’t the most comfortable, so it’s at least nice for them to have a good pillow.


Your partnershould have been keeping track of your contractions on their phone with a contraction timer app, so be sure they have that downloaded as well. There are plenty of free ones.

Group text or list of people to call

Before you go into labor, discuss all the people your partner needs to notify once you are in labor. Some people do a group text, and others keep a list of names to get in touch with.

Snacks and drinks

You don’t want a dehydrated, hungry birth partner looking after you. If they bring some snacks and drinks, they can stay with you rather than leave the room to search for food! If they leave the room to find food and eat, they may not return quickly to help you. I tell my doula clients to bring a cooler to carry the drinks and snacks they want.

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:

Motorized or hand-held fan

You may get overheated in labor, so it’s great if your partner has a fan to help you cool down. It can be a motorized or hand-held fan and may even have a mister, which can be very nice.

Money/spare change

If you don’t have time to bring snacks, you will want some spare change for the vending machines. You both will probably be really hungry after labor, and the hospital cafeteria might not be open once the baby is born. If no one can bring you food (which I would see if someone can pick something up for you), then having some change is helpful to get some snacks from the vending machine.

Pen and paper

If documenting things in a note on your phone is not your preference, bring something to take notes on. This will really help if your nurse, doctor, or lactation consultant gives you any recommendations or advice. Also, you just gave birth and are recovering, so put him in charge of documenting important things.

Gifts for other children

Make sure to have these ready when big brother or sister enters the room. A gift “from the baby” is always a good thing.

Push present

This way, they have the push present with them to give to you after the birth of your baby 😉

Baby’s Hospital Bag Checklist:


Approvedcar seat

Hospitals won’t let you leave without one, and the base needs to be installed properly in your car.

  • 5 Considerations When Purchasing Baby’s First Car Seat
  • 10 Car Seat Safety Tips That May Save Your Child’s Life
  • The Best Infant Car Seats

A going home newborn outfit

When purchasing a going home outfit for your baby, consider what the weather might be like when your baby is born. Their outfit needs to be seasonally appropriate. Babies are sensitive to cold weather, so if it’s cold outside, bring a hat, snowsuit, or jacket to keep your baby warm. Don’t forget socks or booties. (Remove the snowsuit or jacket before placing your baby in a car seat.)

  • Tips for Dressing Baby in the Winter

Warm blankets

The hospital will provide you with a baby blanket or two to swaddle your baby, but if you prefer a particular type of blanket, bring your own.

  • Best Swaddles to Help Comfort Your Newborn

Announcement items

If you have a name badge or personalized blankets with your baby’s name, don’t forget to bring them so you can document and share with the world (or just your family) that your little one has arrived.

  • Birth Announcements We Love

*Nice to Have But Not Necessities:


The hospital will give you some Gerber onesies while you are there. So all you really need is a going home outfit for your baby. But if you prefer that your baby wear something else, bring two or three options.


If you decide to give your baby a pacifier, bring your own. Otherwise, they will charge you for theirs at the hospital, which is usually a little higher in price.

  • The Pros and Cons ofPacifiers: Should You Give One to Your Baby?
  • Pacifiers and Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know
  • The BestPacifiers for Breastfed Babies
  • How to CleanPacifiers and When to Replace Them

Burp cloths

Burp cloths are great for cleaning up any milk or if your baby spits up. But you can use the baby blankets that they give you.

I also recommend making sure there is extra room available in your hospital bags. Then you can bring home everything that you get at the hospital. They are going to give you diapers, wipes, and more. Take as much as you can! They are charging you for it anyway. I hope this hospital bag checklist helps!

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Based on the information provided, here is a breakdown of the concepts mentioned in the article:

  1. Hospital Bag Checklist:

    • The article provides a comprehensive hospital bag checklist for moms, dads/partners, and babies. It includes essential items to pack for labor, birth, and the postpartum/recovery period.
    • The checklist is divided into different categories, such as must-haves and nice-to-haves, for each person.
  2. Labor Bag Checklist:

    • The labor bag checklist includes items specifically for the mom during labor.
    • It suggests bringing important documents like the birth plan and insurance information, as well as eyeglasses (if applicable).
    • Other items on the list include what to wear during labor, massage oil or lotion, a birth ball or peanut ball, lip balm, snacks and drinks (if allowed by the hospital), and items to help relax and pass the time.
  3. Postpartum/Recovery Room Bag Checklist:

    • The postpartum/recovery room bag checklist includes items for the mom's recovery after giving birth.
    • It suggests bringing a going-home outfit, nursing bras and/or nursing nightgowns, breastfeeding essentials, nursing pads, nipple cream, toiletries, postpartum underwear or disposable underwear, a bathrobe, a hairdryer, snacks and drinks, and other optional items like a nursing pillow, breast pump, and handouts.
  4. Husband/Partner's Hospital Bag Checklist:

    • The husband/partner's hospital bag checklist includes items for the partner to support the mom during labor and birth.
    • It suggests bringing extra changes of clothes, comfortable shoes, a pillow, a cellphone and charger, a group text or list of people to call, snacks and drinks, and other optional items like a fan, money/spare change, pen and paper, gifts for other children, and a push present.
  5. Baby's Hospital Bag Checklist:

    • The baby's hospital bag checklist includes items for the newborn baby.
    • It suggests bringing an approved car seat, a going-home newborn outfit, warm blankets, and optional items like onesies, pacifiers, and burp cloths.

Please note that the information provided is a summary of the concepts mentioned in the article. For more detailed information, it is recommended to refer to the original article.

The ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist (2024)
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