This printable hospital bag checklist is the third post in my Baby Checklist Series!
One of the scariest and most exciting things to prepare for while you’re pregnant (especially as a first time mom) is your trip to the hospital. Giving birth is something that you simply can’t describe or understand until you do it. I think that’s partly because everyone’s experience is so different so you really can’t predict how it will go…and partly because it is the hardest, emotional, frightening, exciting, and most wonderful thing you will ever experience! I think the nervous excitement that comes with preparing for birth has nowhere else to go except into packing that hospital bag, which is why us first-time moms seem to obsess over it!
I read TONS of hospital bag lists when I was pregnant – on blogs, parenting websites, message boards, etc…plus I got advice from my birthing class and friends who’ve already had kids. I thought I’d add my printable hospital bag check list to the plethora that are already out there, just in case it may help you think of something to add (or take away) from your list, so I can help you out with the extra little comforts and peace of mind that come with having your bag packed.
First of all, I’d recommend going to the hospital where you’ll give birth and taking a tour of the labor & delivery wing. Our hospital offers a tour like that once a month, and it was so helpful to see the rooms where I’d be, know what the hospital gives you, and hear what they recommend you bring.
Second, I suggest packing THREE separate bags – one for you, one for Daddy, and one for Baby. And DON’T OVER-PACK! Depending on how your hospital is set up, you will probably end up in a different room after giving birth…and the last thing you want to do is bring one huge suitcase to your labor room, unpack everything, and then have to worry about repacking it and moving it right after giving birth! Also, if your hospital is like mine, the rooms are TINY! Baby’s bag (along with the carseat, of course) should stay in the car until after the baby is born and you’re in your permanent room. Send Daddy or another family member/friend down to the car to get it when you need it.
Here’s an “annotated” version of my hospital bag checklist…there is a printable hospital bag checklist PDF version at the end of the post without all my extra babbles!
(Giving birth is a messy thing. Don’t bring ANYTHING to wear that you don’t want to get ruined. It probably won’t, but if it does get messy, it’s easier to just throw it away.)
This post contains affiliate links – click here to read my full disclosure.
- Slippers and/or flip flops – for walking the halls, and to wear in the shower if you want
- Toiletries & Make-Up – make up might seem silly…but especially after the baby is born, you will have lots of visitors and lots of pictures taken of you! I didn’t really care what I looked like…but it did make me feel better to put on a little blush and lip gloss!
- Bath Towel – I didn’t mind using the hospital’s towels, but if you’re someone that likes having a big fluffy towel after you get out of the shower, bring your own. It’s the little things that make you feel more at home and comfortable :-)
- Hair brush & hair bands/headband – make sure you have something to pull your hair back during labor.
- Nursing bra – this is something that’s hard to buy before you actually give birth…you can’t predict what size you’ll be once you start nursing! I’d recommend just buying a cotton “sleep nursing bra” that isn’t a specific cup size (just small, medium, or large) – it will be much more comfortable and will stretch with you as you go through engorgement. I had one like this – and loved so much, I went and bought a second one! Then you can worry about buying a proper fitting bra with cup size later on.
- 2 Nursing Tank Tops – like this one. I lived in this for the first few weeks. They are so great, not only because they’re comfortable, but because you don’t have to lift your shirt and expose your flabby belly every time you nurse…and it’s easier access! You’ll be nursing a LOT at the hospital.
- 2 pairs comfy pants – no, you aren’t going to fit in your pre-maternity pants for a few months. Bring your comfy maternity pants or elastic waist yoga pants, unless you want to wear the hospital gown! And remember what I said about giving birth being messy? Black pants are best.
- 2 comfy maternity shirts – I put shirts on over top of my nursing tanks. Remember how I said there will be lots of pictures taken of you and baby by your visitors? You’ll be glad if you aren’t wearing pajamas or a hospital gown in all those photos.
(I made a “Daddy Survival Kit” for my hubby for his hospital bag – I filled it with his favorite candy, some energy drinks, protein meal bars, and other snacks. He really appreciated it – and he was good about not eating his yummy snacks in front of me while I was in labor and couldn’t eat anything!)
- Snacks & drinks OR Daddy Survival Kit
- $1 bills for vending machines (middle of the night) or $$ for the hospital cafeteria
- Clothes & Toiletries
- Sweatshirt – women in labor often like to have the A/C on full blast.
- Laptop & Charger – to send out that birth announcement email!
- Camera & Charger – if you make it out of the house with nothing else, be sure to bring your camera!! And video camera, if you’ve got one!
- Ipod & speakers – I made two different labor playlists – one upbeat, and one more soothing.
- TV Series on DVD – if you are bringing a laptop, or if you know the labor rooms have TVs and DVD players, having one of your favorite TV series is an excellent way to distract you and pass the time during the early stages of labor! I’d recommend a good sitcom (we brought Friends) because the episodes are short and they don’t require your undivided attention to watch during those contractions.
- Labor “comfort items” – we brought massage oil and massage tools (a sock with two tennis balls in it works great), and a heating pad. If you’re planning to have a natural birth, you’ll want to have lots of things to distract and relax you. I was not (I got an epidural after about 24 hours of labor, the first 14 of which were at home), so I didn’t have tons of stuff…but it was nice to have massages from my hubby, especially during those early stages of labor!
(You really won’t need very much for the baby – they’ll have everything you really need at the hospital, including diapers and clothes for baby while you’re there. I just packed the diaper bag with a few things.)
- Going home outfit (we didn’t know the gender ahead of time, so I brought one girl outfit and one boy outfit!)
- baby blanket
- Burp Clothes
- Boppy or other nursing pillow
- Nursing Cover – so you can cover up (if you want) when you need to nurse and visitors are present
- Nursing pads
- Baby Book – if you have a baby book and would like your baby’s handprints and footprints in your book, the nurses might be able to do that for you.
- Wipes – our hospital didn’t have wipes – just thin washcloths that you had to get wet to wipe baby. I would much rather just use a wipe and toss it, so I brought our own wipes to do diaper changes.
- Car Seat – of course, this doesn’t go in the baby’s bag…but you’ll want to make sure you have it in the car and properly installed in plenty of time before your due date!
I think that pretty much covers it! To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t actually have our bags completely packed until I was ready to go to the hospital (after about 14 hours of labor at home). It rarely happens like it does on TV, where you have to rush out the door as soon as you have your first contraction. (Now, if this is your second or third child and you had a fast labor with number one, that’s a different story ;-) ) I did have my checklist printed and put on top of the bags, though, so it was easy to pack everything and I was sure I didn’t miss anything.
HERE is a printable PDF Hospital Bag Checklist for you!
Check out the rest of the posts in my Baby Checklist Series – each post includes a printable checklist!
- 10 Baby Must Haves – the 10 baby items I found most useful that you might not have thought of or even heard about.
- Nursery Tour & Checklist – a tour of our nursery along with items that are really helpful to have in the baby’s room.
- Hospital Bag Checklist – you are here!
- Diaper Bag Essentials Checklist – what exactly do you need in a diaper bag, besides diapers?
- Postpartum Checklist – the part you don’t want to think about or talk about…but there are some things that will help make you much more comfortable in those first few weeks after giving birth.
MORE BABY TIPS & IDEAS:
GRAB YOUR FREE BABY SHOWER PLANNING CHECKLIST!
The perfect party is all in the preparation. This complete baby shower planning checklist will help you with every step along the way!