10 Printable Hospital Bag Essential Checklists

As your due date approaches, you are most likely already prepared with everything your baby(s) will need once they arrive home. But, with your baby gear in place, a fitted car seat, and a decorated nursery room, there is one more important thing that you need to do. In your third trimester, you need to pack your hospital bag. The hospital bag is meant for things you will need as a mother, the things your newborn baby will need, and the things your partner will need at the hospital.

You might feel overwhelmed when it comes to packing your hospital bag. That is why it is best to use a hospital bag checklist. With this checklist, you will avoid over-packing or under-packing your hospital essentials. In addition, you will eliminate guesswork and reduce the chances of forgetting something important. In this article, you will learn more about a hospital bag checklist, why it is essential, what should be packed for mom, baby, and partner, and the tips that should be observed when packing the hospital bag.

When to Pack Your Bag for the Hospital?

Since you have established that having a hospital bag checklist is essential as it makes the packing process more manageable, you also need to know when to pack your hospital bag to eliminate pressure and that last-minute rush. In addition, you need to consider the fact that your baby might arrive earlier than its expected due date.

That means it is best to pack your hospital bag by your eighth month of pregnancy. This is usually when you are between 32 to 35 weeks pregnant. If possible, ask for help from your partner when packing your hospital bag. Then, use the checklist to confirm that you have packed everything you will need at the hospital.

It is advisable to place your bag in the car or near the door for easier access in cases of emergency. As a busy mother trying to maximize their maternity leave, you might have to pack your hospital bag later in your pregnancy. Packing your hospital essentials when you are around 36 or 37 weeks pregnant is okay.

Mama’s Hospital Bag Checklist

Labor bag

Under mama’s hospital bag, the labor bag is the most crucial bag that you will need to pack. Below is a checklist of must-haves and optional items you should pack in your hospital bag as a mother. You will need these items for the labor process to ensure that you are comfortable and ready for delivery.  From snacks, drinks, and a birth ball to a comfy labor dress, here is a checklist you should use to pack your labor bag.

Must haves

☐Hospital paperwork, id, and insurance: Your documentation is essential and will be required as soon as you arrive. You need to make sure that these documents are readily available. Also, you should have copies of your medical history for the hospital to review.

☐ Eyeglasses: If you wear glasses, ensure that you carry them. Also, it is best to have eyeglasses on you rather than contacts, as a C-section will require you to remove your contacts.

☐ Birth plan (if you have one): If you have a birth plan, ensure that you carry it to the hospital. Even though you have already discussed the plan with your medical team, ensure that you have copies for them.

☐ Labor dress: Labor and delivery will get messy, so you need to have a labor dress in your hospital bag. The most comfortable labor dress is the birthing gown.

☐ Massage oil or lotion: You must have some massage oil or lotion in your bag. You will need it when you are being massaged during labor.

☐ Birth ball or peanut ball: Ensure you have your birth ball or peanut ball. It is essential for exercise as you experience your labor contractions as it helps relieve some labor pains and encourages your body to prepare for birth.

☐ Lip balm: Your lips will get dry and chapped due to all the breathing exercises you will be doing. You must carry your lip balm to keep your lips hydrated and comfortable.

☐ Water spray and sponge: These items allow your partner to help you cool down if it gets too hot during labor. Also, some water on your face and neck will be beneficial.

☐ Eye mask and ear plug: To rest in the maternity ward, you need an eye mask and an ear plug. This will help you relax and catch some needed sleep.

☐ Snacks or drinks: Labor tends to be a challenging and lengthy process, so you will need food. Unless your doctor advises you otherwise, you get nauseated by the food. Always pack your snacks or drinks to have better options in case you do not like the hospital food.

Optional items

For this checklist, you can either pack or not pack these items since they are optional:

☐ Backless slip-on slippers: You can choose to pack some slippers for your hospital stay. They should be easy to put on and remove due to the likely temperature change in the labor room.

☐ Pillows: The hospital usually provides pillows to ensure you are comfortable during labor. However, if you wish for more pillows in the labor room, you can carry a few to the hospital.

☐ Baby book: You can choose to carry your baby book to the hospital to get your baby’s hands and footprints. This is optional since you can choose to handle this process at home.

Recovery bag

Once you have delivered your baby, you will need time to recover before you, your baby, and your partner can be released from the hospital. Therefore, the following are the essential things you will need to pack that will make your recovery time at the hospital comfortable:

Must haves

☐ Going home outfit: You will need to pack loose, soft, and comfortable clothes for your going home outfit. You need time to heal, and wearing loose clothes like your maternity clothes is the best option.

☐ Nursing bras or nightgowns: Pack two or three clothing items to make breastfeeding more accessible and comfortable.

☐ Nursing pads: Pack a few nursing pads, either disposable or washable, for support and breast leak protection.

☐ Nipple cream: Ensure you pack some nipple cream to protect your breast nipples from chapping and cracking

☐ Breastfeeding pillow: It is essential to have this pillow as it makes breastfeeding more accessible and more comfortable.

☐ Your toiletries: Have the usual toiletries in your recovery bag for use when you need to bathe and freshen up after delivery. This may include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, toothbrush, body soap, razor, deodorant, makeup remover, lotion, hair ties, face wash, makeup (if you’d like), contact lens case, and solution.

☐ Postpartum or disposable underwear: You will need big, comfortable, breathable postpartum or disposable underwear after birth. Ensure that your postpartum underwear is cotton for more comfort.

☐ Bathrobe: Ensure that you carry a bathrobe to the hospital for warmth. Also, having this bathrobe allows you to be decent when receiving visitors in your hospital room.

☐ Hair dryer: Carry a hair dryer for grooming purposes to ensure that you can dry your hair after a shower.

☐ Snacks and drinks: You will need to eat and drink after delivery. That means you should carry some snacks and drinks for nourishment purposes.

Optional items

Based on your preference as a mother, you can choose to either pack the following items or not:

☐ Nursing pillow: You do not have to carry your nursing pillow. Use the pillows provided at the hospital alongside your breastfeeding pillow.

☐ Breast pump: If you plan on expressing milk instead of breastfeeding directly, it is nice to carry your breast pump.

☐ Nipple shields: You do not have to pack nipple shields in your recovery bag.  You will likely not use them unless your lactation consultant advises otherwise. This is usually if you have inverted nipples, your nipples hurt, or flat nipples.

☐ Handouts: Those breastfeeding handouts can be carried or left at home. Remember that your lactation consultant will be with you as you recover, so you might not need these handouts while at the hospital.

☐ Bath towels: Most hospitals provide towels for you when you shower. You can choose to carry your own, but it is not a necessity.

☐ Heavy flow pads: Hospitals usually offer you these heavy flow and large pads since you will be bleeding for a while after birth. However, you can pack your heavy flow pads if you prefer to type and brand them.

Partner’s Bag Checklist

You must pack certain essential items for your partner, whether your spouse/lover, a family member or even a friend. Your partner will need these things for them to be comfortable while at the hospital with you during labor and delivery.

Use the partner’s bag checklist below to identify the must-haves and optional items before packing that hospital bag for your partner:

Must haves

Extra changes of clothes: Your partner will need an extra change of clothes if they mess up their clothes, need to change after a shower, and cater to weather changes (hot or cold) while in hospital.

Comfortable shoes: Since your partner will be walking around with you or going around the hospital to get you what you need, they need comfortable shoes.

Pillow: Your partner needs to be comfortable when they sleep. This way, they can adequately recharge and will quickly help you out when you need them. Ensure that you pack a pillow to make them more comfortable when sleeping.

Cell phone and charger: To keep track of your contractions, your partner will need their cell phone and charger. This way, they can count the minutes between your contractions or use the contraction timer app to keep track of your labor.

Group text or list of people to call: Ensure that your partner has a list of people or a group text of close family and friends that they will share the news of your labor and delivery. You can discuss this with your partner and agree on the people who will be contacted for labor updates once your baby is born.

Snacks and drinks: Your partner should not stay hungry or dehydrated. Ensure that you pack snacks and drinks for them. This way, they will stay in the room with you instead of searching for food and drinks.

Optional items

The following checklist contains items your partner might or might not need while at the hospital, depending on your birth plan:

Motorized or handheld fan: The labor room might get heated, and having a motorized or hand-held fan can benefit you and your partner. You can choose whether to have it, as the hospital will likely have proper air-conditioning.

Money/spare change: Since you have snacks for your partner, you do not need to carry money or spare change. However, your partner should have spare changes to make accessing more snacks at the hospital’s vendor machine easier.

Pen and paper: You can choose to pack a pen and paper for your partner to use to document any important notes from your nurse, doctor, or lactation consultant. The most preferred way, however, is using the phone as your partner is unlikely to misplace it compared to a pen and paper.

Gifts for other children: Your partner can choose to have gifts for your other children at the hospital or home.  You can give your other children gifts once the baby arrives home, saving more space in your hospital bag for other crucial hospital essentials.

Push gifts: Your partner can also choose to give you a push gift while at the hospital. If that is the case, they should pack it in their hospital bag. In other cases, they can gift you while at home.

Baby’s Bag Checklist

Even though the hospital will provide baby’s clothing, a swaddling blanket, and diapers, it is essential to pack your items. This is because you might have to stay longer at the hospital, or your baby might make a mess and need an outfit change.

Below is the baby’s bag checklist with must-haves and optional items you should consider when packing for the hospital:

Must haves

Here is a proper checklist of must-haves that you need in your baby’s bag:

Car seat: If you are driving home, ensure you have a car seat already installed. The car seat should be rear-facing and comfortable for your baby.

Going home outfit: Ensure that you pack your child’s going home outfit. Include two outfits of different sizes, that is, newborn size and another for 0-3 months. This is because you do not know how big or small your baby will be. In addition, you can carry a matching hat and a swaddle set for that first baby photo.

Socks and booties: You need to keep your baby warm, which means you should include socks and booties. These items are meant to keep your baby’s feet warm.

Baby nail file and nail clippers: Since newborns have sharp and pointy fingernails, it is best to carry a baby nail file and nail clippers to cut those nails and protect them from scratching themselves. You can also choose to carry mittens instead and trim your kid’s nails at home.

Warm blanket: It is essential to carry your preferred warm blanket to add on top of the blankets provided at the hospital. Ensure that they are warm, fluffy, and baby-friendly blankets. This way, you will have an extra layer you can use to tuck around the baby’s car seat when going home.

Announcement items are essential and may include a name badge or a personalized baby blanket with your child’s name. In addition, they are essential when sharing the delivery news with your family and friends.

Optional items

In your baby’s bag, there are other items that you can choose to include or not. Your child will most likely not use these items at the hospital once they are born.

Here is a checklist of optional items about your kid’s needs and comfort:

Onesies: The hospital will likely give you onesies; hence, you should instead focus on packing your baby’s going home outfit.

Pacifiers: Although unnecessary, you should decide whether or not you plan to give your baby a pacifier at the hospital. This is because if you need one and don’t have one, the hospital will provide one at a price.

Burp cloths:  Create more space in your hospital bag by avoiding those burp cloths. In case of any spit-up, use the blankets provided by the hospital and save your burp cloths for when you get home.

What not to Pack in a Hospital Bag

With the hospital bag checklist, you are meant to know what you need and what not to pack in your hospital bag. Here is a checklist containing a few things you do not need to pack in your hospital bag as you prepare for your labor and delivery:

Jewelry

These are your valuables and are not necessary at the hospital. Avoid packing jewelry to ensure you do not lose your valuables at the hospital.

Lots of cash

Focus on packing just a little cash you might need at the hospital. Packing lots of cash in your hospital bag is risky and not necessary. You might end up losing your money instead.

Medications

Medications and vitamins are not to be packed. If you require any medication, the hospital will provide it for you. Also, you will need to go through a whole process for the hospital’s pharmacy to approve your medication. This process might be stressful and will likely ruin your labor and delivery experience.

Diapers

Avoid packing diapers and diaper wipes in your hospital bag. This is because; the hospital will provide you with diapers and wipes.

Candles

Finally, you should not take candles to the hospital. You will not be allowed to burn them while in the hospital. Instead, you can use a diffuser for essential oils.

Free Templates: Hospital Bag Checklist

Free Hospital Bag Checklist Template
Editable Hospital Bag Checklist Example
Printable Hospital Bag Checklist Format
Downloadable Hospital Bag Checklist Sample
Hospital Bag Checklist Excel Template
Hospital Bag Checklist Excel Template
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Word Hospital Bag Checklist Template

    Wrapping Up

    Preparing for your baby’s arrival at home is essential. However, it is also crucial to consider what you might need when at the hospital. This includes hospital essentials for you as a mom, baby, and partner. The idea is to ensure that your birth experience is excellent and you are as comfortable as possible while in the hospital. That is why; it is vital to have a hospital bag checklist. With this list, you will know what to pack and avoid for the mother, baby, and partner. In addition, you can use our free downloadable and customizable hospital bag checklist templates to make packing easier.

    About This Article

    Naomi Scupham
    Authored by:
    Content Creator | Digital Engagement Expert
    Boasting a diversified career that spans more than nine years, Naomi Scupham has become a trusted authority in the realms of marketing and communications. A graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Naomi has consistently demonstrated her knack for crafting compelling digital content that engages and resonates with varied audiences. Her skills extend to building robust relationships within the media landscape, as well as the meticulous planning and execution of integrated communication campaigns.

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