Skip to main content

Hospital bag checklist: What to pack for your labor and delivery stay

Here are the items you should pack in your bag for your hospital trip

Pregnant woman packing a hospital bag

Throughout your pregnancy, you’ve probably spent a lot of time planning. From organizing the nursery to buying the baby clothes and stocking up on supplies, you’re ready to finally welcome your little one, but first, you need to plan one more thing. Packing your hospital bag for your labor and delivery stay is just as important as planning for your new baby’s arrival, and we’re here to help you with a handy hospital bag checklist, so you won’t forget anything.

When to pack the bag

One thing we know about babies is that they are unpredictable, and as much as you have planned their arrival around your due date, things can change quickly! That means you really don’t want to be waiting until the last minute to pack that hospital bag. Due dates aren’t always accurate and sometimes babies come earlier than expected, and you can get overwhelmed and tired as you near the end of your pregnancy.

You’ll want to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go early in your third trimester. Make sure your partner or any other support person is aware of where your bag is so they can grab it, especially if you aren’t home when you need to go to the hospital.

Open suitcase with packing cubes

What to pack for mom

Your time in the hospital will hopefully be brief with your baby, but you still want to ensure you’re comfortable and have everything you need. First, you need to consider what you’re going to wear at the hospital and when you leave the hospital. Remember, your body will undergo a lot of changes after delivery (but maybe not as much as you think) and comfort will be key.

Choose loose-fitting items without pesky seams that will rub against sore and tender skin. Picking the right underwear is also very important, especially if you end up undergoing a cesarean section. You’ll want cotton underwear that has a higher waist so it won’t irritate any stitches and will accommodate postpartum pads.

Here are some handy checklists to mark off:


  • Maternity underwear or comfortable underwear that you are OK with getting ruined
  • Nursing bras or other bras that are comfortable and provide support
  • Socks, like slipper socks for slippery hospital floors and/or slippers
  • Comfortable loungewear, whether that’s pajamas or joggers, or a robe — you want layers since the hospital could run hot or cold
  • Slip-on shoes because you may not want to be bending over to tie laces after having a baby
  • Comfortable going home outfit


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush/comb and any scrunchies, elastics, or clips you may want to put your hair up
  • Lip balm, lotion, and any makeup you may want
  • Deodorant, face wash, shampoo, and conditioner
  • Absorbent maxi pads (the hospital will have some, this is if you want to have your own)
  • Towel from home — hospital towels can be small and scratchy


  • ID and insurance card
  • Pens for all those forms you’ll be filling out
  • Cell phone charger
  • Birth plan (if applicable)
  • Glasses if you wear them
  • Book or magazine for a long labor
  • A few light snacks
  • An extra bag to pack gifts and samples the hospital provides

What to pack for baby

The hospital will have everything you need for your baby during your stay, including diapers, wipes, blankets, and gowns, but you’ll want to have a few special things packed for your little one for their first trip home.

  • Going home outfit and hat (you may want to pack two options in different sizes)
  • Blanket for warmth
  • Receiving blankets or burp cloths for quick clean-ups on the way home
  • Car seat
  • Pediatrician information
  • Bottles if you’re not planning to breastfeed

Pregnant woman in labor at hospital

What to pack for any labor and delivery support people

Although mom and baby are the priority when packing for a hospital stay, your partner or labor support person may also need a few supplies. Packing a few snacks, like granola bars and energy drinks, can come in handy, especially if you labor overnight. Cafeterias will be closed and having something quick to grab can help your partner stay energized without having to leave your side.

They should also have a change of clothes and a small bag of personal toiletry items to freshen up with, especially if they don’t want to leave the hospital. Your partner may also want to download a few episodes of a favorite show, bring a book, or have some games handy to pass away some of those long hours in the hospital.

Should you bring multiple bags?

Now is not the time to overpack, and most people leave the hospital with more than what they arrived with. Between gifts for the baby, hospital supplies, and the paperwork that comes with having a newborn, you will have your hands full when leaving the hospital. That being said, having one bag with your essentials, one for the baby, and one for any extras you may have thought to bring can help you easily access what you need during your hospital stay.

For new mothers who give birth without any complications, the typical hospital stay is between one and two days, so there’s no need to pack for an extended stay. Should you require a more lengthy stay, you can always have a backup bag at home ready for someone to bring for you.

Make your trip to the hospital as stress-free as possible by having everything you need packed and ready to go at least a few weeks before your due date. These items are just a guideline to help you decide what you want to pack in your own bag. Everyone’s needs are different, and the most important thing is that you’ve planned properly and are ready to go before your baby arrives.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelli Catana
Kelli is a freelance writer who has covered the world of entertainment, pop culture, parenting, and lifestyle for various…
What is the most common birthday month? The holidays play a key factor
The most common birthday dates (and the most common month) have one thing in common...
Getting ready for an outside birthday party

Have you noticed there's a specific month when everyone in your child's class has a birthday? Notice months that no one seems to have a birthday at all? There's a reason for that, and it has to do with the timing of the holidays. The most common birthday month that will keep you baking treats for your children's friends and have you constantly running from birthday party to birthday party is at the start of the school year for a reason.
Every child seems to be born in this month
No secret to September
Yes, September has the most common birthday dates. Why? Well, do the math backward, and where does that land you? During the holidays! And what do we do during the holidays?

Between the parties, gatherings, the holiday spirit -- and perhaps the holiday drinks -- we are in better moods, which leads to more adults enjoying each other's company. Plus, it's cold outside and we stay indoors longer. Track those nine months, and September is where the babies land.
The most common birthdays in order

Read more
A new study says pregnant women should do this before bed
Pregnancy tip: Dim lights before bed to help reduce risk of gestational diabetes
Pregnant woman sleeping on her side

Most pregnant women take their health very seriously. They work hard to make sure they're eating well and staying active to help grow the healthiest human possible and avoid any issues that could impact their pregnancy. One of those issues is gestational diabetes. The CDC reports that anywhere between 2% and 10% of those tested will develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.

While eating a balanced diet is a big factor and a common pregnancy tip in preventing gestational diabetes, a new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Maternal Fetal Medicine suggests that prolonged light exposure at night can also increase a pregnant person's chance of developing this potentially harmful condition.
Turn off the lights earlier
The study showed that of the 741 women involved in the study, those who developed gestational diabetes had a greater exposure to light in the 3 hours before bed than those who didn't. "Our study suggests that light exposure before bedtime may be an under-recognized yet easily modifiable risk factor of gestational diabetes," Dr. Minjee Kim, lead author of the study out of Northwestern University, said in a statement.

Read more
Is the tooth fairy real? What to tell your kids about the tooth-stealing ninja when they ask
You can decide whether to tell the truth or stretch the magic
A parent having a talk with their child.

As kids get older and start to question if Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real, parents have some explaining to do. If your child has asked if the Tooth Fairy is real, we have the backstory to give them. Whether you want to keep the fairy tale alive or give them the hard truth, we have your options covered.

If parents want to tell the truth
If your parenting style is to straight up tell the truth when a child asks you about something in the make-believe world, then drop this knowledge on your kiddo.
Short historical background
Around the 10th to possibly 12th century, the Norse people recorded the "tand-fe" tradition of adults paying children for their first lost tooth. For them, baby teeth held special powers that would protect them, especially if they wore a necklace of baby teeth on the battlefield.
When the Tooth Fairy was invented
The more traditional form of the Tooth Fairy we know today comes from a French fairy tale involving mice, called La Bonne Petite Souris (The Little Mouse). The story takes place in the 1800s and involves a mouse taking a child's tooth in exchange for a coin.
The first time the Tooth Fairy was mentioned in the U.S.
Here in the U.S., parents should thank Lillian Brown for being able to use the Tooth Fairy to get their kids to brush their teeth. Brown's article, published in the Chicago Tribune in 1908, first introduced the idea of a fairy that would gift your child 5 cents for each pulled baby tooth.

Read more