The Essential Newborn Baby Hospital Bag Checklist
Your due date is rapidly approaching, which means your baby could arrive any day now! You’re likely excited and nervous about going into labor. You can reduce that stress by planning ahead and having your bags packed and ready no later than four weeks before your due date.
Not sure what to pack? We’ve created the essential newborn baby hospital bag checklist to help! We’ve even put together three more checklists for supplies mommies-to-be and their partners will need — a labor bag, a recovery bag, and a partner’s bag.
Before we get to those, we’ll focus on when to pack your hospital bag and the essential items you’ll want for your baby.
When To Pack The Hospital Bags
Whether it’s your baby’s bag, your labor bag, your recovery bag, or your partner’s bag, it’s always a good idea to have them packed well before your due date so you won’t be running around in a panic when you go into labor.
Trust us, you’ll already be anxious enough! And besides, you never know if your baby will decide to arrive early.
We recommend going through your hospital bag checklist anywhere from 35 to 38 weeks into your pregnancy.
In most cases, you’ll still have two weeks or so before the birth, and you’ll need everyday items like your toothbrush and phone charger while you’re at home. Make a list of items you can’t pack early and toss them in your bag right before you leave the house.
Your Newborn Baby Hospital Bag Checklist
Your baby doesn’t need much at first — just nutrients, warmth, and you. All they’re going to be doing is sleeping and eating. The hospital will provide plenty of blankets to keep your baby warm, but there are some other must-haves that you should pack ahead of time.
You and your baby won’t be able to go home until you can pass the car seat test. This test ensures that your baby is big enough and fits properly in the car seat for safety reasons.
Also, the nurses that wheel you out to your car won’t allow you to leave unless you have a properly installed car seat in the back seat. Make sure the car seat has plenty of padding and that it can be mounted facing the rear of the car.
Blankets And Swaddles
As mentioned, the hospital will probably have blankets available, but chances are they’re going to get dirty, and they may not be very soft. Pack some of your own to keep your baby swaddled and protected against the cold.
Blankets will also come in handy when leaving the hospital. You can cover up your little one with their blanket in the hospital and use it for the car ride home.
Bring your own swaddle blankets to the hospital since the nurses will teach you how to properly swaddle your little one. Having this guidance fresh on your mind, you’ll leave with confidence in swaddling your little one!
Clothes To Wear Home
Your baby is going to need something to wear home, so plan accordingly. When you’re packing your bag, think ahead to the month in which the baby will be born. What will the temperature be? If it’s going to be cold, don’t forget socks, mittens, and a hat. These items can even be useful in the summer to keep drafts off your baby’s sensitive skin.
This outfit is special and you’ll remember and cherish it for years. You can even save it as a keepsake. Because remember, you and your little one are going home and picture taking will be inevitable!
Hat And Socks
Bring a hat and a few pairs of socks for your new bundle of joy. It may be cold in the hospital, and you’ll want to protect their delicate new skin and keep it warm.
Burp cloths—basically just small rectangles of cloth—are invaluable, so be sure to pack at least three or four. Your baby will likely spit up frequently but burp cloths can help keep your clothes, and your baby’s clothes and blankets, nice and clean.
If you choose to breastfeed, a nursing pillow will be a lifesaver! The nursing pillow props up your little one and supports their head, along with providing some extra support for you while nursing.
Bottles And Formula
Most hospitals will provide bottles and formula, but it’s a good idea to check and see what they use. If you plan on bottle-feeding your baby and the hospital doesn’t provide exactly what you want or need, be sure to pack several bottles and your formula of choice.
If you’re there for an extended period of time after the birth, ask the nurses to help you clean the bottles so you can use them for the next feeding.
The hospital staff will likely diaper your baby the first time, but you may need to pack your own diapers for any changes thereafter.
Trying to cut down on the items you have to include on your hospital bag checklist? Call the hospital prior to your delivery date and find out if they provide diapers for newborns. If they do, you can skip this item and save space in your bag.
Whether you include diapers on your hospital bag checklist or not, it’s always a good idea to pack baby wipes.
Baby wipes have so many uses — cleaning your baby, cleaning yourself, and removing sweat and makeup, just to name a few — you’ll be surprised at how handy they can be.
Mustela offers a variety of baby wipes for different skin types:
- Cleansing Wipes (for normal skin)
- Stelatopia Cleansing Wipes (for eczema-prone skin)
- Soothing Cleansing Wipes (for very sensitive skin)
- Cleansing Wipes Delicately Fragranced (for normal skin)
Choose the one that’s best for you and your baby.
Diaper Rash Cream
Another baby essential to include on your hospital bag checklist is diaper rash cream.
Mustela’s Diaper Rash Cream 1 2 3 and Diaper Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe are perfect for your newborn’s delicate skin because they’re specially formulated to prevent diaper rash, relieve soreness, and help your little one’s skin recover.
And you can rest easy that they won’t harm your baby’s skin because they’re hypoallergenic, tested under pediatric and dermatological control, and are free of harmful chemicals such as parabens, phthalates, and phenoxyethanol.
You might not need baby lotion right away, but it’s always good to be prepared!
Eczema, dry skin, and cradle cap can develop shortly after birth, so we recommend the following products to treat these skin concerns and keep your baby comfortable and healthy:
Leave Extra Room In Your Bag
We recommend that you leave a bit of extra room in your bag (be it the baby’s bag, your labor bag, or your recovery bag) so you can pack everything that the hospital gives you. They’ll likely provide diapers, wipes, and other complementary items, and you can take it all home with you.
Mommy-To-Be Hospital Bag Checklists
We’ve divided this list into two separate categories: things you’ll need during labor and things you’ll need in the recovery room.
These are the bare essentials you’ll need for the big day.
Include a copy or two of your birth plan on your hospital bag checklist so you can refer to it during your labor.
Packing several copies of your birth plan and distributing them to the doctors and nurses helps keep everyone who’s involved in the delivery of your baby informed and on the same page.
Completing a portion of the hospital paperwork before your delivery date helps streamline the admitting process and makes your labor go as smoothly as possible.
Pack your copy of any completed hospital paperwork at the top of your bag so you can reach it easily if the nurses need it.
Be sure to add a photo ID at the top of your hospital bag checklist. You’ll need it to verify your identity when you check in.
Common forms of ID include:
- Driver's license
- Federal or state ID card
- Military ID card
If you don’t have a photo ID, talk to the hospital admittance staff before your due date to make other arrangements.
A final piece of paperwork you’ll need when arriving at the hospital is your insurance information.
If you complete your admittance forms prior to your due date, the hospital may have this information on file, but it’s better to be prepared just in case.
Packing your own masks provides peace of mind during the pandemic and during especially difficult flu seasons.
Be sure to include at least two masks — maybe even three or four — so you have backups if one gets dirty. And be sure to talk to your doctor or doula about wearing a mask during delivery to prevent the spread of any illnesses.
Something To Wear During Labor
Make sure to pack a comfortable outfit to wear in the delivery room. This may be something as simple as a large t-shirt or hospital gown, or something as specialized as a birthing gown or birthing skirt.
If you’ll be in a birthing pool, throw in a dark-colored sports bra and include one or two towels for drying off after. Your hospital or birthing location will probably have their own towels, but you just never know.
It’s better to have and not need than to need and not have.
Something To Help You Relax And Pass The Time
Sometimes labor can start and then take hours to progress. Pack something to divert your attention and keep you occupied. We suggest some relaxing music, a good book, or your favorite magazines.
Speaking of relaxing, what do you do to relax when you’re stressed or in pain? It’s natural to clench your hands into a fist or grab someone else’s hand to help relieve your pain, especially during labor. Stress balls are a neutral object for you to squeeze when you need to ease the stress of labor.
Your Cell Phone And Charger
Notice we said “and charger.” We’re sure you’re going to want to send pictures of you and your new little one to your family and friends. Be prepared by keeping your phone fully charged during labor.
If you wear contacts, you’ll eventually want to take them out, so bring along a pair of eyeglasses to wear instead.
Skin Cream And Lip Balm
Hospitals can have very dry air. This can dehydrate your skin quickly and leave it dry and itchy. Be sure to pack hydrating products like Mustela’s Ultimate Hydration Bundle, which includes both a daytime and a nighttime skin care regime.
You’re also going to be doing a lot of heavy breathing during labor. This often causes chapped and dry lips. You can easily prevent this discomfort by adding a small lip balm to your bag.
Snacks And Water
We recommend easy-to-digest foods like fruits or crackers to help keep your energy levels up during the hours before delivery. Make sure this is okay with the hospital first because they may already have these things available for you.
Headband Or Ponytail Holder
You’d be surprised how annoying long hair can be when you’re in the throes of labor! Avoid being bothered by pulling your hair back with a headband or ponytail holder.
The hospital will probably have two thin pillows you can use during labor, but that might not be enough to keep you comfortable. We suggest packing a few extras just in case. If you do bring an extra pillow or two, cover it with a pillowcase that is a color other than white. That way the hospital won’t confuse your pillow for theirs.
You may feel the need to walk around during your labor, however, hospital floors are notoriously cold. Bring a pair of slippers just in case. Non-skid socks will also do the trick if that’s what you prefer.
Though you might not want to take pictures of the birth itself, you’ll definitely want pictures of your sweet baby afterward!
A camera or smartphone is a necessity for this situation. And don’t forget a charger so your camera or phone will always be ready to capture those priceless moments with your newborn.
Pack this bag with the things you’ll need for your stay in the hospital after your baby is born. It also includes things you’ll need for the trip home.
Clothes To Wear Home
Pack some soft maternity clothes to wear home when you leave the hospital. Remember, you just gave birth. So loose, comfortable clothes are your best option.
Nursing Gown And Bra
If you choose to breastfeed your little one, having a nursing gown and bra will ease your nursing experience. And you can enjoy easy accessibility while nursing with these essentials.
Toiletries And Cosmetics
Pack the toiletries you use every day so you have what you need during your hospital stay. Be sure to include items like your toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, hairbrush, and moisturizing skin lotion.
Don’t forget to also bring a towel and flip flops for the shower. The hospital may provide a towel for you, but some women prefer to use their own.
You may also want to consider bringing some makeup for pictures. Of course, we know makeup is not a top priority, but if you decide to use a little foundation, bronzer, or mascara, you’ll be happy to have your cosmetics on hand.
Expert tip: remember to pack your Mustela Cleansing Wipes. These are small, convenient, and great for removing makeup or cleansing your skin while you’re in the hospital.
Continue using your Stretch Marks Serum after giving birth. This serum helps reduce the appearance of recent stretch marks. We suggest massaging the serum onto problem areas every evening and every morning for two months.
Note: Mustela’s Stretch Marks Recovery Serum is safe to use while breastfeeding, but do not apply it to C-section scars.
The hospital will provide you with mesh underwear, but you’ll need plenty of fresh underwear, so be sure to bring at least two extra pairs. Search for postpartum underwear before packing your hospital bag to see what best suits your needs.
For extra comfort during your post-labor walking breaks, bring along your coziest bathrobe. You’re going to want to get up and move around at some point after your labor, and a bathrobe makes that super simple.
Glasses, Contacts, And Lens Solution
In your rush to get to the hospital during labor, it’s easy to forget your glasses, contacts, or lens solution. Pack extras of each in your hospital bag so you can see your newborn in all his or her glory.
Maxi pads are an immense help in keeping you clean and comfortable after the birth of your baby.
The hospital usually provides these, but you might be more comfortable with a different brand, shape, or size.
Don’t forget to pack any prescription medications you may need for a one or two day stay in the hospital.
Trying to sleep in a hospital can be difficult. There’s always some light that can prevent you from falling asleep and staying that way.
Include a sleep mask on your hospital bag checklist so you get the sleep you need to recover from the birth of your little one.
You may also want to pack earplugs to filter out the noise from the monitors, nurses coming and going, and activity in the next room.
And don’t worry about being awake and available for feedings. If your baby needs you, the nurses will wake you up.
Partner Hospital Bag Checklist
Encourage your partner to pack their own bag of essentials for the birth.
While they won’t need quite as much as you and the baby, having their own gear on hand can make the time at the hospital much easier.
At a minimum, we suggest they pack:
- Change of clothes (you never know when they might spill their coffee)
- Cell phone charger (they’ll probably have their cell phone on them, but they’ll need the charger if labor goes long)
- Entertainment (laptop, tablet, book, magazines, etc.)
- Snacks and water
If your partner plans on staying with you after the birth, they’ll need to include a pillow, blanket, eye mask, earplugs, and toiletries in their kit.
Sometimes, though, if you live close to the hospital, the nurses will encourage your partner to go home and get a good night’s sleep so they can come back fresh in the morning. This is especially common if you plan on breastfeeding your little one.
The nurses will be there to help you, so your partner may have nothing to do. They’re better off recuperating at home so they can support you the next day when you need it the most.
Talk to your doctor and the hospital about what they recommend and then your partner can pack their bag accordingly.
Choose Your Items Wisely
When packing your bags, keep in mind that, barring a long labor, you may only be in the hospital for one or two nights. Though that may seem like a long time, you’re going to be busy recovering from delivery and feeding and changing your baby.
Neither you nor your baby has any use for the five designer outfits or the box of stuffed animals that your family already bought. Stick to the essentials and you and your baby will have a happy delivery and a smooth trip home.