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 two more checklists for supplies mommies-to-be will need—a labor bag and a recovery bag. Before we get to those, let’s focus on the essential items for your baby.
Your Newborn Baby Hospital Bag Checklist
Your baby doesn’t need much at first—just nutrients, warmth, and you. All he’s 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.
The nurses that wheel you out to your car won’t let you 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 complimentary 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.
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.
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.
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 & 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. 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 & 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.
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. Loose, comfortable clothes are your best option.
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.
You’ll need fresh underwear, so be sure to bring at least two extra pairs.
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.
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 have 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.