Parenting & Family Updates

Baby Hospital Bag Essentials

Do you know what to pack for your baby’s birth!? These lists of hospital bag essentials for both baby and mom are a great resource!

baby hospital bag essentials

Wondering what to pack for your trip to the delivery room!?  With three little ones, I had to pack a few hospital baby bags and I think I became an expert by the last one.  (Although each child was different, ha).  Either way, I thought it would be a good idea to update this list of baby hospital bag essentials!

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When I first wrote this post, I was getting ready for baby #3.  And now the oldest is turning 7 in a few days :(  Our nursery was complete, and I only had the bag to pack!  After having a baby one time, prepping for the hospital visit for the next kids is easier.  You know what you don’t need, and more importantly, what you wished you had but forgot to pack.  Obviously, every person (and baby) is different, so think of yourself and what you would like!

hospital bag packing list

This post was originally written on November 12, 2019. It has been refreshed with new information and tips, and republished June 06, 2023.

Before we dive into what should go in your baby bag, let’s discuss when you should actually pack the hospital bag!

When to Pack Your Baby Hospital Bag

If this is your first time giving birth, you may be extra excited/nervous and have your bag packed months in advance.  That’s probably not necessary, but you should be thinking about packing your bag around the 36-week mark (about one month ahead of your due date).

For my first two pregnancies, I gave birth right on their due dates and had lots of time to prepare in case I didn’t pack my bag.  (For the first baby, I had contractions for 12+ hours before going to the hospital, and the second one was a planned induction).

Basically, a hospital bag for mom will be similar to any weekend bag you’d pack if you were going away.  So think clothes, toiletries, etc.  The only thing you need to add is baby/post-birth stuff AND then a whole other section for baby. 

baby arm reaching baby bag text

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag (for Momma)

Your birthing centre (whether a hospital, midwife office, etc) will most likely have a list of suggested items to bring as well

Here’s what our local hospital suggests to pack: 

  • Underwear (2 or 3 pairs)
  • Bra (nursing bra and pads)
  • Toiletries (don’t forget hair ties/clips!)
  • Sanitary pads without dry weave mesh (no tampons)
  • Nightgown, housecoat and slippers
  • Chapstick or lipstick (I count this as toiletries/always have on me)
  • Loose-fitting clothes for the ride home (see tips for clothes below)
  • Pen and Paper
  • Pillow (bring one to share with the Husband, but I didn’t see the point in bringing my own when they have some)
  • Reusable water container
  • Health Card
  • Insurance Coverage Info
  • Stuff for a support person (the Husband can pack his own stuff!)
  • Snack food
  • Music (I’m not a music-on-all-the-time person, and wouldn’t want to disturb the other mommas after giving birth)

Here’s what I added to my bag:

  • Cell phone and charger
  • Agenda/planner (rather than loose papers, I like everything in one place)
  • Tablet/mini-computer (our hospital has wifi, and I made the Husband bring me my travel computer last time)
  • Breast pump (will help get milk started and help with uterine cramps!)
  • Nipple shield (just in case, had to rush to the store the first time when baby wouldn’t latch)
  • Shower shoes/flip flops
  • Adult diapers (easier to deal with when you leave compared to the huge hospital pads)
  • Hospital undies + peri bottle (I have multiples from the last times, I don’t need more!)
  • Playing cards, books to read, crossword puzzles (things to get your mind off of labour pains – assuming you’re there for a while)
  • List of possible baby names 

hospital bag checklist for mom

My Hospital Bag Clothing Essentials

First off, I barely remember what I packed the first time around.  We ended up having to get a C-section, and I was so out of it during the labour (and the days afterwards).  I’m pretty sure I just stayed in the hospital gown until they made me leave.

But the second time?  Oh man… I remember being so HOT in the hospital, and I hadn’t thought to bring a wide range of clothing options.  So here’s a more detailed list of what I’ll be packing clothing-wise (other than the stuff mentioned above):

  • Pyjamas: t-shirt, pants AND shorts
  • Sweater with a zipper or cardigan (easy to nurse)
  • Seasonally appropriate pants and shirt to leave (similar to what you would wear when you go in)
  • Socks and easy to put on shoes (like slippers or sandals)
  • Outerwear (I’ll most likely leave it in the car with the car seat because coats take up so much space!)

Oh, and you know how some people say to pack clothes in the size you could fit in around 6-months pregnant?  Don’t!  Just pack stuff that you know will fit you now (ie: fully pregnant), because it will still fit after giving birth.

There’s nothing more upsetting than packing clothes a bit smaller and not being able to get them on.  Ask me how I know :)

hospital bag baby clothes

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag (for Baby)

  • T-shirts
  • Sleepers
  • Diapers (bring a couple of ‘newborn’ and some size 1 just in case – although our hospital usually provides all the newborn diapers you would need for your stay)
  • Baby Wipes
  • Socks/Booties
  • Hat
  • Sweater
  • Light receiving blanket
  • Car seat (only when taking baby home)
  • Nursing blanket(s)
  • Possibly a small pillow for nursing  (like a throw pillow vs. a regular one)

You’ll probably have to double-check with your birthing centre, but our hospital provided all the diapers, wipes and baby soap.  They also put baby in a little outfit and hat and wrapped them in a blanket too.  We’ve been given the hat as a keepsake but had to swap out the clothes and blankets before we left.

What I’m saying is, you might not have to go crazy and pack, but do make sure you have enough to keep baby warm.  Although, baby clothes are pretty little so wouldn’t take up that much space in your bag.

OH!  And make sure to pack different sizes if you need.  Mostly newborn stuff, but maybe a size 0-3 months sleeper (which is larger BTW) in case you have a chunky monkey :)  And, if the baby comes super early, they also have preemie clothes. (But that’s definitely not something you can plan easily!).

Here are some bags I love!

I hope these lists for both baby and mom come in handy when packing your baby hospital bag essentials!  Let me know if there is anything you brought that I didn’t include, and/or if you thought some things I had weren’t necessary for you.

I just checked out this packing list from Pampers, this one from Baby Centre and this one from The Bump, and they’re all pretty similar!  (Although a water spritzer/sponge seems excessive… ha).

Packing for giving birth is like taking your normal travel stuff (which I have at the ready at all times) but then adding random baby things to the mix.  Instead of sand, sun and souvenirs, you get labour pains, bleeding/milking and little bundle :)

Stock Photography of baby by Dominika Roseclay

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