Note: I wrote this at 35 weeks pregnant with our second baby and ended up going into labor at the end of that week (read Ollie’s birth story HERE!), which is why I’m just sharing this now. I was so glad to have these items packed in our hospital bags and ready to go this second time around!
When our first baby surprised us by arriving 5.5 weeks early (you can read more about that in my birth story HERE), we showed up at the hospital with a water bottle and a couple of granola bars. Little did I know that we would spend the entire night at the hospital in labor and have him the next day! Thankfully we happened to have family in town who could pack a hospital bag for us once the baby was born. If I have learned anything from my first pregnancy, it’s that packing a hospital bag in advance is essential.
Fast forward to today, I’m 35 weeks pregnant with our second baby and my hospital bag is ready to go. Today, I’m sharing what’s in my hospital bag, what you ACTUALLY need for your hospital bag, and a free printable hospital bag checklist to help you prepare for the arrival of your little one!
RELATED: Preparing For Second Baby
When is the best time to pack a hospital bag?
The best time to pack a hospital bag is between 33-38 weeks in pregnancy.
Hospital Bag Checklist Printable
Click the graphic below to print the Hospital Bag Checklist PDF!
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
What you need
Robes – A great robe is essential for your hospital stay! I basically went back and forth between the provided hospital rope and the two delivery robes that I had packed. If you plan on taking photos, a pretty delivery robe like this one is essential!
Nursing bras – If you plan on breastfeeding, then nursing bras will be essential from the moment your little one arrives. I loved using these comfy nursing bras during (and well after) my hospital stay!
Nursing tank – Let’s be honest: you won’t want to wear real clothes during your hospital stay. I LIVED in a nursing tank (or bra) and robe! This nursing tank is one of my favorites because it also doubles as a hands free pumping tank. It’s the best!
Pump/pumping bra/bottles – Something I wasn’t prepared for with my first baby was that I would need to bring my pump to the hospital to learn how to use it. Be sure to bring your pump (I have loved using the Medela Pump in Style!), your pumping bra, and a few small pumping bottles. It wouldn’t hurt to bring a small cooler in case you have to bring some milk home with you, too!
Breastfeeding pads/nipple cream – Let’s talk breastfeeding! If you plan on breastfh eeding, you will be breastfeeding A LOT during your hospital stay. Breastfeeding pads and a great lanolin nipple cream are essential for packing in your hospital bag!
Chargers – You will be taking TONS of photos of your little one and your time in the hospital. You’ll also be texting and calling back family members and friends when they find out that you had your baby. The last thing anyone needs is a dead phone, so be sure to bring your chargers with you!
Bonus points if you can grab a charger with an extra-long cable so that it can reach your hospital bed.
Makeup bag – Ok, so you won’t be wearing a whole lot of makeup during your hospital stay. It’s hard enough learning how to take care of a newborn, so makeup will be the last thing on your mind. BUT you will need a few basics if you plan on taking photos!
I had my family bring me a small bag with just a few makeup items in it for photos that we took during our hospital stay. This is totally optional, though, and definitely not an essential!
Towels – Our hospital did not provide towels, so we had our family bring some in our hospital bag. Be sure to pack an extra towel for dad, too!
Socks – The hospital can provide socks. However, you may want to bring your own comfy socks for your stay!
Shoes – You won’t be needing to wear shoes a whole lot during your stay. However, a comfy pair of slippers or flip flops are great for walking around the room and walks down the hallways! You’ll also need a pair of shoes to go home in. Something with extra spacious, like sandals, is perfect (especially if you have a c-section and have major swelling like I did)!
Wallet – Don’t forget to bring your wallet with your insurance card and ID in your hospital bag. If it normally stays in your purse, be sure to transfer it over!
Blow dryer/curling iron – Similar to makeup, you won’t be styling your hair a whole lot during your hospital stay. However, you may want to semi-style it one of the days if you plan on having professional hospital photos done!
Coming home outfit – You’ll want to be ultra comfy when you leave the hospital, so be sure to pack something that’s weather appropriate and gives you lots of space. My favorite was this comfy maternity maxi dress!
Chapstick/lotion – These are definitely essentials!
Toiletries – Face wash, makeup removal wipes, moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, contacts, glasses, and any other essentials you might need.
Car seat – While this doesn’t go in your hospital bag, you will need to have your car seat ready to go in your car and will need to have it checked by the hospital. It will also be essential for taking your baby home!
What you don’t need
These items are typically provided by the hospital. However, you may want to bring your own if that’s more comfortable!
Underwear – The hospital will provide mesh, disposable underwear along with necessary pads. However, many moms swear by bringing their own!
Belly band – If you’re having a c-section, the hospital will provide a belly band/wrap.
Diapers/Wipes – The hospital will provide diapers and wipes for your little one!
Extras – Don’t feel like packing your own prenatal vitamins or forgot your toothbrush? The hospital will be able to help you out as needed!
What to pack in hospital bag for baby
Going home outfit – Plan an outfit that will be perfect for taking the baby home in! If it’s cold out, be sure that the outfit is plenty warm. If it’s hot, a comfy onesie with socks and a hat are perfect!
Outfits – Simple onesies to keep your little one warm are perfect for the hospital stay. You may also want to bring a couple of “nicer” outfits if you plan on taking photos!
Swaddles – The hospital will provide swaddles for your little one. However, if you have certain ones that you want to use or have in photos, be sure to pack those as well!
Hats – These are also provided for your little one by the hospital during your stay. Some hospitals don’t allow you to take them home, however, so be sure to pack at least one extra!
Mittens/Socks – You’ll need plenty of mittens to keep those little hands from scratching their own face! You’ll also need plenty of socks to keep your little one warm.
What to pack in hospital bag for dad
Camera – If you plan on taking your own photos (aside from your phone), don’t forget to pack your camera! This is a great job for dad during your hospital stay.
Snacks – Another great job for dad! Fill his bag with plenty of snacks and treats that both of you can enjoy during your stay.
Comfy clothes – Think sweats, t-shirts, hoodies. Comfy clothes for dad is essential for the hospital stay! Along these lines, don’t forget to pack his pajamas!
Slippers – He will also need a pair of slippers for walking around the room and hallways.
Blanket/Pillow – This is typically provided by the hospital, but you may want to bring your own if he will need extras.
Chargers – Don’t forget phone/iPad/computer/camera chargers! The longer the cable, the better.
Socks/Underwear – Need I say more?
Toiletries – Toothbrush, toothpaste, glasses, contacts, etc.
Getting ready for the arrival of your little one? Be sure to make these 6 Healthy Freezer Meals in advance for post-baby!