What to Pack in your Hospital Bag

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The Countdown is On!

You’re getting closer and closer to your due date. So much excitement, so many nerves, so much to do. You’re probably wondering “what do I need to pack in my hospital bag?”

If you’re a first time mom you may have no idea where to start. My kids were born 5 years apart and by the time baby # 2 came along I had forgotten all about the hospital bag essentials. So here is a list of items that you will want to have with you for labour, delivery and afterwards. From the essentials to the extras and everything in between.

Hospital Bag Essentials for Mom

  • Comfortable clothes for before and after delivery – loose pants or better yet, a nightgown.
  • Clothes if you are expecting to have visitors and also an outfit to leave the hospital in. Keep in mind your belly likely won’t look much different than when you went in. (Maternity or stretchy pants will be your friend)
  • Housecoat/robe – this is especially handy if you plan to breastfeed.
  • A soft and cozy blanket like this one
  • Slippers and warm socks- is it just me or are hospital rooms ALWAYS cold?
  • Large extra long pads and/or Depends
  • Nursing pads and a good nursing bra if you plan to breastfeed
  • Nipple cream! Enough said. I found this one to be the best
  • Shower sandals and your own towel…you only get 1 towel. And its tiny
  • Toiletries…toothbrush, shampoo etc.
  • Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads. Trust me you’re going to want these in your hospital bag
  • Lip balm!
  • Birth plan if you have one
  • Money or credit card for parking

Nice to Have

  • Cell phone and charger/camera/videocamera
  • Music for during labour and delivery if you wish
  • Face wipes are nice to have when you want to quickly freshen up. These ones by Neutrogena are my favourite.
  • Lotion…this firming one by Nivea is fantastic
  • Something to pass the time with. You will be in the hospital for at least 24 hours depending when your baby is born. Likely longer if he/she is born at night or if there is anything the doctors want to monitor (My first was born perfectly healthy but at night. We were there for 3 days). Colouring books are a great way to pass the time. I also enjoyed having my tablet and these when you just want some peace and quiet.
  • Of course catching up on sleep is also a wonderful way to pass the time. You may want to bring your own pillow
  • Snacks, but also real FOOD. Everyone knows hospital food is just not good. You will not be allowed to eat during labour. So you will likely be STARVING after delivery (I know I was). To save you from spending money on fast food for you and your hubby I recommend bringing microwave dinners, sandwiches, cut up fruit, veggies…whatever your heart desires. I ate these granola bars all throughout my last pregnancy and had a box on hand for after delivery.
  • Drinks for you and your husband, such as Gatorade
  • Extra clothes for your husband (he should probably just have his own small hospital bag)
  • Notebook and pen
  • Hair ties and/or a headband
  • Ear plugs if you won’t be in a private room 
  • You may not need your breast pump in the hospital but if baby is unable to latch for any reason your breast pump will come in handy. I have had 3 breast pumps and this one by Medela is BY FAR the best one.  
  • A nursing pillow is so necessary! Especially when you and baby are both learning how to get the proper latch. I had this over sized Jolly Jumper pillow for both my kids and they both used it afterwards to snuggle up with during story time or with a movie on the couch. They are soo comfy! baby bag or backpack

Hospital Bag Essentials for Baby

  • A few outfits …more than you think you will need. Newborn AND 0-3 month onesies are a good idea. (My nephew was 10 lbs at birth and all the newborn onesies they had for him didn’t fit!)
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Pacifier
  • Baby mitts and hats like these cute ones
  • Baby washcloth and soap
  • Swaddling blankets and a thicker baby blanket
  • Formula and bottles if you plan to formula feed 
  • Car seat with a base that is installed in your car. You will not be allowed to leave the hospital without one! I really like the versatility of the jogger travel systems. There are lots out there. This Graco one is the one we went with and has lots of good reviews 🙂
  • Stuffed animal or other gift from older siblings. We did this for my daughter when my son was born…she picked out a bear with a blue hat and blanket to give him when she met him for the first time. It added lots to her excitement!
  • A large versatile diaper bag like this one or a multi function backpack to carry all your baby gear in.

When should you pack your hospital bag??

They say you should have your bag packed and by the door (or in the car) by the time you are 36 weeks along. I would suggest having it ready a little bit before that as you never know what can happen. If you are having a healthy happy complication free pregnancy then I think anywhere between 32-34 weeks should be fine. If there is any reason you may deliver or need to be induced before that then you may want to have things prepared a little sooner. 


Now that you have all the essentials (and extras) ready and packed you can hopefully relax now and enjoy your time before baby makes their grand entrance! Go and have a bubble bath with a few candles lit. You deserve it mama 🙂 

Please let me know what YOU considered essentials for when you went into labour. I’d love to hear from you!

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