What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

One of the most important third trimester to-dos is deciding what to pack in your hospital bag — for baby, you and your partner. Packing is a job you don’t want to do too late. It’s a good idea not to leave it for later than 37 weeks, since you want to have everything you need to make your birth and first days with baby as comfortable as possible.

So, how many days worth of clothing should you pack? Call the hospital and ask them how many days most women stay in their birthing center to be sure. Women typically stay in the recovery room about 48 hours after giving birth; however, this is not everyone’s situation and depends on how baby and mom are doing. 

You don’t want to leave out any essentials, but there’s also no reason to overpack, which is why a hospital bag checklist comes in very handy. Here are the must-haves (and some nice-to-haves) for the hospital. These lists are a good starting point, but every birthing center does things differently, so ask ahead of time what they will supply and what you need to bring from home.


Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby

  • Approved infant car seat (American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Car Seat Guidelines)
  • A going-home outfit
  • Approved infant car seat with the base properly installed in your vehicle
  • A few sleepers and onesies, socks and a knit hat
  • Cozy blanket and several receiving blankets
  • Package of newborn/size small diapers
  • Package of unscented baby wipes
  • Pacifiers


Hospital Bag Checklist for You

  • Photo ID, insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)
  • Slippers and socks
  • Robe and nightgowns or pajamas that can unbutton for breastfeeding
  • Nursing bras
  • Disposable underwear
  • Loose, comfy clothes to wear home
  • Toiletries, including hair elastics or headbands
  • Lip balm, moisturizer (hospitals are very dry)
  • Nursing pads, nipple cream, maxi pads
  • Camera/video camera, phone and chargers
  • Flip-flops for the shower
  • A comfy pillow from home (with a case that can get ruined)
  • Non-perishable snacks and drinks
  • Earbuds to listen to music on your phone
  • Light reading, notebook and pen


Hospital Bag Checklist for Your Partner

  • Change of clothes: Comfy clothes recommended, such as sweatpants, sweatshirts and pajamas
  • Comfortable shoes such as sneakers, Crocs or other slip-ons
  • Your own pillow and blanket from home
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo
  • Glasses, contact lenses and contact solution (if needed)
  • Easy, filling snacks like trail mix
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Loose change for the vending machines 
  • Camera, phone and chargers
  • Speaker for music: even better if you and mom put together a playlist or two beforehand!
  • Massage oil
  • Entertainment, whether it’s something to read, listen to or watch


When you are satisfied you’ve packed what you (all) need, stash your hospital bag in your car trunk or by the front door if you plan if you plan to take a taxi. Now, all you have to do is wait for baby’s arrival!

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