What Does Your Birth Plan Say About Your Personality? Take The Quiz Today!

The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist For The Mom Who Wants To Be Prepared

Hey there, soon-to-be momma!Your due date is gets closer and closer. Do you feel like everything is getting a bit more real? Maybe it’s even time to have everything in place for when labor starts?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you! We will make sure you have everything checked off on your hospital bag checklist! That way, you will know you are ready for everything!

Our checklist covers all the essentials and also includes some comforting items to make your stay more enjoyable. Don’t miss out on packing your hospital bag so you are prepared for anything. So, let’s get started on packing that bag and getting ready for the most exciting adventure of your life!

How To Start Packing Your Hospital Bag – All The Things You Should Consider

Sometimes it feels like there is A LOT to think about when packing a hospital bag. And there is. But – when we step back and plan out the different things you might need, it becomes easy to pack for each part of your stay.

When I help moms pack their hospital bags for their birth, I break the task into 5 sections;

  1. Everything you need for coping with labor
  2. Everything you need for postpartum
  3. The all important snack bag that you will have for both labor and recovery
  4. A bag for your partner with all of their essentials
  5. A few items for your baby, which you can usually place in a packing cube or small bag and slip into your own bag.

When you pack your hospital bag, you are taking steps towards having the positive experience you deserve. Hopefully, getting all of this gathered gives you a sense of control and joy about the upcoming delivery day.

Trust me, that little one (or ones) will be worth it! So let’s get started with everything you will need for labor.

Hospital Bag Checklist For Labor

Coping with contractions is likely one of your top priorities. That’s why I pack labor coping essentials first. Many of my moms choose to get an epidural, and many choose to go without. In my doula practice, it is about 50/50. (PS:I have a great took fo you if you are still deciding i fan epidural is worth it or not. This video goes over the unbiased pros and cons)

No matter what you decide, you can learn tons of ways to cope with contractions, reduce tearing, simple exercises to prep for labor, and all the skills you need for the big day inside my birth course. I’d love to help you be totally prepared for your baby’s birth day.

But, let’s stay on task for now. These are the items I most often see moms use from their hospital birth bag during labor. Some of these essentials help cope with pain, but there are many other things you will want too:

A Tens Unit

A TENS unit is a great device to help moms through contractions in early labor. It is especially useful for the car ride to the hospital and through triage. A tens unit uses low-level electrical impulses to provide pain relief.

The electrodes are placed on your lower back. You can adjust the level of stimulation to your own comfort level. It feels much like a massage chair or raindrop feeling on your back that helps bring relief through the contractions. Out of ten intensity levels, I typically see it used at level 4. It is great to hold onto for the future if you get period cramps as well.

A Water Bottle With A Straw

When you’re in a hospital bed or trying to grab a small sip between contractions, a drink with a straw is much easier to use and will help you stay hydrated better.

Our Pick: The Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle for a trendy bottle that will be easy to use, won’t spill, won’t break if it falls and is a decent price


Chargers for your phones, a laptop or ipad to watch a show, bluetooth speaker to play music, and headphones.

Our Pick: When it comes to a small bluetooth speaker that easily slips into a hospital bag, my Bose Soundlink Flex has never let me down and it has come with me to many births. It has excellent sound quality and is waterproof.

Something Soft From Home

Hospitals don’t always give the most warm and friendly vibes. Having a soft blanket or your own pillow can be nice to have for parts of labor. Although, keep in mind that labor can be a bit messy, so don’t bring anything you would be disappointed if it got a spot of blood or mucus on it.

Our Pick: We love something ooh so warm, cozy and soft like the UnHide Faux Fur Heavy Weight Blanket. The weight is so nice if you are dealing with shaking during the hormonal shifts of transition.


Toothbrush, toothpaste,  travel shampoo and conditioner, contact supplies and glasses,  soap if you want a nice one, and don’t forget the chapstick. As a doula I’m constantly digging through the cosmetics bag for chapstick!

Makeup is completely optional. If you want it, throw it in. But, you’ll look more radiant than ever when you give birth, so you can thank your body for you entering Goddess mode and leave the makeup at home if you prefer. 

Our Pick: If you want an easy to grab travel kit, start with the Theorie Pure Collection Travel set. Not only is it hypoallergenic, but it has your Shampoo, Conditioner, body wash and face and body scrub as well. Just add your toothpaste and toothbrush and you’re good to go.

The hospital will have towels and wash clothes, so don’t worry about packing those.

Hair Ties

Even if you do your hair nice for early labor, there is a good chance at some point you will want to pull it up and back. We are obsessed with the Silkie Hair Tie Scrunchies because they have great color combos and won’t damage hair.

A Stroller Fan

Pick a fan that can clip to the side of the hospital bed: you may go from hot to cold to hot as your hormones change during labor, it can be so nice to have a small fan to clip to the side of your bed.

Our Pick: SkyGenius Battery Operated USB Rechargeable Fan. I find the fans with clips are MUCH easier to use than the fans with the octopus style arms you wrap in place. It may be worth it to grab an extra long charging cord as the battery only lasts about 3-6 hours. You should be able to charge with your USB wall plug like the ones used for a phone.

Shoes Or Slippers

You may be getting in and out of bed many more times than you plan. So look for something you can slip in and out of easily. Also, think about choosing something you won’t stress about getting dirty or ruining. It may be work pickup up an inexpensive pair of slipper that you can toss if they get splashed when your water breaks or end up with a spot of blood on them.

Our Pick: We love the COFACE fuzzy slide ons. Make sure to wear something that slides on and off and that you won’t be upset if they get dirty.

Grippy Socks

Hospital floors are dirtier than you think – so it’s always best to walk around with a soled slipper or shoe. But, sometimes, you may end up walking around in socks. Because of that, choose a pair with gips that will keep you warm and keep you stable if you do end up walking around in just your socks.

Our Pick: We love these super soft, super cozy socks for labor.

Two Or Three Nursing Bras

many moms will ditch the bra when they change into a hospital gown, other moms opt out of the hospital gown and just wear leggings or shorts and a sports bra. Some moms will want a special bra so they can feel beautiful if they are laboring in the tub for a while and that they won’t worry about getting wet.

Our Pick: The Kindred Bravely French Terry Nursing Bra has the best colors, are incredibly soft, and flattering on almost every body shape.


Some moms like to use aromatherapy during labor. The oils I see moms use are:

Peppermint to help with nausea and the first post baby pee (put a drop or two in the toilet, it will help you go),

Bergamot to help ease anxiety (ask your nurse to grab a cup of ice water to keep a cool rag in and add a drop of bergamot. The cool scented rag will feel so good when the shakes of transition hit. It is soothing as your body goes through a massive hormonal shift and gets ready for pushing.)

Clary Sage for clary sage, grab a roll on bottle. You can rub it on your temples, and the deep smell is quite grounding. It can also Clary sage essential oil is believed to have a calming effect on the body, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety during labor. Additionally, it may help to stimulate contractions and speed up the labor process. Some women also report that clary sage oil can help to alleviate pain during labor.

Please don’t use Clary Sage before 38 weeks of pregnancy as it can help bring contractions closer together in some moms.

ID, Insurance, Paperwork

You need to have you ID to check into the hospital. Plus, even if you have preregistered, it is a good idea to have your insurance card on file in case they need it again. Labor is not the time to be running back home because you need one of these. Although you won’t use it until postpartum, it’s also a good idea to keep any paperwork you need for maternity or paternity leave in your bag as well.

I recommend grabbing a waterproof folder to place all your paperwork in so it doesn’t get messed up in transit.

A Call List

if you have a long list of family and friends you want your partner to text a birth announcement to, it can be helpful to give him a list

Your Birth Plan

The staff at the hospital are involved in multiple births at once. It’s a great idea to have a brief summary of who you are and what is important to you in your birth to help them customize their care to you. Make sure to check out our free birth plan challenge that will give you a template to use and walk you through what to put on it.

A Contraction Timer

Make sure that you download a contraction timer to your phone so that you will be able to easily time contractions when you feel them begin! I really like Full Term or Freya Birth.

Hospital Bag Checklist For Postpartum Recovery

A Robe Or Sweatshirt

Opt for a robe or sweatshirt that opens in the front for easy access to skin-to-skin contact with your baby during the first few months of their life. Snuggling up against your body will not only help support milk production but also facilitate proper breastfeeding latch. Wearing a comfortable robe or sweatshirt that you can wrap around you and your baby is often more soothing than the hospital gown, allowing you to feel more relaxed and at ease during your stay. So why not make your hospital experience a little more comfortable and meaningful by bringing your own cozy and functional robe or sweatshirt?

We love the soft knit bathrobes found on amazon. They are both very functional, cute, and so soft.


When it comes to postpartum bleeding, the hospital provides large pads and mesh underwear for your convenience. However, if you’re looking for a more comfortable alternative during those first few days when you may still be bleeding heavily, consider using Depends. These disposable underwear options offer better protection and absorbency, allowing you to feel more secure and comfortable as you recover. Plus, you won’t have to worry about any unexpected leaks, making it easier to focus on bonding with your newborn and enjoying those first precious moments together.

For more information on what to expect as far as bleeding, check out our postpartum recovery guide. You can also find out how to heal stitches faster after giving birth in our complete guide.

Leggings Or Soft Flowy Clothing For 2-5 Days

After giving birth, you may spend anywhere from one to six days in the hospital depending on the type of delivery. While you don’t necessarily need to wear pants during your stay, having comfortable clothing options like a maxi dress, nightgown, or pants can come in handy. Not only will it allow you to feel cozy and relaxed while resting, but it can also be practical if you have visitors or want to move around a bit. By bringing your own comfortable clothing, you can make your hospital experience feel a little more like home and ensure that you feel as comfortable as possible during your stay.

Another Pair Of Grippy Socks

Wearing grippy socks during postpartum recovery is recommended for a few reasons. Firstly, after giving birth, your body needs time to heal and recover, and you may feel weak or unsteady on your feet. Grippy socks can provide extra traction and stability, reducing the risk of slips and falls. Additionally, hospitals are often kept cool to prevent infection, and wearing grippy socks can help keep your feet warm and cozy. Finally, during postpartum recovery, you may be required to walk around to aid your recovery and prevent complications. Grippy socks can help you move around with confidence and ease, allowing you to focus on your recovery and taking care of your new baby. Overall, wearing grippy socks is a simple but effective way to stay safe and comfortable during your postpartum recovery.

Cute Going Home Outfit 

Bringing a cute going home outfit to the hospital for delivery is important for a few reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to make a special memory and milestone out of leaving the hospital with your new baby. After all the hard work of giving birth, having a cute outfit for yourself and your baby can help you feel refreshed and ready to begin the next chapter of your life.

Breast Pump + Nipple Cream

It’s true that your hospital will provide many essentials for you during your stay, such as a peri bottle and breast pumps. However, I always recommend that moms bring their own breast pump so that their nurse can assist them in learning how to use it properly, both at the hospital and at home. Putting a breast pump together can be daunting for new moms, so having your own can make it much easier. This way, you can take it out of the box and become familiar with it before using it for the first time. With a little practice, using a breast pump can become second nature.

You also want to start using a nipple cream right away when you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, but, it will take a bit to get used to. So using a cream from the start makes a big difference.

Milk Tea

After delivering a baby, a mother’s body undergoes many changes as it adapts to produce milk for her baby. Lactation teas can also provide hydration and essential nutrients that are important for postpartum recovery. Additionally, drinking a warm cup of tea can be comforting and relaxing for new mothers, which can be especially beneficial during the challenging and emotional postpartum period. While lactation teas may not be a magic solution for milk production issues, they can be a helpful tool for some mothers in supporting their breastfeeding journey. 

Colostrum A mom may choose to collect colostrum before the birth of her baby for various reasons. Some women with gestational diabetes or other medical conditions may be advised by their healthcare provider to collect and freeze colostrum in case their baby experiences low blood sugar after birth. Collecting colostrum before birth can also help a mom become familiar with hand expression and even help prepare her body for labor, which can help with the transition to breastfeeding once the baby is born.

Items To Suppress Milk If Not BreastFeeding

If you are not intending to breastfeed, you will want to pack a few things to help stop your milk from coming in. First, pack a tight and supportive bra. Second, grab a stop the flow tea made of sage, licorice and parsley.

We love the Stop the Flow tea by Pink Stork for moms wanting to stop breastmilk from coming in. We also love the Organic Gentle Formula by Bobbie for a high quality food for baby.

But, don’t worry, you don’t need to bring bottles, your own formula or anything to feed your baby at the hospital. Feel free to leave that at home and use what the hospital provides. Unless – you want organic formula over regular formula for your little one.

Because it takes about 7-10 days for your milk to dry up, you may want to bring a simple handheld breast pump to use in case you feel overfull or engorged. Ideally, you won’t have to use it often. But, breasts that are over full can lead to mastitis and infection, so you may want to wean gradually.

Hospital Bag Checklist: The Snack Bag

In my opinion, the food bag is one of the most important bags to pack for labor. Many people don’t realize it, but eating during labor is really important. The body requires a steady supply of nutrients to sustain energy levels and support optimal performance. Adequate nutrition during labor helps prevent fatigue, dizziness, and weakness, allowing a mother to remain focused and efficient.

Foods can also support the labor process. Let’s look at how just one nutrient, Vitamin C can affect labor.

One Example Of How Food Supports The Labor Process

Oxytocin, an incredible hormone, plays a remarkable role in birth. It orchestrates the rhythmic contractions of the uterus, guiding your baby’s journey into the world.

Beyond its physical power, oxytocin also floods the mom’s body with intense feelings of love, bonding, and awe, reminding her of the extraordinary strength and beauty of her own miraculous journey of childbirth.

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in the synthesis and function of oxytocin receptors.

Oxytocin receptors are proteins found on the surface of cells that allow oxytocin, the “love hormone,” to bind and exert its effects. Vitamin C is involved in the hydroxylation of specific amino acids, which are building blocks of these receptors.

This hydroxylation process helps stabilize and enhance the structure and function of the oxytocin receptors, allowing them to effectively receive and transmit signals from oxytocin. Adequate levels of vitamin C in the body are essential for the proper formation and functioning of oxytocin receptors, ultimately influencing the body’s response to oxytocin and its related effects on emotions, social bonding, and reproductive processes.

This is a very long way to say, that your body can labor more efficiently if you get the right nutrients as you labor.

Healthy And Useful Food Ideas For Your Snack Bag

There is great news for my fellow foodie moms out there. You can eat whatever you want during labor  unless or until you get an epidural. Plus, a little food can make dealing with contractions less difficult. Here are a few snack ideas for your bag:

  1. Date energy bars
  2. Yogurt
  3. Clementines
  4. Blueberries
  5. Cheesesticks
  6. Your favorite bread and hummus

Healthy And Useful Drink Ideas For Your Snack Bag

Adequate hydration helps regulate body temperature, prevents dehydration, and promotes better blood circulation, which can contribute to overall comfort and well-being during labor.

Secondly, consuming nourishing drinks such as water, herbal teas, or electrolyte-rich fluids can provide a source of energy and replenish essential nutrients. These drinks can help sustain endurance, combat fatigue, and support the body’s natural processes during labor.

Lastly, certain herbal teas can have relaxing or soothing properties, promoting a calm and peaceful environment during labor while providing nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body may use during and after labor as well.

Here are a few drink ideas for your labor bag:

  1. Water with NUUN tablets for optimized electrolytes
  2. Coconut Water because coconut water has potassium, magnesium, and sodium while being pretty gentle on the stomach. Many moms can keep coconut water down even if they are nauseous.
  3. Kettle and Fire Bone Broth bone broth is rich in essential nutrients such as collagen, gelatin, amino acids, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus and gives a massive amount of protein for a clear liquid. These nutrients can help support energy levels, promote tissue repair, and aid in overall recovery during and after labor. Additionally, the warm and soothing nature of bone broth can provide comfort and nourishment. We love it’s cozy nature.
  4. Tea – any tea you like, but we really love the Pink Stork labor prep tea for the third trimester and labor.
  5. Water or Ice Chips – if all you want during labor is water, it’s okay to follow your instincts.

Hospital Bag Checklist For Partners

While your partner may not require as many supplies as you during labor, it’s still essential for them to be prepared and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital. Here are a few items partners should consider including in their go bag:

A Few Hoodies or Button Up Shirts

To facilitate skin-to-skin contact with your baby, you can suggest that your partner packs a convenient hoodie like the ones often worn by celebrity dad, Ryan Reynolds. Simple have him wear his hoodie, snuggle baby up against him and then zip it up around both dad and. baby. If you have a surgical birth and your partner is wearing a button up, her can easily do skin to skin with the OR if you can’t.

3-5 Days Worth Of Clothing

Birth can take longer than most people plan for. So it’s good for a dad to pack for 3-5 days at the hospital. While most births take around 12-18 hours from check-in to meeting baby, you have a couple days in recovery as well. Add to that the fact that inductions can last from one to three days and surgery can add an extra day or two at the hospital. That’s why it’s recommended for partners to pack a few more outfits than they think they’ll need to make sure they have enough to wear while you are giving birth and bonding.

Something Warm For Night

A nurse once told me “I can tell the rookie dads from the veterans because they bring sleeping bags not sweatshirts.” It true, your partner may not be provided with as many blankets as you in the hospital. Hospitals are often kept at cooler temperatures, and your partner may appreciate having a warm layer, whether it’s a blanket, an extra sweatshirt or even a sleeping bag to stay comfortable during your stay.

A Water Bottle

Hospitals can sometimes be dry environments. Plus, while some hospitals have easily accessible nourishment rooms to fill up a water bottle and grab a coffee, others keep these rooms locked and only allow nurses in them. You don’t know if water will be easily self-accessible. Having a personal water bottle allows dads to stay refreshed and comfortable. By staying properly hydrated, dads can be better equipped to provide support and be fully present during this special time.


Of course your partner also needs their phone, (which I assume is also their camera), charger, a tablet or computer for when you two are passing time in postpartum, and headphones if they will watch anything while you are asleep.

Hospital Bag Checklist For Baby

After all this packing, it’s nice to know you don’t have to think about much for your baby. From onesies and hats to diapers, diaper cream, and even formula if you plan on supplementing or not breastfeeding, the essentials are covered. The only item you truly need for your baby is a reliable car seat to ensure their safe journey home.

  • A carseat for going home 
  • Any outfits you want pictures of them wearing  in the hospital 
  • Any blankets you want pictures of them snuggled up with  in the hospital

If you prefer to keep your baby’s belongings separate but organized, consider using packing cubes as a practical solution. This way, you can easily locate and access their items while staying well-organized during your hospital stay.

Best Hospital Bags

Mommy + Daddy Hospital Go Bags

These chic Mommy  + Daddy bags provide a stylish way to commemorate the arrival of your little one. Just like your wedding day, the birth of your child is a momentous occasion that deserves to be celebrated in style. These hospital bags offer both practicality and fun, ensuring that you can embrace the joy of this life-changing experience. With ample space for everything you need during labor and recovery, these bags are also designed to look great in photos, adding an extra spark of happiness to your special day.

But the benefits don’t stop there. These bags feature a doctor’s bag opening and plenty of pockets, making it easy to quickly locate whatever you need, no matter how much you’ve packed. This way, you can focus on the moment and not worry about digging through a cluttered bag.

StorkSak Travel Cabin Carry On 

Looking for a stylish and functional bag to take to the hospital for your baby’s birth day, or for your first getaway with your little one? Look no further than the StorkSak Travel Cabin CarryOn. This versatile bag features compartments that make it easy to organize essentials for labor, postpartum, and baby all in one convenient location. But the benefits don’t stop there – you can also use this bag again and again as you visit family, take road trips, or escape to a beautiful getaway as a family of three (or more!).

Petunia Pickle Bottom Intermix Live For The Weekend Bag 

Looking for a stylish and functional hospital bag that will keep you organized and looking great? The Petunia Pickle Bottom Intermix Live For the Weekend Bag is your solution. With a chic exterior and plenty of pockets for all the little things you’ll need during your hospital stay, this bag is both practical and fashionable. Plus, once you’re out of the hospital, you can continue to use it as a diaper bag or a quick grab bag for weekend travel. Its eye-catching design and glamorous details will make you feel like a true fashionista, no matter where you go.

When To Pack A Hospital Bag

When to pack a hospital bag is a question that most expecting parents will ask themselves. I recommend to start packing your hospital bag around the 35th week of pregnancy. If you wait too long, you may find yourself rushing to throw things together, which can be stressful and lead to forgotten items. By starting early, you will have plenty of time to gather everything you need and ensure that your bag is packed and ready to go when the time comes.

It’s also important to consider the possibility of delivering earlier than anticipated. If you have a high-risk pregnancy or a history of preterm labor, you may want to pack your hospital bag even earlier, around the 32nd week. Additionally, if you live far away from the hospital or birth center, you may want to have your bag packed earlier in case you need to leave quickly.

It can be helpful to add a post it note with a list of last minute items, like your phone chargers, and ID to grab as you head in.

Hospital Bag Checklist Conclusion

Having a well-prepared hospital bag is essential for any expectant mother. It can bring peace of mind and comfort during what can be a stressful and overwhelming time. This checklist provides an overview of the essentials you’ll need during your hospital stay, but keep in mind that everyone’s needs are different. Consider your own unique circumstances and preferences as you prepare your bag.

Remember to pack for both you and your baby, with items that prioritize comfort and practicality. Don’t forget to bring along any necessary documents and medications, as well as items that can help make the hospital environment feel more like home. Lastly, enlist the help of your partner or support person to ensure that nothing is forgotten and to help carry the load.

And, if you’re in the getting ready for everything mode check out our Newborn Essentials list which will take you through everything your newborn will need in the first months home.

By using this checklist as a guide and personalizing it to fit your specific needs, you can feel confident and prepared for your hospital stay. Focus on taking care of yourself and your baby, and enjoy this special time in your life. Best of luck to you and your growing family!