Hospital Bag Checklist | My Top 12 Must-Haves

The go-bag! It’s so exciting when you get to that time! Around 30-32 weeks is when most women will start talking about their hospital visit and what they might need to bring in their hospital bag. 

Obviously, most babies come when they’re ready, some need a little push (like my two littles who were both induced), and some babies make their appearance via c-section. 

I’ve had two vaginal births so my hospital needs are based on my recovery experience. 

Everyone is, of course, different but if you’re a light packer and fairly low maintenance like myself, this checklist has the only items you’ll need. 

If you want this in an easy printable list, fill out the form below!

Hospital Bag Checklist

The 12 Things You Really Need!

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    Pro tip: Keep this checklist in your bag for easy packing going to and from the hospital so you don’t leave anything behind!

    1. Comfy Robe

    Standard hospital gowns kind of freak me out, especially while I’m laboring, so in my hospital bag, I bought a robe specifically for labor and delivery. Nothing fancy, just a long black cotton robe.

    Most of the time, I labored in my comfy clothes but when I knew transition was about to hit, I changed into my robe.

    After delivery, I change right back into my pajamas. If you’re going to get an epidural, I believe you need to have an open back so a hospital robe may be necessary. If you’re interested in how I managed an unmedicated birth, you can find my preparation tips here.

    2. Nursing Bra without a Clasp

    During labor, the robe opens and moves around. For a little more comfort and modesty, I got a pull-over nursing bra. It was so light I could barely feel it. Not having a clasp in the front or back made it easy to sleep in so I could wake and nurse on demand.

    It was also perfect for wearing at home because once your milk comes in, it can start leaking at night! If you don’t plan on breastfeeding, it’s still nice to wear under your robe or help with and leaking while you’re drying out!

    3. Toiletries 

    I am obsessed with EOS. Typically I put on lip balm before bed but I especially need it in the hospital after laboring and because of the air. It’s a lifesaver. The mint one is my favorite.

    I also bring facewash, lotion, toothpaste, and a toothbrush for hubby and myself, as well as a deodorant for each of us.

    I never bring makeup, a hairbrush, or anything else I consider extraneous because I don’t use them often enough. If you do, make sure they’re on your list! I have friends who can’t go a day without makeup and a blowout so bring your makeup bag and blow dryer!

    Whatever makes you feel like yourself after birth is a good thing.    

    4. Phone & Charger 

    Obviously you need your phone for things like contacting family and posting pics to IG. But you also may need to be in contact with your partner or while they’re downstairs at the food court or greeting family members for visits.

    Another reason you’ll need your phone is for accessing apps like your bank or insurance logons. Some hospitals even have digital programs for meal ordering, account review, or having a photographer come to your room and take pictures of your newborn which you can then review on your phone.  

    5. Tablet & Charger

    A tablet was a must-have for my husband and I because we watched Friends to pass the time. With both kids, I was induced so I knew I was going to check-in and wait for a room and have vitals checked, then I’d be given induction meds, and we’d wait for labor.

    Watching a show like Friends was nice for us because it’s one of our very favorite shows, we laugh at every episode. It really helps to pick a show or something you love to watch to keep your mind off labor. 

    6. Snacks 

    Our nurse’s station was amazing and had lots of snacks like cereal, granola bars, yogurt, applesauce, and more. And despite their offer for my husband to help himself, he felt uncomfortable so we packed snacks we knew he’d eat. 

    His favorites: 

    • Canned nuts 
    • Dry salami 
    • Hostess pies 
    • Granola bars 
    • Peanut butter balls 

    I personally didn’t mind eating their snacks so I did! Our hospital also had a late-night snack bar open, aside from the regular cafeteria hours, so we could purchase snacks if we really needed it. 

    7. Wallet 

    Most hospitals allow you to pre-register with all of your information so you won’t need your insurance card prior to admission but I like to have mine.

    Plus, you’ll want your debit card or cash for any meals or snacks or to pay copays. 

    8. Comfy Clothes (for you and your partner!)

    I labored mostly in pajamas that I wore to the hospital. In our bag, I brought three extra pair of pajamas as well as some underwear since I don’t like to wear the hospital underwear.

    I never brought a fancy outfit to change into because my plan was to get out of there as quickly as possible. My husband brought some extra t-shirts and shorts since we had spring and summer babies.

    9. Baby Clothes 

    The best part! Dressing your precious newborn, it’s so adorable and fun. We always bring a few different outfits because, for one, you never know if the baby will have an accident.

    And two, you may not like the outfit you originally picked. Both of our babies stayed in the hospital blankets and diapers most of the time but we always made sure to dress them when people would visit. 

    10. Car Seat & Cover

    Of course you’ll need your car seat to bring baby home in! We love the Graco products so we have Graco car seats, pack ‘n plays, swings, and anything else they make pretty much.

    We also like to have a car seat cover to block the baby from the elements and peering strangers. Normally I don’t mind people looking at my new baby but something about hospitals makes me re-think who’s coming near the baby. A cover just makes it easy to protect the littles. 

    11. Diaper Bag 

    We carried all of our items in the diaper bag, besides the car seat. It was the perfect size to fit everything we needed, plus it has compartments for the snacks.

    We were able to fit most everything we needed to bring to the hospital in the bag, but going home is a different story! 

    12. Reusable Shopping Bag- Large 

    The diaper bag is perfect for bringing things to the hospital, but you’re going to get a lot of stuff at the hospital you’ll need to bring home. Many hospitals allow you to take the diapers, extra sanitary pads, wipes, and extras of any products you might need like hemorrhoid spray foam, or antibacterial cream.

    You may also qualify for a free breast pump which many hospitals keep on-hand, so you’re able to walk out with one upon discharge. Plus, don’t forget the gifts! People will bring trinkets, flowers, cards, and balloons and a large reusable bag makes it easier to carry everything you need to bring home. 

    Hospital Bag Wrap Up

    The most important thing to remember is that your list may change, there may be things you absolutely need, and you should add them in! Some people like to do their makeup or have a specific skincare routine. Some prefer to have their own pillow, or towel for showering.

    If these are important to you, make sure you have whatever you need to make yourself feel good after giving birth. You are bringing a human into this world and it’s a pretty big deal! 

    It’s such an exciting time. I hope you enjoy every last moment of your birth and every new moment you have with your sweet babe!


    If there’s anything vital that I’ve forgotten, drop me a comment and let me know. I am excited to update my list for baby number three!

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