Pregnancy Tools

Checklist: Packing A Hospital Bag

Find out what you'll need after delivery and what to leave at home.

Photo: KT Merry

Find out what you'll need after delivery and what to leave at home.

Forget all those other (excessive) checklists — this is the only one you’ll need, we promise.

Have your bags (one for you, one for baby) packed and in your car by 35 weeks. (Taxi-taking moms — stash your bags in the front hall closet.)

A tip for the thrifty: Ask your hospital what they provide for babies and mothers, and take those items off your list.


[  ] Insurance info, hospital forms and birth plan (if you have one)

[  ] 2-3 pairs of warm, nonskid socks that can get ruined (for walking the halls before and after labor)

[  ] A warm robe or sweater you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause

[  ] maternity bras — no underwire — and nursing pads (whether or not you plan to nurse, you’ll appreciate the support and leak-protection)

[  ] Lip balm (hospitals are very dry)

[  ] Toiletries and personal items — hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, makeup (as if), shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends)

[  ] Eyeglasses

[  ] Headband or ponytail holder (avoid clips — they’ll probably poke you)

[  ] Sugar-free hard candy or lozenges to keep your mouth moist during labor (candy with sugar will make you thirsty)

[  ] Pen and paper

[  ] Lots of change for the vending machines and non-perishable snacks (you’ll probably be hungry after labor, and the hospital cafeteria could be closed)

[  ] Cell phone and charger, phone numbers of people to call after birth, prepaid calling card (if your hospital doesn’t allow cell phones)

[  ] Camera, film or extra memory card, battery or charger

[  ] A gym bag packed with a change of clothes and basic hygiene products for your partner

Take it or leave it:

] Extra pillow (with a case that can get ruined, in a pattern distinguishable from hospital white)

[  ] Comfortable going-home clothes in six-month maternity size and flat shoes (or, just wear the clothes you came in… sorry, but they’ll probably still fit)

[  ] Bath towel (the hospital will likely supply a small, very thin one)

[  ] Hairdryer

[  ] Your favorite brand of soap, shampoo and heavy flow sanitary pads (the hospital supplies these things, but bring your own if you’re picky)

[  ] A few pairs of maternity underwear that can get ruined (the hospital will have disposable pairs, which some women find handy and others find gross)

[  ] A ruin-able nightgown (you can use those lovely hospital gowns, but your own might help you feel more human)

[  ] Breast pump, if you plan to use one

[  ] Slippers that can get dirty

[  ] Very light reading (think mags and newspapers, not War and Peace)

[  ] Your MP3 (loaded with your favorite tunes, of course)

[  ] Massage oil and tools like rolling pins or tennis balls, and lucky or inspirational objects (honestly, we doubt you'll use 'em…but feel free to prove us wrong!)

Leave Home:

[  ] Any clothes or nighties you really like (they will get ruined)

[  ] Stopwatch (your nurse or a monitor will take care of timing contractions)

What to Bring For Baby:

[  ] Approved car seat

[  ] A coming-home outfit

[  ] Warm blankets (for the ride home)

[  ] Outdoor gear like a snowsuit and hat, as seasonally appropriate (remember, babies are extra sensitive to cold)


Plus, more from The Bump:

Best (Unexpected!) Things Moms Brought to the Hospital

Top 10 Labor and Delivery Fears — Are They Worth the Worry?

Tricks to Make Labor Easier

By Paula Kashtan