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What should be in your hospital bag when having a baby?

Here's a must-have checklist for mom and baby ahead of delivery day.
Pregnant mom-to-be packs bag to bring to the hospital
hobo_018 / Getty Images/iStockphoto
/ Source: TODAY

You’ve spent hours getting your baby’s nursery ready and you’ve mastered how to properly install a car seat, but there is one more pre-baby task you’ll need to tackle: If your due date is getting closer, it’s time to prepare a hospital bag checklist for mom and baby.

From the must-have items you’ll want to include, to the items that you and your partner should leave at home, a hospital bag checklist can be really helpful. And, since no one wants to pack a bag between contractions, it’s a good idea to prepare these items early so you’ll have everything you need for labor, delivery and the exciting moment when it’s time to bring your baby home.

What should I bring to the hospital for delivery?

These essential items are a must-have when you arrive at the hospital:

  • A picture ID (driver's license or other ID)
  • Your insurance card
  • Your medical provider’s information
  • Your birth plan, if you have one
  • Any paperwork the hospital or birthing center asked you to fill out before arriving
  • A cord blood kit, if you're planning to bank or donate your baby's cord blood

What should be on the hospital bag checklist for mom?

  • Cell phone and charger. Bonus points if you have one with an extra long cord.
  • Toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, travel-sized shower products, hairbrush, face wash and any must-have makeup items
  • Hair ties
  • Comfortable clothes and and outfit to wear home (your maternity clothes will work)
  • Slippers and flip flops
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing bra
  • Robe
  • Nursing gown or nightgown

While you can pack your own gown for the delivery, you may want to hold off on putting that gown on. “Many moms who bring only one 'boutique' gown regret wearing that one on day one or don’t realize the pretty gown will get body fluids on it and end up wearing the hospital gown anyway,” said Kerri Akers, a registered nurse at a major teaching hospital in New Jersey. “If your preference is to wear your own gown or clothes, bring multiples.”

What should be on the hospital bag checklist for baby?

Packing for your baby is easy. All they really need is an outfit to wear home, a blanket and a car seat. The hospital will give you everything else you need for your little one.

What should my partner pack for the hospital?

“Remember that people can be very sensitive to odors while in labor, so it's best to pack subtle deodorants, breath fresheners, clean clothes and fresh socks,” said Rachel Carbonneau, a doula director for Family Ways Doula Agency in Rockville, Maryland.

Other items include:

  • Toiletries
  • Cell phone, tablets and chargers
  • Snacks
  • Change of clothes
  • Glasses, contacts, contact case and solution (if needed)
  • Medication, if taken daily for you and your partner
  • Money or credit card for parking
  • A travel pillow and blanket

What items should you leave behind?

  • Jewelry or other valuables
  • All of your makeup and hair products
  • Too many outfit changes
  • A pillow or blanket that you really like because there is a good chance it will get messy at the hospital

Carbonneau added: “I've seen quite a few folks bring lengthy or very cerebral books to read during labor and never touch them. But audiobooks and podcasts can be great!”

The hospital will give you everything your baby needs during their stay. Here’s what you can leave at home:

  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Breast pump
  • Bottles

How far in advance should I pack my hospital bag?

While babies can come at any time, packing your bag at 35 weeks is often recommended by health care providers.

What should be on my hospital bag checklist during the COVID-19 pandemic?

While COVID restrictions may change who is allowed to be in the delivery room and who can visit you and the baby in the hospital, you won’t need to add anything specific to your hospital bag checklist because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, you may want to pack a favorite face mask or your own travel-sized hand sanitizer.

What happens if I forget something?

Most items you and your baby will need will be given to you by the hospital. However, if you do forget an important item, someone can always bring it to you later. So don’t stress about it and just focus on you and your baby.