Planning for your delivery can feel like packing for a one-of-a-kind getaway. Unlike a trip to the Bahamas, however, you’ll need more than those gorgeous baby-and-me ensembles and a few juicy novels for this destination (though both can certainly come in handy).
So, what should you pack in your baby hospital bag to avoid missing any essentials while you’re at the hospital?
Don’t worry—our hospital baby bag checklist can make preparing for a hospital stay as breezy and easy as the vacation you deserve.
3 Things To Do Before You Pack
Before you start shoving random items and bite-sized toiletries into your go-bag, take a pause. To pack smart and savvy, we’re going to need to start with a strategy. Let’s begin with a few hospital baby bag basics.
1. Pick Your Packing Date Ahead of Time
If you’re the type to pack the night before your trip, take note. This is one bag you’ll want to pack well before the departure—aka, your due date.
Just in case your little one decides to arrive early, you may want to start packing at least 3–4 weeks ahead of schedule.
Why so far ahead? Because although your due date may be at 40 weeks, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, only 1 in 20 expectant mothers actually gives birth on their due date.1 That’s a lot of early bird babies! Before this time comes, make sure you are well versed on how to organize a diaper bag with all of the baby travel essentials you’ll need before the big day arrives.
2. Choose Your Hospital Bag Wisely
As you begin packing, you’ll need to decide what bag will hold your belongings. While your go-to suitcase might be the clear choice for those long-stay vacays, your hospital bag should come with a few unique elements:
- Easy access to the essentials
- Multiple compartments to help you organize
- Small enough to carry and grab quickly on your way out the door
Your best bet is to find a well-designed overnight bag, such as the BÉIS weekender bags, which come with multiple organizational pockets and a separate compartment for shoes, toiletries, and other must-haves.
3. Create an Easy Organization System
Organizing your bag ahead of time will simplify your trip to the hospital. After all, when the time comes to push, you don’t want to be howling instructions to your birth partner on where to find your calming essential oils.
That doesn’t mean you need a complex color-coded system—you just need to know what you’ll need and when you’ll need it.
Packing items according to when you’ll need them can help you avoid rooting around in your post-delivery nightgowns for those labor comfort items you need right now.
Here’s a quick guide to help you stay organized:
A packing pro tip: If you’ve already acquired a diaper bag organizer, it can make the perfect add-on to your hospital bag, even if you’re not yet using it for diapers.
Hospital Stay Checklist for the Mama-to-Be
When your body finally lets you know, hey baby’s coming, you may indeed stumble out of your house at three a.m. with pillow-tossed hair and mismatched socks. But your hospital bag? With this checklist, it will be primed and ready for anything.
This section includes all the fundamentals you might need to make every part of your stay feel perfect—no matter how little sleep you get before the moment arrives. This list also puts the most important items at the top, so be sure to check this stuff off sooner.
Think of these items as the hospital bag equivalent of passports, ID, and boarding passes—except instead of whisking you away on a plane to Santorini, they’re your ticket to a stress-free hospital stay.
Keep these items at the top of your bag or in an external pocket that’s easy to unzip:
- Your photo ID and insurance card
- Several copies of your birth plan
- Your obstetrician’s contact info
- Your pediatrician’s contact info
- Any medications you’re taking and a list of what they are
- Your phone and a charger
During Labor and Delivery
The next items to include are those you’ll want to have ready during labor and delivery. If you’re lucky, the process might feel quick and smooth as a turbulence-free plane hop to Key West. But if labor takes some time to take off, you’ll thank yourself for thinking ahead.
Items to include here are those that help you prioritize your comfort and keep you occupied, such as:
A hospital, dressing, or nightgown, if you choose not to wear the one the hospital provides
A bathrobe to keep you cozy and covered
Non-slip socks and slippers
Massage oil or lotion for some stress-soothing relief
- Your birth playlist and headphones or a Bluetooth speaker
- Entertainment, such as books, magazines, and a tablet with movies or digital games
Whether you’re lucky enough to go home the next day or need to hang around at the hospital for a bit longer, you’ll want some items to help make that hospital room feel as warm and familiar as your living room. Use the following lists to organize the items in the post-delivery section of your bag.
Some hospitals might provide essential toiletries, like those tiny soap bars and 2-in-1 shampoo bottles you might find in hotels. Still, having your own favorites at hand can help you feel more at home.
Include your daily self-care items in your toiletry kit, such as:
- A toothbrush and toothpaste
- Any lotions or skincare products
- Dry shampoo
- Shower products, including shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
- Makeup, if you wear it
- A hairbrush, hair ties, and a hairdryer
As your postpartum body recovers, you’ll want to keep your clothing soft, loose, and easy to put on. Still, if any friends or family are coming to visit, you might want something with a little more coverage than a hospital gown.
Keep your hospital wardrobe simple and comfy with these items:
- A few nightgowns or pajama sets
- Extra socks or slippers
- A couple of nursing bras
- Comfy maternity underwear (like your go-to period panties)
Your postpartum body may have some extra needs to help you feel comfortable in your clothes. It may help to pack items like:
- Your favorite brand of maternity pads
- Extra soft adult diapers (yeah, we know, it’s part of being a mom)
For extra comfort
These extra items might not take your room from a sterile hospital room to a five-star hotel, but they can bring a whole lot of ease and serenity to an unfamiliar place.
Upgrade your stay with some relaxation extras, such as:
- A fluffy bath towel
- A soft throw blanket
- Your favorite pillow
- A top of the line lip balm and nipple cream
- A small portable fan
- Earplugs and an eye mask
- Non-perishable snacks and drinks
- An essential oil diffuser or room spray
One additional tip: While dressing up in your finest jewels might be the luxury your post-birth body deserves, it’s probably best to leave your valuables at home. Doing so will also leave you with one less thing to worry about during your stay.
When it’s time to make your grand exit, you may feel so excited to introduce your tiny one to the world—and reintroduce yourself to your own bed. But before you pack your most Instagram-worthy ensemble, keep in mind that your body might need some time to adjust post-pregnancy.
In general, plan for your going-home outfit to include some options that will be kind and gentle on your body—just like those you might wear to make any road trip or air travel feel oh-so-comfy. These comfy clothes might include:
- A loose-fitting top
- Stretchy pants, such as joggers or sweatpants
- A pair of slip-on shoes
What to Pack for Baby’s First Appearance
Your little one may be the center of your world, but apart from your overflowing love and attention, they probably won’t need much in the way of supplies just yet. Still, you’ll want to pack a few basics to help give the baby a warm and welcoming debut. If your own bag is already full, grab your baby’s future diaper bag to stock with baby clothes and supplies, like the travel changing pad.
Here’s your hospital bag checklist for baby:
- A baby blanket
- One or two outfits for going home
- A few socks, hats, and booties
- Bottles and formula (even if you don’t plan to use them)
- Burp and/or spit-up cloths
While it won’t fit in your hospital bag, you’ll also want to ensure your newborn-sized car seat is ready to go. Aim to install this in your car and learn how to use it around the same time you start packing. Trust us, you won’t want to learn how to use it on the day you actually need it.
There are some baby fundamentals you can skip—at least for now. These include diapers, wipes, and other cleaning supplies. Most hospitals provide these during your stay and might even send you home with some freebies—so be extra nice to the nurses!2
Hospital Bag Essentials for Your Companions
If you’ll be accompanied by a partner or a supportive friend or family member, they may want to make their own hospital baby bag checklist. To thank them in advance for lending a hand to squeeze, however, you may want to remind them to bring a few fundamentals.
Lucky for them, their list is much simpler than yours:
- Blankets and pillows
- Entertainment (books, headphones, tablet)
- A change of clothes
- Camera (don’t forget the memory card and charger!)
If your companions plan to bring a special camera to snap some pics of the baby’s first days, be sure to keep it in a safe place and out of sight when you’re not using it. While most hospitals are pretty secure places, you don’t want to risk losing those precious snaps of your little one’s arrival.
Find The Perfect Bag to Get Ready for Baby with BÉIS
With each item you cross off on your delivery bag checklist, you’ll have one more reminder of all the joy and excitement coming your way. If packing for your hospital stay starts to feel less like a vacation and more like a chore, however, the last thing on your mind might be finding the right bag.
What if we told you there’s a perfect bag to make your packing easier—one you’ll want to keep by your side in all the happy days to come?
You can find just the bag with BÉIS. We believe your bag should be built to travel—whether you’re packing for a destination or a due date. That’s why we designed bags like the Weekender to function for every type of trip without sacrificing style, and our collection of baby travel bags, like the diaper backpack, is no different.
To give your baby a chic and carefree trip into this world, find your bag with BÉIS. And before that? Make sure to check out our top recommended babymoon ideas before you welcome your newest addition to the family.
- “How Your Fetus Grows during Pregnancy.” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Aug. 2020, https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/how-your-fetus-grows-during-pregnancy. Accessed 8 March 2022.
- “Pregnancy: What to Pack for the Hospital.” Cleveland Clinic, 1 Jan. 2018, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9678-pregnancy-what-to-pack-for-the-hospital. Accessed 8 March 2022.