A Hospital Bag Checklist for Mama and Baby: What Do You REALLY Need?

It’s third trimester time, you’re rounding the corner towards your due date...and sh*t is finally about to get real so it’s time to prep! 

You might be wondering: When should I pack my hospital bag? What should I pack? Do I need to install my car seat? Crap, I can’t even lift my car seat...

To be honest, I totally put off packing my hospital bag for my first kid...I don’t even like packing for vacations, so I definitely didn’t want to sit and think about the practicalities of what I’d need right after I pushed an 8-pounder out of my vagina. 

As it turns out, I still ended up with too much of the wrong stuff and not enough of the right stuff for the birth of my first babe, but thanks to that experience I now know what really matters in a go-bag and what can comfortably be left at home.

While it’s soooo much more fun decorating the nursery and buying that cute Boden romper, prepping for your hospital stay and your trip home should take priority, so use our handy checklist to make sure you don’t forget any of the essentials. 

For You, Mama

Mama Pro-Tip → Fun fact: you’ll still look about 5-6 months pregnant when you leave the hospital, so keep enjoying those maternity leggings/elastic waistbands as loooong as you want!

  • water bottle with straw
  • snacks (some hospitals won’t let you eat, and you may not want to anyway, but it’s good to be prepared since hospital food = icky...honey sticks, granola bars, and fruit snacks are easy to eat and offer quick energy to help you power through your labor)
  • Depends (unpopular opinion, since mesh panties are free, but, well, let’s just say they’re free for a reason...your vajayjay has been through a lot. Give her prettier diapers.)
  • playlist and speaker (check out AMMA’s birth playlist here)

Mama Pro Tip → You might have a long/protracted labor (though hopefully you got to do the bulk of that at home!) so download a book or a couple shows on your phone, as well as a note-taking app in case you need to write down important medical details (or just want to journal baby’s stats to relay later). Easier than lugging a couple hardcovers around, and only there if you really need it.

For Baby

  • car seat
Mama Pro-Tip → Install this (i.e. have your partner install it) around your 37th week. Just trust us.
  • spare tote bag for freebies (take ALLLLL the diapers and wipes...they’re pricey)
  • outfits (newborn and 0-3; you never know exactly how big your baby will be)
  • receiving blanket (the hospital will have one, it will have cutesy footprints on it and it will be scratchy...bring your own)
  • swaddle (we love this one)

Got Extra Room? 

  • your own pillow
  • props/birth announcement cards for baby's first IG feed photo ;)

Mama Pro Tip → Even if you’re planning a home birth, pack a hospital bag and install the car seat just in case. If things go differently than planned (they sometimes do) you’ll be more able to adjust without chaos or added stress. 

NOTE: If you are planning a belly birth, your packing needs may vary...you'll have a slightly longer hospital stay so make sure you bring changes of clothes (high-waisted stretchy everything!), a breastfeeding pillow to keep baby off your incision, etc. 

Belly Birth Pro Tip → Pack two bags; one for the prep/procedure and one for your recovery. Keep the recovery bag in the car and have your support person grab it when you're post-op...no reason to haul tons of luggage all over the place! 

Image via MintArrow; Arielle Levy, photographer

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