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Friday, October 6, 2023

Pack Your Hospital Bag: Here’s What to Bring

By Dr. Robert Wool

As you get close to your delivery date, you are likely feeling a lot of emotions, including excitement, apprehension, impatience, joy and many others—sometimes all at once. With so much going on, we recommend you pack your hospital bag in advance, at least by week 36. This will help ensure you have everything you need and want when the big day comes. We’ve provided a suggested list of items below, as well as a downloadable version you can print off to use.

Items for Mom

The one caveat we want to note up front is that during the activity and excitement of delivery, recovery and postpartum, it’s possible for items to become lost or soiled (birth can be messy). We recommend leaving valuables—like jewelry, an heirloom blanket, significant cash—at home, and not bringing anything you would be upset to lose.


What to bring:

·         Your license or other picture ID, insurance card and any hospital paperwork you’ve completed.

·         Your cell phone and a charger with an extra-long cord, as outlets are often not near the bed.

·         Entertainment items. Labor can run long, so bring items that will help you pass the time, such as reading materials, puzzles or games. If you have a device, download some playlists, podcasts, videos or books, and bring a portable Bluetooth speaker.

·         Easy-to eat snacks. The hospital will provide meals and snacks, but options may be limited and not available at all times. It doesn’t hurt to bring your own, such as bars, pretzels, crackers, dried fruit or nuts, as well as gum, mints and hard candy.

·         Pajamas and robe. You’ll be given a hospital gown and robe, but if you feel more comfortable, you can switch to your own after delivery. The hospital will provide no-slip socks, but you are also welcome to bring your own.

·         Personal care necessities. The hospital has the basics—such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, body soap and shampoo—but you may feel more comfortable with your own products.

·         Other personal care comfort items such as lip balm, deodorant, lotion/moisturizer, face wipes, a hairbrush, hair ties/hairband and a hair dryer.

·         Nipple cream, if you plan to breastfeed.

·         Glasses, if you wear them, or your contact lenses and supplies if you wear those.

·         Your pillow and a bath towel. These are provided, but hospital pillows may not be as comfortable as your own, and towels are often small and sometimes scratchy. We recommend colors other than white, so they are not mistaken for hospital linens.

·         A comfortable, loose-fitting outfit to wear home, including a tank top or nursing bra, underwear and slip on shoes (in case your feet swell).

·         An empty tote bag or two, to bring home any supplies the hospital provides and/or gifts you receive.


If you take any medications, talk to your health care provider in advance about whether you should bring them with you to the hospital.

Items for Baby

For the most part, anything your baby needs during your hospital stay will be provided, including diapers and wipes, so for the most part, you only need to pack what you need to take the baby home.


What to bring:

·         An infant car seat. This is a must as you will not be able to leave the hospital without one, so make sure it’s properly installed before you head to the hospital.

·         An outfit to wear home. We suggest packing two in different sizes, newborn and 0-3 months, since you don’t know yet how big your baby will be. Include weather-appropriate items as well, like a sweater, hat and socks.

·         A baby blanket (lightweight if it’s warm out or heavier if it’s cold) and a couple burp cloths.

·         Your pediatrician’s contact information, including phone and fax numbers. You will be asked for this and having it handy will make things easier.

Items for Your Support Person

If you have a partner or support person staying with you in the hospital, they should bring whatever they need for themselves.


What to bring:

·         Their cell phone and a charger with an extra-long cord.

·         Entertainment items such as books, puzzles or games, and headphones so they don’t disturb you if you are sleeping.

·         Easy-to eat snacks and beverages. The hospital will have a cafeteria and vending machines, but hours and selections may be limited.

·         A change of clothes, including something comfortable to sleep in, as well as slippers or socks.

·         Personal care items including a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, etc.

·         Glasses or contact lenses if worn.

·         Prescription medications, if needed.

·         Their own pillow and blanket, if preferred. We recommend colors other than white.

Need Advice?

In general, we encourage you to bring items that will help you be as comfortable as possible during your hospital stay, but to also pack lightly so you don’t have too many items to keep track of. Download this printable checklist to help as you pack your hospital bag.


If you have any questions about what to bring or what to expect while you’re in the hospital, be sure to ask us at one of your prenatal appointments or give our office a call.