Hospital Bag Checklist: Just the Basics for Mom and Baby

When it comes to planning your hospital bag checklist, less is more—especially since you will coming home with a baby in your arms as well as lots of baby stuff. Check out these 12 simple basics to pack for your hospital stay.

After birthing four babies and experiencing four hospital stays, I have come to realize that less is more when it comes to packing your hospital bag. The hospital provides much of what you will need, so will mostly focus on comfort when adding items to your hospital bag.

The great news is a brief and basic hospital bag checklist ensures all your items easily fit into a medium-sized overnight bag—probably with room to spare. And that’s good news for everyone because when you leave the hospital you will have your arms full with a new baby.

I hope this no-frills hospital bag checklist will help you plan what to pack for the big day if you are expecting.

Hospital Bag Checklist Basics for Mom and Baby

Nursing bra or sports bra: Though I used nursing bras with my first baby, I personally find it easier and more discrete to lift up a sports bra rather than unclip a nursing bra from the top. But either way, make sure you pack a bra for your hospital stay.

Flip flops or slippers: Depending on the season, I would recommend packing flip flops or slippers (or flip flop slippers!) to wear on the hard hospital floor. Hospital rooms tend to be cooler than your home because cold air is not as conducive to germs or bacteria growth.

White noise sound machine: This is one lesson I learned the hard way. A hospital is a noisy place. Not only are the nurses or techs coming in your room every 2-3 hours to check your vitals after delivery, but women are giving birth at all hours of the day and accordingly, being taken to maternity ward at all hours of the night. So you’ll hear noisy machines inside your room, as well as employees walking and talking all up and down your hall. And if you’re unfortunate enough to land a room right across from the Nurse’s Station, you can kiss any chance of sleep goodbye. Packing a noise machine for after delivery simply helps to blur all those hospital noises to allow you to get just a bit more rest.

Socks: Socks are completely optional depending on your preference, but because hospital rooms are kept quite cool, I love having socks to keep my temperature better regulated. Plus, socks are just cozy.

Packable lightweight tote: You may be scratching your head at this one, but after my first three deliveries, whatever was left over in my hospital room (including items in the stocked baby cart) was mine for the taking. I wouldn’t call them freebies since you and your insurance company are the ones paying for things, but you may have so many  remaining items that you could fill a large tote. Fill your bag with left over diapers, wipes, disposable changing mats, pacifiers, baby socks, onesies, post-delivery pads, gauze for post-circumcision, etc. Those items are too essential to leave behind. A reusable grocery bag will work, too.

Full-coverage panties: There’s no need to go into too much detail here, but you’ll want to make sure you have a few pairs of full-coverage panties. Not only will your body size be adjusting postpartum, but you’ll be wearing pads for a while and your underwear needs to be large enough to accommodate this. Since you will only wear these panties for a season, I would suggest forgoing the expensive brands and buying a cheap set.

Fold-over maternity shorts or pants: After delivery, the last thing I want to put on is full-panel maternity shorts or pants. Fold-over shorts ride below your stomach, accommodate a shrinking belly and are much more comfortable in my opinion.

Loose-fit tee: To pair with those fold-over shorts, I’d suggest a loose-fit tee. This can be maternity or non-maternity, but it needs to be a shirt that fit you when you were 6 months pregnant. I’m all about comfort vs. fashion during my hospital stays.

Roomy pajamas: Be sure to pack a set of comfy pjs for your hospital stay. You can pack maternity or non-maternity pjs, so long as they fit you around 6 months pregnant. I prefer button-up pajama sets to make nursing easier.

Going-home onesie for baby: Because the hospital provides so much for your baby, there really isn’t much you need. All I’m packing is a going-home outfit, but considering the hospital provides white onesies, you could skip packing anything for baby.

Toiletry bag: The hospital will provide the basics for showering, but if you prefer your own products, be sure to pack them. Also, pack chaptstick, deodorant, a hairbrush, a hair tie and light makeup for pictures.

Nursing tanksI didn’t use nursing tanks as much for my two winter babies, but they are ideal for summer babies. They are like living in pjs during the daytime.

Am I missing anything? What is one of your hospital bag essentials?

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