Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Bring When You’re Having a Baby

Are you prepping for the big birth day? Awesome!

No need to stress about what to pack. This hospital bag checklist will make it easy peasy for you.

Do yourself a favor and have your bag packed (or house stocked) around 37 weeks so you won’t have to give it an extra thought until those contractions start coming full force.

Note that this list is also helpful if you are giving birth at a birthing center or even at home.

Enjoy this hospital bag checklist. Take what you like and leave the rest!

Hospital Bag Checklist: What to bring for Mama

Paperwork

During your pregnancy, contact your hospital or birth center and fill out the pre-registration papers. Many places offer the documents online where they can be printed and mailed, or faxed in. Be sure to ask which entrance to use if it’s after hours; many hospitals require you to go through the ER.

Comfy clothing

  • A cotton laboring gown like this one, tank tops and yoga pants – whatever you feel cozy in and don’t mind potentially ruining.
  • Warm socks, slippers, comfy shoes, or flip flops for walking around.
  • Hoodie or tie up cardigan – Wear layers so you can easily slip it off and on as your body temperature fluctuates.
  • Sports bras, or swimsuit top if you’re having a water birth and don’t want to be topless.
  • One clean and comfortable outfit to leave hospital or birthing center in (again, think layers and easy access to boob so baby can breastfeed)
  • Ponytail holder and headbands to keep your hair out of the way

Toiletries

Breastfeeding

Postpartum care

  • I love these Depends undergarments. They combine underwear and a heavy pad for postpartum bleeding. They are disposable and comfortable. (Keep in mind, many hospitals are in low supply of these!)
  • If you want to be more green, use heavy flow cloth pads and big underwear (at least 1 size up from normal) that you don’t mind sacrificing to the cause.
  • Herbal sitz spray to soothe tender areas, and help everything heal faster. THIS IS SO HELPFUL, trust me! (where to buy)
  • After-ease to calm after birth pains; these get consecutively stronger with each birth. (VERY IMPORTANT for second time and up moms)
  • Magnesium for the constipation that usually sets in post birth. (where to buy)
  • Peri bottles. (This is only for home birth as hospitals will have.)

Soothing massage

  • Amazing back massager.
  • Tennis balls, or spiked balls for use on your back, feet, and other tight muscles.
  • Birth ball, if the birth center doesn’t have one available.
  • Rice bag, peanut bag, or heat pad for back labor, and after birth pains.
  • Rebozo to help support your weight, massage or even encourage the baby to turn. (Check with your doula or midwife to see if they supply one.)

Essential oils and natural remedies

  • Clary Sage to help keep contractions consistent, and strong. (Do not use before you’re in active labor.)
  • Orange, lemon, or other citrus oils to energize.
  • Lavender essential oil for relaxation and peaceful feelings.
  • Frankincense to help you stay centered and focused. Some moms like to “anoint” their babies with a very diluted Frankincense (1 drop of EO per 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.)
  • Soothing essential oils, like black pepper for back labor.
  • A diffuser, or personal inhalers. As your mood changes during labor, you may not want to diffuse a strong smelling oil throughout the whole room, and instead make up some personal inhalers beforehand.
  • Magnesium oil for cramping or BioFreeze for back labor (this stuff numbs pain!)

Homeopathic remedies

Food

  • Nut butters, trail mix, and other high calorie foods for prolonged energy.
  • Nut, oat and protein bars.
  • Honey sticks, dried fruit, dates, or energy balls for a healthy dose of glucose fueled energy.
  • Chamomile, and red raspberry leaf tea for a more efficient labor.
  • Coconut water
  • Labor-aide, electrolyte drink to replenish lost electrolytes.
  • Meals and snacks packed in a cooler for your hospital or birth center stay. You don’t want to resort to a vending machine at 1 am when hunger hits.

Optional

  • Baby scrapbook, journal, or memory book to put mementos & your thoughts
  • Your own pillow
  • Birth affirmations! I couldn’t have labored without 🙂
  • Picture of family member, Jesus or something peaceful or inspirational
  • Gifts for older siblings that the baby “gives” to them (highly recommended!) You can also have your mom or partner bring cupcakes or cake to sing “Happy Birthday” to baby.
  • Treats for the birth staff. You can attach mints or chocolate to your birth plan. Good incentive for nurses to look at 🙂

Hospital Bag Checklist: What to bring for baby

  • Receiving blanket and newborn clothing.
  • Warm clothes or a blanket if it’s winter
  • Natural baby wash if you want to give baby bath. (where to buy)
  • Cloth or non-toxic diapers.
  • Reusable or non-toxic baby wipes
  • Car seat for the trip home. Many hospitals won’t let you leave unless it’s properly installed (for good reason!) Do this weeks before birth. Some fire houses will help you if you run into problems.
  • Baby nail clippers – hospitals don’t have any for liability reasons.
  • (Don’t forget the carseat!)

Hospital Bag Checklist: What to bring for dad

  • Cell phones
  • Laptop
  • Camera
  • Chargers and extra batteries for your electronics
  • A soundtrack to play for mom with a mix of soothing, upbeat, and inspirational songs.

How about you?

Did you use a hospital bag checklist? Was there anything that you wished you had packed but didn’t? Let us know in the comments below!

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18 Comments

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  1. This is very helpful! I also always bring frozen home-made bone broth and a mug to heat it in the microwave. This is especially helpful for hospitals that only allow you to drink clear liquids during labor as it contains lots of nutrients to sustain you through labor.

    • Great idea!

  2. For those of you who wanted suggestions of essential oils, my main oils were lavender-emotional and physical support, compresses, and healing afterwards, a clove,rosemary and lemon blend for disinfecting items (put this in a spray bottle), and put on my feet and baby’s feet for protection (hospital birth), helichrysm for healing and to keep on hand in case of excessive bleeding, frankinsense for anointing baby and healing, clary sage to help labor contractions along when you are in active labor, Valor (a Young Living blend) for courage and spinal alignment before, during and after birth, peppermint to help ease nausea, lemon to flavor water, to help hydrate and quench thirst in the even you are not allowed to drink large amounts of water, any other favorite smelling oils safe for baby for anointing and encouraging bonding, especially if used during pregnancy

  3. This is so incredibly helpful! I love the homeopathic and essential oil recommendations. I feel set in a way that is supportive to all of us. Thank you!

  4. Why is it just talking about breastfeeding i want to bottle feed

    • That’s kind of a rude response.

    • Probably because Mama Natural is a site that is very focused on helping women have the most natural mothering experience, which would include at least a plan to breastfeed if possible. Not to say there is anything wrong with planning to bottle feed, but the site has a specific focus that’s tailored (rather than one size fits all), and its focus is one of the reasons I personally come here for info. There are lots of great lists out there on other sites, though, some of which surely speak to your choices and/or a broader audience.

  5. Thanks for the great list! My friend, who is a nurse and also has had two kids, also recommended:

    -A wet/dry bag for clothing that gets wet/bloody/dirty but you want to keep and wash when you get home
    -A nursing pillow to help with breastfeeding
    -Your own towel (since hospital towels are apparently very small) for showering
    -If you are delivering in a hospital that has photographers who come around and take newborn photos*, it’s a great idea to have pack nice shirt (and maybe some makeup, if you want?) to wear

    *FYI- They only take the photos from the waist up, so you only have to worry about packing a nice top. 🙂

    Lastly, I read that hospitals are not as clean as you’d think they are. I hate the chemicals in things like Clorox/Lysol wipes, but I think some sort of disinfectant wipe would be good to bring as well. Do you have any recommendations on a natural alternative to Clorox/Lysol wipes? Thanks!

    • You can dilute therapeutic grade essential oils, such as doterra to make a cleaning product. Their lemon and lavender (as well as many others) are antifungal and anti-virus. Vinegar also works well.
      You can type in above website for tips.

  6. I was just wondering if you still had the video of where you talked about all of the different stuff you packed in your hospital bag? I’ve watched it before and now cannot find it.

  7. Hi,
    Thank you for all this info, i’ve been packing my bag while using the checklist…
    I would love to know more about how to use the essential oils during labour though.
    Thank you!

  8. Hi I’m a second time mom and thinking on going natural birth with this second baby but just don’t know which places to go to I’m on Chicago il. Which places you went and where are you.

    • If you’re on the west side of the city, check out West Suburban Midwives – they’re right in Oak Park, and they deliver at a birth center nearby.

  9. Wasn’t there a YouTube video about what you actually used going to the hospital?

  10. Hi Genevieve,
    I would love to know more about the homeopathic remedies for labor and delivery. Where did you get your info.? I have been learning more and more about homeopathy in the last several years, but this will be my first labor that I would have the chance to use it, and I would like to be well-prepared, with remedies and protocols to have on hand. I have never had any complications with my previous 8 labors, but it’s been 6 years since my last, and I am much older this time, so I want to be prepared just in case. Is there somewhere you can direct me to find more info on this? Thanks.

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