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What to Pack In Your Hospital or Birth Center Bag (Plus What NOT to Pack & a Few Nice-to-Have Items)

When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag?

It's best to plan for any surprises. Babies like to come on their own time, which could mean you're going into labor before your due date!

You should plan to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go (minus some smaller last-minute items like your toothbrush and contact lenses) by week 36 or 37 of your pregnancy. This will ensure you have everything you need to get out the door quickly whenever baby decides to come.

Here's what you should consider packing in your hospital bag. I broke it down into must-haves, general items, nice-to-have, for baby, and for your partner. Plus, read to the end of this post for what you DON'T need to pack! (The hospital will send you home with lots of freebies!) Happy packing!

Must-Have Items for Your Hospital Bag

These are necessary items that you'll need to bring, whether for safety or hospital admin reasons.

  • ID/Wallet

  • Insurance Card

  • Pediatrician's Contact Information

  • Birth Plan (if you have one)

  • Car Seat (already installed)

General Items for Your Hospital Bag

These items will keep you comfortable during your hospital stay & are generally considered necessities as well.

  • Joggers/Sweatpants

  • Loose-Fitting Shirts

  • Cozy Socks

  • Nursing/Pumping Bras or Tank Tops

  • Comfortable Postpartum Underwear (like Thinx brand) or Disposable Underwear (like Depend)

  • Pajamas/Bathrobe

  • Going Home Outfit (something comfortable)

  • Slip-On Shoes

  • Toothbrush/Toothpaste

  • Hairbrush/Hair Ties

  • Face Wash/Wipes

  • Deodorant

  • Dry Shampoo or Shampoo/Conditioner

  • Glasses/Contacts & Cleaning Solution

  • Medications/Vitamins (be sure your doctor knows what you're taking)

  • Lotion

  • Lip Balm

  • Extra Long Phone Charger

  • Phone

  • Water Bottle

Nice-to-Have Items for Your Hospital Bag

The following items aren't necessary for your hospital stay, but would likely make your time in the hospital stay more comfortable.

  • Makeup (some mamas like to feel "put together", though this is definitely not a necessity!)

  • Tablet/Laptop

  • Snacks/Electrolyte Drinks

  • Gum/Hard Candy (most hospitals won't allow you to eat during labor in case of C-Section)

  • Pillow

  • Bath Towel

  • Bluetooth Speaker

  • Nipple Balm/Cream

  • Peri Bottle (your hospital may provide this)

  • An Extra Bag (to store all the hospital freebies you'll get!)

  • Handheld Fan/Mister (if you run hot)

  • Birth Affirmations

  • Battery Powered Twinkle Lights (if hospital lights bother you)

Things to Pack for Baby

Your newborn won't need much! Here are a few items to pack for baby.

  • Going Home Outfit

  • Bottles (if using) & Preferred Formula (if using)

  • Keepsakes You Want Photos with In the Hospital

  • Memory Book (if using)

What to Pack for Your Partner/Support Person

Your partner/support person won't need to bring much with them because they'll also be able to run out and get something if they forget it. But here are a few items they should consider packing.

  • Comfortable Clothing

  • Toiletries (see above)

  • Pillow & Blanket (or sleeping bag)

  • Phone Charger

  • Phone/Tablet/Laptop

  • Water Bottle

  • Snacks

What NOT to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

These items will be provided by the hospital, so you don't need to bring any with you! You'll likely go home with a lot of free goodies from the hospital.

  • Diapers

  • Wipes

  • Excess Formula (chances are the hospital will have your brand)

  • More than 1 swaddle (you'll get a hospital receiving blanket & they'll likely have burp cloths for you as well)

Once your bag is packed, you can place it by your front door, in your car, or somewhere where you won't forget to grab it when you go into labor or head to the hospital for your scheduled C-Section. Congratulations on your new addition!

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