How to Pack a Hospital Bag for Labor

As your due date draws closer, it’s important to gather the must-haves you’ll need for your hospital stay. 

We’ve created a helpful checklist detailing all the essentials; find out what you need to pack in two different hospital bags for mom (one for labor and one for post-partum), a hospital bag for your partner, and, of course, your baby hospital bag. 

Looking for a specific packing list for your partner or for much-needed baby gear? Jump to your must-know section below:

Let’s dive in! 

Hospital Bag Checklist

Labor Bag for Mom


  • A copy of your birth plan: You’ll want to write out your birth plan details, and be able to present a copy to the hospital staff when you arrive. While the plan may deviate depending on your circumstances, you’ll want to have it with you so medical staff is aware of your preferences and can work toward making them a priority.
  • Insurance and coverage details: Always have your insurance card ready to provide for admission. It’s a good idea to double-check that your hospital accepts your insurance type ahead of time. 

Comfort Items

  • Massage lotion: During labor, you’ll want to have your partner rub your back to ease pain and tension, and massage lotion will feel like a Godsend in those moments.
  • Bluetooth speaker: Make a playlist ahead of time with your favorite songs or soothing instrumentals, and play them in your room during labor.
  • Birth ball: This handy tool may ease your birthing process by helping get baby into a good position to start and continue labor, while providing you with the free movement you need to remain as comfortable as possible.
  • Mini fan: Your body will be working hard, so keep cool during the birth process with a mini fan.
  • Your favorite book: If labor lasts longer than expected, you’ll have something to pass the time as you wait for active labor and birth.


  • Labor outfit: Pick something comfortable and loose to bring with you.
  • Socks: While the hospital will provide you with a pair of socks, you may want to bring something a bit softer and more comfortable.
  • Slippers: Opt for a pair of non-slip slippers for your laps up and down the halls or around your room.

Comforts of Home

  • Your favorite blanket and pillow: These cozy items will prove to be a huge help in keeping you comfortable at the hospital.
  • Healthy snacks: Try as they might, hospital food isn’t always the most delicious—or nutritious. Pack easy, healthy snacks to munch on.
  • Electronics: Whittle away the hours as you wait for your little one, and come prepared with your iPad, phone, and headphones.


  • Eyewear: Bring your eyeglasses, contacts, or contact solution—just pick whichever is most comfortable for you.
  • Brush: During labor, you’ll find that bedhead tangles are the name of the game—bring a brush to comb through.
  • Hair ties/headband; so important for keeping your hair back and out of your way
  • Lotion: Keep your skin hydrated in the infamously dry air of the hospital.
  • Lip balm: Keep your lips from getting too dry.
  • Toiletries: Don’t forget a toothbrush and deodorant—they’ll feel like a true luxury if you find yourself in your 10th, 15th, or 20th hour of labor.
  • Makeup: If you normally wear it and feel better in photos with it on, pack your makeup essentials.

Recovery Bag for Mom

Comfy Clothing

  • Bathrobe: This essential is going to be so much more comfortable than a hospital gown.
  • Socks and slippers: Non-slip is best for walking around the hospital.
  • Comfy shoes: You’ll want to make sure you’ve got supportive, comfortable shoes for your drive home.
  • Going-home outfit: Choose something easy to put on that has elastic around the waistband.

Nursing Essentials

  • Nipple cream: Soothe raw, chafed nipples after nursing.
  • Nursing pads: Keep your shirt dry while your body adjusts to a new milk supply.
  • Nursing bra/cover: This will make breastfeeding easier and helps give you some privacy if you have visitors while baby is eating.
  • Nursing pillow: Perfect for positioning baby to nurse comfortably and easing your arm tension.
  • Breast pump: You may need to pump to increase milk supply or if you need to bottle feed.


  • Cell phone/charger: You’ll want to call and tell everyone your big news, and likely take quite a few photos.
  • Camera: This will probably be your most-used electronic item once baby arrives.
  • Memory card: Bring an extra for when you fill up your first one.


  • Bath towel: There’s nothing like that first shower after you give birth, and you’ll want a big fluffy towel to wrap up in afterward.
  • Pads: A necessity for post-partum healing
  • Disposable undies: You’ll want these for the first several days while your body recovers.

Bag for Partner 

  • Cell phone and charger: Keep everyone updated on your progress.  Don’t forget the charger for the many hours you’ll be at the hospital.
  • Magazines or a book: You’ll want something to pass the downtime during labor.
  • Change of clothes: Save the trip home and make sure you’re by your partner’s side during delivery.
  • Toiletries: You will need a toothbrush, deodorant, and a brush too if you stay overnight with your partner.
  • Comfy shoes: Be prepared to stand by her side throughout labor with comfy shoes.
  • Pajamas: In the event you need to stay overnight.
  • Push present: Consider what you’d like to surprise your partner with after she gives you life’s greatest gift.
  • Gifts for other children: These are a great way to help your new baby’s siblings adjust positively to your family’s latest addition.
  • Pillow: The hospital couch might not be the most comfy place to lay your head.
  • List of people to call: Remember everyone on your list—they’ll all be waiting anxiously by the phone.
  • Snacks and beverages: If you’d rather not buy from the cafeteria or vending machines the whole time, bring some snacks and drinks along.
  • Cash and quarters: These are always smart to have on hand for parking meters, vending machines, or other things that come up. 

Baby Gear

  • Car seat: Your hospital will check that you have an unexpired one that fits your baby before releasing you.
  • Pacifiers: Some newborns love them, so pack a few to have on the ride home if needed.
  • Going-home outfit: Baby’s very first outfit is likely something you’ll save forever. Something cute, comfortable, and seasonally appropriate will check all the important boxes.
  • Diaper bag essentials: You’ll need diaper bag supplies, like blankets, burp cloths, diapers, diaper cream, and extra clothes any time you’re out with baby.
  • Extra space in your baby hospital bag: the hospital will give you diapers, wipes, and other supplies to take home when you leave. Be sure to take them! 

Lastly, there’s something you won’t take to the hospital, but you’ll want it set up at home before you have your baby – a newborn bedside crib or bassinet.  You’ll want your baby close to you for nighttime feedings and diaper changes, as well as just the peace of mind of hearing him breathing.   You’ll rest easier knowing that he is right next to you, comfortable and safely sleeping.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

As you enter your third trimester, it’s time to start thinking about packing your hospital bag.  These last 12 weeks will go by quickly, and you’ll want to be ready when the time comes.

So, as you start thinking about scheduling maternity pictures, start your packing process as well. 

It’s a good idea to have everything packed and ready at least a few weeks ahead of your due date.  Once it’s packed, you can just leave it in your car—zero chance of forgetting it when the big day arrives.

With our comprehensive downloadable list, you’ll be prepared to make your hospital stay more comfortable and less stressful for the arrival of your little one.