If you’ve entered into your third trimester of pregnancy, it’s time to start thinking about packing your hospital bag. I know that you’ve got a lot on your third trimester to do list to prepare for baby’s arrival, which is why I’ve created this labor hospital bag checklist to make things easy for you.
So if you’ve been asking yourself questions like:
- At what week should you pack your hospital bag?
- What kind of clothes should I bring in my hospital bag for labor and delivery?
- Do I need to pack postpartum care items in my hospital bag?
I’ll answer all of these questions as we go over my labor hospital bag checklist so you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to pack and what you don’t. It’s actually a lot less than you might think.
Your baby may come sooner than your due date, so make sure you don’t put off packing your hospital bag to the last minute!
You can also grab my printable labor hospital bag checklist at the end of this post too (it’s free).
Ok, let’s get to it!
At what week should you pack your hospital bag?
Once you hit your third trimester, packing your hospital bag should be a top priority, but the week is really up to you. I personally recommend packing around week 35 or at least a month before your due date.
If you are having twins, multiples or have a high risk pregnancy, consider packing even earlier.
I didn’t have a high risk pregnancy, but my second baby just decided to come 2 1/2 weeks early. Thankfully my bag was ready to go.
What kind of clothes should I bring in my hospital bag for labor and delivery?
After both of my births (but especially my C-section) I had no desire to get dressed and basically wore my nursing bra and postpartum diaper for most of my hospital stay. I was cozied up in bed under blankets all day anyway.
Even if you don’t plan on nursing, the milk is still going to come in and the bra you were wearing before is not going to fit.
So plan to pack a couple comfy nursing bras that are sized up from your current pregnancy size. My go-to nursing bras are both by Kindred Bravely. I wear this one here in the day under regular clothes and then this nursing bra is just for sleeping (and lounging around). They’re both wireless and soft, which is what you want during recovery. I actually still wear both of them around the house even though I’m not nursing anymore just because they’re so comfortable!
When I wasn’t in just my nursing bra and postpartum diaper, I wore a lovely floral robe that I had purchased specifically for after delivery (check out this super cute one). If you plan to do photography or take any pictures at all, a robe will be so much prettier than an ugly hospital gown (and it’s so much easier than trying to get fully dressed). It’s also convenient for breastfeeding since you can open it in the front.
Comfy Clothes To Wear Home
For your going home outfit, bring clothes that are both super easy to put on and also not going to rub you the wrong way (no jeans).
For both of my births, I packed these maternity leggings to wear home and I pretty much wore them every day through my postpartum recovery. You could also bring an easy to slip on dress.
If you don’t want to wear your postpartum diaper home from the hospital, opt to pack some postpartum undies like these and wear them with a sanitary pad instead. They won’t show under your leggings like a diaper and will help you feel a little less icky.
Flip flops are the perfect postpartum shoe since you can just slip them on without having to bend over at all. Plus, they don’t take up much space in your hospital bag.
Any shoe that doesn’t require you to bend over or touch them to pull on should work though. Just remember that you’ll be sore and/or walking slow as a turtle out of the hospital (especially if you’ve had a c-section).
Hospital Bag Nursing Essentials To Pack
You’ll start nursing in the hospital soon after baby is born, but it may take some time for baby to latch onto your breast properly. When the latch isn’t quite right, your nipples chafe and can actually crack and bleed. (Don’t worry though, this chafing phase of breastfeeding doesn’t last forever). I put this baby-safe nipple cream on after every feed right from the start to prevent and heal my sore nipples. 🥴
When your milk comes in, your breasts will be super engorged and leaking for awhile, so pack some nursing pads to stick inside your nursing bra.
If you forget to bring your boppy pillow, it’s ok, it just makes it much easier to breastfeed in my opinion than having to prop up pillows in the hospital. Especially when you are first learning to breastfeed. The nurses or a lactation consultant can help you try different nursing positions with your boppy pillow until you find what works for you.
Labor Hospital Bag Checklist of Toiletries
While you’re packing your toiletries, keep in mind that you will be laying in bed all day and night for 2-3 days and when you finally do get the chance to shower, it’s going to be a slow process. No need to pack the kitchen sink (or bathroom rather).
Here’s what I recommend:
- Hair tie
- Facial cleanser and lotion
- Travel size shampoo and conditioner (unless you don’t mind using the hospital stuff)
- Lip balm
- Makeup (I didn’t care about doing makeup after my vaginal birth and no way this was happening after my c-section so up to you)
- Contacts and accessories or glasses
Pack some snacks in your hospital bag because you (or your hubby) might be hungry at a time when the hospital kitchen is closed. I’m talking middle of the night hungry.
The nurses will be coming into your room all night long to do check ups on you and baby, which means you’ll be sleeping like crap, tired as hell and may need a midnight snack while you’re up feeding baby.
Plus, your milk is getting ready to come in = HUNGRY.
So throw some snack bars or trail mix in your hospital bag just in case!
You might be thinking, entertainment? Really? Well let me explain:
Labor can be a funny thing and either take awhile to get going or come on super hard and fast. With my first son, my contractions came on fast and by the time we arrived at the hospital I could barely walk. Needless to say, entertainment was unnecessary. BUT, with my second son, my water broke as the first sign of labor and even though my contractions hadn’t started I was advised to go to the hospital (to prevent infection). So we were bored in the hospital room for hours.
In a scenario like this, I would consider packing some kind of entertainment in your hospital labor and delivery bag whether it’s a magazine, cards or your iPad. Or you might just be too excited to do anything else but text and call close friends and family members to share you’re in labor!
Speaking of sharing the good news, don’t forget to pack your phone charger. If you have one with a super long cord, even better!
These things should be in your purse, so either don’t forget your purse, or put a little note on top of your hospital bag to put your wallet in your bag right before you head to the hospital.
Have your birth plan paperwork filled out? Tuck it into your labor and delivery bag so it’s easily accessible when you arrive at the hospital. This will ensure the nursing staff is aware of your wishes for the birth.
Labor Hospital Bag Checklist For Baby
Baby’s Diaper Bag
After you give birth, the hospital will supply your newborn with diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets and a hat during your stay. But once you’re ready to head home, it’s up to you to have all of baby’s essentials with you including a going home outfit and blanket.
Learn everything you’ll need in this post here 👉 What To Pack In Baby’s Diaper Bag
Ok so you’re not packing this one in your labor hospital bag, but it is an essential for after delivery since you can’t leave the hospital without it. So make sure you’ve installed baby’s infant car seat (know how to use it) and that the stroller is in the trunk of your car a month prior to your due date. When you’re ready to take baby home, the hospital staff will check to make sure that baby is buckled in correctly.
What don’t I need to pack in my hospital bag?
One thing you won’t find on my labor hospital bag checklist are postpartum care supplies. The hospital will supply you with these products during your stay and you can take home any extra sanitary pads, etc. that are in your room (this won’t be enough to cover 6 weeks though).
You’ll need to make yourself a postpartum care kit for when you arrive home. I’ve written another post covering this topic and you can check it out below 👇
Final Thoughts On Labor Hospital Bag Checklist
Packing your hospital bag isn’t really all that much stuff when you consider that you’ll just be in bed for 2-3 days. The most important thing is to just not procrastinate the task itself.
Here’s a quick recap of the labor hospital bag checklist:
- Nursing bras
- Comfy going home clothes
- Postpartum underwear
- Flip flops
- Nipple cream
- Nursing pads
- Boppy pillow
- Entertainment (optional)
- Phone charger
- Wallet with ID/Insurance card
- Birth plan
- Baby’s diaper bag (see what to pack here)
- Car seat and stroller
Want to print the list? Click here to bring up a labor hospital bag checklist PDF that you can print for free from your computer.
Or simply pin this post to Pinterest to come back to it anytime. 👇