Hospital Bag Checklist: What To Pack For Labor & Delivery

Pregnant woman sitting on bed holding a clipboard with hospital bag checklist with baby supplies laid out in front of her

With a laundry list of must-haves to secure before your baby arrives, it can feel overwhelming to try and determine precisely when and what to pack in your hospital bag. 

The truth is: a hospital bag may be one of  the most essential parts of your delivery (outside of the actual delivery, of course!)  as it will house everything you need to care for you, your baby, and your partner in the hospital. It will also contain necessary documentation that you’ll need immediately following birth. 

Whether your due date is fast approaching or you pride yourself on being an organized and efficient planner who wants to be prepared for the impending arrival of your bundle of joy, we’ve got you covered.

As parents, we also imagined the last-minute rush of throwing everything in a bag as labor came quicker than planned. You know, kind of like you see in the movies. 

It is a good parenting rule of thumb to think of your hospital bag as an extension of your perfect diaper bag, with a shift on the essentials you need away from home. 

Before we begin, it is important to remember that this list is just created as guidance by parents who have been there, similar to our green parenting guide. 

When it comes to your hospital bag, we want you to pack whatever you feel will help your labor and delivery be the most calming and comfortable experience possible. 

That same sentiment holds true for timing. 

Now, let’s discuss the most useful items to pack in your hospital bag to prepare for labor, delivery, and your post-delivery hospital stay for your growing family.

Top view of the Alden Weekender Backpack packed for a baby delivery hospital visit

When To Pack Your Hospital Bag 

While there is no right or wrong answer on exactly when to pack your hospital bag, we always say the sooner, the better is the safest option.

Babies have a way of making their entrance on their own time, so having your bag ready well in advance takes the worry out of last-minute packing. We all know how stressful packing can feel the day before a long trip. The same is valid for packing during your last weeks of pregnancy. 

If we had to put an exact timeline on when to pack your hospital bag, we’d say to do so at the beginning of the eighth month. This allows you enough time to get what you need, finalize your birth plan, pack clothes that fit you, and recheck the bag before delivery to ensure you have everything you need. 

What To Pack in the Hospital Bag for Mom 

In the past, when we perused articles on hospital bag checklists, we realized that a lot of them provided valuable feedback on what to pack but forgot to mention the most crucial part to keep you organized: the type of bag to use. 

While any bag can work, we highly recommend utilizing a bag that provides you with the space you need to keep all of your items organized but separated so that you can quickly grab what you need without having to empty an entire bag to thumb through the contents. 

As eco-friendly parents and partners, we also recommend using a sustainable bag made from materials that keep your baby’s new things safe, secure, and chemical-free. 

The perfect option? Our XO Alden Weekender. It provides ample space and the right amount of storage to hold all of your items so that you can worry less about trying to find what you need and more about how to easily care for yourself and your baby on their first Earthside days. 

If you’re planning on having separate bags for you and your partner, you should check out our line of backpack diaper bags. Gender-neutral and highly functional our XO Elkin Backpack and lineup of Classic Elkin Bags are perfect for carrying your birthing essentials.

Once you’ve decided on the ideal bag to use in and out of the hospital, we want to make sure you have these must-have mom essentials:

  • A finalized birth plan
  • Comfortable clothes, especially sleeping gowns
  • Glasses, contacts, and contact lens solution (if needed)
  • Robe and slippers
  • Daily medications
  • Shower shoes
  • Socks
  • Nursing pillow or other comfortable pillows
  • A going-home outfit
  • Calming entertainment such as your tablet or a book
  • Nursing bras and nipple cream if you plan to breastfeed
  • Comfortable underwear to wear after labor and delivery
  • Heavy menstrual pads (if you prefer yours over the hospital-provided option)
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, skincare items, lotion, body wash)
  • An extra-long cell phone charging cord
  • Your favorite snacks and drinks

    Before you head out the door, make sure you have your wallet, identification, insurance card, and phone, too! 

    What To Pack in the Hospital Bag for Partners 

    Some of the most forgotten items in a hospital bag are the essentials for dads and partners. 

    While we completely understand that the main focus of the entire labor and delivery process is on mom and the newest (and most precious!) addition to your family, we can’t forget about packing the goods for our support system. 

    So, don’t forget to leave a little room in your bag for your right-hand man or woman.

    Below are a few items to include in the hospital bag for your partners:

    • Pillow
    • Light sleeping bag or small blanket
    • Toiletries 
    • Pajamas
    • Daily medications
    • Glasses, contact lenses, or contact lens solution (if needed)
    • A few changes of clothes 
    • Snacks and drinks
    • A laptop or tablet

    What To Pack in the Hospital Bag for Your Baby 

    Now, on to the star of the show- your new baby! 

    While you may want to pack every cute outfit you can think of along with all of the comforts of home, there are some things you should and shouldn’t bring.

    Along with installing a car seat ahead of time, we suggest you bring the following items for your newborn:

    • A going-home outfit
    • Swaddle blankets (Check out our pro tips on how to swaddle- the technique can feel tricky at first!)
    • Contact information for their new pediatrician
    • Socks and booties
    • Hats
    • Onesies
    • Bottles and pacifiers (especially if you plan to formula-feed or use a breast pump)


    What Not To Pack in Your Hospital Bag 

    While what you pack in your hospital bag is completely based on preference, there are some things you should avoid.

    Avoid packing:

    • Jewelry
    • Cash
    • Diapers or wipes
    • Formula
    • Too much clothing for the baby
    • Fancy or pre-pregnancy clothing for mom
    • Baby toys
    • A breast pump
    • An extensive makeup bag or hair tools 

    Baby clothes and accessories laid out to pack into a bag

    Wrapping Up Our Hospital Bag Checklist 

    Whether you’re a first-time or experienced mom, we hope that with this thorough hospital bag checklist, you will feel relieved and confident as you head to the hospital to deliver your baby. 

    We hope that you use this guide as a starting point to begin discussing and planning what you do and don’t need in your hospital bag with your support partner. 

    Remember, planning is key to reducing stress and anxiety around your child’s birthday. 

    If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect hospital bag- we’ve got you covered. 

    And remember, if you notice any signs of labor or start experiencing contractions, we encourage you to contact your doctor immediately. 

    From our family to yours, we wish you the best of luck on this new journey of unconditional love with your little one.