Hey beautiful mama! So we heard you’re in your third trimester and your due date is approaching. Maybe your OB has mentioned it or maybe you just know, but...it’s time to start thinking about packing that hospital bag!
- Packing a hospital bag with all the essentials for both mom and baby can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! With our Dream WeekenderTM bag (specially designed for hospital visits and traveling), you can easily pack essentials like all your hospital paperwork, a robe/dressing gown, slippers and/or socks, loose, lightweight clothing, a going-home outfit, toiletries, a cell phone charger, maternity or nursing bras, and a few snacks.
- Plus, you can add a few essentials for the soon-to-be-born baby, like a coming-home outfit and hat, warm blankets, and baby mittens.
- With these items ready, you can relax and focus on the most important task - getting ready for your new bundle of joy!
- Don't stress about packing for your hospital stay! Itzy Ritzy's Dream WeekenderTM bag has everything you need for both mom and baby. Get yours today and enjoy a worry-free delivery!
The task of packing a diaper bag for the hospital for the first time can seem daunting — what exactly do you need? What will the hospital provide? Preparation is key, and there are a handful of things to consider when packing, especially if this is your first pregnancy. You don’t want to forget any essentials at home, but there’s also no reason to overdo things (save yourself the extra back pain!).
Don’t know where to start? No problem! That’s where we come in. We surveyed over 1,000 parents in the Itzy Ritzy community to find out what they wished they would have packed, what they were surprised they used so much, what they’d skip next time and what they were so happy to have in their hospital bag. We want to help relieve as much stress as possible for when it’s time to meet your new bundle of joy! Read on for when to pack that hospital bag and what to put in it.
When to Pack
The best answer for when to pack your hospital bag is whenever you feel is best for you! Yes, timing is important, but you have some flexibility when it comes to packing up your things. The general rule of thumb is to have your bag packed and prepared by 36 weeks or 37 weeks pregnant, just in case your baby arrives before the due date. Maybe consider packing your bag a week or two earlier if your pregnancy is more high-risk. Generally, it’s better to be packed early and it also is one more item you can check off your list!
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
The first step is to find the perfect bag to hold all your necessities. Our Dream Weekender bag is specially designed for hospital visits and traveling! Comfortably (and stylishly) stash away your new-mama birthing checklist items in this lightweight bag. Trust us when we say, you won’t have to worry about running out of room. When we asked parents in our survey what bag they brought to the hospital, the majority told us they packed the Dream Weekender!
Now that you’ve picked out the perfect bag, let’s run through some basic essentials you’ll want for your hospital stay:
- A folder with all your paperwork - this might include a Photo ID, insurance info, hospital forms, your birth plan (if you have one), etc.
- A robe/dressing gown - and preferably one you don’t mind sacrificing (just in case). A warm robe or roomy sweater is the perfect postpartum clothing item, plus it was the second most common answer when we asked moms what one item they were SO happy they packed for the hospital.
- Slippers and/or socks - for walking the halls before and after labor. We recommend keeping these in the bottom part of the Dream Weekender - the bottom compartment is ideal for things like shoes and toiletries!
- Loose, lightweight clothing - in case the maternity ward gets hot.
- A going home outfit - any comfy clothes will do (and be sure you have flat shoes). Maternity clothes work great: think loose pants and a big tee or sweater. Remember, after you give birth it takes time for your uterus to shrink back to its pre-baby size, so you’re most likely going to look 6-7 months pregnant. Keep that in mind as you are packing clothes for yourself — you want to be as comfortable as possible!
- Toiletries - hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, dry shampoo, conditioner, extra hair-ties, your contact lens case/solution, lotion… and don’t forget lip balm! This was the top thing moms said they were surprised they used so much.
- A cell phone charger - bonus points if it’s extra long...just in case the electrical outlet is across the room from your hospital bed. A long phone charger is the number one thing parents were happy to have in their hospital bag, according to our survey!
- 2 maternity or nursing bras - regardless of if you plan to nurse or not, you'll appreciate the extra support and leak protection.
- Snacks - no explanation needed. You’re going to want snacks, snacks and more snacks! When we asked moms what they wished they would have packed more of, the number one answer was snacks.
Okay, so maybe these aren’t essentials, but it won’t hurt to throw in these nice-to-have items if there’s room.
- Airpods or a speaker - music is an asset for some moms. Birth playlist anyone?
- A comfy pillow - make sure you don’t mind the pillow case getting ruined.
- Bath towel - hospital towels aren’t exactly luxurious hotel towels.
- Nipple cream - if you’re planning to breastfeed, this can come in handy.
- Light reading - or any entertainment that travels easily to use during downtime.
The hospital will have all the personal care items you should need after birth — but if you think you’ll feel more comfortable bringing your own, pack underwear and/or pads. If you want to save money you can also bring your own pain reliever and stool softener, but the hospital will provide that to you as well, so don’t sweat it if you don’t remember to throw those in the bag.
If you’re having a C-section, there are a few extra items you’ll want to consider bringing.
Pro tip: while the Dream Weekender has incredible built-in organization, if you think you need a little extra, check out our large packing cubes. They’ll fit inside perfectly and come with little pull-tabs so you don’t need to unpack your entire bag just to get to the ONE pouch you need.
What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Baby
Now that you’re all packed and ready to go, let’s move onto the new baby! It might be kind of tricky to know exactly everything baby will need...but the good news is that they really don’t need much. Overpacking for baby is probably one of the biggest first-timer mistakes.
Your baby will most likely spend most of his/her time in just a diaper, wrapped in a hospital swaddle blanket. The hospital will have all the diapers and wipes you’ll need. They will also have hats and swaddle blankets, but if you want “cuter” versions, you’ll need to bring your own!
Keeping baby skin-to-skin as much as possible those first few days is incredibly helpful when nursing (if breastfeeding), for bonding time and for many other reasons.
Here are a few essentials to remember:
- A carseat - having this installed in your car early is one less thing to worry about during labor, delivery, and traveling home.
- A coming-home outfit (and hat!) - bring two or three options so you’re sure to have something that will fit your little one perfectly (newborn and 0-3 months since you don’t know how big baby will be when born). Onesies are always popular!
- Announcement photo props - If you’re planning on a sweet announcement pic of your new babe before you bring them home, make sure to pack the accessories you want to use: swaddles, wooden signs, letter boards, etc. Our Cutie Cocoons are extra cute for this, and take up very little room in your bag.
- Warm blankets - for the ride home, especially during the colder months.
- Your pediatrician’s contact information - the doctors and nurses will probably ask you for this several times, so it’s good to have it handy.
- Bottles - if you’re using them.
- Baby mittens or baby nail clippers — babies are born with nails, so mittens or a file may be helpful.
Necessities For Your Partner
On top of bringing all the normal overnight stuff (i.e. changes of clothes, pajamas, toiletries), your partner should be in charge of important paperwork / insurance cards / identification / etc. Depending on how nice the sleeping situation is, they might want to consider bringing a pillow from home as hospital pillows aren’t the most comfortable. Check out our full hospital bag checklist for dads here.
The last step after zipping up your hospital bag is to throw it in the car or leave it by the front door -- and wait patiently for baby’s arrival! Good luck to you, mama. You’ve got this!
Team Itzy Ritzy
What should I realistically pack in my hospital bag?
Thanks to our Dream WeekenderTM bag, you can fit in all the essentials for both mom and baby. For mom, consider packing loose, lightweight clothing, a robe/dressing gown, slippers and/or socks, maternity or nursing bras and underclothes, a going-home outfit, toiletries like shampoo and soap, a cell phone charger, and a few snacks.
For your soon-to-be-born baby, pack a coming-home outfit, warm blankets, your pediatrician’s contact information, bottles, and baby mittens or nail clippers.
What week should I start packing my hospital bag?
Although some women prefer to pack earlier, we suggest packing your hospital bag at 36-37 weeks of pregnancy. This way, you’ll be sure to have everything ready when labor starts and won’t miss out on any of the essentials!
What should you not forget to pack in your hospital bag?
Don’t forget to pack a going-home outfit for you and the baby, your pediatrician’s contact information, and a car seat/carrier. These essential items will come in handy when you welcome your new little one into the world.
Plus, it's also a good idea to pack a few items to make your hospital stay more comfortable, like your own robe/dressing gown, slippers and/or socks, maternity or nursing bras and underclothes, toiletries, a cell phone charger, and a few non-perishable snacks.
How many baby outfits to pack in a hospital bag?
We suggest packing two or three different coming-home outfits for the baby in case you don’t know what size they will be at birth. Make sure the outfits are weather-appropriate and easy to put on and take off. Socks and a hat should all be included to keep your baby warm and comfortable.
Do you wear a bra during labor?
While wearing a bra during labor is a matter of personal preference, your midwife or doctor will probably advise you to wear a comfortable maternity or nursing bra during labor. The extra support can be very helpful.
Pack at least one maternity or nursing bra in your Dream WeekenderTM bag for the days leading up to your due date.