There is a good chance that you have spent the majority of your pregnancy planning and preparing. You have probably decided what Car Seat you would like, how you are going to feed your baby, and where they’ll sleep at home. As your due date approaches, its now time to pack your bags for delivery! Right around 37-38 weeks is a good time to start thinking about what you will bring with you. We’re here to help with what you do, and don’t, need in your hospital bag. 


First things first, you want to start with a good bag. A functional and comfortable bag will hold all of your things, and may even be multifunctional, like our Katie Diaper Bag. This bag is a modern backpack tote with an innovative and thoughtful design. Functionality and convenience are top priority, and this bag does it all! Two spacious zippered compartments hold everything you need for your baby and yourself, which make it the perfect hospital bag! 


Mom wearing diaper bag and holding babyKatie Diaper Bag interior pockets holds diapers and bottles


What to pack in your Hospital Bag 


Nipple Balm – The early days of breastfeeding can leave your skin feeling tender. A nipple balm will give you some relief as you adjust and heal. The Kiinde lactation team recommends a lanolin free nipple balm. 


Breast Pads – No matter how you plan to feed your baby, breast pads can provide protection from leaking the days after your little one is born. Both reusable or disposable options are available, so you can choose whichever you prefer. 


Comfy Clothes – Comfortable and stretchy tanks or t-shirts and pants are preferred by many after delivery. Soft waist bands will help keep pressure off of any sore areas. You may also want to pack a light robe that you can easily put on if you have any visitors or get chilly. 


1-2 Stretchy Nursing Bras – A comfortable, underwire free bra will provide great support and comfort in the early postpartum period. You may find that you prefer a nursing tank over a bra, both a great options. Keep in mind they may get dirty or wet, so don’t take anything you don’t mind sacrificing. 

Hospital Bag Checklist: Diaper Bag, Nipple Balm, Breast Pads, Comfy Clothes, 1-2 Stretchy Nursing Bras, Journal, Hair ties or headband, Electronics + Chargers, Chapstick, Slippers or Warm Socks, Travel Toiletries, Postpartum Pads/Adult Diapers, Photo ID + Insurance Info, Comfortable Pillow,2-3 Newborn gowns/onesies





Journal – There will be many moments during labor and delivery that you may want to record. Having a journal with you will provide a place to write down any special feelings, record birth stats and visitors and a place for you to print your newborns foot prints. Writing or doodling during labor can also be a great distraction from the discomfort of contractions. 


Hair ties or headband– The last thing a laboring person wants is to have their hair falling in their face. A comfortable headband and hair ties will help keep it up and out of the way. 


Electronics + Chargers – Phone, camera, tablet – whatever you choose to bring, don’t forget to put the chargers in your hospital bag. 


Lip Balm – Hospitals are known to be very dry, and that can be noticeable on sensitive skin, like your lips. You won’t regret packing your favorite lip balm. 


Slippers or Warm Socks – Slippers will provide protection and comfort as you walk the halls during labor, and recovery after you deliver. Hospitals temperatures can be unpredictable, so having a pair of socks will help keep you comfy. 


Travel Toiletries – While some hospitals do provide shower products, they may not be your favorite or meet your needs. Dry shampoo, makeup removing wipes, deodorant, toothpaste and your toothbrush will be nice to have with in your hospital bag. 


Postpartum Pads/Adult Diapers – The hospital will provide you with pads for postpartum, but many birth parents report they prefer to bring a brand or type that they are comfortable with. Some prefer adult diapers, because they provide a little more coverage and absorption. 


Photo ID + Insurance Info – Don’t forget your I.D. and any important documents your Dr. or hospital has asked you to bring. Along with your ID and insurance information you may want to bring along your partners info and a copy of your choices for labor and delivery, also known as a “birth plan” 


Comfortable Pillow– Turns out that hospital pillows aren’t the most luxurious. In a vulnerable state, like labor and delivery, having a little piece of comfort from home can make a big difference. Don’t forget to put a pillow case that you don’t mind getting dirty on, just in case. Some people also prefer to bring a blanket from home, as well. 

What to pack for your baby


2-3 Newborn gowns/onesies – Most of the baby care items (diapers, wipes, creams etc…) you need will be provided by the hospital. You really don’t need much for a baby aside from something for them to wear. Cotton gowns can be really handy in the hospital, as they provide easy access for diaper changes and fit a wide size range. Some parents like to pack a special swaddle for pictures and a coming home outfit, too. 


Infant Car-seat – This obviously won’t fit into your hospital bag, but you will need to bring the car-seat you intend to use with you. The hospital will likely check to make sure you have one ready. Some hospitals have a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) who can make sure it fits baby and is installed properly too, ask your hospital if they have one on staff!


Hospital Bag checklist – Nice to have


We’ve covered the things you definitely want to have in your hospital bag. Here are a few things that you may consider bringing along.


Earbuds or headphones – listening to music can be a nice distraction during labor and may help with rest as you recover. 


Your breast pump – you shouldn’t need your breast pump right away (and the hospital does have multi user pumps if you do)  but some like to bring their pump because they will have a chance to meet with the Lactation Consultant in postpartum recovery. The lactation consultant can show you how to use your pump and make sure it fits well. If you don’t want to bring it for labor and delivery, your partner or a family member can bring it during your recovery. 


Hard candies or mints – If allowed, sucking on hard candy during labor can be a distraction from discomfort and help prevent your mouth from getting dry. Be sure to check with your OBGYN or Midwife, if they allow these things or snacks. 


A breastfeeding pillow – The hospital will provide additional pillows and any feeding support that you may need. Some prefer the firmness of a breastfeeding pillow or they just want to get used to feeding with it, as they plan to use it a home.


Pacifier or Bottle – Again, the hospital will provide many of the baby care items that you need. Should you want to introduce a pacifier or bottle, you may want to bring the type you intend to offer with you.


Now that you know what you need, pack your bag and set it in your car or by the front door. You are ready to go and all that is left is waiting for baby!


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Aryn Hinton

Aryn is a Certified Lactation Counselor on the Kiinde Lactation team. She is also a mother of two, writer, and maternal mental health advocate.

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