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Packing the Perfect Hospital Bag for Baby's Arrival

Babies have no respect for due dates. Even though you count down the months and days to that particular date, only about 5% of babies are born on their actual due date. The vast majority of babies are born anywhere from 37 weeks (the milestone for “full-term”) to 42 weeks of pregnancy. 

In the event that your baby is so excited to meet you that he or she shows up closer to the 37-week mark, it’s important to be prepared with a hospital bag packed and ready to go. The common recommendation is to keep the packed bag in the trunk of your car starting at 36 weeks pregnant so that no matter where or when labor starts, as soon as you’re ready to go to the hospital, your bag is ready to go with you. 

As you start to pack your hospital bag, you may find yourself wondering what to pack. To help guide the process, here are the 5 must-have categories of items to consider:

#1. Comfy Clothes

Comfort is the top priority when it comes to postpartum dressing. Think baggy sweatpants, plush robes, and warm socks. You don’t need too many options, just 1 or 2 cozy outfits. If you plan on nursing, remember to bring nursing tops or anything that easily opens in front. 

#2. Toiletries

You will be staying in the hospital overnight (sometimes for a few nights) so you’ll want to bring a toothbrush, toothpaste, and any facewash or moisturizing products that you like to use. Some people bring a favorite shampoo or body wash to use in the shower, but the hospital will likely provide that for you.

#3. Blankets and Swaddles

The hospital will provide blankets for both you and baby, but it is often preferable to bring something ultrasoft and high-quality to wrap around baby’s delicate skin. A Baby Minky Blanket is perfect for keeping mama and baby cozy and warm during skin-to-skin contact, and a Bamboo Swaddle will help calm the baby by reminding him or her of the close embrace of the womb. The nurses at the hospital are swaddling pros and having them show you how to use the swaddle that you’ll be using at home can be a huge help. 

#4. Pillows

As with the point above, the hospital will provide pillows, but you’ll probably prefer your own. You’ll use pillows to rest on, of course, but will also use them to prop the baby up for feeding. You may want to consider bringing a pillow made specifically for feeding a baby (such as the Boppy or My Breast Friend) as these can be hugely beneficial in getting the baby into the right position, whether you’re nursing or bottle feeding. 

#5. Snacks

This is the most neglected hospital bag item, but often the most important. Birth is hard work, and you will be very, very hungry. Some hospitals offer food 24/7, but others do not. Be prepared with cookies, dried fruit, or whatever snacks you prefer. Anything you can eat with one hand while holding a baby is perfect. 

With all of these items, make sure to take into account both you and your partner’s needs. The birth process and the first few days that follow can be exhausting and anxiety-inducing for Dads as well. They will also need toiletries, a change of clothes, and will definitely be eating a lot of snacks. 


  • How on earth I managed to forget about snacks?! I’ve done a TON of research already, I feel like I’ve added a million things to the already long list of things to pack but somehow I forgot momma has to eat as well haha. This pandemic made everything worse, I just found out I will be alone in the hospital so here I am running around like a headless chicken. I even added a humidifier for my mild asthma, they will think I’ve gone mad for sure ha!

  • My wife is a bit all over the place and has a bad case of pregnancy brain right now so she is forgetting everything! I wanted to help and find some lists on what to pack for her so she can focus on resting the next week or two depending on how soon it happens. Thanks for this list. It was one of the best ones I have come across. I am sure my wife will appreciate this.

    Mike B.

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