The Minimalist Hospital Bag Checklist: Essentials List for Mom, Dad and Baby

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As some of you know, I had a very speedy labor. I only packed a robe and slippers for myself. I didn’t even have time to pack anything for my baby, which is why I came up with the Minimalist Hospital Bag Checklist. My labor and delivery would have gone smoother if I packed my bag earlier and my poor husband wouldn’t have to run back to our house to get our things. Leave your hospital bag by the door between 32-34 weeks. Print your hospital bag checklist and stick it in your bag so that when it’s go-time, you know exactly what you need to bring to the hospital.

Since my birth was very short and I didn’t have any time to pack anything, I realized that there isn’t much you need to pack. You can have a baby, anytime, anywhere. However, you will save yourself a lot of stress by being as prepared as possible. You can pack a “maybe need” bag and leave it in the car or with a family member who will be visiting you during your hospital stay. Most hospitals have necessities. This list covers the essentials so I will talk about the things that are the most necessary items to pack in your hospital bag. I will post a more comprehensive list as well, but this list is perfect for the minimalist or anyone who doesn’t want to pack a lot of extras.

 

(This post contains affiliate links – I may receive credit if you purchase items from links on my blog. Check out the disclosure for more information. Thanks for supporting Sincerely Farah!)

 

Minimalist Hospital Back Checklist

 

Two baby sleepers with zippers, one grey and one white, layered on top of each other, with one baby blanket underneath with xoxo print, and one blue and one beige newborn baby hat layered on top of each other

Baby Sleepers and Hats

Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby

    • Car Seat + Base: We got the Nuna Pipa Car Seat, a celebrity and fan favorite. This car seat is one of my absolute favorite baby buys! It weighs less than 8 pounds which is so easy to carry, especially when you add the weight of your baby. It’s so sleek and modern and incredibly easy to install and use while also remaining super sturdy. After doing much research, the safety features sealed the deal for me. I’m not even joking when I say it took us less than a minute to figure out how to install it in our car. It can even be installed without the base, so it is perfect for plane rides or moving from one car to another. I also absolutely love that this car seat has a built-in canopy, to keep the paparazzi away! Kidding! However, this canopy was life during the newborn stage. Whenever we took out Leo, I would simply pull the canopy over him to keep the sun, rain, harsh light and strangers out of his sleepy little face. He was so cozy and well-protected in this car seat.  I get compliments on Nuna Stroller Travel System whenever I take it out. People stop me and ask me what stroller I have all the time, and Leo still begs me to get in his “comfy” stroller for a ride. This thing is built like a tank. Seriously, worth the investment!

 

    • Soft & Breathable Baby Blanket: Muslin blankets are essential for baby’s first year for numerous reasons. You can start using them right at the hospital since they are so soft and breathable. Muslin blankets are perfect covering your baby while breastfeeding or cuddling, the ride home, or just for when your baby is hanging out. You can also use it as a swaddle, burp cloth or a changing cloth. The possibilities are endless! Pack two because your little one might spit up or have an accident (Leo pooped on his baby blanket, and I brought only one with me to the hospital. Eeek!). I love Aden + Anais muslin blankets and must have over 50 blankets. They still come in so handy for Leo and are still in perfect condition. Also, if you give birth in the dead of winter as I did, pack a warmer blanket for the ride home.

 

    • Footed Sleepers with a Zipper: Newborns need to be warm and cozy at all times. Footed sleepers keep them warm and comfortable and just so much easier than putting them in pants and socks and tops. Sleepers with zippers are especially handy as you don’t have to fumble with buttons while changing diapers in the middle of the night. Organic cotton sleepers, especially with a double zipper are perfect for the newborn stage. They are soft, comfy and make diaper changes a breeze! Avoid anything overly fancy. Just focus on comfort for baby.  If you’re giving birth in the winter, you can also pack accompanying onesies for more layers. Pack 2-3 footed sleepers in case your hospital stay is longer than expected. I just love these organic cotton sleepers with two zippers. So soft and adorable!

 

    • Newborn Hat: Your baby will probably get a hat as soon as they are born but it will have blood and bodily fluids (I know, TMI) all over it. You might not want to use the hospital hat. Pack a soft newborn hat to keep your little munchkin’s head nice and warm.

 

  • Going Home Outfit: It’s always fun to pack something special for baby! Stick with something simple and comfortable.

Optional:

    • Simple Swaddle: If you don’t have the swaddle skills of the maternity nurses (very few of us do), bring a simple swaddle with you. It will make your life so much easier, and you don’t have to worry about the swaddle covering your baby’s face. I wish I found these soft cocoon swaddles when Leo was born! I always found swaddling him impossible. These are just so cute and look so snug and cozy.

 

    • Diapers and Wipes (Depending on Hospital): I thought that I was going to have ample diapers and wipes, but I was given next to nothing. I am in Toronto, Canada so this will vary by location and hospital. I would call the hospital beforehand to figure out what the diapers/wipes situation is. If your hospital doesn’t provide the essentials, then bring a small pack of newborn diapers and a pack of sensitive wipes. I love Pampers Pure diapers. These are the only diapers that Leo hasn’t reacted to, and they are super absorbent. I highly recommend them to every new mom.

 

  • Baby Vaseline: My hospital did not provide Vaseline, so it’s best to call and find out if your hospital will. Baby’s first poop (meconium) can be very sticky and sometimes difficult to wipe off. Baby Vaseline is mild and suitable for sensitive skin. It is safe to use for wiping and creates a bit of extra protection on your little’s bottom.

 

Black backpack with baby blanket and baby wipes spilling out of the bag and two newborn baby hats beside the backpack diaper bag

Honest Company Hospital Bag, Baby Swaddle, Honest Company Wipes

Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom

    • Extra Long Charger: Can you imagine your phone dying after giving birth. Tragic! How else will people know what a super mom you are and how adorable your new baby is? You will take approximately a million photos of your baby. Pack an extra long charging cord to ensure your phone is always within reach. Your baby will be #trending right away.

 

    • Important Papers and ID: The last thing you will want to do during labor is sort through documents. Put all your important documents in a folder and stick it in your hospital bag.

 

    • Cozy Socks/Slippers: Hospital floors are cold and nasty.

 

    • Robe: If breastfeeding, a robe is so easy because you can just pop baby on to latch as needed (which will be A LOT). Doctors will also be checking you, so this is a must-have.

 

    • Nursing Bra: Nursing bras are life. I don’t even nurse anymore and still, wear mine. If you plan on breastfeeding, bring a stretchy, comfy nursing bra to the hospital with you.

 

    • Flip Flops: Hospital shower floors are disgusting.

 

    • Nursing Tank: Pack a comfy tank that you can simply pull down when it’s time to nurse.

 

    • Face Wipes: Giving birth is like running a marathon. Painful and sweaty. You will not regret packing face wipes. They will feel heavenly.

 

    • Comfy Shoes: Your feet might swell. After I gave birth,  I could only wear Uggs. Bring shoes your swollen feet will fit in.

 

    • Nipple Cream: Nipple cream will help a lot with the dryness and chafing. You can also bring a small jar of coconut oil, which also works well. Lanisoh nipple cream is a very popular choice and works really well. Definitely bring some nipple cream to the hospital!

 

    • Loose Blouse or Top: Bring a cute, comfortable top because wearing fitted tops might be uncomfortable (you will still have a bump) and difficult for nursing.

 

    • Fridababy Fridet: Honestly, the first time you pee after giving birth will be rough. However, you can ease some of the pain with a Fridababy Fridet.  This isn’t just a squirt bottle. It is the squirt bottle. This magnificent little bottle will help so much with reducing the pain from stitches and overall soreness from you know, giving birth. It holds more water than a regular squirt bottle, and the curved nozzle will hit you in the right places (TMI, I know). Seriously, this thing will become your new best friend!

 

Optional:

    • Breast Pads: Leaky breasts will happen, whether or not you choose to breastfeed. These Lanisoh breast pads will prevent your clothes from being constantly soaked once your milk comes in. They are also comfortable and won’t show through your clothes.

 

    • Comfy Underwear: The hospital will give you mesh underwear that you wouldn’t dream of wearing until you’ve put them on. Honestly, they are the best invention ever. They are very awkward, but you will be so grateful for them. These super awkward undies are pleasantly breathable and stretchy. However, you may want to bring your underwear, in case you don’t want to feel like a bag of mandarin oranges.

 

    • Heavy Flow Pads / Depends: You will bleed for a good while after giving birth. My hospital did not provide too many pads so check with your hospital to make sure that you don’t need to pack extras. Bring the heavy duty kind or buy full-on depends. There is no shame in the postpartum game!

 

    • Tuck Pads/Dermoplast/Witch Hazel/Painkillers: You will be sore in places you didn’t you could be sore. Tuck pads and witch hazel are supposed to be lifesavers. Throw it in your bag if you worried about the pain during recovery.

 

    • Heating Pad: See above regarding pain.

 

    • Water Bottle: Most hospitals give you a tall cup with a straw but if you have a large bottle at home or just something you love and carry with you everywhere, throw it in your bag. Hospital air is dry, and you will need to stay hydrated.

 

  • Raspberry Leaf Tea: So many women that I know swear by this tea, including myself because it helps speed up labor while reducing labor pain. Raspberry Leaf Tea is known to make the uterus stronger, which can help make labor easier. Pack a few teabags in your bag and sip the tea before and during labor. It just might speed things along and reduce your pain. I drank this tea and had ridiculously fast labor. I am confident that this tea helped induce labor for me.  Here is my step-by-step guide on how to induce labor using Raspberry Leaf Tea.

 

Box of Lanisoh nursing pads

Lanisoh Disposable Nursing Pads

HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST ACCESSORIES

    • Deodorant: Honestly, there might be some *ahem* postpartum odor which is perfectly acceptable because you just gave birth. You will be leaking milk and other bodily fluids, so deodorant is probably a good idea. Also, great for c-section moms that can’t shower.

 

    • Dry Shampoo: You might not be in the mood for a full-on wash and dry. Also essential for c-section moms.

 

    • Hairbrush: Your hair might get a bit matted from the sweating and stress so it might be best to throw one in your bag.

 

    • Toothpaste/Toothbrush: Pack a cheapie in your bag with a travel sized tube of toothpaste.

 

    • Chapstick: Seriously, pack something to moisturize your lips. Hospital air is dry and giving birth will make your lips super dry. Pack all the chapstick.

 

    • Hair ties: Because hair can be annoying when it’s in your face while you are trying to bring a human being into the world.

 

    • Your Towel: Your soft, plush towel is so much better than any hospital towel. Worth the extra space it will take up in your bag.

 

    • Face & Body Moisturizer: No need to bring the entire jar or bottle, just some travel or sample sizes will work.

 

  • Glasses: I was in no mood for contacts after giving birth. Glasses are so much easier if you are visually impaired like me.

Optional:

    • Makeup: This is a very personal choice because only you know what makes you feel pretty and confident. No need for the latest designer eyeshadow palette and contour kit, although I would be extremely impressed if I saw a mom doing her full face in the hospital right after giving birth. A bit of concealer, mascara, eyeliner and a touch of gloss can work wonders, especially after feeling like you’ve been run over by a train.

 

  • Blow dryer/hair straightener/curling iron: Just like makeup, this is strictly your preference. If you need to have your hair done to feel comfortable and confident, then absolutely go for it. If you have master skills in buns, topknots, braids or ponytails, then you can skip it.  The hospital blow-dryers are entirely useless, so you might as well bring your own if you plan on doing a little something-something to your hair.

 

Sample sized toiletries and hygiene products, including shampoo, conditioner, mini toothpaste and toothbrush

Hospital Bag Toiletries

Hospital Bag Checklist for Dad

    • Camera and charger/battery: Dad will probably take a lot of photos. Have him pack the “real” camera if you have one and a charger or extra battery.

 

    • Change of clothes: Bringing a change of clothes is a good idea in case dad needs to spend the night.

 

    • Snacks: Watching your labor can be stressful for dad. Labor can also be very long, and you might want to steal a bite or two from his stash. A few snacks in his bag will keep the hunger pangs at bay while he stays by your side. Also, not everyone enjoys vending machine snacks. You’re better off packing what you know you will both love.

 

  • Water Bottle: Dad will probably start sweating just watching you in labor. A handy water bottle will be a lifesaver.

What to Skip

    • Formula: Most hospitals provide baby with formula if necessary. Call your hospital to find out if they will have samples on hand should you need formula.

 

    • Breast Pump: Most hospitals provide breast-pump rentals.

 

    • Nightgown/Fancy sleepwear: Skip the cutesy stuff unless it has easy access to your breasts. It is very awkward to lift a nightgown or t-shirt while trying to feed your baby. Same goes for button-up pajamas. You will not want to fiddle with tiny buttons when you have a screaming, hungry newborn. Easy to pull-down tanks or t-shirts are your best bet.

 

  • Too many clothes for baby: Your baby will mostly be sleeping or nursing. Outfit changes will likely not be a top priority. As cute as those tiny outfits are, save them for home. You will both be much more relaxed and comfortable for all the baby photoshoots when you’re out of the hospital.

I know this list is still quite comprehensive but you are bringing life into the world and you will need to prepare yourself!

Regardless of what you pack or how prepared you think you are, the moment you meet your baby for the first time will take your breath away! There is no better feeling. In the meantime, get yourself ready for that incredible moment by packing your hospital bag. Yay!

Happy packing!

P.S. I would love to know what items you would pack in your hospital bag. Is there something that you absolutely have to bring to the hospital with you? Is there anything you think that I missed on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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6 Responses
  • Lacey
    November 7, 2018

    I love this. It’s so hard to know what you will actually need when you go to the hospital to have your baby. A lot of people don’t realize just how much the hospital will supply!

    • Farah Sheikh
      November 7, 2018

      Thanks, Lacey <3! Agreed! It's so hard knowing what to take. You don't want to overpack but also don't want to risk leaving out anything important. The struggle is real!

  • Soph
    November 9, 2018

    I’m a while away from having children yet but this was so handy and a post like this will defintiely help me out, I’m sure! I wouldn’t have known to pack half of this so it’s great that you’ve laid it out so clearly! I like that you mention what to skip too, it’s always handy to not lug around things that you won’t really need!

    Soph – https://sophhearts.com/ x

    • Farah Sheikh
      November 12, 2018

      Thanks Soph! I hope this list comes in handy when you decide to have a little. There is so much to learn and do before becoming a mom. The more knowledge going in, the better! Thank you so much for reading <3

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