Baby’s Hospital Bag: Why You Need One & What Goes Inside


Your due date is only a few weeks away. Congratulations! Pregnancy is a unique journey for everyone. You might feel like pregnancy has been a breeze – you feel glowing and you’re soaking up every moment. You might have had a more difficult pregnancy with aches, pains, and you’re ready to be done. Whatever your experience has been, you’ve most likely been prepping for your birth experience and welcoming the baby home. 

If you’ve chosen to labor and deliver in a birthing center or hospital, you’ll need to pack a bag for you and baby! 

Not sure what to bring? Whether you’re a minimalist or an over packer, here’s the essentials of what to pack in your baby’s hospital bag.

When to Pack the Hospital Bag

Unless you have a high risk pregnancy, it’s not necessary to have your hospital bag for baby packed until you’re 35-37 weeks pregnant. But of course, you do what feels right to you. For your own personal hospital bag, pack things you’ll need for your postpartum journey first like nipple cream, nursing bra, birth plan etc..If you want to have your toiletries ready to go, buy some travel sizes of all your favorites and essentials so you can have them ready to go. 

As far as planning for how much you’ll need, a normal vaginal delivery might expect 1-2 night stay in the hospital. C-sections or deliveries with any unforeseen circumstances can expect close to a week stay. There is no way to plan perfectly and see the future, so just do your best! Your spouse or birth partner will be able to leave the hospital to grab anything you need and often hospitals will have some of the essentials available as well.

Why You Need a Baby Bag for the Hospital

In the midst of all the chaos and beauty of labor, being organized in advance is really helpful and you’ll be glad you did it once baby arrives. Most of the time, plans don’t go as planned, so having all the essentials easy-to-access will take a load off your mind! 

You’ll have plenty of items to pack for yourself, and adding all of baby’s things in there might feel a little cluttered. So grab your diaper bag and pack it up for baby!

Get the essentials for your labor and delivery bag. 

What to Pack in Baby’s Hospital Bag

Yes, there’s a lot to think about as you plan to bring your little one home. And if you’re a Type A like me, there is nothing like a good list to help you feel organized. Here is the ultimate (but not conclusive) newborn diaper bag checklist!

Things that will go in the diaper bag:

  1. A coming home outfit (hello cute photos!)
  2. Baby sleepers – Whether you’re there for 1 night or more, it will be nice to give your baby warm PJs to sleep in. Hospital rooms get cold!
  3. Baby mittens – Baby mittens are an essential to protect their faces from scratches. Their nails are surprisingly sharp for being so little and difficult to keep trimmed in those early weeks.
  4. Socks – Another easy way to keep your little ones warm. 
  5. Hat or headband – Most hospitals give your babies a cute little beanie that you’ll most likely take home as a keepsake. You can always pack an extra just in case one gets dirty during your stay.
  6. Swaddle blanketsWhen done safely, swaddling is a great tool to utilize in infants because it mimics the cozy feeling they had in the womb.
  7. Burp cloths – This might be something your hospital has on hand, but they will get dirty so it never hurts to have extras.
  8. Bottles and formula if you don’t plan on breastfeeding
  9. Photo props – Ok, I admit it’s not a necessity, but if you have a vision for your birth announcement photo, don’t forget to pack what you need!

Things that won’t fit in a diaper bag but you still need:

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Other things you can bring (if you’re particular) but most hospitals provide:

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Baby shampoo and body wash
  • Baby lotion
  • Diaper rash cream

A few things to note:

  • Hospitals typically send you home with complementary items for your baby, such as newborn diapers and a package of wipes, so you’ll need room to take those things home.
  • Plan to leave some room in your hospital bag as well for items like postpartum care products that most hospitals send home with new moms.

This hospital bag checklist for the hospital is a great place to start, but it’s also a good idea, since every hospital is different, to call and ask ahead of time what they will supply so you know exactly what to pack in your hospital bag.

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Wondering if you have all the newborn essentials?

Here are 13 new baby must haves that will give you the best first year. 

More Pregnancy and Postpartum Resources:

Make the Most Out of the Newborn Stage

10 Game Changing Baby Sleep Products to Help Children Sleep Better

Diaper Bag 101 – What You Should Pack

7 Things People Forget to Add to Their Baby Registry

Vittoria Allen

Vittoria is a writer based in San Diego. A lover of good food, slow living, and a good novel, she shares her life with her husband and two daughters trying to squeeze out the beauty in every moment.