newborn baby lying in a hospital crib

Getting ready for the delivery room

Here’s a little known secret that can make your hospital stay much simpler for you and your partner: pack two bags. Your pre-baby bag has the essentials for labor and delivery, a small bag that will be easy to carry around as you and your partner navigate the maternity ward. The post-baby bag can stay in the car until the baby has arrived and your partner has a chance to go pick it up from the back seat. We’ve compiled the essential things you should have in your pre-baby and post-baby bags to make your hospital stay as comfortable as possible.


  1. Birth-plan: It’s a good idea to have a copy of your birth-plan on hand so that you don’t forget any of the details you planned in advance.
  2. Medication/Vitamins: Bring any medications or vitamins that you and your partner take.
  3. Snacks/Water/Drinks: Labor can take a while, so bring a few snacks for your partner (and yourself) to munch on.
  4. Music/Book/Magazine: Have a few things to keep you and your partner occupied if you wind up spending a lot of time in labor.
  5. Phone Charger: Take a phone charger from home in case the hospital doesn’t have a spare for you.
  6. Pillow from Home: Let’s face it, hospital pillows aren’t the best. To help keep you comfortable during and after labor, bring a pillow from home for your hospital bed.
  7. Comfy Socks: During labor, your feet will be exposed, so to keep your toes from getting chilly, be sure to pack a couple pairs of socks.
  8. Slippers: You will probably get up and move around while you are at the hospital, so bring a pair of soft slippers that you don’t mind losing or getting dirty.
  9. Overnight things for your partner: Be sure to have your partner pack clothing, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and a few of their toiletries.
  10. Toiletries for You: Plan on packing a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, hair tie, soap, makeup (if you want it for pictures), and any other products you use every day.
  11. Camera: If you don’t have a smartphone or want to take high-quality pictures, be sure to pack your camera.


  1. Robe: A nice cotton robe can help you stay warm after Baby is born and can also keep you covered up when receiving visitors.
  2. Nightie: After Baby is born, you will probably want something to wear other than a hospital gown. Most maternity clothing stores have hospital night gowns that will be comfortable for both sleeping and breastfeeding.
  3. Cheap, seamless, full-coverage underwear: Get a few pair of underwear that you won’t mind throwing out. The hospital will provide you with maxi pads after Baby is born, but you may want to wear your own underwear. Keep in mind that you will be sore, so seamless underwear could be the most comfortable for you.
  4. Nursing Bra: If you choose to breastfeed Baby, you will want to have a nursing bra to wear on the ride home.
  5. Nipple Cream, Nipple Pads: If you are breastfeeding, you will be much more comfortable if you have some nipple cream. Nipple pads will also be helpful for controlling nipple leakage.
  6. Boppy Pillow: A boppy pillow is great for breastfeeding and cuddling after Baby is born. Boppy pillows are also a great way to keep pressure off of cesarean scars if you have them.
  7. Swaddling Cloths: The hospital will provide swaddling cloths for Baby, but some parents find that they have an easier time using their own store bought swaddling cloths.
  8. Phone/Email List: Bring a list of any people who you will want to contact when Baby is born.
  9. Maxi Pads: After Baby is born, you will basically have a very heavy period for several days. To control the bleeding, we suggest maxi extra-heavy overnight pads with wings.
  10. Hemorrhoid Donut: Some women get hemorrhoids when they give birth. The hospital will help you care for them, but for the ride home you may be more comfortable if you have a hemorrhoid donut to sit on.
  11. Clothing for Drive Home: Bring an outfit from about month 4 or 5 of pregnancy to wear on the ride home from the hospital.
  12. Onesie/Baby Outfit/Hat: Be sure to pack an outfit for Baby to wear home from the hospital. The hospital will probably provide your baby with a knit cap, but you may want to bring a hat to match her homecoming outfit.
  13. Car Seat: Okay, so you don’t pack this in your hospital bag, but you will definitely need one for the ride home from the hospital.

We hope that these lists help you as you prepare to give birth. Best of luck!

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
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