She’s Having A Baby: Getting Ready for the Big Day

by Paul Konrardy

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

For the Mother-to-Be

WHN TIP – Address Book: Some hospitals do not allow cell phones, so you won’t have your instant address book. Make a list of numbers before you go!


WHN TIP – Even in health facilities, thefts can occur. Keep your identification, credit card, cash and driver’s license in your overnight bag in the closet. If you don’t need the information after you’ve checked in, send the documents back home.

  • Your birth or labor plan, if you have one
  • Your health insurance card. (After the birth, call to add the baby to the policy.)
  • Any hospital paperwork, if needed
  • Your driver’s license or photo I.D.
  • Address/phone book or cell phone to contact family members (Don’t forget your power cord or an external battery for your mobile device!)
  • A phone card and quarters in case you can’t use your phone in certain areas.
  • Camera (You can also use your phone to take pictures and videos)
  • Manila envelope or folder to keep loose paperwork together
  • One credit card and small amount of cash
  • Paper and pens/pencils (to write down questions or notes for hospital doctors and staff)

WHN TIP – Policies: Remember to check with the hospital about photo and video policies.

WHN TIP – Clothing/Personal Items Policies: Check with the hospital about wearing your own clothing,   what bed items such as your own pillow you can bring, and any other recommendations about personal belongings.

Comfort Items

  • Baseball cap (or any hat) for your hair, in case it’s a while before you get to wash it.
  • Blankets/pillow(s)
  • Books or magazines
  • Extra set of loose clothes and shoes to wear when you leave the hospital.
  • Family photos
  • Front-opening nightgowns (2-3).

WHN TIP – Extra Pair of Clothes: Bring a couple of old nightgowns, t-shirts or P.J. tops for labor. Choose ones with shorter sleeves so staff can easily check your blood pressure. And cotton tends to breathe the best.

  • Large towel (or two). Some hospitals only supply small towels. Consider bringing dark-colored towels in case of stains.
  • Maternity underwear, nursing bras and pads.
  • Mints, hard candy (to help with dry mouth)
  • Headphones for your phone or other mobile device
  • Robe/two-piece pajamas (you may be walking the hallways).
  • Slippers and comfy socks
  • Snacks (for you and your partner), water bottles
  • Wristwatch with a second hand/ability to count seconds to time contractions


  • Deodorant
  • Eyeglasses/contact cases and solution
  • Facial sponge to use before and during labor
  • Hairbrush, comb, hair ties and clips
  • Lip balm (for chapped lips)
  • Make-up (for post-birth pictures!)
  • Massage oils or lotion, tennis balls (for a massage)
  • Maternity pads
  • Necessary medications (check with the staff about bringing prescription or OTC meds into the room, and always check before taking any meds.)
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap/body wash
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste

For the Partner

  1. Extra set (or two) of comfy clothes
  2. Eyeglasses/contact cases and solution
  3. Medications
  4. Pajamas, robe, slippers
  5. Quarters for phone calls, parking and vending machines
  6. Small amount of money to buy anything the birthing mom may need
  7. Snacks and beverages
  8. Toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)

For the Siblings

  1. Coloring books and crayons
  2. Books
  3. Gift for the baby (chosen by the big brother/sister)
  4. Gift from mom or partner for the big brother/sister (to help with jealousy)
  5. Snacks and beverages
  6. Special needs items: medications, toiletries, etc.
  7. Stuffed animals, toys

For the Baby

  1. Baby book (hospital staff may be able to put baby’s footprints in the book for you)
  2. Baby nail clippers (newborns have longer nails, so they might scratch themselves. Staff may provide “mittens” for your baby’s hands.)
  3. Booties
  4. Car seat (this is required by law)
  5. Going-home outfit and undershirt
  6. Hat
  7. Jacket (if cool weather or winter)
  8. Newborn diapers
  9. Outside blanket (extra warm one for winter)
  10. Receiving blanket
  11. Wipes

Do Not Bring

  1. Jewelry
  2. Any important valuables
  3. Lots of credit cards or cash. Instead, take one card or a small amount of necessary cash.

WHN TIP – Get the List! Download our Birth Checklist for the Hospital so you don’t miss anything important!

After the Birth

Identification Bands

After your baby is born, identification bands with matching numbers are placed on mom, baby and one other person of mom’s choice.

  • I.D. bands are checked every time your baby goes to and from the nursery.
  • Only authorized staff with hospital IDs will transfer your baby.

What Happens Next

Remember …

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. These tips are from doctors, nurses and people who have shared real-life advice; always check with a lawyer, doctor or appropriate professional you trust before making any legal or healthcare-related decisions.

Thank You …

A special thank you to the industry professionals, doctors, nurses, midwives, moms, dads, and families who gave us their time, insight and real-life advice.

Photo Credit: Upsplash

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