What to bring to the hospital

by Kaiser Permanente |
Smiling pregnant woman holding a notepad and checking the list after she finished packing her hospital bag.

Your baby will soon be here. Around this time, it’s important to have your hospital bag packed and to complete any remaining tasks to get ready for your baby’s arrival. While babies tend to arrive around 40 weeks, some come early, and some come later. Being prepared can relieve last minute worry. Here are some things to consider when getting ready for your baby’s birth.

The essentials

As you get your hospital bag ready, rest assured that your hospital is well equipped with most of the items you’ll need. The hospital will have appropriate gowns for your birth and for postpartum, newborn diapers, baby blankets for swaddling, hats for newborns, and even travel toothpaste and shampoo in case you forget your own. Most hospitals will have birth and peanut balls to support you in your labor as well. The most important thing to remember is your car seat so that you can take your newborn home.

Packing for the hospital

In addition to your Kaiser Permanente identification card and a copy of your birth preferences plan, consider packing these items in your labor kit:

  • Something to hold your hair back
  • Lotion or lip balm
  • Water bottle
  • A tennis ball for massage
  • Your own exercise birth ball
  • A hand fan or spray mist bottle
  • Music and headphones or a speaker play it on

For yourself, consider packing:

  • A personal robe or front-opening shirt for nursing and skin-to-skin contact after delivery
  • A fresh nightgown, pajamas, or comfy sweats to wear
  • Slippers with non-slippery soles
  • A nursing bra with no underwire
  • Personal items like a hairbrush, cosmetics, toothbrush, and toothpaste
  • A going-home outfit of comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
  • Light snacks and beverages

For your baby, consider bringing:

  • A going-home outfit with multiple layers, including socks and hat
  • 1-3 onesies or pajamas
  • A couple of newborn diapers for the way home

Other items you may want to bring are:

  • An outfit for baby pictures
  • Personal swaddles or blankets for swaddling
  • Your baby book

Remember, a rear-facing car seat installed in the back seat of your vehicle is a necessity for taking your baby home. Standards change often, so you will want to get a newer car seat so that it is safe and up to date. Try to have the car seat installed 3 to 4 weeks before your due date.

Your partner or support person should consider bringing:

  • Camera with a fully charged battery
  • Phone charger
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Light snacks and water
  • A front-opening shirt for holding your baby skin-to-skin
  • Layers of clothing to adjust to room temperature
  • A bathing suit, in case your partner needs to help you in the shower

This article has been created by a national group of Kaiser Permanente ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other specialists who came together to provide you with the best pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn information.

Some of the content is used and adapted with permission of The Permanente Medical Group.