What To Pack In A Hospital Bag For Mom And Baby (And You)

Don't leave home without it.

by Steve Schiff
Originally Published: 
hospital bag checklist

After nearly nine months of “Go read this book” and the occasional foot rub, it’s finally your time to shine — or at least to be useful. That’s because the baby is almost here, which means you’ve prepped your hospital bag and stash of frozen meals for those first few delirious weeks! What? You haven’t? Damn it, man, you can’t really be that useless. Get cooking, get packing, and get the hell ready, because when that newborn baby train starts rolling, you best not be caught standing on the tracks. This hospital bag checklist for baby will ensure you’re prepared and ready to go when the big day comes.

Hospital Bag Checklist

Having the right bags prepped for departure isn’t rocket science, but you can’t pull it all together when she’s throwing pans at your head, which is of course the universal signal for, “Time to get me to the hospital, shit for brains.” Use this checklist to prepare a pair of hospital go bags — his and hers, which is totes adorbs, which is a fantastic first dad pun you can have for free, courtesy of your friends at Fatherly.

  • Comfortable clothes. For her: Old, baggy ensemble she wouldn’t mind leaving behind at Bonnaroo for labor, fresh socks and shoes, front-opening shirt for breastfeeding, something cute to ride home in style. For you: Uh … change of shorts, maybe some fresh drawers?
  • Toiletries. For her: The usual toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, and whatever else she’s messing with in there when you’re trying to go out, plus a cool-down spray bottle, and makeup. For you: Just enough to wash off a little extra funk than usual.
  • Nursing bra. For her. That really shouldn’t require further detail.
  • Some newborn diapers, onesies, and blankets and a hat if it’s winter. For your kid, but sure, bring yourself some mittens if you handle cold the same way as a day-old baby.
  • Snacks, drinks, games. Basically, anything that’s going to keep your energy up and occupy your mind during that boring lag time before stuff starts popping off.
  • Electronic gadgets and chargers. And, assuming you want to use them to play music, record the magic moment, text your boys, and whatnot, make sure they’re fully charged before you arrive.
  • A full tank of gas. Do not keep this in your go bag, but do make sure you have it, both for obvious reasons.

Meal Stockpile


There’s an amazing window of time right after your kid is born where day sort of bleeds into night and night into day and your friends just keep magically arriving … with food! It’s as glorious as it sounds, and it’ll keep you and the lady — and by extension, the baby — happily stuffed for a while, but here’s what no one tells you: it ends. And then everything goes to hell. When you can’t stand one more takeout, you’ll be glad you prepped these 15 recipes in advance. These pastas, stews, and braised meats are sized for double portions, so you can make them once, freeze one, and eat twice. And they’re dishes you’ll actually want to eat, like sausage and fennel ragù, hearty chicken minestrone, and barbecue shredded chicken. It’s also a great excuse to play chef:

“Good evening, sleep-deprived and famished new mother. Tonight I’ve prepared for you a hearty dish of tender veal meatballs braised in a luscious red wine sauce.”

/Passes out face-down on plate.

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