By 36 weeks, try to have the these items packed in your hospital bag (or, at least easily accessible). This post contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Each product linked is one we personally used (and liked!) while at the hospital.
A pen, folder, and small notebook so you can put all paperwork in/write down any important info
Driver's License, Insurance Card, Hospital Forms
Water bottle (sometimes they cut you off on water at a certain point)
Headphones & playlist - if that’s your thing and is allowed where you give birth, it may be helpful and distracting as labor can be long
WTFTM TIP: When you call the doctor to say you’re coming in, ask if you can eat and drink beforehand. It may be the last meal you eat for quite a while...unless you count the ice chips.
1 or 2 hospital gown alternatives (You can wear the hospital gown for birth since it gets messy and then change into your own once you get into the recovery room - first step in feeling human after the most insane experience of your life)
Lots of big/comfortable underwear
Big t-shirt and shorts/pj pants - you can wear your own clothes if you don't want to wear gowns, just need to be easy to breastfeed in if you're doing that. Your room might be hot or cold so plan for either.
Robe (if you're a robe-type)
Pre-natal vitamins (if you forget, they'll give you one)
Socks with grips - they give you some, but you might want nicer/cozier ones
Lanolin Nipple cream (Lansinoh)
Nursing bras or big sports bras
Simple makeup bag (foundation, eye liner, lip balm/color for photos)
WTFTM TIP: They give you all the recovery items you need. You don't have to bring your own special ""Frida Mom"" kit. The hospital "goodies" should be fine.
FOR THE PARENT(S):
Toiletries - hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, face wash, lotion, extra hair ties, face/body wipes in case you can't shower right away, glasses/contacts.
Your own towels/wash cloths (ones at hospital are awful, and anything to make you feel human is amazing)
Your own pillow with a non-white pillow case and blanket
Clothes for 3 days (in case end up needing to stay longer unexpectedly) - partner can go home and get stuff, but easier just to have everything and not need to do that
Long charging cable for phones
Normal clothes to go home in
Cash for vending machine
Earplugs if you're a light sleeper (and if you send baby to nursery at night - which is frowned upon but so HELPFUL - its the last good sleep you'll get)
Any prescription meds
Snacks (hospital meals can take a while to be delivered once you order them, so having some snacks to hold you over is clutch)
WTFTM TIP: Consider packing a “definitely bring in” bag and a “might use” bag to leave in the car. That way you won't be burdened with too much to carry in or out, but you'll still have easy access to extras you might use.
Car Seat (you can't leave the hospital without one!)
Outfits in multiple sizes (newborn and 0-3)
Hat (beanie type thing)
Baby hair brush (comb and brush) - especially if you’ve had heartburn in the 3rd trimester - your baby may come out with a full mop!
Baby friendly lotion - they have super dry skin.
Any items for a photo shoot in the hospital (swaddle blanket or anything sentimental you'd want photographed)
Blanket to put over baby in carseat if born in a cold month (Light Burt's Bees or Warmer Little Giraffe)
Pediatrician contact info (name/phone number)
Questions to ask the doctor before leaving the hospital (PDF below)
WTFTM Tip: You don't really need to bring newborn diapers, diaper rash ointment, petroleum jelly, etc. They give you all it, and even some to bring home.
If someone will be pet sitting your animal at their house, have your pet's bag ready with food, bowls, treats, toys for 3-4 days.