Pregnant woman with long blond hair and white clothes holding up baby onesie while sitting cross legged on a bed

Wondering what to pack in your hospital bag? Walmart speaks with an expert to help make it easy to have the best-packed hospital bag for mom and baby at the ready.

As you put the final touches on the nursery, it’s also time to start planning what to pack in your hospital bag as you prepare to deliver baby. The countdown is on! In just a matter of weeks, or maybe even days, you’ll be bringing home the wonderful little person you’ve been looking forward to meeting over the past nine months.

From the labour room essentials to going home must-haves, you’ll find expert advice on what to pack in your hospital bag for mom and baby. Let the adventure begin!

Shelley-PettShelley Pett is the Coordinator of Prenatal Education at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She taught prenatal classes for 13 years before taking the position of Coordinator of Prenatal Education in June 2013. Pett is a Certified Childbirth Educator, a mother of five children and has three grandchildren.


What am I allowed to bring to the hospital when giving birth?

“The biggest mistake people make is that they bring way too much stuff,” says Pett. “They come wheeling in with a couple of suitcases, and whenever they’re moving around the hospital, they have to drag it all with them.”

Instead, Pett suggests bringing one bag to the hospital for your immediate needs and stay, and keeping a separate bag at home or in the car that can be brought to the hospital when mom and baby are ready to go home. “I like to tell people to divide everything in two, and have one bag packed for labour and delivery, and one bag for going home,” she advises.

In the hospital bag for mom, Pett recommends packing comfortable clothes for daytime, underwear, socks and bras—but with a caveat. “We strongly suggest no underwire in bras, as it can block milk ducts when you have that kind of pressure,” she warns.

Pett also recommends packing comfortable slip-on shoes and a warm sweater or housecoat. “During the day it seems hot but, at three in the morning, it [feels] cold,” she says.


Women’s Top Zip Weekender by David Jones

Versatile and stylish, this faux leather, smart-looking David Jones Weekender duffle bag features a simple yet chic design, with multiple zippered pockets and detachable shoulder strap. Ideal for toting around essentials wherever you need to go. Available in a variety of colours.


Women’s Wire-free Nursing Bra by George

This padded wire-free nursing bra by George is designed to provide a smooth silhouette with everyday support. It features a one-handed nursing release and U-back with adjustable straps for a custom fit. Available in black or grey.


Nursing Cami by George Maternity

The George Maternity nursing cami is made with comfortable cotton. It has just enough stretch and includes adjustable straps and clips to allow for easier access to breastfeed baby in comfort. The nursing cami can be worn as a layering piece or alone. Available in a variety of colours and patterns.

ISOspa-by-isotoner—Women's-Poppy-Textured-Microterry-Ballerina-Slippers NEW

ISOspa by isotoner—Women’s Poppy Textured Microterry Ballerina Slippers

A satin ribbon bow accents these textured micro terry cozy ISOspa by isotoner ballerina slippers. Complimented by a soft suede outsole, these comfy slippers are available in tan, black or coral.


What should I bring to the hospital for delivery/birth?

When it comes to packing your hospital bag for labour, Pett stresses that the most important thing to remember to bring is pillows. “It’s really important because usually you’re only issued one small hospital pillow, which is not good enough,” she says. “Be sure to bring a couple of good-sized pillows.”

For labour and delivery, Pett recommends bringing tennis balls to massage the back during labour, along with ice packs and hot water bottles. “Some people like to bring unscented massage oils,” says Pett. Live Clean Baby & Mommy Safflower Oil Bath and Massage Oil by Live Clean Baby is an example of a massage oil that can help  benefit both mom and baby due to its unique hypo-allergenic and light-weight formula.

Pett also reminds expectant moms to pack their health card, snacks, sanitary pads and toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and shampoo. “A lot of people like to bring lip balm because it gets dry in the hospital,” she says. A hairbrush and hair elastics for people with long hair should also be added to the hospital bag.

A list of people you want to notify, change for vending machines for snacking at night, and even your own drink cup or water bottle can all help improve the comfort of your stay, suggests Pett. “Birthing rooms are pretty boring, so bring some kind of entertainment—[an iPad or tablet], movies, music,” she adds. “These are all important things you’ll [want to have] for labour and delivery.”


Obusforme AirFoam Comfort Contoured Pillow

The Obusforme AirFoam advanced memory foam pillow offers an ultra-soft feel, with moisture-wicking material. The contoured shape offers high and low ends to provide a choice for a supportive and comfortable shape. Includes removable case for easy washing.


Hot and Cold Back Wrap by Sunbeam

Portable and convenient, the Sunbeam hot and cold gel wrap offers deep-penetrating relief for back or knee pain. The soft, flexible material gently contours around the various areas of the body to help relieve tension, muscle aches and pains. Store in the freezer for cold therapy or warm in the microwave for heat therapy.


EOS Pomegranate Raspberry Organic Smooth Sphere Lip Balm

This all-natural lip balm by EOS delivers the ideal balance of flavour and moisture. Certified 95% organic and 100% natural, this lip balm is petrolatum free, paraben free and gluten free. It’s made with antioxidant-rich Vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil to help keep lips feeling soft and hydrated.


When should I pack a hospital bag for my pregnancy?

“Everyone is different, but if everything is going fine, you should pack your hospital bag by 37 weeks pregnancy, as 37 weeks is considered full term,” suggests Pett. “Otherwise, if your doctor says you’re at risk of pre-term labour, or if you’re having multiples and know you’ll be having your babies earlier, you should pack sooner.”

Along with having the baby’s infant car seat installed for when it’s time to bring baby home, Pett recommends planning for what to pack in the hospital bag for baby. “You should bring baby accessories like an infant hat for baby to go home with,” she says. Pett suggests that your baby hospital bag should also include undershirts, one-piece sleepers, receiving blankets, diapers, wipes and a going-home baby outfit.


Organic Cotton Flannel Receiving Blankets by George baby

These George baby soft flannel receiving blankets are 100% certified organic cotton. The four-piece set includes four assorted designs/colours, and offers just the right amount of light covering for your newborn.


Bear Blanket with Applique by George baby

This ultra-soft blanket with sweet bear applique by George baby is ideal to help baby feel warm. Its cozy and lightweight fabric will help your newborn feel comforted, too.


Unisex Cotton Sleepers, 2-Pack by George baby

These 100% cotton sleepers by George baby have long sleeves and attached feet to help keep baby warm. Each cozy one-piece also includes a full zipper closure with chin tab.


Black Vine Diaper Backpack by Skidaddle

With a structured frame top that opens wide—and stays open—for easy access, this streamlined diaper backpack from Skidaddle by Skip Hop is stylish and functional. Created with plenty of pockets for baby’s necessities, the lightweight, yet durable design offers hands-free ease to juggle baby, groceries and more. It includes an easy-to-grab top handle and has an adjustable backpack strap. Convenient stroller straps are also included.


Rascal + Friends Premium Diapers

Rascal + Friends diapers are new to Canada and an exclusive to Walmart! These diapers are designed and developed for premium performance at affordable prices. Direct from New Zealand, eco-conscious Rascal + Friends diapers are soft, absorbent and contain no nasties: no lotions or fragrances, latex, formaldehyde or chlorine bleaching. The design includes a high-back waistband, 3D leak guard and backing that allows baby’s skin to breathe, reducing the likelihood of nappy rash.

In addition to these hospital bag must-haves for mom and baby, Pett recommends partners pack a bag for themselves as well. “Pack as if you were going away for a weekend—clean T-shirt, underwear, toothbrush and snacks,” says Pett.

One thing that you shouldn’t pack, she cautions, is anything flammable, such as candles and incense, as well as scented items. “Most hospitals are scent-free, so perfumes are a huge no-no,” informs Pett.


For more ideas on how to be prepared for mom and baby’s hospital stay, see Sunnybrook’s online checklists.