Hospital Bag Necessities
Packing for the hospital can be stressful for some parents-to-be. When to do it and what to pack are common questions, especially for first time parents who aren’t sure what to expect.
You want to make sure that you have everything you’ll need but you don’t want to overpack. Trust me, you and your partner don’t want to be traipsing through the hospital with loads of luggage while you’re in labour. Keep it as easy to carry as possible. As for when you should pack, the answer is definitely not after you’ve gone into labour! Unless your doctor or midwife has indicated that you should be prepared sooner, packing a bag about a month before your due date is a pretty safe bet.
So what should you pack? Here’s a handy list that experienced moms will tell you are must haves for your bag.
Personal care items. Any toiletries you would normally take on an overnight trip should come with you to the hospital. Definitely bring your toothbrush and toothpaste (in case you’re like me and you vomit your way through transition) and your hair brush to tidy yourself up for those Facebook photos of you holding your new baby.
Lip balm because all that deep breathing can really dry out your lips!
Hair elastic or headband to keep your hair out of your (sweaty) face.
A big comfy shirt or nightgown if you don’t want to wear a hospital gown while you’re in labour.
Music/movies/magazines. Babies can take a while to make their entrance and you may find yourself with down time during your labour (even more likely if you plan to get an epidural) so it’s worth being prepared with some entertainment for you and your partner.
Having a baby makes you hungry! Make sure to pack some snacks like granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts. These are all healthy, easy-to-pack, snacks that will help to keep your energy up. Don’t forget to pack stuff your partner likes. They get hungry too!
A few nursing bras or nursing tanks if you plan to breastfeed. You also might want to toss is some nipple cream and breast pads, just in case.
If you plan to formula feed, check with your hospital to see if they provide any. If not, pack a supply of your preferred formula.
Pajamas, a robe and some slippers to wear if you want to walk the halls during labour and for you to wear around your hospital room after your baby is born.
Maxi pads. The big ones.This is the time to go for practical over discrete.
A few pairs of big comfy underwear (think granny panties) that you won’t mind if they get ruined or, better yet, a pack of adult diapers (and skip the pads).
Diapers. Depending on your hospital, they may or may not be provided for you. Check with your hospital and be prepared. Remember, newborns will typically go through 10-12 diapers in 24 hours.
Baby clothes. Depending on the length of your stay, you will probably only need a couple of onesies or sleepers and a going home outfit for baby. Pick something cute and comfy so your baby will be happy and look adorable in all of those photos you’re going to take of baby’s arrival at home for the first time and those first photos with family.
A going home outfit for you. Keep in mind that your baby belly won’t disappear instantly (sorry). Your uterus still has some work ahead of it to shrink down to its normal size. In the meantime, stretchy yoga pants and a comfy shirt or a flowy maxidress (if the weather is warm) are perfect options to wear when you leave the hospital.
Don’t forget your partner. They will be there to support you through the birth and your hospital stay so they also may feel like they could use a fresh shirt after the baby arrives. Pack a change of clothes for them too.
Your cell phone and charger so that you’ll be prepared to make those important phone calls to let the world know about your newest family member.
A list of contacts to make sure you can get the word out when your baby is born. Sure you may have contacts in your phone but it might be helpful to make a pre-set list of email addresses so it’s easy just to hit send or list of phone numbers so that you won’t forget anyone in the excitement.
A camera. You might have one on your smartphone or, if you’re into photography, you might want to bring something a bit fancier. Either way, make sure you have a camera on hand to capture your first moments with your new baby.
Hopefully this list has inspired you to get packing. I know for me getting started was the hardest part (but I was suddenly rushing to get it done when I friend who was due 2 weeks before me went into labour over a month early without anything packed!). Once you get going, you’ll probably think of other things you’d like to have with you as well. Pay attention to anything your hospital suggests you bring (or not bring) as well. Some hospitals suggest dividing up your stuff into 2 bags: one for only the things you’ll need during labour and another to leave in the car until after delivery that has the rest of your stuff. Usually they suggest this because it’s easier getting into the hospital and up to your room with a lighter load. Happy packing!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.