Throughout your pregnancy, you’ve probably spent a lot of time planning. From organizing the nursery to buying the baby clothes and stocking up on supplies, you’re ready to finally welcome your little one, but first, you need to plan one more thing. Packing your hospital bag for your labor and delivery stay is just as important as planning for your new baby’s arrival, and we’re here to help you with a handy hospital bag checklist, so you won’t forget anything.
One thing we know about babies is that they are unpredictable, and as much as you have planned their arrival around your due date, things can change quickly! That means you really don’t want to be waiting until the last minute to pack that hospital bag. Due dates aren’t always accurate and sometimes babies come earlier than expected, and you can get overwhelmed and tired as you near the end of your pregnancy.
You’ll want to have your hospital bag packed and ready to go early in your third trimester. Make sure your partner or any other support person is aware of where your bag is so they can grab it, especially if you aren’t home when you need to go to the hospital.
Your time in the hospital will hopefully be brief with your baby, but you still want to ensure you’re comfortable and have everything you need. First, you need to consider what you’re going to wear at the hospital and when you leave the hospital. Remember, your body will undergo a lot of changes after delivery (but maybe not as much as you think) and comfort will be key.
Choose loose-fitting items without pesky seams that will rub against sore and tender skin. Picking the right underwear is also very important, especially if you end up undergoing a cesarean section. You’ll want cotton underwear that has a higher waist so it won’t irritate any stitches and will accommodate postpartum pads.
Here are some handy checklists to mark off:
- Maternity underwear or comfortable underwear that you are OK with getting ruined
- Nursing bras or other bras that are comfortable and provide support
- Socks, like slipper socks for slippery hospital floors and/or slippers
- Comfortable loungewear, whether that’s pajamas or joggers, or a robe — you want layers since the hospital could run hot or cold
- Slip-on shoes because you may not want to be bending over to tie laces after having a baby
- Comfortable going home outfit
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hairbrush/comb and any scrunchies, elastics, or clips you may want to put your hair up
- Lip balm, lotion, and any makeup you may want
- Deodorant, face wash, shampoo, and conditioner
- Absorbent maxi pads (the hospital will have some, this is if you want to have your own)
- Towel from home — hospital towels can be small and scratchy
- ID and insurance card
- Pens for all those forms you’ll be filling out
- Cell phone charger
- Birth plan (if applicable)
- Glasses if you wear them
- Book or magazine for a long labor
- A few light snacks
- An extra bag to pack gifts and samples the hospital provides
The hospital will have everything you need for your baby during your stay, including diapers, wipes, blankets, and gowns, but you’ll want to have a few special things packed for your little one for their first trip home.
- Going home outfit and hat (you may want to pack two options in different sizes)
- Blanket for warmth
- Receiving blankets or burp cloths for quick clean-ups on the way home
- Car seat
- Pediatrician information
- Bottles if you’re not planning to breastfeed
Although mom and baby are the priority when packing for a hospital stay, your partner or labor support person may also need a few supplies. Packing a few snacks, like granola bars and energy drinks, can come in handy, especially if you labor overnight. Cafeterias will be closed and having something quick to grab can help your partner stay energized without having to leave your side.
They should also have a change of clothes and a small bag of personal toiletry items to freshen up with, especially if they don’t want to leave the hospital. Your partner may also want to download a few episodes of a favorite show, bring a book, or have some games handy to pass away some of those long hours in the hospital.
Now is not the time to overpack, and most people leave the hospital with more than what they arrived with. Between gifts for the baby, hospital supplies, and the paperwork that comes with having a newborn, you will have your hands full when leaving the hospital. That being said, having one bag with your essentials, one for the baby, and one for any extras you may have thought to bring can help you easily access what you need during your hospital stay.
For new mothers who give birth without any complications, the typical hospital stay is between one and two days, so there’s no need to pack for an extended stay. Should you require a more lengthy stay, you can always have a backup bag at home ready for someone to bring for you.
Make your trip to the hospital as stress-free as possible by having everything you need packed and ready to go at least a few weeks before your due date. These items are just a guideline to help you decide what you want to pack in your own bag. Everyone’s needs are different, and the most important thing is that you’ve planned properly and are ready to go before your baby arrives.
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