The exciting time just before giving birth can also be a rushing stress.
When your baby decides to come, in early labor or on time, expecting mothers should always have a hospital bag prepared for the big day.
So what should moms pack in their hospital bags?
Expectant mothers want to pack three hospital bags: one for the mother, the baby, and the partner.
Packing your hospital bag well before the due date is also essential if you have an early visit to the hospital or birth center.
We have created the ultimate hospital bag checklist for moms and partners, so you’ll have a hospital bag ready when your little one is about to make their debut.
The Complete Hospital Bag Checklist
When Should I Have My Hospital Bags Packed?
You never know when your baby will come, so many new parents don’t like waiting until the third trimester to pack their hospital bags.
Most mothers suggest packing a hospital bag once you reach 32 weeks pregnant if you have early labor. This gives you plenty of leeway depending on when your child wants to come.
It’s important to have all the bags you’ve packed ready in an easily-accessible spot, like by the front door of your home. Some people keep the bag in their partner’s car, though that may not be possible in places with extreme weather.
What Should You Pack for Yourself?
We’ll start by creating a hospital bag checklist for mom. In these categories, we cover all the bases. If some do not apply to your birth plan, feel free to move on to the next suggestion.
Comfortable, lightweight clothing is the first thing you should pack in your hospital bag. You want to bring comfy clothes as an alternative to your hospital gown. Though the hospital will give you pads and mesh underwear, you may want to invest in your own items, like a comfortable nursing bra, to be as comfortable as possible.
A warm robe is also suggested, depending on the size of your bag and how much you want to bring. Easy-to-wearEasy-to-wear shoes, like flip flops or slippers, are nice too. Be sure to bring a going-home outfit, as well.
The hospital will provide towels, hand soap, and other essential toiletries, but your hospital won’t give you comfort items or luxurious hotel towels. Be sure to bring your daily essentials like a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, hairbrush, and extra hair ties.
You also may want to bring wet or dry shampoo, body wash, and a soft bath towel for your post-delivery shower.
The hospital bed and hospital pillows tend to have scratchy, starchy consistency. We suggest you bring a comfy pillow and warm blankets. Labor is exhausting, so ensure you have the most comfortable sleeping items for recovery.
Postpartum Care Products
After your baby arrives, your body will likely be in rough shape. The hospital or birthing center will have items you need, but bringing your own nursing pads and sanitary pads isn’t a bad idea. Doing so will help you decide on a brand or fit that works for you once you go home.
If you plan to breastfeed, bring nipple cream, like Lanolin, to help with sensitive skin and nipples.
We’ve all heard the rumors; hospital food is usually not good. Granola bars, your favorite sweets, and something savory or salty are best to bring along. We suggest bringing the snacks you crave most and saving those for after delivery. Also, remember to bring a reusable water bottle, too.
Giving birth can be a long process. Some moms like to bring a Bluetooth speaker with a longer set playlist so they aren’t listening to the same songs repeatedly.
The maternity ward is notorious for having outlets far from the bed, so having a long cord to charge your cell phone is incredibly helpful. Bring an extra charger, just in case.
Moms should bring several copies of their birth plan for their hospital stay. You can give one to the nurse and one to the doctor while hanging another on the wall.
Many soon-to-be-Moms bring positive sayings to help them get through labor. These affirmations for childbirth allow you to focus on something other than the intensity of labor and keep your mind in a positive place.
Umbilical-Cord Blood Banking Kit
If you plan on donating your baby’s cord blood, you should have this in your hospital bag.
Though you may not think about the bureaucratic details of bringing a new human into the world, there will be hospital paperwork ahead. Your picture ID and insurance card will help you with any hospital forms.
Baby Keepsake Book
Bringing a notebook to jot down your first thoughts after delivery is a wonderful idea for new mothers. When your son or daughter gets older, you can share your thoughts with them or reference them when you want to dive into nostalgia.
If you plan on breastfeeding, you will get a lot of information from the nurses, Midwives, or a lactation consultant, about how to do it correctly, what to look for regarding nursing bras, a breast pump, and more.
Writing this information down will be a lifesaver when breastfeeding in the middle of the night.
You can also use your notepad to write down the many places that offer free baby samples to help you offset the cost of raising kids.
What Should You Pack for Your Baby?
Before you can bring your newborn home, the hospital will have you stay for a few days. With that in mind, you’ll also want these hospital bag essentials for your baby.
Though the hospital will provide your new baby with all the diapers they need, you should still bring items to save you or, more likely, your partner from making a trip to the store.
For example, you should bring baby nail clippers, baby lotion, diaper cream, disposable wipes, or anything specific you may want to use. Again, in most cases, the hospital will have all these items, but a backup is always good.
Coming Home Outfit
Just like mom, you want to bring your baby a great look to wear home. Since you won’t know how big they will be on your baby’s arrival, you should pack two different-sized outfits. Check the weather, and bring socks and hats if it is too cold or sunny outside.
Also, if you are waiting to find out the gender at birth, ensure you bring clothing for both a boy and a girl.
Pack at least two bottles for the hospital if you plan on bottle-feeding from the beginning. Also, if you rely on formula feed, you should pack whichever brand you prefer.
The benefit here is that you can figure out the type of bottle nipple your baby prefers before you get home.
Infant Car Seat
This baby gear is essential if you plan to ride home in a car. Ensure you install it beforehand, as there are specific instructions you must follow to ensure your baby’s safety. It is a good idea to visit a local police station to have them review the installation and sign off that everything is correct.
Pediatrician’s Contact Information
It is common for doctors and nurses to ask you for this information throughout the labor process. You’ll want your health care provider to have your child’s medical records as soon as possible.
The hospital may have swaddle blankets available for you, but you may have a brand you particularly like or feel most comfortable with.
What To Pack In Your Partner’s Hospital Bag?
Now that we’ve discussed the mom and baby’s hospital bag, what does the packing list for dads or partners look like?
Lip balm, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, and face wash are important items for partners to bring.
This may seem like an obvious choice, but your partner will have a lot of waiting around to do. They will want to bring something to pay for parking and vending machines at the birth center. Additionally, bringing a photo ID is important to pack in your suitcase so you can identify yourself to any hospital staff.
You’ll want a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated like your partner. Also, bring lots of snacks. Try to hit all of the flavors and nutrients your body will crave.
Pretzels, granola bars, beef jerky, and candy bars should get you through the labor time.
Though many partners find the stress of these events too much to distract themselves from, you still want to bring different items to help pass the time. A good book, magazines, tablet or laptop, headphones, camera, portable gaming system, or any other personal items you want to keep you entertained. Ensure you bring the correct charging cables as well.
Finally, a white noise machine is good as it will drown out many of the noises you hear as you try to fall asleep.
Sleeping Bag and Pillow
There will be very little comfortable space if you’re in the hospital waiting room. No one knows how long the labor will be, so you should prepare by bringing some items to make your sleeping arrangement as comfortable as possible.
Also, even when you get into your own room, the sleeping options for the partner are limited and not that comfortable.
Loved One’s Contact Information
Ensure you have the emails and phone numbers of the people you want to tell about your child’s birth. Doing this ahead of time ensures you don’t accidentally omit someone.
Items to Help Your Partner Focus
While the Mom-to-be should bring affirmations in her hospital bag, you should also bring items to help her focus.
These could be images or famous quotes to help visualize having a good experience. The more she can focus on these things and not the labor, the easier it will be to make it through.
What Not To Include In Your Hospital Bag Checklist?
We’ve already reviewed a significant hospital bag checklist for mom, baby, and partner, but is there anything we should avoid?
- Diaper Bag. The hospital will have plenty of diapers for your baby. You can pack some for the car, but this will likely be optional.
- Baby Gear. You do not need things like strollers or a baby monitor after birth at the hospital.
- Over-The-Counter Medicine. You’re at a hospital, so everything you need regarding pain relief medicine like Advil is provided. However, if you have a specific medication you need a prescription for, like blood pressure regulation pills, you should bring those.
- Over Packing. We know this is silly, considering the list we’ve created, but you don’t want to bring too many items you’ll have to pack up when you’re ready to get home. If you have multiple suitcases, odds are you over-packed.
The labor preparation you do now can be the assurance for parenting later. Completing your hospital bag checklist with all the must-have items can make a difference when it is time to go to the hospital and meet your little one. It can take some pressure off and help you relax as you embark on this big journey.
Yet more than worrying about what to bring, try focusing on the possibilities ahead. A chance to be a parent and explore the next stage of life, the newborn stage. Let go of any limiting beliefs about yourself or your pregnancy, and celebrate your body’s remarkable transformation.
This article originally appeared on Hello Sensible.