Every expectant Mama realizes that there are so many unknowns that come along with expecting a baby! There is so much that is not in your control. Although we may not be in control of when the baby will arrive, we can be in control of being prepared!
I have heard from so many Mamas that said they waited until week 38 or 39 to pack their bags to head to the hospital. I for one learned that it pays to be prepared early, very early. With Austin I went into labor at 33 weeks and although I had bags somewhat together, I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to be. When it came time for Addie, my bags were packed, car seat was installed and we were ready.
Now as we approach the birth of our little girl, once again I am starting to prepare my checklist. I want to have my bags packed, but this time not just for me, I also have to prepare for the children as we will be away from home.
Here are the items I would consider to be a necessity to have on hand to make the time in the hospital as comfortable as possible. For me, I think it is easier to pack two bags, one with the necessities you need for yourself before the baby is born and then another with the items you will need after baby is born.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag For Delivery
Essentials for Mama
Warm socks or slippers – Hospitals are always cold. Having clean socks or slippers that are my own are important to me.
Sandals or flip-flops that can get wet – Hospitals can be very sanitary but they are in fact hospitals, full of sick individuals. I always like to wear something when I shower.
Robe or Hoodie – Again, hospitals are cold! Hospital gowns are not warm, so bring something to make you more comfortable. I was not able to wear my own clothes even after I had Austin for several days, so having a robe that I was comfortable in made me feel better.
Comfortable clothes for after the birth – In the movies they show people being back to their normal size right after giving birth. Don’t we all wish! In reality, you do loose quite a bit of weight but you are still typically the size you were being 5-6 months pregnant after giving birth (it takes time for the uterus to contract) so bringing clothes that will allow you to be comfortable is important! Either lounge pants, sweats or soft, loose knit dresses work perfect!
Clothes to wear home – I am all about comfort so I am not one of those that requires fancy attire to leave the hospital. Usually though, there are photos taken, so take into consideration what you will want your pictures to reflect but also be comfortable in.
Toiletry items – The hospital will be able to supply you the basics but if you have certain brands you prefer, make sure to have your hair brush, lip balm, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and body wash packed. It is also a good idea to have a cloth head band or pony tail holders on hand to help keep your hair out of your face during the labor.
Nursing bras or tanks – If you are having your first you don’t exactly know what to expect when you milk lets in. I found that nursing tanks worked really well to give me support but allow for the expansion and swelling that comes during those first days of milk production. Be sure to pack more than one just in case you have problems with leaking! Also throw in a few pairs of reusable nursing pads for that very reason.
Large panties – No matter what type of delivery you have, having large panties that you don’t mind getting ruined is a must. Trust me, you won’t care what you look like, you will not want anything rubbing on your belly.
Camera or video camera – We were ushered into the delivery room with Austin and although we had a camera at the hospital, it was left behind in all the craziness. With Addie we did get to snap photos just after she was born. Be prepared and make sure your battery is charged and you have a SD Card with you.
Something to do – Many Mamas don’t go to the hospital until they are in labor and don’t think they will need any type of entertainment. I had days before and after my delivery and although they were busy and crazy, I wish I had thought to add in a book, a few magazines or a project that I could have done to stay busy. So pack your Ipad or tablet or something to keep you busy if you end up having down time.
Snacks, Hard Candy & Gum- Although I have been in hospitals with really great food, it is great to have a few comfort snacks stashed away. Hospitals are always dry so it is great to have gum and hard candies for the times when you are not allowed to eat. Ice chips are good but only go so far.
Cell Phone chargers – This was something we did not remember to bring and was a huge pain. Although your spouse or someone can go out a purchase one, why not do that if needed ahead of time so you are not left without being to get a hold of family and friends.
ID & Insurance Info – Hopefully you have had a chance to pre-register at the hospital but in the case that you are transferred or do not have a chance to, it is good to have this with you. To make it easier, make a copy of your ID and insurance cards to pack in your bag ready to hand over.
Cash – Oddly enough, it really is nice to have some cash and change on hand for the unexpected while at the hospital. Since I normally do not carry much cash, Hubby was happy to have some that I had stashed away in my hospital bag.
Essentials for Baby
Baby Toiletries – If you will be giving the baby it’s first bath and prefer something other than J & J, bring your own eco-friendly toiletries with you. The hospital will not have issues with it.
Diapers & Wipes – If you plan to cloth diaper than by all bring them with you. Make sure to pack plenty along with a wet bag to hold them in. Newborns go through lots and lots of diapers. If you plan to use disposable diapers, make sure you pack plenty for the trip home. Typically the hospital will provide all the diapers and wipe you need during your stay but be prepared for leaving.
Onesies & Sleepers – Infants need 1-2 more layers of clothing than we do as they adjust to life outside the womb so bring a couple of extra onesies and one piece footed outfits to make changing easy and keep your little one warm. Bring a little cap with you as the baby will also need it’s head to be covered.
Clothes to wear home – This will likely be a time for pictures so plan an outfit you like but is comfortable for your new little bundle. Again, I am all about comfort but have kept my first two’s outfits we left the hospital in I also want them to look totally cute!
Blankets – Pack a few receiving blankets or swaddles to use. If it is during the colder climate, pack a heavier blanket. Most babies love to be swaddled early on because they are use to the confinement of being inside Mama.
Car seat – This is not one you can forget. Everything else you can make due with, but the reality is, if you do not have a car seat the baby will not be released to you. Make sure you not only have the car seat, but that it is properly installed. That is something that can be done ahead of time and ready to go!
Essentials for the Family
Bag for your spouse – Why don’t they think of this themselves? Got me! It is important to have a separate bag packed with a few changes of clothes and lounge wear for your spouse. Pack it with comfortable clothing, non-perishable snacks a few bottles of water and something to pass the down time to keep them happy and comfortable as well.
Sibling gifts – Although my children are beyond excited to welcome their new baby into the world, you can not prepare them for just how much life is going to change. Having a small, meaningful gift to give the siblings from the new baby may help to ease the transition.
This list is not an inclusive list by any means! These are just some of the items I really found made the time I was at the hospital a little easier to handle. If you forget something you just make due but it sure is nice to have the things that make us more comfortable at your disposal.