Packing your hospital bag may be the furthest thing from your mind while you’re baking that babe in the oven, but chances are you’re going to go into labor at a time when you least expect it.
Little advice: Be prepared and pack your hospital bag(s) early, so you don’t have to scramble when it’s baby time. In fact, try to be packed several weeks in advance (around 34 weeks), incase you have an early visitor.
Now, if you’re like me, you tend to over pack, but you really only need the bare essentials this time around, plus some items that’ll make your stay much more comfortable. The hospital provides things like diapers and wipes, so you can leave those at home. Here’s my list of the only things you’ll need to get you through your hopefully short stay.
- Your pre-registration papers (filled out), identification, and insurance cards. Keep these things in an accessible spot so your partner can easily find them and deal with reception, while you concentrate on your contractions.
- A robe (and a cotton nightgown if you’re not into hospital gowns). Chances are these things will get a little dirty or even ruined, so keep that in mind. But there are times when you may get cold or you may not be up to walking the halls in a backless gown, so a robe will become your best friend. I am a fan of this robe because its super comfortable and on sale.
- Anti-slip socks and/or slippers. Again, you’ll most likely be walking up and down the hallways and you’ll want something on your feet. I love these slipper socks as well as these slippers.
- Maternity underwear and bras. Trust us when we tell you to bring your own undies. The hospital will supply you with some crazy disposable netted briefs that are pretty uncomfortable, so bring a few pair that you don’t mind tossing. And you’re going to want a comfortable maternity or nursing bra. I mentioned some other maternity wear options in this post, but I am also a fan of this maternity bra as well as this one and these undies as you can order a size up, and they are comfortable and tossable ;)
- Lanolin or nipple cream. If you’re breastfeeding, apply this stuff before and after every time you nurse. It’s safe for baby to ingest and will make your breastfeeding experience a bit easier.
- Hair ties.
- Nursing pads. They come in handy.
- Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. The hospital will supply you with these if you’re in need, but that first shower after birth is going to be an important one, so it’s nice to have your own products.
- Lip balm. Your lips will thank you!
- Cell phone and phone charger.
- A few changes of comfortable clothes and slip-on shoes to return home in. Think elastic waistbands and comfy cotton. I LOVE these leggings, as well as this top, tank and cover up.
- Quarters for the vending machines. The hospital cafeteria may be closed when you get hungry and sometimes you just need a bag of chips.
- Glasses, contact solution, and storage if applicable.
For the baby:
- Infant carseat. You will not be able to leave the hospital without one. Make sure the base is rear-facing and installed into the backseat of the car beforehand.
- Warm blanket. The hospital will provide you with receiving blankets, but it’s a good idea to bring along a warmer blanket incase the hospital is chilly or the weather outside is cold. I also brought this AND this blanket for my son and I am so glad I did. Literally the two softest blankets ever! one is thick and the other thinner so you have options. The baby blankets at the hospital are so stiff!
Non-essentials that are nice to have:
- A small sound machine. Hospitals are loud and it’s difficult to get a good night’s rest between the noise and the vital checks. A sound machine will help. Check out this post I wrote on the best sound machines.
- Extra pillows. These are nice to have and give you a little sense of home.
- A book or some magazines to kill the time.
- Nursing pillow. My favorite (after much trial and error) was this one! Don't even mess with the Boppy or the Breast Friend whatever it is called! Return them all because they are stiff and awkward! I went through like 3 and so glad I came across the Luna Lullaby! Its amazing.
- Camera, memory card, and charger. If you don’t have a camera phone or you want better quality photos, make sure it’s packed and fully charged.
- Extra swaddling blankets for baby. Again, the hospital will provide these, but it’s nice to have a couple of your own. (see above)
- A towel. Hospital towels are usually on the small side and not very soft. Bring big one from home, trust me :)
- Pen and paper. You may want to jot down some notes, track your baby’s feeding schedule, keep track of gifts delivered to the hospital, or play some tic-tac-toe while in labor.
- Toilet paper. The hospital’s TP isn’t the softest and you will appreciate the comfort of your own.
NOTE! Make SURE you take EVERYTHING home (like diapers, wipes, the boat size maxi pads etc) that the hospital supplies you with, because they are charging you for it whether you use it or not! Might as well take them, as those 2 things will come in handy at home.
Extras for your partner and/or older children: Your partner will most likely be by your and the baby’s side during your hospital stay. Make sure they have some clean clothes, toiletries, and a blanket. If you have older kids, it’s a good idea to pack some healthy snacks and entertainment for them during their visits. They will most certainly get hungry and bored. And, as a nice way to introduce older siblings to the new bundle of joy, some parents bring a special gift from “the baby” for them to open after he or she arrives. Check out pics below to see everything that was talking about in this post.
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