Chances are, you’ve got almost everything prepared for baby at home and are now counting down the days until arrival. Don’t wait until you start having contractions to pack your hospital bag for delivery.
It’s best to pack light. You don’t want to have a Uhaul to move in and out. Here is a list of some must-haves you’ll want for you, your partner, and baby.
What to Pack for Hospital Admin
Paperwork, ID, and Insurance card. Don’t forget any paperwork at home for the hospital that you had to fill out. The hospital will also want your ID and insurance upfront, so go ahead and store all of these in your bag to have them in one place.
Birth plan. You’ve probably already discussed your birth plan with your medical team. But, it can be helpful to print a few copies to keep in the hospital room for you and your labor nurses to reference for any last-minute questions.
Cord blood kit if you plan to save your baby’s cord blood.
What to Pack for You
Comfy clothes. If you’re planning to breastfeed, pack a nursing bra, tank top, or t-shirt and pair it with sweats or joggers. If you’re having a c-section, pack nightgowns or other flowy items that won’t rest on your incision. This gown triples as a labor, delivery, and nursing gown. Also, remember to bring slip-on shoes so you can easily put them on and in case your feet swell.
Nursing pillow and a breast pump. A nursing pillow will keep your baby in an ergonomic position while also giving relief to your back and arms. Having a small breast pump with you will allow you to store breast milk when the baby’s not feeding.
Lip balm. Hospitals can be very dry and cause your lips to get chapped. Keep lip balm in your bag to keep them hydrated.
Socks. Your feet might get cold during labor. Be sure to bring non-slip socks for when you’re walking before and after labor.
A birth ball to use and help with the laboring process. Be sure to remember a pump to inflate it if you’re carrying it in deflated.
A pillow and blanket. The hospital will have pillows and sheets but trust us, you’ll be glad you brought some you know are comfortable from your own home.
Toiletries. Don’t forget these! You’ll want your hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant, hair ties, makeup, and flip-flops to wear while you’re in the shower. Consider buying travel sizes of all these products so they don’t take up much space in your bag.
Snacks. Pack some of your favorites to enjoy before and after labor. Crackers are a good choice that will be easy on your digestion. For during labor, you may want to bring sugar-free candy and water to keep your mouth moist during all of the breathing. If you want a flavored drink, Gatorade and Powerade are also good options to keep you hydrated.
Period panties. The hospital will give you some, but you’ll want underwear later you don’t mind getting stained and that can support extra-absorbent maxi pads. Fridababy just came out with a postpartum recovery kit that you may want to check out that has all of the essentials for down there care.
Eyeglasses or contacts if you use them.
Cell phone and charger. Your phone will come in handy for many reasons. You can use the stopwatch to time your contractions, it’ll help distract you while you’re passing the time, and you’ll need to let everyone know that baby is almost here! Consider bringing a power bank in case there aren’t outlets near your bed.
What Your Partner Should Pack
Change of clothes. You’ll be spending a couple of nights in the hospital (or more if you have a c-section), so bring enough clothes to change into until you’re able to leave the hospital.
Toiletries. Your partner needs to bring their own toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, and conditioner as well.
Phone. Not only will your partner more than likely pass the time on their phone as well, but they’ve also got to keep everyone updated on what’s going on.
A pillow and blanket. Again, having the comfort of your own pillow and blanket will be something your partner will appreciate as well.
Snacks. You don’t want to have to share your snacks! Also, be sure to bring change for the vending machine in case you run out of snacks or have a sudden craving for those peanut M&M’s.
What to Pack For Baby
A going home outfit. Pack a couple of different options for your baby’s going home outfit just in case they spit up or have a blowout before you leave the hospital. You may want to pack newborn and 0-3 month size outfits since you don’t know exactly how big your baby is going to be. Don’t forget socks and a hat whether it’s cold outside or not, because, for baby, it’s going to be cold no matter what outside the womb.
A car seat. Although it’s technically not going in your bag, this is the absolute must-have you can’t forget. You won’t be allowed to drive your baby home if you don’t have an infant car seat installed in your car. Have the car seat base properly installed and ready to go well before your due date.
Pediatricians contact info. Doctor’s and nurses will ask you for this information several times. So, go ahead and have it stored in your bag where it’s easy to get to.
Receiving blankets to wrap your baby up in or to use as a cover while you’re breastfeeding.
Don’t bring diapers or wipes! The hospital will provide you with all of these that you need. So, don’t waste space packing more into your bag.
Once you have all the items you need packed store it in your car or by the front door so you can easily grab it when it’s time to head to the hospital.