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What to pack in your hospital bag?

hospital bag, pregnancy checklist

Your due date is approaching, and you know it’s time to pack your hospital bag. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag

Ideally, you should have your bag ready to go (besides last-minute items like your toothbrush) by 36 weeks or 37 weeks pregnant, just in case you go into labor before your due date.

Some items are essential (you’ll need a car seat, for example); others will make you feel comfy and remind you of home.

Here’s an extensive list of everything you may want or need with you in the hospital.

What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Mom

First pack your hospital bag for yourself.

  • Your birth plan. Print a few copies—one for your chart, some for your labor nurse(s) and perhaps another to tape up in your hospital room. It’s a good idea to highlight some key points for quick reference.
  • A robe. Ask any veteran mama, a comfortable robe is one of the best postpartum clothing items out there.
  • Toiletries. Don’t forget these! You’ll want your hair brush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, extra hair ties and face wipes
  • Comfortable clothes. If you plan on breastfeeding after delivery, pack a nursing bra or tank in your bag. Pair your tank top with a soft, loose pant like sleep joggers or lightweight sleep pants. Another option is packing a beautiful, dark-colored PJ set. For footwear, slipper socks are great for keeping cozy. Bring slip-on shoes like Birkenstocks, Crocs or flip-flops for going home. Your feet might be swollen from IV fluids so you’ll be thankful for shoes you can easily slip on.
  • Drinks. Pack a reusable water bottle and, if you want something more than water, an electrolyte drink, like Gatorade or coconut water.
  • An extra-long cell phone charging cord - Hospital beds are notoriously far away from an electrical outlet, and you’ll want a fully charged phone for all the pictures you are about to take of your new sweet baby.
  • Nipple cream-  If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive.
  • Pillows and a bath towel - As it turns out, hospital towels are the exact opposite of luxurious hotel towels—thin, scratchy and entirely too small. You’ll be very thankful you brought a towel from home for your first oh-so-heavenly, post-delivery shower.
  • Adult diapers. The hospital will hook up you with pads and those mesh underwear, but many moms said adult diapers, like Depends, were more comfortable and felt more secure. New Mama Bottom Spray is also a priceless addition to your postpartum arsenal. Your bum will thank you.
  • Portable bluetooth speaker and Spotify/iTunes playlist. Playing music during labor can be an asset. Make sure to add a lot of songs to your playlist—labor can last 24-plus straight hours, and you don’t want to listen to the same 10 songs over and over…and over the entire time. Though you may find you just want silence!

What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Baby

After your hospital bag has everything for mom, then move on to the essentials for baby.

  • A car seat. This is non-negotiable—they won’t let you take your baby home from the hospital without a car seat, and it should be already installed.
  • A going-home outfit. Pack two different outfits in different sizes because you don’t know how big or small your baby will be! Aim for one outfit in newborn size and one 0-3 months. Don’t forget hats and/or socks, if weather appropriate.
  • Your pediatrician’s contact information. The doctors and nurses will ask you for this information several times, so it’s good to have it handy. Include the fax number for the pediatrician’s office so they can easily forward your baby’s medical records.
  • Bottles, if you plan using. If you plan to bottle-feed from the get go, make sure to pack at least two for the hospital. If you plan to formula feed, pack a can of your preferred brand, as well.
  • Do not bring diapers or wipes! The hospital has all the diapers and wipes you’ll need. In fact moms suggest bringing an extra bag for all the freebies you’ll bring home from hospital.

What Your Partner Should Pack

If you have a partner attending the birth and staying in the hospital or birthing center with you, remind them to pack some things as well. In addition to clothes and toiletries (partners want to brush their teeth, too!), here are some things to bring.

  • Lots of snacks! Try to pack something from each of these categories: salty (like pretzels or goldfish crackers), sweet (such as hard candies, M&M’s or gummy bears), protein (think beef jerky or protein bars) and healthy/fresh (dried fruit or carrot sticks, for example). Mama will appreciate these post-birth, too. And bring a reusable water bottle.
  • Book/iPad/laptop/headphones & general entertainment. Download a few new podcasts to listen to in case there is some down time.
  • A lightweight sleeping bag and pillow. Hospital sheets and pillows can be scratchy and thin.

Once you pack your bag, you’ll be all set to head to the hospital when baby is ready to come.