What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Here is your packing list for the hospital or birthing center. It’s best to have your bag packed around 37 weeks. You don’t want to have to scramble at the last minute and forget something important to you. Remember, packing light is packing right! (A separate knapsack for L&D is a great idea.)
- Your birth wish list, a photo ID, your insurance card, any hospital/birthing center paperwork you had to fill out beforehand. A pen and a pad to take notes. If you’re saving your baby’s cord blood, you may need to pack the cord blood kit.
- PJs/T-shirt (2), robe, loose fitting sports bra for labor if desired, slippers/flip flops, nipple cream (all natural, no lanolin). Short sleeve PJs are best and only bring what you don’t mind losing to the cause. Clothes that you can layer work wonders. If you plan on breastfeeding, pack PJs that lift up easily or open in the front. The hospital will supply you with non-slip socks and mesh undies. (Your partner will need an extra pair of undies, an extra tee, a sweatshirt & flip flops/slippers too if they plan to stay overnight!)
- Things that make you feel good/diversions: a music source with a special playlist for the occasion & a speaker, that special pillow, an eye mask, pictures of special people and/or places, a deck of cards, a magazine, a baby care book like The Baby Book by Dr. William Sears, coloring book and pens, your cell phone/laptop/iPad so you can keep up with Fb, ear buds & chargers. Your birth ball (if not provided by the hospital/birth center)… you’ll be so happy you have it!
- Snacks: hard candies or lollipops, drinks with electrolytes or coconut water, crackers, trail mix/granola or protein bars/fruit/sandwiches, gum/mints, other favorite snacks for your partner, snacks for after the delivery. Think salty, sweet, protein, and healthy/fresh. It’s not as easy as you think to find healthy snacks in a hospital in the wee hours of the morning! (A PB&J on whole grain bread is fabulous – pack 4! They don’t need to be refrigerated AND they have a long shelf life.)
- Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, brush, comb, moisturizer, deodorant, hair ties/clips, lip balm, face wash, makeup (whatever will make you feel human again after delivery), glasses/contacts if needed. The hospital will have maxi pads, a peri bottle and soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion but you may prefer your own brands. (Don’t forget a toothbrush for your partner too!)
- Cell phone (fully charged) and charger, camcorder and camera both fully charged (check all batteries, bring extra batteries). You don’t want to run out of juice! Also don’t forget to pack a list of names of all the people that you’ll want to call/text/email when you have information to share.
- Going-home outfit: bring a cozy, loose-fitting maternity outfit as you won’t be fitting in your pre-pregnancy clothes just yet. Several pairs of undies (your own granny panties may be more comfy than the mesh undies supplied by the hospital) that will support extra absorbent maxi pads – no tampons allowed for a while! If you’re breastfeeding, a nursing bra/reusable nursing pads.
- Baby goods and baby outfits: 2 easy to put on outfits (1 each of newborn and 0-3 months), 2 undershirts, a sweater/light fleece jacket (weather depending), socks, a receiving blanket, a hat. The hospital will supply you with diapers, wipes & tushy ointment so no need to bring a stocked diaper bag. Rear facing infant car seat – you don’t have to pack it, but have it ready to go with your hospital bag and have the base properly installed in the car.
- Small gifts for the Labor & Delivery staff if you so desire – you’ll love them when all is said and done. A box of chocolates goes a long way!