Preparing for Baby: What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
Excited about your little one’s impending arrival? Pack your hospital bag ahead of time so you’ll be ready to go when contractions start.
Babies, for as small as they are, come with a lot of gear. Your home is likely filled with accessories designed to make parenting a newborn easier- mobiles, playpens, bassinets, baby monitors, sleepsacks, car seats, pacifiers and more. Who knew babies could need so much?
If you’re starting to near the end of your pregnancy, you’re likely starting to plan for delivery. Maybe you’ve taken birthing classes and have drawn up a birthing plan. Perhaps you’ve picked out matching outfits for you and your little one to wear home from the hospital. Maybe you’ve even started downloading a playlist to have on in your hospital room as you labor with your little one.
Now it’s time to get your hospital bag for labor and delivery ready! If you’re 35 weeks along or further, you will want to get this bag prepped and ready so you can grab it and go should your water break or contractions start unexpectedly. But what, exactly, do you even need in your hospital bag?
Don’t worry. Packing a hospital bag for labor and delivery is easier than you think. You actually don’t need that much, for you or for your new baby. The hospital will provide you with some items that you can skip packing for yourself, and you’ll be surprised at how little you will truly need for your little one’s arrival. Read on for tips and tricks on how to best pack your hospital bag for labor and delivery!
6 Items You’ll Want in Your Hospital Bag for Labor and Delivery for Yourself
- Phone charger & extra charging cables- When your new little one arrives, you’ll want to send out photos ASAP. Make sure you have a phone charger that can keep your phone powered up through multiple photo sessions and enable you to make all the birth announcements you want.
- A comfortable nursing bra and nursing pads- Whether or not you choose to nurse your little one is up to you, but your breasts will be engorged and need some TLC in those first few days after delivery. Find a comfortable nursing bra that is supportive but soft and line it with nursing pads (disposable or reusable) to protect your clothing from leaking nipples in those first few days after delivery. You might also want to toss some nipple cream in your bag to help with any post-delivery soreness.
- Slippers or socks with grippers on the bottom- Hospital rooms have cold floors and you’ll want something soft and cozy on your feet to move around in once your new baby arrives. Be sure to bring socks or slippers that can grip the floor though. You don’t want to risk slipping and falling during or after labor.
- A soft, fluffy robe- Your hospital will likely provide you with a gown to wear during and immediately after labor. And, let’s be honest, after you bring new life into the world, you probably won’t have the energy to change. So pack a cute, soft robe you can easily slip around your shoulders that will keep you warm and also well-covered when friends and family come to the hospital to visit you and your newborn.
- Going home clothes- Although some women prefer to wear a dress when leaving the hospital, others will prefer pants. If you have a c-section, a dress can be a nice option because it means there is less chance of cling-y fabric irritating your incision. On the other hand, you will leave the hospital in a pad that feels like a diaper, and loose-fitting pants can feel more supportive to both your abdomen and underwear. Consider your options. And, when it doubt, pack a dress and pants and decide when the time comes!
- A nursing pillow- Although this item is bulky, it is a great tool to have once your baby arrives. You will be tired after giving birth, and this pillow will offer both you and your little one support as you grow acquainted with one another. It’s, as the name implies, a great accessory when nursing your little one, and is also great for older siblings to use when they come to the hospital to greet the newest addition to the family.
4 Things to Pack for Your Newborn Baby
- A car seat- Whether you choose an infant carrier or a convertible car seat installed rear facing is up to you, but a car seat is a must-have from your very first day with your little one. Keeping baby safe while in a moving vehicle is super important, and a car seat designed for infants is necessary.
- A going-home outfit- This might be the most-fun item you get to pack in your hospital bag! Maybe you want to bring your little one home in a family heirloom piece that has been passed down for generations, or maybe you’ve had something embroidered with your little one’s name on it. Maybe you even have an outfit to match your new addition. Whatever you choose to bring your baby home from the hospital in, don’t forget to put it in your hospital bag!
- Pacifiers or bottles, if you plan to use them- If your plan is to bottle-feed your little one from the get-go, it might help to bring your preferred bottle brand to the hospital so your little one can get used to it right away. The same goes for pacifiers.
2 Items Not to Pack for the Hospital
- Diapers and wipes- These items both take up a lot of precious space in a hospital bag. And the hospital will provide you with more than enough of each to get your through your hospital stay and beyond. Skip packing diapers and wipes and use the freebies- diapers aren’t cheap!
- Pads for you- The hospital will load you up on pads for your undergarments before they send you home. And their pads are much larger and more absorbent than what you might normally thing to pack, anyway. Wear their items during your stay and switch back to your preferred brand and style once you arrive home.
Congrats on your pregnancy, Mama! You’ve almost made in through nine amazing months!