Preparing for the arrival of your new baby is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Packing your hospital bag for delivery can seem like a daunting task if this is your first baby, so I’ve put together a list of what you actually need.
The hospital will generally provide a lot of your necessities so use the room in your hospital bag for comfort items. There are a variety of items that all three of you will want to have.
Mommy’s Must-Haves for Delivery
When you first get to the hospital you will have to check in and will need to have your ID and insurance card handy. If you made a birth plan, have that with you also. After you get checked in, they’ll want to make sure you’re in labor (unless you’re getting induced or having a scheduled c-section).
Whether your labor starts naturally or you get induced, you likely have some time before your baby arrives. I recommend packing a bathrobe and either slippers or flip flops in case you need to walk around during labor.
If you plan on getting an epidural, you’ll be stuck in your hospital bed for at least a few hours so make sure you have something to keep you entertained like a book or deck of cards. Your cell phone and charger are also a must for entertainment, pictures, and of course letting everyone know when your baby arrives. You also may want to bring your own pillow because, trust me, hospital pillows aren’t great.
For Mommy After Delivery
After delivery, you will want to be comfortable. I recommend comfortable black pants and black underwear (remember, you’ll be bleeding for a while). I also recommend socks in case the hospital room is cold.
If you are planning on nursing, you will want a nursing bra and shirts that allow for easy access. Nipple cream may also be a good thing to keep on hand to help in case of discomfort with nursing. You will also want to make sure you continue taking your prenatal vitamins (and any other medication you take) until you stop nursing.
Whether nursing or formula feeding, you’ll be doing it a lot in those first few days so consider bringing a nursing pillow to help ease the strain on your arms. I forgot mine and ended up propping up multiple hospital pillows under my arm and my son for feedings.
When you finally get an opportunity to clean up, you’ll want to have everything you need. I took a bag of travel toiletries with shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Don’t forget a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. You’ll also want hand sanitizer to use before you (or anyone else) holds your baby.
Being able to do your hair and makeup may help you feel better for pictures or you may not want to bother with it. Either way, a brush and hair tie should make their way into your bag along with some makeup basics just in case.
For Your First Mate
Your partner will also want to make sure they have everything they need. Bring a pillow and blanket because some hospitals have better sleeping arrangements than others. Like you, your partner will want to make sure they have comfortable clothes to wear during the day and at night, as well as toiletries.
Some hospitals also have better food options than others and if food is provided as part of your stay it won’t be until after delivery. You probably won’t be allowed to eat during labor, but your partner will so bring snacks and money for the vending machine.
Since your partner will probably be in charge of keeping everyone up to date, you’ll want to make sure they have their cell phone and charger, along with a list of who to call (don’t forget HR if you’re on maternity leave and the number for pick up if you are banking cord blood). You’ll also want your partner to be in charge of any gifts you bring for nurses, older children, and of course your push present.
Oh Baby, Baby
If you bring nothing else to the hospital, make sure you have your car seat ready. The hospital won’t let you leave without it. In addition to a car seat though, you will also want a few other things for your baby. To start with, now is a good time to get in the habit of keeping a fully stocked diaper bag with you.
While you’re in the hospital, you may want a white noise machine and, if you’re not breast feeding, a pacifier. These will both help soothe your new baby between diaper changes and feedings. If you have a baby book that has a place for footprints, bring it and let the professionals handle that part.
The hospital will provide clothes for your baby while you’re there, but you will want to bring a going home outfit. You’ll also probably want some mittens to protect your baby’s face from those sharp little newborn nails.
Hospital Haul In
The hospital will generally provide quite a few things for you as well as your baby during your stay. Diapers, wipes, blankets, and a hat are all things that will be provided for your baby. They will likely provide a supply of these things for you to take home with you also.
You will have some recovering to do after giving birth and the hospital will provide the things you need while in the hospital and at home including maxi pads, ice packs, and a prescription for pain relievers, among other things.
Take advantage of anything the hospital will provide to you, it’s built into the cost that you’re paying for your stay already.