What do you need to pack in your hospital bag?

Packing your hospital bag is one of those clear signs that your little one is almost here. If you are like most moms-to-be, it will be one of the last things you do before heading to the hospital. 

Like most things on your pregnancy journey thus far, getting the most out of your hospital bag comes down to proper planning. It is always a good idea to get everything ready as early as possible to ensure that by the time you go into labor, all you have to do is grab your hospital bag on your way to the hospital. Or better yet, send someone to get it and meet you there. 

This guide is going to outline everything you need in your hospital bag. It shall cover essential items that you need to pack for yourself, for your baby, and for your birth partner. 

What you need in your hospital bag for labor and delivery

The following essentials will play an important role in making your labor and delivery as easy and comfortable as possible: 

  • Birth plan: If you have a birth plan, print it out for your medical team in case last-minute questions are raised.
  • Hospital notes: This includes your maternity notes and medical records
  • A comfortable, loose dressing gown: Get one in a dark color to help conceal any post-delivery stains
  • Any items that can help you relax or pass time, including things like magazines or books. If you prefer music or movies, pack a tablet or Bluetooth speaker
  • Phone and charger 
  • Massage oil or body lotion
  • Lip balm: Labor can make your lips dry out quickly. Some lip balm will help rehydrate them 
  • Socks: Just in case your feet get cold during labor
  • Backless slippers: Easy to slip on, easy to take off. Some flip-flops for the shower will also come in handy
  • Pillows: The hospital may not have enough pillows to make you as comfortable as you’d like. Invest in a C-shaped pillow for extra support as you breastfeed
  • Birth ball: This will help you find different labor positions. Birth balls are also great for contraction pain management. Before bringing your own, check with your doctor to see if the hospital can provide one for you. 

What you need in your hospital bag for after the birth

Once your baby is born, the following list of essentials will help make the transition easy and stress-free: 

  • Underwear: Bring several comfortable pairs with you
  • Clothes: Remember to pack some comfortable clothes that you will wear during your stay at the hospital. Make sure everything is loose fitting and easy to wear. Pack at least two going home outfits as well. 
  • Toiletries: Bring your shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash, moisturizer, hairbrush, deodorant, and towels. 
  • Maternity pads: While the hospital will give you some, remember to pack a few extra heavy-duty maternity pads just in case
  • Nursing bras: essential if you are planning to breastfeed
  • Breast pads: Whether you’re breastfeeding or not, your breasts will produce milk after giving birth. Breast pads will help with the unwanted flow
  • Nightshirts or t-shirts
  • Earplugs and eye mask: So, you can get some beauty sleep even in a bright, noisy ward
  • Snacks and drinks: Be sure to ask your doctor to recommend what you can and cannot eat during labor. Also, have a few snacks ready for after labor. 

What you need in your birth partner’s hospital bag

Whether you are bringing your spouse with you, a friend, or a close relative, you also want to make the life of your birth partner as easy as possible. Here are some of the things they’ll need to pack: 

  • A hand-held fan: To cool you down during labor. A sponge and water spray will also work
  • Snacks and drinks: So your partner does not have to leave your room to go hunting for snacks
  • Comfortable shoes: They’ll likely be spending a long time on their feet
  • A change of clothes: They might not get a chance to go home and change
  • Phone or camera: The phone is great for staying in contact with loved ones that did not make it for the birth. The camera will come in handy when it’s time to document the first few moments of life. 

What you need in your hospital bag for your baby

Don’t forget about your baby! Sure, you’ve already packed a diaper bag for them, but they’ll still need a few more things, just in case. Here are some essentials to include in your hospital bag for your little one: 

  • Diapers: Pack 20-30 newborn size diapers. Your little one will go through about 10-12 diapers each day
  • Socks: To keep your little one’s feet warm
  • Swaddle Blanket: Your little one will need a soft blanket especially if it is cold out when you leave the hospital
  • 2-4 vests, onesies, and sleepsuits: These are great for layering and ensuring your little one stays even warmer
  • Muslin squares to prevent milk from getting to your clothes
  • Cotton wool: Doctors recommend only using cotton wool and plain water for diaper changes during the first few days
  • A going home outfit: Make sure it is weather appropriate depending on the time of year when your little one is born
  • A car seat: While this will technically not go into your hospital bag, you want to have a newborn car seat installed by the time you are heading to the hospital. 

Final thoughts

With the essentials outlined in this list, preparing for the arrival of your little one should be super easy for you. Just be sure to start gathering them early enough to avoid the last-minute rush. Ideally, you want to be all set by the time you are 36 weeks pregnant. However, if you can get it done even earlier, the better, because you never really can tell when your little one might decide to show up! Good luck! 

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