Packing your hospital bag for the birth of your baby is quite a reality check — it means you’re nearing the finish line of pregnancy and will soon be welcoming your new addition.
One thing I’ve learned is that you really can’t assume you’ll carry your baby all the way to full term. Four of my five children were born before 37 weeks, so I’ve learned that it helps to be prepared. I recommend packing your bag at least six weeks before your due date. No matter when you think you’ll deliver, getting organized is the key to feeling calm and relaxed at the end of your pregnancy.
Typically, you should expect to be at the hospital for two days, figure three to four days if you deliver by C-section. I say stay as long as your insurance plan will allow, because you’ll be getting help with the baby while you’re there. And put that baby in the nursery, let me tell you — you’ve have plenty of sleepless nights once you get home!
Here’s what you need to bring:
What Hospital Needs from You (Put all these in your handbag for easy access)
- Driver’s License (or other form of valid picture ID)
- Insurance Card
- Birth Plan
- Hospital Paperwork (Including any paperwork you need filled out for your employer regarding your maternity leave, if applicable)
Packing List for Mom
When you’re packing for yourself, be mindful that during the first days after delivery, you will be experiencing bleeding and your milk may also come in. Don’t plan on wearing any nice clothes because they’ll just get ruined. Leave those favorite leggings at home! The hospital will usually provide you with things like mesh underwear, maxi pads and cotton robes, but I always liked bringing my own.
- 2 Front Button-Down Pajamas
- Toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, deodorant etc.)
- Blow-Dryer/Makeup (It’s not a beauty pageant, but you might want to freshen up just a bit for those photos)
- Underwear (Maxi-pad compatible briefs)
- Overnight Maxi Pads
- 2 Nursing Bras
- Camisole or Tank Top
- Nursing Pads
- Cardigan Sweater or Fleece (hospital rooms can be chilly!)
- 2 Pairs Socks and Slippers
- Change of Maternity Clothes (Sorry ladies, you’ll be wearing these for at least a few more weeks)
- Eyeglasses (Contact lenses can get uncomfortable)
- List of People to Notify (You might want to draft an email with a list of recipients)
- Light Snacks (Granola bars, crackers, etc. You might get hungry between mealtimes at the hospital)
- Chargers for Electronic Devices
Make sure to leave jewelry and valuables at home. And don’t over pack. Our managing editor Katie says the labor and delivery nurses laughed when they saw the size of her hospital bag when she had her daughter, and asked if she thought she was going on vacation! Needless to say, she didn’t use most of what she brought along.
Packing List for Baby
- Rear Facing Car Seat (You won’t be able to leave the hospital without it)
- Seasonally Appropriate Front Snap Pajamas
- Side- Snap T-Shirts
- Warm Blanket
- Newborn Hat
Make sure to bring home some hospital burp clothes — and good luck!