The time is getting closer for your sweet baby to arrive. It is time to pack your hospital bag, but what should you bring along? What will you actually use at the hospital? Follow this checklist for items to pack in your hospital bag.
First, be sure to pack your hospital bag in plenty of time before the baby comes. I recommend having most of it packed at least 6 weeks before your baby is due. Babies do come early and it is not uncommon to have a baby a month early. I know lots of women that have had their baby unexpectedly a month early. So it is better to be safe than sorry and have your hospital bag ready in case you go into labor. Get prepared for all things baby with my Ultimate Baby Planning Guide.
Although the hospital provides many items you will use, there still are some things you will need and want to bring to be comfortable during your hospital stay. Like you would pack for a hotel or an overnight stay somewhere, some of the same items should get packed for your hospital stay.
15 Items to Pack In Your Hospital Bag
1. Underwear. Pack Large, older underwear in your hospital bag. They should be large for the ice packs and pads you may be wearing and old because they may get soiled quickly. The hospital may provide you some disposable underwear to wear at first, but have some along in case.
2. Nursing bras. If you plan to breastfeed pack along a couple nursing bras. This will make feeding your baby easier, especially since you may have to try feeding every hour or two.
3. Socks. The hospital may give you a pair of socks when you arrive to wear during labor, but pack a couple pairs of socks so you can wear a fresh pair each day.
4. Slippers. Before your baby is born during labor you may be walking around some. Keep your feet warm and comfortable during labor and your hospital stay with slippers.
5. Insurance cards. Have your insurance cards ready for when you arrive at the hospital in case you need to show them at check in.
6. Picture ID (Driver’s License or other ID). Same as insurance cards, have a picture ID along in case you need to show when you check into the hospital.
7. Hospital Paperwork/birth plan. Ask your doctor, call the hospital you will be delivering at, or when you do your hospital tour ask if there is any paperwork you can fill out in advance of when you come to deliver your baby. Filling out paperwork in advance is one less thing to worry about when the time comes.
Also, if you have specific requests or needs while in labor or delivery bring along a birth plan. If you are not sure what to include in your birth plan or want some options, use my birth plan template in the Labor & Delivery Prep Pack. It is easy to fill out – here is the template.
Doctors and nurses may not be able to abide by everything you request on the plan, depending on the health of you and the baby, but now they know what you prefer and can try. For more on what to expect at the hospital click here.
8. Toiletries. Bring your basic daily toiletries. Go through what you use each day when you get up and what you use at night before bed. Then pack what you absolutely need and makes sense. This may include the following:
9. Cosmetics. There will likely be visitors to come see you and your new baby and many photos taken. If you wear make up and it would make you feel good and like yourself to have it on then do so. If you don’t wear make up then no worries and don’t pack any.
10.Phone. During labor you may have many hours of waiting and your phone may help pass the time. Then, after your baby is born you will want to call and text family and friends to share the big news. So I recommend making a call/text list and with what you want to say. My husband and I decided ahead of time who we each wanted to call, text, what we were going to post on social media and who was doing what. Right after you have a baby it is busy and chaotic and we wanted to make sure to not forget anyone we wanted to share the news with.
11. Phone Charger. Keep your busy communication tool running by packing a charger. A dead phone is not helpful.
12. Baby book. If you are going to do a baby book for your child bring it along to the hospital. The nurse who does your baby’s hand and foot prints will do them right in your baby book for you.
13. Journal. For each baby I delivered I (or my husband) took notes at the hospital of what was going on and the time. It was neat to look back at what all led up to the birth and who long things took. In addition, some parts were a blur afterwards and I actually forgot so it was nice to have these notes to look back at to remember. Furthermore, my kids may want to know how they came into the world and the details. I still love to hear the crazy details of how I came into the world. I love when my parents tell the story:)
14. Loose, comfortable clothes. After you deliver your baby you will likely still look 5-6 months pregnant so do not pack a pre-pregnancy outfit. Pack maternity clothes. In addition, you may still be in a lot of pain and getting in, out, and riding in a car may not be easy. So pack loose, comfortable clothes if you choose to wear your own clothes at the hospital and especially for the ride home.
Personally, I wore the hospital gowns and robes instead of bringing my own clothes to wear at the hospital. Then, I didn’t have to worry about doing laundry or getting out tough blood stains when I got home from the hospital. If you are unsure if you want to wear your own clothes, pack some clothes along and then you have them if you need them. I did this my with my first baby and decided not to wear them, so for my second baby I didn’t pack clothes besides what I was going to wear home.
15. Pillows. If you are particular about your pillows or worried the hospital will not have enough then pack some along. You can always leave them in the car until you need them.
There may be a couple items – like toiletry items – you may not be able to pack until you are ready to go to the hospital. Leave this check list on top of your hospital bag with the items circled or highlight that you have to add into the bag when the time comes so you do not forget.
Items the Hospital May Provide
The hospital provides numerous items for you so you don’t need to bring your own. A couple items I had in the car just in case we didn’t like what the hospital had. This may include but is not limited to the following:
- Disposable underwear
If you want to know what your hospital provides give them a call. Better yet, take a tour of the hospital and ask them there. We took a tour of each hospital before we gave birth and it was one of the best things we did to prepare. It put our minds at ease where to go when the time came, what to do, and what things looked like. They also talked about items they provide for both the mother and the father/coach.
Before Leaving for the Hospital
Furthermore, in those final minutes at home before you leave for the hospital, you may be a little frantic with the excitement and nerves of the baby coming. There are a few things you should do to make coming home from the hospital easier. Entering a house with a new baby that is decluttered, clean, and stocked up is refreshing after a crazy few days in the hospital. Grab the What to do Before you Leave for the Hospital checklist here in the Labor and Delivery Prep Pack.
Is your partner packed for the hospital? There are some necessities they will need along too. For a checklist for your spouse/partner/coach click here. Also, there are a few things you will need for your new baby in the hospital. Click here for your baby’s hospital checklist.
Final Thoughts on Packing Your Hospital Bag
Put your mind at ease and pack your hospital bag well in advance of your due date. Having a baby is an exciting time in your life. Do not stress and follow this checklist to have everything you need for these important couple of days.