Congratulations on your pregnancy and for making it all the way! I’m sure you’re both excited and nervous. But there’s nothing to be nervous about. You’re baby is going to be born healthy and beautiful, and you’ll make it through the pain. We all have made it through the pain and are alive and kicking.
I’m sure you’re heard a list of things you’ll need to pack in your Hospital Bag, and you’re probably confused at this time because everyone has a different list. Ideally, you should have your bag packed by around the 8th month just in case your precious one decides to make an earlier visit. If you’re expecting twins, pack even earlier.
Well, regardless of what you’re heard, here are the basic things you’ll need. You can add to this list based on your personal preferences:
- ID (driver’s license or other ID), your insurance card, and any hospital paperwork you need
- Eyeglasses, if you wear them. Even if you usually wear contact lenses, you may not want to deal with them while you’re in the hospital.
- Toiletries: Pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hair band or barrettes. Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but I recommend you bring your own supply.
- A bathrobe, a nightgown or two, slippers, and socks. Hospitals provide gowns and socks for you to use during labor and afterward, but some women prefer to wear their own. Choose a loose, comfortable gown that you don’t mind getting dirty. It should be either sleeveless or have short, loose sleeves so your blood pressure can be checked easily. Slippers and a robe may come in handy if you want to walk the halls during labor.
- Whatever will help you relax. Here are some possibilities: your own pillow (use a patterned or colorful pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed up with the hospital’s pillows), music and something to play it on, a picture of someone or something you love, anything you find reassuring. If you’re going to be induced, think about bringing some reading material because it may be a while before labor is underway.
- A fresh nightgown, if you prefer to wear your own
- A list of people to call and their phone numbers, your cell phone and charger or, if you’ll be using the hospital phone, a prepaid phone card. After your baby’s born, you or your partner may want to call family and friends to let them know the good news. Bring a list of everyone you’ll want to contact so you don’t forget someone important when you’re exhausted after delivery.
- Snacks! After many hours of labor, you’re likely to be pretty hungry, and you may not want to rely solely on hospital food. So bring your own – crackers, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you’ll enjoy. A bottle of nonalcoholic champagne might be fun for celebrating, too.
- Comfortable nursing bras or regular bras. Whether or not you choose to breastfeed, your breasts are likely to be tender and swollen when your milk comes in, which can happen anytime during the first several days after delivery. A good bra can provide some comfort, and breast pads can be added to help absorb leaks.
- Several pairs of maternity underpants. Some women love the mesh underwear usually provided by the hospital, but others don’t. You can’t go wrong with your own roomy cotton underpants. The hospital will provide sanitary pads because you’ll bleed after delivery. Make sure you have a supply of heavy-duty pads waiting at home!
- Depends undergarment. These are the equivalent to adult diapers and they are the best because they help with absorbancy. Sanitary towels could work; tampons are a huge NO, NO!
- A book on newborn care. The hospital will probably provide you with a book, but you may prefer your own. Of course, the postpartum nurses will be there to answer questions and show you how to change, hold, nurse, and bathe your newborn if you need guidance.
- A notepad or journal and pen or pencil. Track your baby’s feeding sessions, write down questions you have for the nurse, note what the pediatrician tells you, jot down memories of your baby’s first day, and so on. Some people bring a baby book so they can record the birth details right away.
- A going-home outfit. Bring something roomy and easy to get into (believe it or not, you’ll probably still look 5 or 6 months pregnant) and a pair of flat, comfortable shoes.
For your baby
- An installed car seat. You can’t drive your baby home without one! Have the seat properly installed ahead of time and know how to buckle your baby in correctly. Most hospitals will demand to see the car seat just to make sure you have one.
- A going-home outfit. Your baby will need an outfit to go home in, including socks or booties if the clothing doesn’t have feet, and a soft cap if the air is likely to be cool. Make sure the legs on your baby’s clothes are separate so the car seat strap can fit between them.
- A receiving blanket. The hospital will provide blankets for swaddling your baby while you’re there, but you may want to bring your own to tuck around your baby in the car seat for the ride home. Make it a heavy one if the weather’s cold.
- Diapers. You’ll need a few pieces of diapers for your newborn, even though most hospitals provide mothers with a few samples of diapers. Also, make sure you have at least two boxes of newborn diapers in the house. This will eliminate the trip to the grocery store.
- Ready-mix Formula. The hospital will provide you with a few samples of ready-mix formula but again these are generic formulas that may not work for every newborn. Plus, it won’t hurt to have a supply of formula in the house when you arrive so you don’t have to run around shopping.
- Bottles, Feeding Pillow, Breast Pump, etc. You ought to have shopped for feeding bottles, feeding pillow, breast pump and the likes already. If not, make sure you do that before you head to the hospital.
It’s important to assume your regular hygiene immediately unless you’ve been advised by your physician not to.
Everything shrinks/contracts back to normal after a certain period and depending on the country you live in, the culture you belong to, you ought to be able to do hot water-sitz, stomach muscle contractions, etc. immediately you get home.
- The Only 5 Things You Need For A Newborn (christianpf.com)
- Product Recommendations: Items Used Most in Baby’s First 2 Months (researchmommy.com)
- Printable Newborn Checklist (housewifesutopia.com)
- Baby Safety Guide (enfamil.com)
- Breastfeeding Gear Give Aways: Breast Pump, Nursing Pads, Nipple Butter, and Book! (gypsymomma.com)
- Diaper Changing Your Baby (enfamil.com)