As your due date inches closer, one of the important things you need to do is prepare a hospital bag. However, it’s not just for giving birth at the hospital – you need to be prepared and have everything handy even if you plan on giving birth at home (in case you need to be transferred to the hospital).
Being prepared in advance is key so when you go into labor, all you need to do is grab the bag and go, instead of worrying about where everything is. So in this article, we’ll go over things to include (or to not include) in your hospital go-bag for birth. This includes tips from mamas, so you don’t have the same regrets they did.
Hospital bag checklist for mom during labor and delivery
New mamas may feel overwhelmed and nervous, but the process should go smoothly – especially if you’re prepared in advance. Work on being emotionally and physically prepared for the delivery, and as for your go-bag, we’ll help you with that!
Here’s what you should include in your hospital bag for the mother-to-be:
- Your birth plan, if you have one, including extra copies for the doctor and nurses
- Lightweight dressing gowns
- Nursing pads and tops, and maternity bras for when you breastfeed
- Maxi pads (if you have a particular brand you’re most comfortable with) and suitable underwear
- Personal care items such as hair ties, lip balm, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and lotion
- Shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel
- Night gowns or pajamas, so you can be comfy at night
- Bathrobe, in case visitors arrive
- Healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, crackers and sandwiches for during and after the delivery
- Entertainment options such as books, music, laptop, or whatever you prefer, so you can distract yourself during a long labor
- Your favorite pillow or blanket for when you take a nap postpartum
This may sound like a lot, but feel free to add or subtract from this list according to your needs. If you want to take just the essential items, for instance, you can leave out any optional things such as maxi pads, or items that are purely for comfort, such as your favorite pillow.
Next, let’s look at the things you should be packing in your hospital go-bag for the baby.
How to pack your hospital bag for the baby
When it comes to things you’ll need, the list is fairly short, because the hospital will provide you with most of those.
However, there are a couple things they won’t provide, such as:
- Comfortable baby clothes (including cold weather clothes, if the weather calls for it)
- A baby car seat that’s appropriate for their weight and size
- Baby lotion, and diaper cream
- A blanket
- Burp cloths
- Mittens, so your baby doesn’t scratch their face
In addition to these, there are some things you can take to make the baby more comfortable.
Let’s go over some of those:
- Extra soft new born diapers
- A pack of baby wipes
- Bed protector mats
- A soft towel
- Cloth nappies, in case the diapers cause the baby discomfort
- Toiletries for bathing the baby, if required
- Oils and powders to massage the baby and keep their skin smooth and soft
These were some of the things you could consider packing for your lovely little baby. However, keep in mind that you don’t want to overdo it, because then you’ll have to lug a huge bag (or two) around, and nobody wants that. Instead, focus on what’s necessary – there’ll be plenty of those things!
Essential things to pack in your hospital bag for your partner
The day of the delivery is all about the mama and her baby, but don’t forget about your partner!
They’ve been with you through thick and thin, and there are some things they will need to be comfortable, to occupy their time, or even so they don’t have to leave your side during labor and delivery. Here are some things you should consider packing for your partner:
- Phone, charger, and headphones
- Personal care items such as deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
- A change of clothes, with a jacket or sweater if required
- A small travel pillow or cushion
- Comfy pajamas
- Cash – especially small bills and change, for vending machines
- Snacks (preferably healthy!)
- Water or beverages
- Entertainment options such as a book, newspaper, or video game
Labor can be long, and your partner will probably need some things to keep their mind occupied at the hospital or birthing center. Labor is intense for the mother, but it’s a nerve-racking time for the partner as well! So remember to be considerate, and plan ahead so they aren’t uncomfortable during the time they’re with you.
Things to avoid packing:
We’ve mentioned previously that you shouldn’t overdo the packing, because after all, it’s just a delivery – not a trip! If you find yourself struggling to keep everything together, you’ve probably packed too much. Avoid overdoing it, and especially leave behind these items:
- Anything you don’t have a use for! Don’t pack novels and magazines if you and your partner aren’t likely to read them
- Large bottles of shampoo, lotion etc. – they’ll add bulk and weight
- Extra clothes. It’s just a day or two, so you won’t be needing more than one set of clothes for your stay in the hospital – including for the new baby
- Valuables, such as diamond earrings or expensive watches. Try to avoid wearing jewelry altogether.
- A large amount of cash – better safe than sorry!
Use your common sense when packing, and you should be able to avoid making any mistakes. There’s no huge downside to over-packing, however, so don’t sweat it too much. Just pack what you feel you’ll need, and you will be okay. The main focus is your health, and that of your lovely little bundle of joy!
So, these were some dos and don’ts of packing for delivery. There are a lot of things you could add to this list, but most of them aren’t necessary. Start the hospital bag packing process a couple days before your due date, because you may be uncomfortable as the date approaches, and if you’re in a hurry you may make mistakes. Get your partner’s help if necessary – remember to not overexert yourself!
Remember that comfort and convenience win out over most other factors. Even if there’s something you really need (such as a cord blood banking kit) and you don’t have it on hand, your partner can always get it locally or from the hospital.