Bringing a new baby from the hospital is an exciting event for families. There is so much to look forward to and enjoy with a new baby, and in the rush to prepare for the new arrival, it can be easy to overlook certain details for your baby hospital bag. Figuring out what to pack in the baby delivery hospital bag is one of the most important things to remember to make your hospital stay more comfortable.
The Month Before: Gathering things for hospital bag when pregnantThis is the time to start getting the baby's environment ready for those first days at home. Prepare the baby's sleeping space, find the softest newborn clothes and invest in a bassinet to keep him close to your bed in the first weeks after birth. Consider buying bamboo baby clothes for maximum comfort. If you will be using a humidifier, make sure it is working properly and ready for baby's grand entrance. This is also a good time to install the car seat. You won't be able to leave the hospital without one, so make sure you have the right size seat now. In some towns and cities, the local fire department can check to see that the seat is installed properly. Think about how you will feed your baby. If you will bottle feed, make sure you have enough bottles on hand so you don't have to worry about washing them repeatedly. It might help to have a can or two of formula, but don't buy too much as you may have to try out different brands to find which one is best for baby. If you are planning to breastfeed, make sure you have the right tools that you will need to support you. A comfortable chair, pillows, breast pump, nipple shields, milk storage bags and nursing bras are all good items to have on hand before the baby arrives. Diapering the baby is going to take up a huge chunk of your day, so it pays to have an adequate supply of diapers on hand. If you will be cloth diapering, sign up for a delivery service that will take the dirty diapers and replace them with fresh ones. It pays to have about 24 diapers on hand for the weeks after the baby arrives at home. If you are going to use disposable diapers, buy a pack or two but don't go overboard. You may need to try out a few brands before you find one that works, so just start with one box of the small diapers. This month is a good time to start thinking about things for hospital bag when pregnant. The season in which you give birth will make all of the difference in what you pack in your bag. For winter births in cold climates, you will need warm socks, extra blankets and warm clothing to keep you comfortable while you recover.
The Week BeforeThis is the time when you absolutely need to make sure that you have a hospital checklist for mom and baby. Babies can come at any time, so you need to be prepared with a list of things to pack in hospital bag for labor and delivery. Don't depend on your partner to pack your bag for you---you know best what you need.
What to pack in hospital bag for labor and delivery:
- Charger for phone This is one of the most overlooked items in most hospital bags. You don't want your phone's battery to die just as you get to the hospital, so be sure to pack an extra charger.
- Insurance cards and identification If you are in active labor when you arrive at the hospital, the last thing you want to do is worry about whether you have the right documents for registration. Make sure to keep these in a labeled folder or envelope so that your support team can easily access them.
- Soft sleepwear or delivery gown While they will give you a disposable gown to wear at the hospital, you will likely want to have your own comfy gown in case you are in labor for a few hours. When it is time to deliver, you can always change into the hospital's gowns.
- Nursing pads If you plan to nurse, you will need a few nursing pads for the first days in the hospital. This will protect your clothing from milk leakages and keep you dry between feedings
- Nursing bra It pays to get used to using your nursing bra right away. Pack a comfortable one that fits well so you can practice using it while you're in the hospital with nurses to assist you. Don't leave this off of your what to pack for the hospital for delivery checklist, as it takes practice to get used to using a nursing bra.
- Loose tops and bottoms (no elastic) Loose tops and bottoms will keep you comfortable for the days that you will be walking the floor of the maternity ward. You will also want pants that won't restrict your stomach and waist, so bring comfortable, loose-fitting pants for your hospital stay.
- Toiletries One of the main things that new moms forget to pack is toiletries. You will need a toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion, shower gel, deodorant, etc. Remember that you may be spending a few days in the hospital and they may not have the products you need.
- Breast pump If you are planning on pumping your milk, your stay in the hospital is a good time to start practicing. Some hospitals also have lactation consultants to it pays to start using it while you have nursing experts available to help you.
- Lip balm Because you often are not allowed to eat or drink during labor, you may find your lips getting dry due to dehydration. Bring along lip balm to soothe chapped lips and keep you comfortable during labor.
- Pillow While hospitals supply pillows, there is nothing like feeling comfortable with your own pillow from home. This is one of the most underrated things to pack in hospital bag for labor and delivery, so be sure to bring yours.
- Diapers The hospital will provide you with disposable underwear, but it is never a bad idea to bring a few of your own that fit. A perineal spray will also help to soothe sore bottoms and ease the pain after birth.
- A reusable water bottle A reusable water bottle comes in handy when you're thirsty in between meal times. Have your support team fill your bottle at the water fountain so you can concentrate on bonding with baby in the first hours and days after the birth.
- An extra long charger cord New moms often complain that the bed is far from the outlets in the hospital, so bringing along a long cord will help you in your quest to stay charged.
Hospital Bag Checklist When Having a Baby
What to Pack: For the Baby
- Comfy Clothes Your baby will get tired of wearing the hospital clothes, so be sure to pack her own things so she can be comfortable. Newborn footies, bamboo baby clothes, newborn coveralls and a newborn pajama set will make her the star of the maternity ward. Bring the softest newborn clothes you can find to keep baby comfy.
- A Going Home Outfit
- Your baby will be the star of the show as he is making his way out of the hospital. Pack two different baby outfits in two sizes---one in a 0-3 months and one in a newborn size. You can never be too sure of how large the baby will be so it helps to have more than one outfit
- Contact Information for Your Pediatrician It is helpful to have this on hand in case the doctor wants to make a visit to the hospital to meet her new baby patient. Your hospital may also want to send records to the doctor so it pays to have this information readily available.
- Bottles If you plan to bottle feed your baby, bring the bottles that you will be using at home so the baby can get used to them. This is one of the most important items for hospital bag pregnancy preparation so pack a few.
What to Pack: for Your Support Team
- Snacks! Your support team is going to be there for a while. Make sure to pack high-protein snacks to keep them fueled for the marathon that labor and delivery can often feel like. Water bottles, granola bars, nuts, dried fruit---make sure you have enough on hand for everyone
- Your Birth Plan If you want to avoid certain procedures or deliver your baby a certain way, you can review your birth plan with your partner and make sure that they know how to advocate for you. Remember that not everything will go according to plan but it doesn't hurt to ask for what you want. When you are in the throes of active labor, you may not be able to communicate your wishes, so be sure they know what you need.
What Not to Pack
- Diapers The hospital will give you diapers for the baby. As a matter of fact, you get so many freebies that some moms bring an extra baby delivery hospital bag to haul it all home.
- Dressy Outfits