We’ve all been there, right? We go somewhere, we over pack, or worse- under pack, and just rarely seem to get it right. In the case of packing for the hospital in anticipation of your baby’s arrival, you want to be prepared. Well, good news! We’ve created a handy-dandy checklist just for you. As a mom and birth doula, Tina has seen her fair share of packed hospital bags, and is explaining just what you need- and don’t need. Be sure to download the PDF of this checklist!
- Pillow; in a non-white pillowcase. The hospital pillows will most likely be white, you don’t want to get them mixed up!
- Flip Flops; sometimes during labor, your doula or nurses will have you get into the shower or tub for some pain-relieving hydrotherapy. You want to cover those feet on the hospital floor! Socks are also great to have.
- Nursing Bra or Bralette (2); nursing gear really does make the beginning of nursing much more convenient. The bras and tanks have little snaps at the top of the cup connected to the straps, to easily pop off and peel down to give baby easy access to their most favorite source of comfort for their first few months of life. Nursing Tanks (2)
- Pajamas (2 pairs); you’ll most likely stay in your hospital gown for the first day of labor and postpartum, but after a nice shower you’ll want to get into some of your own comfy jammies. Make sure they are nursing friendly, i.e. loose fitting to shimmy up, wrap tops, or buttons down the front.
- Robe; it gets chilly in those hospital rooms!
- Underwear; for when you get to take off the postpartum diaper! Wohoo!
- Comfy Tops and Comfy Pants (2 each); remember, you are going to look and feel about 5 months pregnant when you’ve given birth. Your uterus will be swollen, and although you’ll be able to see your feet for the first time in months, you’ll still be needing to wear clothes a few sizes larger than you usually do- unless you’re one of those fortunate souls we all envy. Bring a couple of comfy tops, and a couple of pairs of yoga pants or leggings. Maternity wear works perfectly too!
- Going Home Comfy Outfit; something that you can lounge on your couch in! You’ll need to get home, settle in, get comfy, and be waited on for a few weeks.
- Extra Bags; for gifts received and hospital freebies! The hospital will provide you will all sorts of goodies to take home. Take it all! People will also be coming to see baby at the hospital, and will bring anything from flowers to bags of clothes and balloons. Having extra bags will make packing the car easier.
- Basic Toiletries; Toothbrush and Toothpaste, Shampoo, Deodorant, Brush, Glasses, Contacts and Contact Solution, Chapstick, Hair Ties, Make Up. Lanolin or Nipple Cream; the hospital and lactation consultants will be able to provide you with these also, but if you prefer a certain brand you’ll have to bring it yourself. You will be quite chafed the first couple of weeks of breastfeeding, so it’s best to get an early start on nipple care.
- Gum, Snacks, and Gatorade; because labor can be long. Most hospitals will not let you eat during labor, but clear liquids are allowed. If you have a favorite drink, bring it. Gum, mints or hard candies may help you keep your sugar levels up, and give you a refresher after labored breathing or a long day or night.
- Magazines; if you have downtime! You can also bring a book or game to pass the time.
- ID and Insurance;
- Cell Phone and Charger;
- Pen; to record your birth story, journal, or write birth affirmations.
- Camera and Charger, Laptop or Tablet and Charger.
- Diapers and Wipes; the hospital will have these, so if you prefer a certain brand you’ll have to bring your own.
- Soothie Pacifiers; some hospitals will have these, but again, if you prefer a certain brand, color or material you’ll need to bring your own.
- Scratch Mittens; sometimes Baby’s little fingernails are long when they’re born and can scratch their precious faces. These little mittens will keep them from doing so. Nail File; to file baby’s nails if you’re comfortable to do so.
- Hat; to protect Baby from the drafty hospital air.
- Swaddles and Blanket; the hospital will have them swaddled in the hospital blankets, so if you’d like a certain brand or color of swaddle or blanket you’ll need to bring your own.
- Outfit and Blanket for Photo Shoot; if you’re having Jennifer Kaye come and do a fresh 48 hospital photo shoot, bring a little outfit or cute blanket you’d like Baby in or to lay on.
- Nursing Pillow; this essential makes nursing much more comfortable for birth you and baby.
- Bottles (if bottle feeding)
- Going Home Outfit for Baby
- Car Seat; the nurses will check Baby in the car seat before you leave, and will send you on your way safely.
- Basic Toiletries; Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Deodorant.
- Underwear and Comfy Clothes; your partner may be sleeping on a semi-uncomfortable surface. Make sure they at least are comfortable in their clothes and shoes.
- Pillow, Blanket or Sleeping Bag
- Change for Vending Machine; they’re going to get hungry!
- If they are using different electronic equipment types than you are, make sure they bring chargers.
- Deck of cards; or other games to pass the time.
- White Noise Machine; if you want to get any sort of sleep, bring something for white noise. There are a lot of blips and beeps in hospitals!
- Big Sister/Brother Gift; brothers and sisters are usually so excited to meet Baby…having them bring Baby a gift, or having a gift ready from Baby to the older sibling really add that special touch to their budding relationship.
- Gift or Note for Nurses; labor and delivery nurses work really hard to keep you comfortable and happy. As a doula, I have all of my mamas in labor bake cookies for the hospital staff. Not only allows the action of baking cookies to distract them as they are in early labor, but the nurses love the cookies and the gesture!!
Notifying the Troops
You know the second that baby comes a lot of people in your life want to be notified ASAP! You can take as much time to yourself as you need, you deserve it. You worked really hard to create this tiny person! Relish in that for as long as you want! Once you are ready to announce Baby’s arrival to the world, having a list of who to contact and how will keep things organized. Who to Call; Who to Text; Who to Email; Social Media Announcement; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Be sure to have your bags packed by 37 weeks gestation, and keep them in an easily accessible place. Baby will be coming soon! We have made a PDF checklist version of this post available to you, just print it out, check the items off, and you’ll be ready to rock!
XO, Tina & Jen