Sure you’ve packed for vacations, spring break trips, your honeymoon and plenty of other trips – but the trip to the hospital or your birthing center is the most important one that you’ll take in your entire life! As you get closer to your due date, so many people will ask you “is your hospital bag packed”? And you’ll start to realize this is actually a thing.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got a long list of items that are essential, but also things that might come in handy but are not 100% necessary. Ideally, you should have your bag ready to go by weeks 36 or 37, just in case baby comes before your expected due date. Don’t forget to not only pack for your newborn baby, but for yourself and your spouse too! If things don’t go as planned or you need more recovery time, you may be spending more time there than expected, and packing a few extra items will help reduce trips back and forth to your home for forgotten or unpacked items!
What to pack for you:
- Your birth plan – Be sure to print a few copies of your birth plan. There should be at least one for your chart, one for your partner and a few extras for the labor nurse(s). It’s a good idea to highlight on paper what exactly you do and does not want for your labor and delivery.
- A Robe – Ask any mama who’s already given birth, a comfortable robe is one of the best postpartum clothing items out there! Easy to nurse in and you can easily hang out in your depends without anyone noticing :)
- Toiletries – Be sure to pack a small bag with your hairbrush, dry or regular shampoo, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Feel free to bring a few items of makeup if you’d like to feel like a normal human while leaving the hospital or birthing center. There’s no shame in that!
- Comfortable clothes – We suggest loose fitting yoga pants or joggers with a drawstring – nothing too tight. Bring a pair of slip-on shoes or flip flops from going home, as your feet might be swollen from IV fluids and pregnancy.
- A reusable water bottle – You’ll want to stay hydrated during (if your hospital allows) and after the delivery.
- Adult Diapers – Most hospitals will hook you up with plenty of pads and mesh underwear, but we also recommend bringing a pack of Depends or adult diapers that feel comfortable and more secure.
- A portable speaker and a special playlist – Playing your favorite music during labor can help ease the energy of the room. Make sure you add a decent amount of songs to the playlist as labor can last 24+ hours sometimes and you won’t want to listen to the same songs over and over again.
- Lip Balm – Most hospitals are notoriously dry, and you may also become dehydrated during labor, and chapped and peeling lips are the last thing that you’ll want to deal with.
- Maternity bras and nursing pads – Be sure to bring bras without underwire for maximum comfort. The nursing pads will come in handy whether or not you’re planning on nursing to provide leak protection.
- Breast Pump – Some nurses recommend using the breast pump to help speed up labor, so be sure to pack your breast pump in your hospital bag!
What to pack for baby:
- Car Seat – This is a non-negotiable item and most hospitals won’t let you leave without the car seat properly installed.
- A going home outfit – Pack two to three (max) outfits in different sizes because you don’t know how big or small your baby will be! Aim for one outfit in newborn size and one 0-3 months. Don’t forget hats and socks, if weather appropriate.
- Bottles – If you plan to bottle-feed from the get-go, make sure to pack at least two for the hospital. If you’re planning on using formula, also pack a can of your preferred brand!
Packing for your partner is also a necessity as well – but we’ve mentioned most of what they’ll need to bring above (just like you), but we’ll recap quickly here! For your partner’s bag, we recommend bringing clothes and toiletries, snacks for themselves (and your favorites too), a reusable water bottle and perhaps a blanket and an extra pillow to keep comfy if you’re spending the night! Also, if you plan on filming the birth or taking pictures, a go pro or camera will also come in handy!
Once you have your bag packed, you’ll feel relieved and fully ready for labor! Leave it near the front door so you can easily grab it on your way out if you have to make it to the hospital in a rush!