Sometime in your 3rd trimester, you’re going to start packing a bag or two in preparation for your baby’s birth day. It can be overwhelming to try to decide exactly what you need to have with you—that’s why we made a checklist to make packing your hospital bag easier! I’m going to talk you through the essentials, but make sure you download our hospital bag checklist to make preparing your own bag simple and easy.
Essentials for you:
If you aren’t planning to wear a hospital gown while you’re in labor, you’ll need to bring a couple of changes of comfy clothes to wear while you’re birthing. You can buy super cute gowns online that are made for labor and delivery or some places are ok with you wearing your own clothes. For the postpartum, make sure you have 2 or 3 pairs of loose pants—whether you have a vaginal delivery or a c-section you won’t want to wear tight pants for awhile!
Pack a couple of t-shirts or nursing tops and pajamas, if you don’t want to sleep in your other clothes. Some hospitals will provide you with socks, but you may want to pack some of your own anyway. Slippers or flip flops are another must have as well as a robe or a cardigan, in case you get cold. And some people want to wear a special going home outfit, so make sure you pack that if you have one!
Don’t forget to pack your toiletries before you go! Shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturizer and deodorant are all things you’re going to want during your hospital stay. I recommend buying some travel size containers of most of your toiletries while you’re pregnant, so you don’t have to remember to pack them when labor starts. You’ll also want to pack a hair brush, head band and hair ties for labor, and any hair styling tools you’ll want to have in the postpartum. Some hospitals have a photographer come take pictures of mom and baby after the delivery, so bring what you’ll want to get ready for those. Your toothbrush and toothpaste are other items I recommend getting extras of to pack ahead of time. They’re so easy to forget at the last minute! Packing lip balm and lotion to keep your skin hydrated is also a good idea, since the air in the hospital is usually pretty dry.
If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll want to bring a couple of nursing bras, a boppy or other breastfeeding pillow, some kind of nipple cream and your breast pump, particularly if you haven’t used it before. Many hospitals have a lactation consultant who can meet with you and help you feel comfortable using it, as well as helping you figure out a good latch and comfortable breastfeeding positions.
You may want to include some items that are solely for making the room more comfortable while you’re in labor. There is a huge mental component to labor, so making sure that you are relaxed and feel good in your environment is important. Consider packing flameless candles or a string of Christmas lights to hang around your room.
If you have labor playlists made or you are planning to listen to HypnoBirthing tracts during labor, you might want to pack a portable speaker. Some people love having a diffuser and essential oils to make the room smell more like home and less like the hospital. If you have birth affirmations that you have bought or colored yourself, bring those and place them around the room to be a source of encouragement when you need it.
Essentials for baby:
The most important thing to remember to pack for your baby is the car seat! Many families will go ahead and install it in the car several weeks before their due date, which is a great idea because this is definitely one item you can’t leave at home! Two or three onesies, gowns or sleepers, and swaddle blankets are what you’ll need to clothe baby after the birth. Some families love to use mittens to keep their little one from scratching their face and socks can help those little toes stay warm. If you’re wanting to use a pacifier, you may want to put one of those in your bag and if you have a special going home outfit planned for your new baby, make sure it’s in the bag, too.
Essentials for your partner:
Your partner is going to want to pack a couple of changes of clothes. Most people are at the hospital for 2-3 days after the birth, so they’ll want to be able to clean up and be comfortable during that time. Make sure they pack their own toiletries, toothbrush, etc. Your partner should also pack some snacks and water or gatorade. The laboring person will get a water bottle, food, and other beverages from the hospital, but the partner has to bring their own or eat whatever is available in the vending machines.
Most hospitals will provide you with mesh underwear and pads for the postpartum, diapers & wipes for your baby, Tylenol, antacids, stool softeners, and other medications you may want in the postpartum. They will also have pillows, blankets, and towels, but some people like to bring their own to be more comfortable. If you don’t want to use the mesh undies from the hospital, make sure you bring some of your own.
Also remember to pack your phone charger and your camera & camera charger. Gum and/or mints is also a good thing to have on hand for your stay and make sure your ID and insurance card are in your bag. One last thing, which isn’t an essential, is to bring a goodie basket of snacks or gifts for your nurses. They do so much and have such an impact on your care during the birth—it’s a nice way for you to say thank you! I hope this was helpful in getting ready for your big day–don’t forget to download our checklist to make packing for your hospital stay even easier!
And if this checklist is helpful to you, we have a birth plan checklist that you might enjoy, too. Happy Birthing!