As your due date approaches, it's time to start planning your hospital bag. A hospital bag is exactly what it sounds like — a bag with all the essentials you and the baby will need during labor.
You should have your bag ready to go (aside from last-minute items) by 36 weeks before your due date, just in case. You'll need a balance of comfort items, essentials, and self-care. If this is your first hospital bag, you might not know what to bring. Here's the complete checklist!
What to Pack for Mom
While it's easy to put the focus on what you need to bring for baby, it's also important to think about yourself. Labor can last several hours or even days, so make sure you have everything you need. It's hard to overprepare!
- Your birth plan - If you created a birth plan, print a few copies to bring with you.
- Toiletries - Bring small containers of your favorite toiletries like toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, dry shampoo, hair ties, and face wipes.
- Comfy clothes and pajamas - Pack a tank top, loose pants or a PR set. If you plan on breastfeeding after delivery, bring a nursing bra. Anything that will help you feel more comfortable, bring it along.
- Robe - If possible, bring a comfy robe. This will be useful if you need to talk around the hospital.
- Electrolytes - While water is great, sometimes you need something more. Bringing an electrolyte drink like coconut water or Gatorade is a good idea.
- Phone cord - Get an extra-long charging cord for your phone. Odds are you'll be far from an outlet.
- Pillows and a towel - Hospital pillows and towels are all about function, not comfort. Bring your own just in case.
- Self-care items - Finally, don't be afraid to treat yourself. Having some extras like face cream, lip scrubs, and more make the experience less harsh on your body. You're working hard enough, mama! Treat yourself to our birth gift box which has everything you need for the hospital.
What to Pack for Baby
After you've prepared everything for yourself, it's time to focus on your baby's needs. Luckily, you don't need a lot to prepare for the baby. The hospital provides a lot of things, so if it's not on the list below, consider leaving it at home to save space.
- Car seat - If you're driving home from the hospital, they'll require you to have your car seat. Make sure it's installed before you take the baby home.
- Going-home outfit - Because you don't know the size of your baby, bring two different outfits in two different sizes. One should be the newborn size and the other 0-3 months. Depending on the weather, pack hats or socks.
- Bottles - If you're planning on doing any bottle feeding, pack at least two bottles for the hospital. If you're formula feeding, bring your preferred brand. The hospital also will have samples available.
- Pediatrician's information - Your doctors will ask for your pediatrician's information so they can forward medical records.
- A small extra bag - Bring a foldable tote or another small bag for any extras the hospital gives you. Many times the hospital provides diapers and wipes so you don't need to worry about these.
What to Pack for Your Partner
Finally, don't forget about your partner. They're by your side for the entire delivery, so they'll likely need some things as well.
- Toiletries - Your partner will also need to brush his or her teeth, bathe, and do all of those fun things. Make sure they have their own toiletries or enough to share with you.
- Snacks - Snacks are a must in any hospital, along with a reusable water bottle.
- Sleeping bag - A sleeping bag or blanket is a great way to get some shut-eye without worrying about flimsy hospital sheets. Since sleep deprivation is real after baby, catching up on sleep while you can is essential.
- Electronics - Finally, have your partner bring some stuff to keep them busy. E-readers, tablets, and headphones are a good form of entertainment. While not always, many times there is a lot of downtime with the labor process.
Preparing for the baby might seem like a lot of work, but this is an exciting time. Creating your hospital bag (or bags) brings you one step closer to your baby's arrival. Do you have everything you need?
Print this checklist above to make sure you don't forget anything. Remember, there's no such thing as being too prepared.