The big day is near. The baby’s room is full of decorations and garlands, the baby shower left you with an explosion of colorful gifts and you’ve finally figured out how your new stroller works. There is only one thing you yet have to figure out. What to pack in hospital bag.
This essential bag has to hold lots of things for baby and mom. At this stage, you’ll need much more things than the baby, so we suggest investing in a large bag with internal pockets. Reserve one for the newcomer and keep all the rest for stuff you’ll need during labor.
Yet, what exactly should you put in the hospital bag? Here’s a checklist for you and for the newborn.
When To Pack The Hospital Bag?
The pregnancy lasts 40 weeks on average, but this count includes the first two weeks in which you weren’t actually pregnant. This means you can give birth at any time after 38 weeks.
In other words, you can start preparing the bag anywhere between the 33rd and 38th week, just in case baby decides to arrive sooner.
Why so soon? Because searching for labor essentials during labor is stressful. Maternity wards may have special requirements on what gear you need, and in some cases, it may even be necessary to stay in the hospital longer than expected.
So, here’s your checklist to make things easier.
What To Pack In Hospital Bag For Delivery
It’s obvious you need some hospital clothes, but most first-time moms think a cozy pajama might do. Well, that’s not the case before giving birth. Most maternity wards specifically require women in labor to wear a nightgown.
Then, this choice will prove to be more comfortable for you too. Your doctor might want to check how labor is proceeding and a gown will make things easier and less embarrassing for both of you.
Another essential thing is a robe unless you want to wander around the corridors and cafeteria wearing the nightgown. A stylish, loose fit dress can replace the robe if you don’t feel like wearing your nightgown in public places at all.
The only advice is to choose a dark color for the garment to disguise any stains.
Trust us when we say you need slippers, not shoes. Slippers are practical before and after giving birth, as it will be easier for you to put them on without bending over. If you do want to bring shoes, at least make sure they have no laces or zippers.
We still advise to invest in a nice pair of slippers that can comfort your swollen and tired feet.
Having cold feet during labor and delivery is extremely annoying, and some hospitals may even require you to wear socks. Check the protocol and see if they require socks of a specific color – some maternity wards require specifically white socks.
Depending on the facility, you may be required to wear a hospital gown during labor or be allowed to wear whatever you like. In the second hypothesis, the best thing to wear during childbirth is a loose T-shirt. Borrow an old tee from your partner or invest in an inexpensive piece for the event.
Consider that various fluids can end up on this garment, so make sure you don’t wear anything that’s not disposable.
Snacks And Drinks
Maternity wards are usually equipped with vending machines but don’t rely solely on them. Pack a selection of snacks and drinks to have during labor. Energy bars, nuts, sweet drinks, and a lot of water can help you deal with the demanding task of giving birth.
Your hospital bag beauty case shouldn’t contain makeup, but a few basic body care products such as toothbrush and toothpaste, an antiperspirant, wet wipes, moisturizer for skin and lips, and a hairbrush. If you have long hair, also include a few hair bands.
A water sprayer is not essential but it can help you cope better with the labor, keeping you cool during childbirth.
Labor can last for up to 18 hours, and you might need entertainment during this stage. So, upload your favorite songs on an mp3 player and put it in your hospital bag. You’ll be surprised to see how much good music can distract you.
Phone And Charger
We live in a technological world, so make sure you have your mobile device with you. Not only you’ll want to control your socials during the labor, but you might also want to share the news with family and friends as soon as the baby arrives.
The charger is also important. A drained battery is not what you want during this stage.
Perhaps you have a smartphone, but for quality photos, you need a camera. Toss one in your hospital bag and you won’t regret it.
What To Pack In Hospital Bag: Postpartum Essentials
Don’t think that packing everything needed for labor and delivery is enough. After childbirth, you’ll need a bunch of different things. Natural birth may keep you in the ward for a day or two. A C-section up to a week. In all this time, you’ll need the following things.
If you’re a healthy mom-to-be expecting a natural delivery followed by no complications, there is no reason to feed formula to your child. Breast milk is the most natural and healthy food your baby can possibly eat. That’s why your hospital bag has to include breastfeeding bras.
These bras are designed to offer support, comfort, and easy access to the breast. You’ll need at least four bras in the bag, plus two or three in a separate purse.
And since we’re talking about breasts, don’t forget to include a nipple cream in case you’ll need it.
In a maternity ward, everybody’s used to see milk leaking from the breasts. But this doesn’t make it less embarrassing for you.
To avoid awkward situations, include a pack of bra pads in your hospital bag. For your comfort, we recommend disposable bra pads for this period and switch to the reusable ones once you’re at home.
The postpartum nightgown can be the same as the one mentioned above, as long as it provides quick access to the breasts.
Childbirth comes with body fluid leaks. You’ll probably experience heavy bleedings right after birth, which is perfectly normal. To avoid staining your clothes, make sure you have extra-large pads in your bag. Maternity pads are larger than usual sanitary towels and much more comfortable.
You will need at least two full packages, as you’ll probably have to change them every few hours.
Some wards specifically require it. Others let you choose which underwear to use. In all cases, we recommend it. Blood, amniotic fluid, and vaginal discharges can irremediably stain your usual underwear. If you wear disposable, it’s easy to just toss it in the biological residues bin.
Most women feel the need to shower after giving birth, so make sure you have a body wash in your hospital bag. Perfume-free shampoo may also be necessary if you have greasy hair.
Choose perfume-free products because you’ll be particularly sensitive after delivery. To avoid carrying whole bottles, pour a small quantity of product into travel bottles.
Don’t forget to pack a soft towel too, and indulge yourself a well-deserved moment of pampering as soon as your baby is safe and sound.
A Comfortable Outfit
Your family and friends could gather and wait for you to get home with the baby. So make sure to pack a nice yet comfortable outfit for the return home.
Choose something particularly soft and breathable with a waistline that doesn’t bother your belly too much.
Because it will take some time for your tummy to get back to normal, you may want to stick to the comfortable maternity clothes for now.
Although not essential, you can pack a mascara and some blush if you want to freshen up before receiving any visits or before getting back home.
We mentioned the nipple cream above, but another thing you need is a small tube of lanolin. You can use it as a lip balm and alleviate breast pain.
What To Pack In Hospital Bag For The Baby
Now that you’ve occupied most of the hospital bag with your stuff, it’s time to think of the newborn essentials. Your baby won’t need much in the first days, but there are a few things you’ll need.
And so it begins… before your baby will put on anything else will probably put on a diaper. In the first days, you’ll probably have to change the baby for about 12 times a day, so make sure you bring a decent stash with you.
Choose the right size for the newborns and also pack a few nappies for premature children, just in case.
A baby lotion and wipes may also be necessary. Just as your pads, we recommend using disposable diapers in the hospital and switch to cloth diapers once you’re back home.
Cotton onesies are essential from the first hours after giving birth. You’ll need at least four and pack some more in a spare bag.
Depending on the season, you may need these or not. Baby suits are essential during winter, keeping your bundle of joy warm. Pack at least three or four suits of different sizes and make sure to pack some more in a small spare bag.
Choose garments made of soft organic cotton which are delicate on the baby’s skin. It is also essential to pick garments which are easy to put on and take off.
Newborn Mittens And Socks
As odd as it may seem, your baby will come into this world with nails and he can easily scratch himself. Prevent all this with newborn mittens. These mittens will also protect the tiny hands from any sharp angles.
Newborn socks are also essential, keeping the baby warm and cozy while protecting the tiny feet.
Ideal for much more than swaddling, these muslin blankets are essential. Choose at least three or four blankets made of pure cotton or bamboo. Make sure the material is soft, delicate and breathable. You can use the blankets to comfort your baby or to cover yourself while breastfeeding if you don’t feel comfortable feeding the baby in public.
You now know what to pack in hospital bag, but the list doesn’t end here. Two things you’ll need from the start but that are too big for a bag are the infant car seat and the stroller. In most cases, you can skip the latter if the car seat comes with a removable bassinet.
Regardless of your choice, make sure these items are of high quality and built with comfort in mind. After all, your baby deserves all the best.