Babies, as we all know, don’t care about schedules. They come early. They come late. They come when they want to, whether you’re ready or not. And when they decide to come, your hospital bag should be the least of your worries. Pack it early so you won’t have to scramble at the last minute, hoping you remember everything. And pack it smart. Remember, mommas won’t be the only one in the hospital for the long haul. Partners will be there, too, and soon Baby will join you! You’ll want to make sure everyone is covered.
What do you pack for the trip to the hospital? Like all good packing, you want to pack for what you plan to do at each destination. When going to the hospital to have a baby, there is really more than one stop before "Destination Baby Comes Home," and each has its own particular needs.
First Stop? Hospital Check-in. Have your insurance documents (primary and secondary), your picture identification, and any medical history you need at the ready.
- Insurance cards
- Picture identification
- Medical history
Next Stop? Labor and Delivery. Expect a long layover at this stop. You and your partner will want to make sure you each have everything you need to be comfortable. If you have a birth plan, have several copies of it ready to give to your care team. In addition, here are some suggestions for the momma and her partner.
- Comfy joggers/leggings, socks or slippers
- Extra long charging cord for phone, tablet, computer
- Easy to slip on shoes in case you want to go for a walk
- Lip Balm
- Toiletries (hair brush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, and face/body wipes - in case you aren't up for showering right away)
- Hair ties
- Music (to include portable bluetooth speaker and your playlists)
- Relaxing entertainment (books, magazines, pre-downloaded movies, laptop with charger and earbuds or blue tooth)
- Popsicles and other light snacks
- Reusable water bottle
- Comfy delivery nightgown if you don’t want the standard hospital issue
- Comfy clothes and toiletries for your partner
- Glasses and contact case and solution if you use them
- Camera/video camera
- Lotion or massage oil with a relaxing scent
- Blanket, pillow or pillowcase, and towels from home if you and/or your partner don’t want the standard issue
- A list of everyone you want to alert to the labor and/or delivery (and, in case you want to hand this off to a friend or family member to cover for you, their contact information)
Next Stop: Your Postpartum Stay. Hospitals typically have numbing spray, pads, and mesh undies, but you may want to consider bringing the following:
- Nursing nightgown and clean robe
- Big, comfy underwear and thick maternity pads or Depends underwear
- Toiletries – (already packed!)
- Comfy clothing – remember, you will still have a larger belly (and, in the event of an expected or unexpected C-section, a tender belly) and you will hurt and ache in the obvious places, so plan your attire accordingly
- Clothing that you feel comfortable to greet your visitors in
- Nursing tops, nursing bras, nursing pads
- Nipple cream
- Any medications you or your partner take
- Clothes, pjs, toiletries for your partner - (already packed!)
- Sleeping bag for your partner if desired (some hospitals provide bedding)
By now your travel party has increased to include Baby, who will, to your delight, effectively and appropriately hijack this trip. Baby will have her own needs and agenda, and you will find your days of packing light are gone for the next few years!
What do you need for Baby? That depends. If you would like your OB/Gyn to deliver your baby, ask which hospital(s) are available to your doctor. Generally, your doctor will have “privileges” at a specific hospital, meaning he or she will be allowed to deliver your baby at a specific hospital. If your doctor has privileges at more than one hospital, tour each and pick the one you prefer. Once you identify your delivery hospital, ask what its policies are regarding newborn clothing and care, then pack for Baby accordingly. Hospitals typically provide for use during your stay bassinets, diapers, skull caps, well-used blankets and, if desired, bottles and formula. However, you might also think about bringing the following for Baby's hospital stay:
- Your pediatrician's contact information
- 1-2 bodysuits/sleepers that button up the front.
- Cap, mittens, socks
- 1-2 swaddles
- 1-2 receiving blankets
- At least 2 bottles if you plan to bottle feed
- Formula if you plan to formula feed
Next Stop? The Ride Home, the last stop of your hospital journey and your first moments of real-life, on-your-own parenting. You realize the comfort being around nurses and lactation consultants has provided. You realize your real adventure starts now - and it likely involves a car ride. To learn more about baby’s first car ride, click here. Here is what you will need to pack:
- Baby's going home outfit
- A properly-installed infant car seat (left in the car, of course)
- Weather-appropriate clothing for you, baby, and your partner
- An extra bag to carry any supplies the hospital provides you
For a ready-made checklist to work from, click here.
So, parents-to-be, time to get packing!! Bumbershoots by Nana wishes you a safe and glorious journey.