Whether you are delivering in a hospital, birthing center, or at home, your medical team will provide the necessities to care for you and your brand-new baby. But because you will be away from home during this special time, you might want to pack some personal things that can make your experience a little more comfortable and enjoyable.
Preparing for the big day? Do not forget your bag. Find out what you can expect to be provided at the hospital or birthing center, and what you may want to bring yourself.
When should you start packing your bag?
Pack your bags at least 3 weeks before your due date. If you have any indications that you might go into preterm labor or otherwise have your baby on the early side, you may want to pack up sooner.
What you will get at the birth center
Congrats, you are getting closer to meeting the newest member of your family. You may be having a lot of questions and making lots of decisions right now. One important question is: What should you pack? It might seem like you need to bring everything and the kitchen sink, but you do not need to bring much at all. Call ahead to find out what your hospital provides, and what it does not — that way you will not over-pack.
Get ready for the big day by packing your hospital bag. Mom, give birth in a center that gives you the items you need: towels, soap, toothbrush/toothpaste, post-care items like witch hazel pads, peri bottle, and standard pillows.
Sometimes the hardest thing about having a baby is figuring out what to pack when the big day comes. If your hospital offers a packing list, it is always a good idea to use it as a guide. Be sure to check with your providers to see if they have recommendations as well. Preemie, newborn, or size 1 diaper; basic wipes; flannel swaddle blanket(s); hospital-branded onesies; standard knit hat; shampoo/soap; pacifiers; formula (Some “baby-friendly” hospitals only offer formula if it is considered medically necessary. Call your hospital to find out about its policy on formula.)
We know you will have a million things to think about as your due date approaches, so we have compiled a list of recommended items to pack for your big day. Hospitals recommend not packing expensive items like jewelry, tablets, and cash because things will be far from your mind when you meet your baby for the very first time.
What should you include in your bag?
While many hospitals provide you with a robe, you will be more comfortable wearing your pajamas. Your sweats may be a little snug, so leggings are great too — that way you can keep them on your comfortable pants when the movies start (Just be sure to bring the pants that have the most stretch). Pack another set for later when you are leaving the hospital. Do not forget your slippers or some cozy socks; there is nothing worse than being cold and tired. And slip in a nightgown or two that will make breastfeeding easier while you are there and nursing at home. Your blanket is an extra comfort as well — make sure it has a layer of polyester since they dry faster than cotton ones.
- If you are heading to the hospital to give birth, it is a good idea to schedule some time to pack your hospital bag. First, check-in with your doctor or midwife about what they recommend you bring — every provider has their preferences.
- Checklists can be helpful but also remember that they are ideas and suggestions. Pick items that make sense for you, based on your pregnancy and birth plans.
- Give yourself some flexibility in case you decide something is not working during labor (such as a music playlist). And remember: You will supply half the stuff in your baby’s diaper bag anyway, so plan to pack that at the same time.
- This list sounds daunting, and it is long — but really, you can fit most of these things into a single overnight bag. Consider bringing your hospital gown or lower (Pajamas) to wear during your stay; you may also want to consider bringing a credit card or some cash in case you want to use the vending machine.
- Slip into some non-skid socks or slippers. If you do not love the hospital socks, bring your own. The floor of the delivery room is not exactly a dancefloor, but you will still be walking around when you can. Choose something with grips for safety.
- Labor is hard work — and sometimes the only thing that helps you through is music. But it can be tough to bring an entire music library to the hospital with you. Create a playlist in advance to save on time and be sure to connect your phone or another device to the birth center’s speakers so the sound is crisp.
- Pack a book, magazine, or other reading material in case there is a wait. Bring your cell phone and charger for entertainment as well as calls to friends and family and store your music on your phone.
- You will want to bring some toiletries to the hospital, but you can also choose to go more complex and be a diva (if you are planning to have birth photos, you can bring your whole makeup kit). Do not forget the hair bands, lip balm, and lotion. Also, check with the hospital first about bringing any plug-ins for your devices like a hairdryer.
- Neither you nor your partner has time to look for your glasses or contact lenses during birth and early postpartum. Bring them with you, as well as all their accessories, such as cleaning solutions and cases. If you are bringing your contact lenses, add glasses to the bag too. Eye drops might also be a good idea, in case having dry eyes makes labour more uncomfortable.
- Pack your hospital bag for labor and delivery with a bit of care. Underwear is an important factor, as you will need to make room for pads. Consider sizing up to full coverage styles.
- Breastfeeding can be a great option if you and the baby are both willing to give it a try. If you are planning on breastfeeding, have everything you need on hand.
- Pack up and take along a breastfeeding cover. You may feel more comfortable using a nursing cover in those early marathon breastfeeding sessions. Or not — it is up to you. You might also want some nursing pads for leaks.
- When working on your list, keep in mind that what you may end up packing is not necessarily what you will end up using. Hospitals provide everything you will need to welcome your baby into the world, so pack light. The most important thing is to bring yourself because you are all your baby needs.
- Be sure to pack the necessities, like comfortable clothes and roomy shoes — you will want them postpartum, too. Do not forget some toiletries and a few personal items, such as pictures or anything that helps you relax.
- You will want to include clothing for both yourself and your new baby. Consider what you will want to wear home as well as other activities that may arise during your stay, like photography or meeting with family and friends. You will be able to take advantage of laundry services while you are in the hospital, so consider how much laundry you feel comfortable packing versus buying while you are there.
You are packing your hospital bag. You know what you need to bring, but you are not sure exactly how to pack your bag. You want to make sure you do not forget anything and make sure everything is easy to find when you need it most. Keep yourself and your baby organized, stress-free, and spend less time worrying about what you forgot in this handy checklist of items. If you know you are having a cesarean delivery.
- Your hospital bag should include comfortable clothing for both you and your baby. Pack two or three newborn outfits for your baby, including a hat, blanket, and booties. Do not forget a car seat for the ride home.
- New moms should pack a comfortable sports bra and support underwear. Avoid wearing underwire bras while your breasts are healing. Comfort is key when it comes to packing for the hospital.
- When it comes to packing your hospital bag, here is the truth: It is easy to go overboard. To prevent that, we have compiled a list of necessities and goodies-including compression wraps to make sure you have just what you need when your baby arrives.
- To ensure you feel comfortable, bring loose-fitting clothing and a robe (or a button-up shirt or gown that can open at the front) that will not rub against your incision. Do not forget comfortable slippers, a pair of socks, and your pillow.
- You are almost ready to meet your beautiful baby. The last step? Packing your bag. We recommend grabbing a few snacks or fruits, like apples or oatmeal with dried fruit, to help beat post-surgery constipation.
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