While your little one will be provided with most of the supplies in the hospital, some items are worth taking along. Bring a car seat and infant carrier (it is required to take your baby home, and why not bring it right away?), a going-home outfit, any personal blankets, or pacifiers you want in that first photo, diapers, wipes, and diaper cream, a nursing bra, and other postpartum items if you plan to breastfeed, like a breast pump and/or pumping accessories (hospital breastfeeding class syllabus), and an extra phone charger.
There are only a handful of items you will want (or need) to stuff in your go-to-labor-and-delivery bag for your baby. Do not worry, we will help you pack up with the essentials:
- Diapers and wipes: Of course, you are going to want diapers and wipes for your new infant. If you already know what brand of diaper you will be using, it would be a good idea to bring a pack of that particular brand with you in your bag. This way, if your newborn is too big for preemie diapers, or even small/newborn diapers, we can try it right away.
- Going home outfit: As you prepare to bring your child home, there are several things you will need. A going-home outfit is a good place to start. Even though it may not be the first thing you will use, it is cute and fun. Be sure to pack a spare in case one outfit gets dirty.
- Swaddle or receiving blankets: These swaddle blankets are designed specifically for hospitals and double as a receiving blanket. Bring a few of your baby swaddle blankets to wrap baby and practice swaddling (ask the nurses for pointers) so you are on your game when it is time to head home. Stumped by the whole swaddling process? We also recommend that you practice swaddling before you go home if you want to do it yourself once the baby arrives.
- Blanket: There are many reasons to bring a blanket. If it is winter or otherwise chilly, you can use a thicker blanket to snuggle babies in their car seats on the way home. Alternatively, you may want to outfit your car seat with a bunting of some type. In any case, a blanket is nice to have as the baby becomes accustomed to her new home. Also makes for good photoshoots!
- Car seat: When you are deciding what to pack in your hospital bag for the baby, the most important thing is to put your baby’s seat into the car long before you head to the hospital so that it is installed correctly in time.
- Formula and bottles: Being prepared for your new bundle of joy is an important part of being pregnant. Some hospitals let you bring your formula and bottles, but some do not. Make sure you call ahead to find out your hospital’s policy.
- Photo props: If you want to take some sweet pics that announce your new little one to the world, we do not blame you. And this is the time to pull out all the stops and make an occasion out of these photos so they will be memorable. To help remind you not to forget props and other items that will help make these photos closer to your ideal, we created a small checklist of what you can include in your bag for the baby.
- Baby book: Bring along a baby book to record your baby’s footprints and your impressions of the first few days. Keep a notebook handy so you have plenty of room to write or use your phone if you feel more comfortable with that. If you prefer a digital baby book, like Qeepsake, skip this item.
- Mittens, booties, and hats: You can prepare for the baby by having several sets of mittens, booties, and a hat on hand. Mittens may be necessary if your little one is born with long fingernails to help avoid scratches on their face. And depending on the weather, booties and a hat can keep the baby nice and warm.
What your non-pregnant partner can bring along with them to the hospital
Your partner will not be the one giving birth but let us not forget about them — they deserve some comfort too. The hospital does not provide much for them in terms of creature comforts, and what they do is basic at best, so pick up a few items to pack in an “Adorable Daddy Bag,” so he has everything he needs to get through your little one’s arrival.
- Comfortable clothing: Pack your partner’s bag with casual loungewear but encourage them to bring some clothes for a fresh outfit for the ride home. It is common for moms to feel out of sorts after giving birth and pairs of eyes and warm hands from your partner are welcome.
- Comfortable shoes: Your partner will be with you throughout your labour and delivery. They should bring comfortable shoes, slippers that grip, or other comfortable shoes and socks.
- Snacks: Your partner will want to bring a few extra items to help make the birthing process as comfortable as possible. Make sure you pack some of her favorite snacks and plenty of water for hydration. Consider meal replacement bars as well in case you get too busy to think about eating.
- Toiletries: A shower and a toothbrush are another forms of maternity leave. If you are headed to the hospital, you might be too busy to collect your toiletries. So, put together a getaway bag for your wife and help her out when she needs it. Lotion, deodorant, shampoo, soap, and toothbrush/toothpaste – are all things to make moms feel fresh and clean after giving birth.
- Pillow and blanket: Your pregnant partner likely won’t be the one using many of the items you need when staying overnight in the hospital. However, they can pack a pillow and blanket — especially if they know they are not good sleepers or need a little extra comfort.
- Medications: Be sure to bring your partner’s medications or anything they need on hand, such as a CPAP machine.
- Camera and Books: Though your phone likely does a fine job of documenting moments and memories, it does not hurt to have an actual camera on hand to snap photos of the big day. Your partner may want some reading material as well just in case you end up sleeping/resting—or they get bored during the wait.
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