Packing your hospital bag is such a fun and essential thing to do as an expectant parent. But it can also be confusing. Here are some simple suggestions of must-haves to make this task more manageable and practical for your hospital stay after having your new baby.
For the birthing person:
- Sports bras – Some women prefer to labor in a bra, and this is a comfy version
- Maxi dress/skirt or a birthing gown – Sometimes you just don’t want to birth in the hospital gown that your birth place provides, so this is a nice alternative. One of our favorites places to get a specialty gown like this is Pretty Pushers. And some people choose to wear this after the baby is born, rather than during labor and birth.
- Slippers and warm socks – It’s nice to have something soft and warm for your feet while you are shuffling around your room after you have your baby.
- Hair ties – No one wants their hair in their face or sticking to their back during labor, pushing, or breastfeeding!
- Chapstick – Labor is tiring, and often dry lips accompany it…having a moisturized kisser can be a small thing that goes a long way.
- Comfortable outfit to wear home – Whether you have a vaginal birth or deliver via cesarean, you will need a “going home outfit” for yourself that is soft, stretchy, and easy to put on and take off.
- Nursing pillow – If you are planning to breastfeed, investing in a pillow such as a Boppy or My Breast Friend is something that most people are thankful they did.
For the partner:
- Extra outfits – Depending on the type of birth, you could be staying 2-4 days.
- Snacks/drinks – While the person giving birth is usually unable to eat during labor, it is important that you keep up your strength and energy. This may mean having Gatorade, caffeinated beverages, granola bars, cheese sticks, beef jerky, or anything else that speaks to you and your belly!
For the baby:
- Car seat – Having your carefully selecting car seat installed prior to going to the hospital is a must…since they won’t discharge your baby without one! Click here to read more on car seat safety and choosing the right one.
- Swaddle items – The hospital has blankets, but some parents prefer to have their own blankets to swaddle the baby in. We like these swaddle blankets and these swaddle sacks.
- Going home outfit – This is what many parents take a lot of time deciding on. What will look cute in pictures, what season will the baby be born in, etc. Our main word of advice is bringing outfits of different sizes, since you won’t know exactly what the baby will fit into until they are here.
- Pillows – Having a piece of home is always nice, plus the hospital pillows are not the most comfortable.
- Blankets – Similar to the pillows, something that is soft, snuggly, and reminiscent of home sweet home.
- Cameras/phones/chargers – Especially the chargers! That’s the thing people forget the most, it seems.
- Toiletries – The hospital actually provides a toiletry pack if needed, but it’s obviously not fancy, and it feels much nicer to have your own items from home.
- Money – You will need a check for the birth certificate copy, as well as for food/drinks during your stay.
- Transport cooler – If you are choosing to utilize the service of placenta encapsulation (whether for help preventing postpartum depression, increasing energy, increasing milk supply, or any other reason), make sure to pack the transport cooler that was given to you by your Postpartum Placenta Specialist. Abiding by the World Health Organization guidelines for organ transplant is a key part of this service.
And keep in mind that, worst case scenario, if your bag isn’t ready and packed by the time you need to go to the hospital, you absolutely CAN birth a baby even if you have nothing with you! Because if packing your hospital bag seems to fall by the wayside. there will be time afterwards to get the essentials.