What items do I need to pack in my hospital bag when preparing to have a baby? Most new moms tend to over pack their own hospital bag and most of the items that they take with them are safely tucked away in their bag and are not used. Most of the time the hospital will supply your basic supplies such as soap, lotion, sanitary pads, disposable underwear, and shampoo/body wash combo. I remember not being prepared with my first two babies (I didn’t have my hospital bag pre-packed like experts suggest having ready around 36 weeks), I didn’t have a hospital bag packed and I had to rely on someone else to go to my house and get me things that I wanted or needed. I was a bit more prepared with my third baby, after I realized that I was having braxton hicks contractions around 35 weeks and they were happening pretty frequently. So I packed a few of my items into my baby’s diaper bag. I knew that I only needed a few items and I didn’t want to carry a bunch of bags into the hospital. During those last few weeks, I left my son’s diaper bag in the back of the car because I was afraid that I was going to go into labor at any time; however, I ended up making it to my due date.
Disclosure: All opinions reflected in this post are my own and I compiled a list of based on my own experiences.
What should a new mom pack in her hospital bag? Remember that you should pack as lightly as possible because anything you take to the hospital has to come home. Use this list of items to carefully pack your hospital bag.
- Insurance Cards – Always bring a copy of your insurance card with you. You never know if you will need them or not. If there is an emergency, you might not be able to make it to the hospital that you planned on delivering at.
- Drivers License or ID- You should always have a copy of your drivers license with you. Most hospitals need a copy of your id when they ask for your insurance information. Having an id on you can also prove who you are.
- Referral or Pre-Authorization – If your insurance requires a referral or pre-authorization make sure that you bring any required paper work with you to the hospital, in case, they need a copy of your referral or pre-authorization paperwork.
- Nursing Bra – If you plan on breastfeeding, having a nursing bra makes it easier to nurse your baby. A nursing bra is designed to hold your growing breasts. When your milk starts coming in your breasts often times fill up with milk and can easily expand one or two cup sizes bigger than normal. Even if you don’t plan on breastfeeding your baby, you will need a snug fitting bra to hold your expanding breasts.
- Nursing Pads – If you plan on breastfeeding, you will need nursing pads to catch any of the colostrum or milk that may leak from your breast. For the first few days it is possible that you may not need them, it all depends on how your body reacts and how quickly your milk comes in. The hospital staff never provided nursing pads when I had all three of my babies. With my third baby, I stuffed a few into a zip lock baggie and kept some in my babies diaper bag so that I didn’t have to carry a huge box of them where ever I went.
- Robe or Nursing Gown – If you have ever tried breastfeeding your baby with a hospital gown on, you will discover that you basically have to undress yourself in order to feed your baby. I always took an old or cheap robe to wear that buttoned in the front. This allowed me to breastfeed my baby while remaining mostly covered up.
- Socks – Take a few pair of socks with you preferably ones that you don’t mind if they get dirty while you roam the hall ways during labor or during the delivery process. It is cold in most hospitals and during your hospital stay your feet tend to get cold.
- Chap-stick or Lip-gloss - During labor, often times you are busy concentrating on breathing through your contractions, often times a mom may not realize that they are licking their lips or possibly end up biting their lip. The lip gloss will come in handy if your lips are dry while you are in labor.
- Cell Phone, Charger, and Headphones – If you plan on bringing your cell phone with you to the hospital, don’t forget to grab a charger. A cell phone is a great way to let your friends and family know when you are in labor, how things are going, and letting everyone know when the baby arrives. If you have a smart phone, you can even load a playlist of music to play while you are in labor.
- Camera and Batteries – If you plan on taking photos of your new baby and don’t have a great camera on your cell phone, you should pack your digital camera and extra batteries.
- Personal Hygiene Items – You will need to pack a few personal hygiene items because the hospital only provides your basic needs. Items that you will need to pack are: hair spray, hair brush, scrunchie or something to tie up your hair, tooth brush and tooth paste, deodorant, shaver, and make up.
- Underwear – The hospital usually provides you with mesh underwear while you are in the hospital and most women love them; however, some women don’t. I would pack a few pairs of underwear in case you are one of those women who don’t love the mesh under wear. Make sure that you choose loose fitting under wear that you don’t mind getting soiled.
- Going Home Outfit – When you are discharged from the hospital, more than likely you will still look like you are pregnant. It takes a while for your belly to go down. It is important that you pick a going home outfit that is comfortable and has plenty of room. If you plan on having a c-section, make sure that you pick an outfit that doesn’t have a low waste band.
- Change – Spare change can come in handy during the evening hours when the cafeteria is closed. Your labor coach can use the changed to get something to snack on or to drink.
- Snacks – Packing a few snacks might be a good idea, if you happen to give birth in the middle of the night it is possible that you won’t be able to get anything to eat. If you have labored all day and haven’t eaten in a few hours you will be hungry. The snacks will be able to hold you over until the next more when the hospital can bring you some food.
After being in the hospital for a few days, it always seems as if you go home with more stuff than you initially brought to the hospital. Remember to only pack the items that you think that you might need after delivery and if you forget something, you can always have your spouse or family member to bring you items that you forgot.
Remember it is best to have you and your baby’s hospital bag packed before you are 36 weeks gestation. It is never too early to be prepared because you never know when you might go into labor. Once you are in labor, the last thing you want to do while having your contractions is trying to pack you and your baby’s hospital bag. Once you have your bags ready to go, you can either leave them in your car or some where in your house so that you can easily grab them on your way out the door to go to the hospital.
Congratulation on the arrival of your new baby. I hope that everything goes smoothly and that you have a safe delivery.
What was your favorite item at the hospital when you were in labor?