This is it! After long months of morning sickness, cravings, an expanding belly, sore back, and more, you’re almost there! You’re going to have a baby! This is a momentous time:
You may be asking yourself, what will you take with you? You don’t want to miss anything you need, but you don’t want to be saddled with a ton of extra stuff, either. I packed about three bags with everything but the kitchen sink and only used a fraction of it. I’ll let you in on what you need and what is optional.
But first, a little advice:
- Pack light! Hospital rooms are very small, and you will most likely not be there long. One small-medium bag is plenty for what you actually need.
- Eat first- you may not be able to eat in the hospital (nurses may ask you not to eat in case you need a C-Section, which should be done on an empty stomach)
- Clean the house first- you don’t want to clean with a newborn
- Freezer meals & Quick-to-make meals- Sure, you can do takeout, but that gets old (and expensive) after a while. Cook beforehand as much as possible. I also like to have a back meal or two ready (I still do this, for sick days), like a box of fettuccini noodles + a can of alfredo sauce + a can of chicken + a couple cans of green beans- 20 minutes and minimal effort to dinner.
- Decide on hospital guests beforehand. I am a private person and didn’t want an open house in the hospital room. Hubby and I discussed beforehand who we would invite to the room and who would have to wait until we got settled. Oh, and if you don’t want a lot of company, don’t announce it on Facebook until you get home. You don’t need to announce it right away. Take those first 24-48 hours and just enjoy your little person all to yourself for a bit.
- Nap as much as possible as you approach your due date. Labor is exhausting and often long, and you don’t know when it will happen. Get rest now while you can!
- Pack your bag 1-2 weeks before your due date in case you go into labor early.
- PJs for spouse
- Folder- for hospital paperwork that you need to bring and anything they send you home with
- Large empty bag- the hospital will send you home with a lot of stuff
- Going home outfit in two sizes- Newborn & 0-3 months (Man Cub was too big for NB clothes at birth). Focus on EASY, not cute. You will be delirious with exhaustion and joy; this is not the time to do a complicated dress or vest. Go with a side snap shirt and stretch pants or footie pajamas.
- Baby socks- the hospital will have clothes and blankets, but usually not socks
- Phone & charger
- Hair ties
- Snacks & meals for spouse- he needs to keep up his strength, too.
- Drinks for spouse- a water bottle & something with caffeine are both good
- Car seat- You can’t leave the hospital without it. Install it beforehand to give yourself less to stress about.
- Change of clothes for you (comfortable maternity clothes- you won’t be leaving in your skinny jeans, sorry)
- Blankets for car- you won’t be able to bundle baby in a jacket. Dress him/her in regular clothes and put blankets on top of the buckle.
- Phone numbers of people to call with the happy news!
- Eye drops
- Comfy pillow & blanket for you (hospital ones can be uncomfortable)
- Comfy pillow & blanket for spouse (hospital ones can be uncomfortable)
- Baby book- the hospital may put baby’s footprints directly in it
- Robe- for over the hospital gown if you want to walk around outside the room (I didn’t) or have visitors. Just be sure it’s not our favorite- it may get stained and ruined.
- Calming items: music, focus item (I used pictures of trips we’ve taken & icons), essential oils (Eden’s Garden Stress Relief is awesome!), massage oils or lotions
- Things to keep you/your spouse busy (laptop, books, cards)
- Flip flops for the shower/hall
- Nursing tanks
- Nursing pillow
- Change (for vending machine)
- Zip up sweatshirt (to keep you warm, with easy access for nursing)
- Mints/mouth wash
- Gum/hard candies- chewing on something can help during labor)
- Birth plan
- Breast pads
- Baby mittens- these can be great to keep baby warm in the car, when they aren’t swaddled
- PJs/Nightgown for you (not a nice one, as it will probably get stained). I stayed in the hospital gown until 5 minutes before we left, but if you’d be more comfortable in your own clothes, go for it.
May be Provided (call your hospital to confirm):
- Extra baby clothes
- Toothbrush & toothpaste for you and spouse
- Shampoo & soap
- Diaper rash cream
- Lidocaine spray
- Nipple cream
- Baby hat
- Swaddling blankets
Want to print out this list? Download here: Hospital Childbirth Packing Checklist