You have survived morning sickness, months of anticipation of the arrival of your new little one, and your due date is fast approaching. If you haven’t started preparing your hospital bag yet, or have come here looking for guidance and ideas, here’s our checklist for the essentials to pack in your bag! With that in mind, we’ve broken our list down into three groups for Mom, Dad, and Baby.
Essentials For Mom’s Hospital Bag
Photo ID/Insurance Card
As soon as you arrive to the hospital you will need to check in and sometimes fill out paperwork so it’s always best to be prepared. If you’re planning on keeping your placenta for our placenta encapsulation services, you’ll also need to request the hospital’s release form too as well. It’s easiest to have this form signed before you deliver so it can be released to you immediately where it will have less of a chance getting disposed of accidentally or misplaced in the hospital.
Your birth plan is essential to bring along so that the hospital staff and your doula can work together to help facilitate your plan to the best of their ability. Letting the hospital staff know the plan for your birth and what you want to have happen in written form, is an important step of making sure it will happen.
Doula’s Contact Information
Be sure to have your Doula’s contact information handy either on your refrigerator, in your car, or stored in your phone so you can alert them when to meet you at the hospital.
Glasses/Contacts Case & Cleaning Solution
Don’t forget your eyeglasses on your hospital bag checklist, if you wear them! There is nothing worse than rushing out the door without them. If you have an extra pair, pack them in your bag early. If you wear contact lenses make sure to take your case and cleaning/soaking solution as well. Otherwise, have a list of things you want to be sure to grab as you are leaving and make sure your glasses are on the list.
Cell phone and Charger
Don’t forget your cell phone and charger as most likely you will be in the hospital 36-48 hours. There will be many people who will want updates as well as many pictures to take.
Toiletries and Personal Items
It’s always important to pack travel size shampoo, conditioner, soap/bodywash, toothpaste, and deodorant to take with you to the hospital. Even though the hospital does provide some items, it’s always nice just to feel the comfort of the items you’re used to using everyday.
Lip Balm is an essential item for every hospital bag checklist. Hospitals are very dry, and your lips will need lip balm. Be sure to pack your favorite kind and keep it handy.
Although I don’t find this to be an essential for birth IF you plan on having newborn photos done right in the hospital and plan to be in them, some women like to throw on a bit of light makeup, although this is not essential! It’s possible you won’t have the time or feel up to doing your makeup at all, and that’s perfectly fine! In any case, you can pack some basic essentials just in case if you plan for photos and would like to wear some light makeup.
Headbands or Ponytail Holders
When you’re hard at work in labor the last thing you want is not being able to put your hair up and out of your face! A messy bun is also easy to do and can be presentable enough for visitors or photos.
With all the excitement you may not be hungry right away. Besides, you don’t really know when baby is going to come. That moment when you do get hungry may not be the most opportune time to get food. Having snacks available will be something you will appreciate. Protein bars, fruit, and other easy on the go items are great too.
Maternity/Nursing Bras and Nursing Pads
You may or may not wear a bra right away, but if you do it’s helpful to wear one that is nursing friendly. Even if you don’t plan to nurse, the support and protection of maternity or nursing bras will be nice. Ensure the bra is not too tight and doesn’t have underwire which can hinder your milk supply.
Non-slip socks are helpful as well as comfy and functional. They help to keep your feet warm as well as from slipping when you are walking around or trying different laboring positions.
This is a great invention and a must have. You will love having a nursing pillow and how it supports the baby as you are learning to nurse.
A robe can help keep you warm. It is also easy to put on and be used as a cover-up when people come for a visit.
You’ll want an outfit to wear home but keep in mind to pick pants that are comfy and not constricting and shirts that are loose that work well with your nursing bra.
Hospital pillows are not very high quality, so consider bringing your own. Be sure to use a colorful pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed up with the hospital ones and taken.
The hospital provides gowns, but if you feel more comfortable in your own, bring a couple. There are even some fun and colorful gowns you can buy online too. If you are breastfeeding, be sure to have ones that open in the front. I always love wearing really comfy clothes during the day.
Things to Help You Relax
Essential oils can be beneficial to set the tone for your birth. A lot of hospitals are now allowing women to bring their diffusers to use in the rooms. Pick relaxing oils that you enjoy. If the hospital doesn’t allow you to bring your diffuser, you can opt for a diffuser necklace or put a couple drops on your pillow or opt to put your oils into a carrier oil and use as a massage oil. Calming music or music you enjoy will also help keep you relaxed and focused.
Postpartum Underwear or Disposable Pads
The hospital will supply you with underwear, but some women don’t like them. If you are one of those, bring some of your own. They should be large and breathable.
Postpartum Personal Items
Bottom spray, Nipple Butter, Sitz Bath, Postpartum Tea and many other natural items are great to have on hand to take care of yourself after you have you give birth. Your bottom may hurt, and the afterpains can be painful. Nipple butter may help to ease the pain that may occur with nursing too.
Essential Items for Dad to Pack
Dads are important too and have needs. If they're going to be supporting you through labor and birth, let's make sure they are well equipped to be there for the long haul.
Camera and/or Video Camera
You may want to take pictures or video of the birth of your baby, and also you may want to capture relatives and friends coming to visit and seeing baby for the first time. Don’t forget the camera and video camera for those moments.
Toiletries and Personal Items
If the hospital allows fathers to shower, pack a few things for dad. Travel size shampoo and soap works great. Don’t forget the toothbrush and toothpaste!
Change of Clothes and a Jacket
The room may be too cold and dad may want a jacket. On the other hand, the room may get too hot and dad may want to change clothes after all is said and done. Having both on hand will be appreciated.
Cell Phone & Charger
Dad will want his phone and charger as well. He will be the one who will be doing most of the updating during and taking of pictures, so make sure he has his phone and charger.
Be sure dad brings any medication he needs. This is a good one to put on your list to grab as well at the last minute if you don’t have extra to pack in advance.
Essential Items to Pack for Baby
When packing for your baby you may opt to just pack your diaper bag with all of the essentials and take it along so that you are prepared for when your baby arrives - it will now be your constant staple. Plus, one thing I've especially learned is important from having two babies is having your diaper bag stocked at all times.
Diaper Bag Essentials for your Newborn
Going Home Outfit
Extra Outfits including layers that can be added (always dress baby in what you're wearing plus an extra layer)
Hand Mitts to prevent scratching
Size 1 Diapers
Diaper rash cream/baby powder
Pacifier and Pacifier Clip
Nursing Cover or Bottle & Formula
Snacks (for mom because hungry moms are not happy moms)
A Water Bottle for you (staying adequately hydrated while nursing is imperative)
Make sure you don't forget to bring along your car seat! Another great tip, make sure you have the base installed and ready to go before you go into labor. You can also consult with a car seat specialist to ensure you've installed the car seat correctly too. It helps to have two bases for each parent to make things a bit easier too.