Baby Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Baby
Are you worried about how best to prepare for your newborn this year?
While it can be overwhelming, there were 3.8 million babies were born in the US last year, which means there's plenty of advice on how exactly to prepare!
You've painted the nursery, spent hours on building the crib, stocked up on baby gear, and agonized over a name. So what's left?
One of the most important things that expectant parents should prepare is a hospital bag for the mom and baby. Trust us when we say that you don't want to be caught worrying about what to take to the hospital when you're hearing the words, "It's time!"
To get you fully prepared for bringing baby home, we've prepared a complete hospital bag checklist for you. You'll know exactly what to pack in your hospital bag for baby and be ready when it's go-time.
When to Pack Your Hospital Bag
Whether this is your first or your fifth, you might have experienced that panic mode where you want to start prepping two days after you heard the exciting news. While it's important to have your hospital bag packed ahead of time, don't panic!
It's recommended that parents have their hospital bags packed by the time they hit 36 weeks--but earlier if there's a chance of going into labor early (which is sometimes normal for twins). Ideally, you don't want to put this task off later than week 38.
If you've hit the third trimester and you're ready to start packing, there are several essentials that you'll need for both baby and mom.
What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Baby
These are the things you'll be thankful for when you're holding that sweet little bundle.
1. Installed Car Seat
You can't drive your baby home without this. Install a rear-facing car seat ahead of time and make sure you know how to buckle it in correctly. Childbirth classes will often include a child passenger safety class to teach you how to do it.
2. Going-Home Outfit
Pack two different outfits in different sizes- because you don't know what size your baby will be. Have fun picking out cute patterns, and don't forget hats and socks if it's cold out.
3. Receiving Blanket
The hospital will usually provide one for swaddling baby while you're there, but sometimes parents prefer something personal. You can also use your packed receiving blanket for tucking your baby in on the car ride home.
4. Pediatrician's Contact Information
When you arrive at the hospital, your doctors and nurses will ask for this important information. Have it handy to make it easier on you and them.
5. Tools for Feeding Baby
You'll want to prepare for breastfeeding by bringing along some helpful tools. Nipple cream will help soothe your skin and healthy snacks are important fuel to help produce milk. Don't forget to pack a bottle too, in case breastfeeding is too difficult at first.
What to Pack in Hospital Bag for Mom
You're packed and ready for your baby to arrive, but don't forget about mom. Here is a list of essential items that will make the birthing experience better.
1. Essential Documents
These include a photo ID, insurance information, any hospital forms you'll need, and a birth plan (if you have one). Pack these into a folder so that they're neat and tidy and ready to pull out when they're needed.
2. Cell Phone and Charger
For such an important day, you'll want to have your cell phone handy for sharing the exciting news with loved ones and snapping photos of your cute new bundle. Don't forget the charger cord, too.
3. Non-Skid Socks and Robe
Labor can take up to 8 hours or more, so there's going to be time to spend walking the hospital corridors. Plus, hospitals can get chilly.
Pack a few pairs of non-skid socks and a warm robe or sweater to stay comfortable, and be prepared to throw them out if they become stained (it happens).
An average hospital stay for delivery is around 24 hours, so you'll want to have a few things with you to freshen up. Include the basics like a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and face wash.
Also, don't forget to pack some extras like chapstick, hair ties, and lotion. It will help you feel human again after labor is over.
5. A Change of Clothing (Or Two)
Most moms are sweaty after all those hours of hard labor and appreciate having a fresh change of clothes to wear immediately after.
Depending on how hot or cold you are, you'll want to bring something lightweight and something warm. Also, don't forget to bring an outfit to wear home.
6. Maternity Bra and Nursing Pads
Whether you plan on breastfeeding at the hospital or not, you're still going to need something to accommodate the milk that your breasts will naturally produce.
Pack one or two maternity bras and some nursing pads to protect your clothing and avoid stains.
7. Lactation Bars
You'll need to incorporate essential foods that will help your body produce enough milk for your child, and one of the easiest ways to get those nutrients is by eating lactation bars. These treats are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help your body produce high-quality milk. Plus, they taste really good!
Throw a few bars into your hospital bag and stock your pantry with them. They'll come in handy when you're learning how to breastfeed and your body will thank you.
8. Relaxing Music
Music is scientifically proven to help soothe and relax, so why not have it during labor? Load a few playlists onto your phone and bring a speaker so that you have an easy way to play soothing music that you love.
9. Drinks and Sugar-Free Candy
It's important to stay hydrated during labor and having sugar-free drinks on hand will help. Be sure to bring liquids that don't have any sugar, because sugar will make you thirsty. Another good item to pack is a small bag of sugar-free candy to keep your mouth moist during labor.
10. Maternity Underpants
It sounds extremely not fun, we know, but trust us--you'll want to have a supply of these to wear because they're roomy and they accommodate heavy sanitary pads for that post-delivery bleeding. Don't forget to stock up on pads at home, too.
What Not to Bring to the Hospital
As essential as your hospital bag will be, you'll want to make sure there are a few things you're leaving at home. These include valuables like jewelry, medications, diapers, and a breast pump.
Your valuables will be safer at home, and any vital medications that you need during your stay can be provided when you get there. Also, the hospital can provide a breast pump (if it's needed) and plenty of diapers.
If you're worried about forgetting something important, then create a hospital packing checklist for mom and baby and have it handy where you can see it while packing. You can also designate a family member or friend as your contact person to go and grab something you missed.
Here are a few helpful tips to make your birth experience the best it can be:
1. Bring both eyeglasses AND contacts in case one works better for you than the other. Some women prefer contacts over foggy eyeglasses, and some would rather not deal with putting contacts in.
2. Pack nail clippers for the baby or a pair of baby mittens. Most hospitals won't provide these things, and you'll want a way to prevent your baby from scratching himself with those newborn nails.
3. Buy a pair of cheap flip-flops to wear in the hospital shower. When you've just gone through labor, comfort is key, and you may not like your bare feet touching those shower floors.
4. Want to take a cute picture of your newborn and share it on social media? Bring a name tag sticker to write your baby's name and include in the picture! Your family and friends will love seeing it and it will make a special snapshot to add to your baby's first photo album.
5. Don't forget to appreciate the maternity nurses who took care of you. Pick up a box of chocolates or candy to drop off at the desk--they'll feel appreciated.
You're All Set!
Preparing for a newborn is no small task and you'll be amazed at all the new things you learn while getting ready! It's important to know what to pack in hospital bag for baby and to have all the labor essentials ready to go.
Want to mark a few more things off your list before baby comes? Prepare yourself for breastfeeding and stock up on some essential snacks!