It's a good thing it takes 9 months for a baby to be born. Because one of the first things couples realize after they find out that they're expecting is that there are so many things that they need to do to prepare for their new child.
From setting up doctor's visits and notifying their family about their good news to building a nursery and searching around for daycare centers, the to-do list for expectant parents is long. Some of them actually worry about how they're going to get everything done.
Figuring out what to pack in a hospital bag for mom usually ends up somewhere near the bottom of the list. But it's an important part of preparing for a baby since you don't want to forget anything at home on the day of your child's birth.
Here are 10 things that should be in a mother's hospital bag.
1. Photo ID and Health Insurance Information
In the weeks and even days leading up to your due date, you're obviously going to need to carry your state-issued photo ID around with you. You won't be able to drive without it.
With that in mind, it's not really reasonable for you to keep your photo ID in your hospital bag at all times. But you can keep it in a centralized location in your home where your significant other will be able to find it and throw it into your bag quickly.
Same goes for your health insurance information. While you don't necessarily want to stop carrying it around so that you can have it handy in your hospital bag, you want to be able to get to it quickly once you go into labor. Keep it with your photo ID so that your partner can locate it if need be.
Your hospital may also require you to fill out and bring a bunch of forms with you when you check in to give birth to your baby. Fill those forms out ahead of time and have them tucked into your hospital bag so you don't forget them at home.
2. Birth Plan
There are a lot of expectant mothers that are starting to show up at hospitals with birth plans intact.
A birth plan is great because it'll let a hospital know everything from who you want to be present in the delivery room to what kind of pain management medications you want to use, if any.
Creating a birth plan is actually pretty simple and straightforward. But your birth plan isn't going to do you much good if you leave it at home on your nightstand when you go to the hospital to give birth or, worse, if you keep it in the "Notes" section of your cell phone.
You want to be able to hand out copies of your birth plan to your doctor and nurses so that everyone is on the same page in the hours leading up to your child's birth. By putting it into your hospital bag, you'll ensure you don't forget to bring it along.
3. Cell Phone and Cell Phone Charger
Years ago, couples used to bring rolls of quarters to the hospital with them when a mother went into labor so that they could use the pay phone to call their closest family members and friends following the birth.
But these days, it's a whole lot easier to let the world know that you've given birth to a baby thanks to cell phones. You can call people to tell them that your baby was born, text message them photos, and even share the good news on social media.
But in order to do all these things, you'll obviously need to have your cell phone in your hospital bag. And more importantly, you'll need a cell phone charger to go along with it.
Labor typically takes right around 8 hours for most women. But it can also take a whole lot longer than that in some cases. The last thing you want is for your cell phone to die during that time and force you to go scrambling around inside the hospital for signs of a pay phone.
4. Nonskid Socks
Both before and after you give birth to your baby, you're likely going to spend at least a little bit of time wandering the halls of your hospital. It's a good idea for mothers to get up on their feet during their hospital stay.
You should avoid walking around barefoot, though. Instead, pack two or three pairs of nonskid socks right inside your hospital bag so that you can throw them on when you want to take a walk.
Do you usually wear contact lenses rather than putting on eyeglasses?
You're going to want to bring your glasses along with you to wear in the hospital. You aren't going to have the time or the energy to worry about putting your contacts in and taking them out throughout your hospital stay.
It'll be a whole lot easier to put your glasses on and take them off, as needed. Even if you don't wear your glasses very often as of right now, it won't hurt to have them in your hospital bag.
While some expectant mothers only spend about 24 hours in the hospital after giving birth to their babies, other mothers end up spending several days in a hospital bed. If this turns out to be the case for you, you're going to want to be able to clean yourself up from time to time with your various toiletries.
Pack a small toiletries bag with travel-sized products inside of it. These products should include:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Face wash
- Shampoo and conditioner
- And more
Bring along anything you'll need to freshen up throughout your hospital stay. It'll help keep you more comfortable following the birth of your baby.
People forget that, when they're in the hospital for several days, they're not always going to have easy access to food whenever they want it. This is why you should pack some non-perishable snacks away in your hospital bag for you and your significant other.
You're going to be especially hungry once you're finished giving birth. You can chance it and rely on the hospital to bring you something to eat. But depending on what time of day it is, they might not have a great selection available.
Bring your own snacks in your bag so that you won't have to worry about running into this scenario. It'll help get you on the road to recovery quicker.
8. Lactation Bars
Are you planning on breastfeeding your baby once you give birth? If so, there are all kinds of foods that you're going to need to start working into your diet so that you can produce more milk for your child.
Lactation bars are one of the best foods for new mothers to eat to increase their milk production. These bars are jampacked with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and lactogenic ingredients that will encourage your body to produce more than enough milk.
Tuck a few of these bars into your hospital bag, and make sure you have a large supply of them waiting for you at home as well.
9. Nursing Pads
Whether you're going to be breastfeeding your baby or not, your body is probably going to produce at least some milk for your child. And that milk is going to come out whether you want it to or not.
To protect your clothing and to avoid embarrassing stains, you should have nursing pads ready to go. They can be placed directly inside of maternity bras to stop milk from coming into direct contact with your clothing.
10. Clothes to Wear Home
Speaking of clothing, you're going to want to put something into your hospital bag that you can wear home. The clothes that you wear to the hospital in the first place will likely still fit, but they might not be in the best condition at the end of your hospital stay.
Throw a couple maternity outfits into your bag so that you have some options of what to wear home. Most women are able to fit into clothes from the five-month mark of their pregnancy by the time they leave the hospital, but it all depends on how your body bounces back from giving birth.
Know What to Pack in a Hospital Bag for Mom
While you're busy preparing for the birth of your baby, you're going to have a million and one things on your mind. But don't forget to pack a hospital bag ahead of time.
You've learned what to pack in a hospital bag for mom here, but it's up to you to make sure everything makes it into the bag by the time you're about 36 weeks pregnant. Put it somewhere where you know you'll remember it when you go into labor.