What should I bring to the hospital? What items should I leave at home? What if I forget something?
These questions are often asked by parents who are preparing for their first child.
Preparing a hospital bag before going into the hospital is essential.
The bag should contain basic supplies such as diapers, wipes, formula, and clothes.
If you are planning on breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, it is also suggested that you pack some breast pumps, bottles, and other nursing equipment.
It is important to pack the hospital bag well ahead of time.
That way, when your water breaks, you do not need to panic about packing the essential items.
Giving birth should be as relaxing as possible, so ensuring that you have packed all the necessary items ahead of time is critical!
Hospital Bag Checklists: What To Pack
We know that packing a hospital bag can be worrisome, which is why we have created this easy-to-understand checklist for ensuring everything is packed for the baby, the mom, and the birthing partner.
Hospital Bag Checklist: For Mom
The checklist for mom is all the essential things for the mom’s comfort.
- Robe: Always bring a comfortable and clean robe to the hospital. This is absolutely vital, as being comfortable after giving birth is imperative for new mothers.
- Comfortable clothes: Always pack fresh, clean, and comfortable clothes. Postpartum clothes will be loose and baggy, and often dark (encase there is any bleeding). The clothes should also be very soft. Any type of baggy t-shirts, leggings, joggers, and slip-on shoes are necessary.
- Pajamas: Don’t forget to pack baggy pajamas. Some moms don’t even bother wearing ‘normal’ clothes, and just stick with their pajamas. No shame there, comfort for new moms is all that matters!
- Postpartum bras: Don’t forget to bring the correct bras with you, as you will likely be aching, and you will need to be as comfortable as possible.
- Pants and socks: Pants are absolutely vital, and you’ll want to pack a good amount of pants, just in case any accidents happen.
- Slippers and flip-flops: Slippers are ideal for wearing in the hospital, while flip-flops are necessary for showering.
Hospital Checklist: Personal Items For Mom
This is a checklist of personal items for mom.
- Sanitary Pads: Most hospitals will provide sanitary pads after the delivery, but it’s always good to pack sanitary pads just in case. Check with your hospital to see whether they offer free sanitary pads. The pads are necessary because women will bleed after giving birth, so it’s important to bring pads for safety and comfort.
- Adult diapers: While hospitals should provide adult diapers, check with your hospital first. Adult diapers are important for the bleeding, and because going to the bathroom will be difficult directly after giving birth.
- Pillows: While the hospital will provide some pillows, it’s always a good idea to bring extra pillows for comfort.
- Towels: Hospital towels are not like hotel towels, so bring your own high-quality towel to make you feel a bit more like at home.
- Nipple Creams: It’s common for a mom’s nipples to feel sore after giving birth and feeding their baby. Ask your doctor what brand they recommend buying.
- Shampoo, conditioner and soap: This is crucial for showering and feeling clean.
- Make-up and make-up remover: For some moms this is unnecessary, but if you want to wear make-up, that’s totally fine. Just make sure you bring a make-up remover to clean your face.
- Hair bobbles
- Lip balm
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
Hospital Checklist: For The Baby
The baby will need lots of items, so make sure that you are prepared!
- Baby blanket: Bringing a baby blanket or swaddle blanket is a must. While the hospital usually provides a blanket, it’s always useful to bring your own, especially for the car ride home.
- Bodysuits: Make sure that you bring a range of bodysuits for your new child, to keep them warm and safe.
- Going home outfit: Choose the right outfit for the weather conditions, generally speaking – a bodysuit, hat, and booties is a good idea, but in the winter, a snowsuit, mittens and a jacket might be needed too.
- Socks and booties: Newborns can get cold easily, so make sure to pack lots of socks and booties.
- Diapers and wipes: Do not forget to pack diapers. Some hospitals will give you free diapers (in fact, some people bring an extra bag, for all the free diapers). However, not every hospital will offer this, so check with your hospital, and bring your own.
- Formula and bottles: If you are not breastfeeding your baby, make sure to bring formula and bottles.
- Car seat: While you won’t be bringing this to the hospital, make sure that the car seat is safely and properly installed in the car, and ready for the journey home.
Hospital Checklist: Birthing Partner
The birthing partner needs to ensure that the mom and baby have all the necessary items, plus a couple of extras, that the mom and baby do not need to worry about (such as the documents).
Plus, there are certain items that will help the birthing partner too, like paracetamol and water.
- Essential documents: You need to make sure that you have all the right documents for the mom, including forms of ID, ready for the hospital. This includes picture ID (e.g. driving license), insurance card, and the name and phone number of their doctor. Ring the hospital beforehand to check whether you need to bring any other documents or paperwork. The birthing partner should also bring their own paperwork and ID.
- Birth plan: Bring a couple of copies of the birth plan, so everyone can refer to the birth plan without stressing the mom out.
- Water spray: Some moms like to use a spray bottle with water while in labor. This is because they tend to get very sweaty, and having cool water sprayed on them can help them cool down.
- Mobile phone and charger: Make sure that you pack your charger for your mobile phone in your hospital bag. The last thing you want is your phone dying when you need to contact your family.
- iPad, and charger: If you want to bring an iPad with you, make sure to pack the iPad safely, and bring the charger. An iPad might be great for moms who want to watch TV or listen to music, to distract from the pain.
- Water: Always bring tons of water. Hospitals are expensive, and water is absolutely necessary for the mom, and the birthing partner.
- Snacks: Do not forget snacks! Pack salty, sweet, protein, and healthy snacks, so that the mom has a wide variety of choices. Make sure that there is a balance between unhealthy snacks, like chocolate, and healthy snacks, like protein bars. Also, check the hospital guidelines, as some hospitals won’t allow snacks that have traces of peanuts, and so forth.
- Books and podcasts: Make sure to bring a book, and download some podcasts. This is vital for you and the mom while waiting.
- A change of clothes: birthing partners often stay awake with the mom, which means they will also need a change of clothes, as some births can take over 24 hours.
- Glasses or contact lenses: If you, or the mom, wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure it is packed in the bag.
- Paracetamol: Check with the doctor before giving any medication to the mom, as they may be giving her different medications. However, bring paracetamol for yourself, as some birthing partners may get a headache with all the great excitement.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Reusable water bottle
Don’t forget to include all the essentials, and with our checklist, we’re sure you won’t.
Giving birth is an exciting time, but it can be very stressful.
Making sure your hospital bag is all packed is one less thing to worry about.
Carly Link, a 33-year old mother of two toddlers. She is a parent and goes through a lot of the usual parenting difficulties herself. Carly shares all her experiences and knowledge about the best baby products through this blog.