Packing to go meet your new baby is probably the most exciting “trip” you will ever plan for! However, deciding what to pack in your hospital bag for mom and baby can be a challenge, especially if this is your first baby. While everyone will have different preferences and maybe even different needs for what to pack, there are lots of basic items that are important to think through as you start preparing your bag!
What To Pack For Mom – Checklist
- Birth plan
- Bathing suit top (if planning to labor in tub or shower)
- Pain support (if planning a natural labor)
- Rice bag or other heating pad
- Massage roller
- Fine-tooth comb
Nice To Have
- Chapstick (labor = dry lips!)
- Board game and/or book (if being induced)
- Warm socks or slippers
- Diffuser and essential oils (grapefruit, clary sage, peppermint)
- Favorite snacks and drinks
- Playlist for phone
- Handheld fan
- Favorite blanket and pillow
- Jacket or sweater
- Clothes to wear home
- Nursing bra, nipple cream and nursing pads (if breastfeeding)
- Basic toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap)
- Phone charger
- Vitamins and any medications
Nice To Have
- Makeup and hair products (for going home)
- Comfortable clothes to wear throughout hospital stay
- Favorite snacks and drinks
- List of family and friends to contact
- Slip-on shoes to wear home (so you don’t have to bend down)
- High-waisted underwear (that go over your incision)
What Does Mom Need at the Hospital?
Before you decide what to pack, you will need to decide what to pack everything in. This can be a great time to splurge on a fun, new piece of luggage to use as your hospital bag for mom and baby. While there is no wrongbag to take, most people opt for a duffel bag. With lots of pockets and lots of patterns to choose form, this foldable travel bag is a great choice!
The hospital will provide you with a gown to labor in, but part of a great labor is feeling great. Bringing your own labor gown can be one way to make the process more comfortable. Gowns like this Baby Be Mine gown are even designed to allow for an epidural and skin-to-skin contact after your baby is born. If you think you might like to labor in the shower or tub, it can also be helpful to bring along a bathing suit top if that is what you will be most comfortable in. Keep in mind that anything you do choose to wear may be likely to get stains, so choose wisely!
Since you will likely be in the hospital for a few days, it can be a good idea to bring your own comfortable clothing to wear after the birth as well. Loose fitting clothes will be most comfortable for all postpartum mamas, but this is especially important if you have a c-section. You should also be sure to pack nursing-friendly tops, and a nursing tank or bra if you plan to breastfeed! Cozy socks or slippers will come in handy for the cold hospital room floors.
Even if you decide to wear hospital gowns throughout your stay, you will need to make sure you bring clothes to wear home. Keep in mind that even though your baby is no longer inside, it takes a while for your belly to return to normal size, so you will want to pack clothes that fit when you were around 5-6 months pregnant.
If you are planning a natural labor or even if you just want to make it through as long as possible without any medication, it can be helpful to bring some simple pain management tools. One of my favorites to include is a rice bag to use as a heating pad! Other helpful items include a massage roller, a fine tooth comb to squeeze during contractions, and anything else that helps you to relax.
You may also want to bring a favorite blanket and pillow. The hospital will, of course, provide you with bedding, but bringing a few things from home will help to make your room as cozy as possible!
Aromatherapy can be another wonderful tool for labor, especially essential oils like peppermint to help curb nausea or grapefruit to help with energy. You could use a diffuser in the room, or just bring the bottles to smell when it seems appealing.
While some hospitals will provide you with basic toiletries, most people opt to bring their own. Just think through anything you would normally pack for a few days away from home: deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and eyeglasses and contact supplies if you use them. Chapstick and lotion are also good items to bring for both during and after labor as hospital air can be quite dry.
While the hospital will provide aftercare products for you to use, I like to include a few of my own favorites! If you do decide to pack some items of your own, you may want to include some heavy overnight pads in a brand you prefer, a natural soothing spray, and a peri-bottle. Tucks pads and a numbing spray are also helpful to have!
You can order from the hospital cafeteria throughout your stay, but we always like to have some of our own snacks and drinks in the hospital room for before and after labor. This is extra helpful if you find you are hungry after the cafeteria closes! Snacks to bring can include things like juice, trail mix, granola bars, or some fruit. Keep in mind, though, that if you get an epidural, you will only be able to have clear liquids (and possibly jello or broth) until after delivery.
You will definitely want to pack a copy or two of your birth plan if you have one, and if you don’t already have a birth plan, you can easily download one to fill out. You can give copies to your nurse and doctor or midwife. This will help to ensure that your desires for labor and delivery are being met, even if you are too tired to remember everything in the moment!
Vitamins and medications are also a must for your mom and baby hospital bag. Keep in mind that if you plan to breastfeed, you will need to keep taking your prenatal vitamin or replace it with a postnatal vitamin.
If you plan to breastfeed, you will also want to include some basic nursing supplies in your hospital bag. These include nursing pads, nipple cream or lanolin, and a nursing bra or tank.
While it may seem a little silly to pack a board game or book, these can be great ways to pass the time in early labor if you are going to be induced. You may also find that you use them for entertainment after your baby is born, while he or she is sleeping.
What To Pack For Baby – Checklist
- Going home outfit
Nice To Have
- Baby clothes (3-4 outfits)
- Baby socks (3-4 pairs)
- Blankets (2-3)
- Diapers (1 pack)
- Wipes (1 pack)
- Formula and a bottle (if not breastfeeding)
- Thick blanket or carseat cover
What Does a Newborn Need At The Hospital
When packing your hospital bag for mom and baby, the absolute essentials you need for your newborn are just two! A car seat and an outfit to go home in. However, there are lots of additional things you may want to consider bringing.
Clothes and Blankets
The hospital will provide swaddles for your baby to wear, but it can be a lot more fun to dress him or her in outfits of your own. We have found that it’s nice to pack at least one or two cute outfits for pictures to send to family and friends. If you want to pack clothes to last your entire stay, keep in mind that babies are messy and you may need a few changes for each day!
You may also want to consider bringing a few sleepers that snap instead of zipping. This way, if you little one needs some extra help from a biliblanket or other support, you can easily thread the cords through the snap holes.
Like with clothes, it can be fun and exciting to break out the blankets and burp rags you’ve washed and have been waiting to use! Thin swaddle blankets are the ones you will likely use the most during your hospital stay, though you may want to bring one thicker blanket or a car seat cover for when you are heading home.
The hospital will provide all of the diapering supplies you need, but if you have a certain type or brand of diapers and wipes that you prefer to use, you should plan to bring your own. Most babies will need newborn size diapers to start with, but you could bring some size one diapers as well, especially if you anticipate having a bigger baby!
Tips When Packing For The Hospital
- Make a list before you start filling your bag! It can be especially helpful to create a list on your phone. This way you can edit it whenever something comes to mind. It can also be helpful to separate your list into the things you can pack now and the things you might want to pack at the last minute (like your toothbrush). And, if you go into labor earlier than expected, you can send your list to someone else who can pack for you!
- Especially if this is your first baby, there might be a lot of things you consider bringing but aren’t sure you will actually need. A great solution to this, is to leave the extras in the car. This way you won’t feel like you are trying to pack your entire house into a hospital room, but you can still send your partner to grab the things you decide you want as needed.
- Ask or read about other people’s experiences! Everyone is different, and we have all brought things we didn’t need and wish we brought things we didn’t think of in advance. The more people you talk to, the more you will be able to envision what you, personally, will want to pack.
Packing your hospital bag for mom and baby can be an exciting part of preparing to meet your new little one! While the hospital will typically provide almost all of the necessities, there are lots of things that you can bring to make your experience the best one possible! Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to think through what you might want to bring, and remember that you can always change your packing list as you go.
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