One of the questions our clients most frequently ask is: "What should I pack in my hospital bag?" A lot of this depends on your personality type...maybe you're a Type A person who has planned for every possible scenario and has packed 10 bags in preparation. Type B folks may prefer to take things as they come and pack a little lighter. Neither option is wrong.
Nonetheless, we do have a few suggestions of items to pack to make your stay at the hospital a little easier.
Here's what we suggest for the laboring person:
1. Pillows. You truly can't find enough of these at the hospital. You'll utilize them quite a bit during labor and when recovering in the immediate postpartum stage. We suggest putting a a colorful pillowcase on the pillows you bring from home so they are easily distinguished from the hospital pillows.
2. Chapstick. All that great breathing you're going to do during labor and when pushing might dry your lips out. Chapstick to the rescue!
3. Water bottle with straw. While the hospital sometimes provide this you may want bring your own.
4. Comfortable clothes for laboring (you don't have to wear the hospital gown if you prefer something else), for recovering in the hours and days after birth (plan on at least a 2-3 day stay), and for the trip home. You'll still look about 5-6 months pregnant so comfortable maternity clothes will work great.
5. Honey sticks or hard candy. Honey is considered a clear liquid and is a great, quick boost of energy for a laboring person. Some people find that sucking on hard candy helps prevent nausea during labor.
6. Birth preferences list. Your nurse will help facilitate this so have a copy in your bag to hand off to her when you are admitted.
7. Rice sock. This is a great comfort measure tool that can easily be made at home.
8. Toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc)
9. Insurance card and/or any preregistration info you completed.
10. Flip flops for the shower
Here's what the hospital will provide for you: laboring gown, new gown for breastfeeding, nonslip socks, mesh underwear, pads, ice packs, peri bottle, wash cloths, towels, sheets/blankets, hospital-grade breast pump
For the birth partner:
1. Pillows. See above!
2. Phones and chargers. You'll want to be able to take lots of pics of your newest addition!
3. Lotion. Laboring moms really appreciate a good massage. Pamper her after baby is here, too, with an amazing foot rub!
4. Change of clothes (pack some comfy PJ pants, too!) for 2-3 days.
5. Bathing suit and flip flops (if the laboring person plans on laboring in the tub or shower)
7. Playlist (something soothing your laboring partner can enjoy - it may soothe your new baby, too!)
Here's what the hospital will provide for you: Wifi, a cot or couch to sleep on, sheets/blanket, a lounge specifically for birth partners that is typically stocked with snacks, coffee, and soda.
1. Stocked diaper bag for ride home (2 disposable diapers, 1 pack of wipes, one extra onesie, one extra footie sleeper pajama)
2. Any special outfits if you plan to have pictures done in the hospital.
3. Outfit to wear home.
4. Carseat (make sure the base is properly installed)
Here's what the hospital will provide for your baby: disposable diapers, wipes, bulb syringe, blankets for swaddling, baby shampoo/soap, onesie or tshirt, hat, and - if needed - ready-to-eat formula or donor milk.
Getting ready to meet your baby is an exciting time and we want it to be as stress free as possbile for you! We hope this list helps you feel more prepared to get ready to go the hospital...and you can leave the kitchen sink at home!