You’ve got your birth plan, your support team, and car seat installed. All you have left is packing a bag for the hospital. As a doula, my clients commonly ask what they should include in their hospital bag. New parents generally tend to over pack because what many don’t realize is that hospitals usually have everything you need for the baby including diapers, shirts/onesies, formula (if not breastfeeding), and blankets.
For being in the hospital 24-48 hours with normal deliveries, hospital bags don’t need to include everything and the kitchen sink. Here’s a practical list that ensures you have what you need.
Your hospital bag should include…
- Comfortable clothes for mom – Yoga pants and T-shirts are perfect. The last thing you want right after having a baby is to be uncomfortable. Save yourself the hassle and pack your most comfortable clothes. And yes, maternity clothes are perfectly acceptable.
- Nursing bra or nursing tank – If you are breastfeeding, these will become your best friend.
- Clothes for dad or partner – Unless they are going home to shower and change, you will want to bring a set of clothes for them too.
- Toiletries – Shampoo, soap, chapstick, lotion, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Even better, travel sized toiletries. There’s no need to bring large bulky containers, taking up more room in your bag than need be.
- Going home outfit for baby – This is really the only clothing you need for the baby as hospitals always provide several shirts or onesies. I would suggest an outfit in two different sizes. Newborn size clothing is made for an average 7lb baby. So when a 9 pounder comes out, that adorable outfit does not fit.
- Phone or camera charger – Do not, I repeat, DO NOT forget your chargers! There is nothing worse than wanting to take a picture of your sweet new baby and finding out your phone or camera is dead.
Now that you have what you need, I’m including a few extras that you may like to have on hand.
You may want…
- Snacks – Labor can be long. If your hospital allows eating, you may want something small to eat to power you through. Snacks come in handy for your partner if they’re by your side for hours without a meal. You also may need them in between meals after your baby is born if the cafeteria is closed.
- Laptop or book – Being in the hospital for a few days can get boring. You may want a laptop to surf the web or watch movies/shows. This may also be a great time to read that book you’ve been dying to finish.
- Robe or slippers – While not necessary, these might be great for your comfort.
- Baby book or journal – Write down your baby’s stats, get their footprints, and write your birth story while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Babies tend to come on their time, so I recommend having a bag packed and ready to go around week 36 or 37.