First thing to remember, if you are delivering in a hospital, is that you will be there for a few days. Begin by packing as if you were going on a short trip. Pack a few outfits (loose fitting). Pack your basic toiletries: toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Next thing to think about is that you are going there to have your baby! I have compiled a list of items that will be extremely helpful to have on hand for you, your partner, and new bundle of joy. This list includes the necessities as well as what to bring for your labor and those first few postpartum days.
A few items on the hospital bag packing list may surprise you or make you say, “Why didn’t I think if that?!” Our doulas have weighed in and have some recommendations based on the hundreds of births we’ve attended!
One suggestion from Vicki is a bikini top or tank top for the shower or tub. You may be comfortable laboring in your full birthday suit, but if not don’t forget to bring something you will want to labor in and you are ok with getting wet. Merrill suggests bringing your own receiving blankets and hat for baby right after delivery. The hospital provides both these items, however you might like the idea of bringing your own! Whitney recommends that you bring your own towel for that wonderful first postpartum shower. The hospital does provide them, but unless you like using a small hand towel to dry off with, you may want to bring your own that you can wrap up in. Lillie loves recommending that moms bring one familiar item from home for each of the senses. A picture of your family or pets to look at during labor or your favorite scented hand lotion are just a few ideas. You will want to pack items that you know will make you comfortable and give you a sense of peace. Also, don’t forget your partner! Packing a bag of personal items for your partner such as a change of clothes, toiletries, and snacks are a must!
But when should I pack my hospital bag? Many care providers will suggest having your bag packed by 36 weeks when you begin weekly appointments. You can keep your bag by the front door and bring it with you in the car to your doctors appointments.
What items do I NOT need to pack that are provided by the hospital? Leave out the diapers, wipes, postpartum pads, to name a few. The hospital will provide these key items. Like I mentioned above, the hospital provides blankets for mom and baby, pillows, towels, hats and onesies, and a hospital gown. Feel free to either not pack any of these items or pack replacements for these items if you want to bring your own.
The number one thing to remember is this is you and your family’s big day! Pack whatever you need to make you feel cozy and comfortable.