After a long (and possibly difficult) pregnancy, the final milestone is in sight – packing your hospital bag! This is the last ‘big thing’ that expectant parents need to figure out, and it’s ideal to have it packed and ready to go by the time you’re 36 weeks pregnant. First babies aren’t likely to come early, but it’s best to be prepared just in case. Consider that many labours last for 24 hours, and then there will likely be another 48 hours in the hospital, so pack accordingly.
Below is everything you’ll want to bring along to the hospital or birthing centre.
The key is to be as comfortable as you can be as you’re in labour and postpartum, which is not an easy task when giving birth or staying overnight at a hospital! Little things like lip balm, hair elastics, and body lotion are a tremendous help, as is packing your own pillow. For clothing, bring along extra socks, 2 pairs of pyjamas and you’re going home outfit (something comfortable). For after the birth, you’ll want the heaviest pads you can find and 3-5 pairs of comfortable underwear. For nursing, don’t forget at least 2 nursing tanks or bras and nipple cream. You may also want to bring your nursing pillow, though it’s a big item to pack! It’s not a fashion show, but I will say some moms swear by the power of a little dry shampoo, especially if you’re not comfortable showering at the hospital. If you do plan to shower at the hospital, bring travel-sized shampoo and body wash.
For dad, or anyone else accompanying you during your labour and delivery, don’t forget water bottles and snacks. My husband lived off meal replacement energy bars during our three visits to the labour and delivery unit – they take up the least amount of room and are extremely filling. Don’t forget electronics and chargers so you can capture this precious time however you’d like, and for sharing the good news with friends and relatives afterwards.
Some hospitals and birthing centres provide diapers during your stay, so definitely find out if yours does. If not, you’ll want to pack enough diapers for 3 days (approximately 30 diapers) and 1 package of wipes. I love the Honest NB diapers, which some in a package of 34. Aside from his diapering needs, he’ll need 3-4 footed pyjama sleepers and 2 small hats. Don’t forget to bring at least 2 receiving blankets, too. Most hospitals provide baby’s linens, but it never hurts to bring a couple from home. Last but not least, make sure you’ve installed your infant car seat in your car correctly, or bring it with you to the hospital if you’re taking a taxi. If you’re giving birth in the colder months, consider a car seat cover.
Of course, nothing can really prepare you for what’s ahead. Parenthood is such an ongoing, incredible adventure! Hopefully these packing tips will set your mind at ease and allow you to focus on what’s important – your baby and bringing them home.