Packing your bag before you head to the hospital for your child’s birth can be an overwhelming task. You are no doubt overwhelmed with everything else related to the birth, and understanding how to pack your medical bag may be one of the last things on your mind.
However, what’s inside your hospital bag is critical for making your hospital experience as smooth as possible. The following guide will help you learn how to pack your hospital bag.
How Early Should You Pack Your Bag?
You should have your hospital bag as ready as possible by 36 weeks. This is just in case you need to go to the hospital early. Of course, some items cannot be packed until the last minute, such as your cell phone. To reduce the chances that you’re going to forget something that can’t be added until it’s time to leave, tape a sticky note to the outside of the bag reminding you to put those items in.
What You Need in Your Hospital Bag
The following is a basic list of the types of items that most people will need in their hospital bags. This list may vary depending on your personal needs. For example, if you have glasses, you will need a glasses case as well as cleaner for your glasses. There is a “catch-all” category for this type of item that we will include to help you create a more detailed personal list.
Birth plan and medical info
Always have your birth plan and any important medical information easily accessible in a labeled folder in your hospital bag. This will allow your hospital team to access your information when they need it. Don’t forget to include any information regarding your medications, medical history, and any medical directives you have in place.
Most people forget about toiletries when they go to the hospital. Always bring toiletries from home, since the hospital may not have what you need. Shampoo, soap, lotion, face cleanser, and anything else that you need should be packed. You should also pack any necessary toiletry tools, such as toothbrushes, hairbrushes, floss, and so on.
Comfortable clothing is a must, especially if you need to be in the hospital for a day or so after. Make sure the clothing is loose fitting and can be something you will wear after the birth. Don’t forget underwear!
You may also want to bring clothing for your baby. Hospitals will provide a onesie, but if you have something else you’d like the baby to be wearing, make sure to put it inside your hospital bag.
This is something that many people overlook, but bringing comfort items from home can make the experience less intimidating. You may want to bring a favorite pillow, a stuffed animal, or anything that will help you feel more relaxed when you are in the hospital.
Wearable breast pump
A wearable breast pump is a necessity for any hospital bag, as it will make the process of pumping milk easier. Make sure that you have taken the pump out of the packaging and washed it before you bring it to the hospital. You won’t wanna have to be opening a brand new pump after you give birth!
This is another essential item that is going to make the process of breastfeeding or feeding your baby easier while you were in the hospital. Lactation massagers can make lactation more comfortable and help your milk come when compared to not using a lactation massager. As with the wearable breast pump, make sure that you have taken it out of the packaging and that it is ready to use.
The nursing bra will be a comfortable alternative to attempting to wear a normal bra in the hospital. As with the previous items, make sure that the item is ready to be used and worn before you put it into the bag.
Hospitals can be chilly, and it’s best to bring your own blankets from home if possible. Make sure you pack a small blanket, but one that will be warm enough to hope you feel more comfortable during your stay. You may also want to bring a blanket for your baby, although remember that a blanket should not be used while a baby is sleeping unattended.
It may not seem like it at first, but you will want to bring something to keep yourself occupied before you go into labor and even afterward. This can be a book, a tablet with your favorite movies or TV shows downloaded, or anything else that will help keep you entertained during some downtime. No, you aren’t likely going to be analyzing any great literature while you’re waiting to give birth, but having a book to give you something to do before active labor begins can fill the time.
Never forget a phone charger, because you don’t want her to have family members running home to grab it while you’re in labor. Ideally, purchase a phone charger with an extra-long cord, as most hospitals will not have outlets near the bed. And since it will be an extra phone charger, you won’t have to worry about packing it at the last minute before you head to the hospital.
Notebook with Important Numbers
You’ll want to create an emergency notebook with important numbers, such as the contact numbers of loved ones, your primary care physician, or any other important contacts. This is just a backup in case your phone gets lost or the battery dies and you aren’t able to charge it.
While most people do have loved ones give them something to eat after the birth, you’ll still want to have some snacks on hand to tide you over until a meal can be brought. Make sure to pack some healthy, but filling, snacks that will tide you over before you can enjoy your first meal after delivering your new baby.
Pads will help you absorb any bleeding or leakage that occurs after birth. You’ll likely want to look for postpartum pads, as these are designed for maximum comfort and absorbency.
These are any items that you need that are not covered under the other categories. This can include a glasses case for your glasses, medications that you take, or anything else that you may need.
Packing your hospital bag can be overwhelming. But just remember the above checklist and you will have a solid idea of the items you’ll need before you head to the hospital to begin your delivery.