Every expectant mom deals with countless worries and excitements leading up to delivery. But you can take one thing off of your plate (and your mind) by knowing what to pack in the hospital bag well in advance of your delivery date. Your hospital bag will contain all the things you need so you can remain as comfortable and cozy as possible during your hospital stay and on the way home.
Once your bag is packed, leave it by the door. Keep in mind that you might go into labor while eating out or visiting a friend. So make sure your bag is in a place where someone else can find it easily and bring it to you.
As for what goes into the bag, contents vary from woman to woman, but here are a few staples to help you get started.
The hospital will give you a gown to wear. But unless you like the feel of the breeze on your backside, you’ll probably want your own pajamas, nightgown, and/or bathrobe. Since it might get stained, choose something that you don’t mind having to discard.
You’ll also want comfortable footwear that can accommodate swollen feet, like fluffy slippers. Some women like to bring flip-flops as well—to wear in the shower. It’s a good idea to pack a few pairs of comfortable socks that provide traction, just so you don’t slip and hurt yourself while walking on slick hospital floors.
Things That Make You Smile
After nine months of excitement and trepidation, labor can be a long process! Packing a few fun items like books, magazine, word games, or a tablet will help you stay engaged and entertained while you wait for your bundle of joy to arrive. Of course, don’t forget your phone charger. A list of your contacts is also a good idea, just in case you get nervous or just want to have a chat.
You’ll need your toothbrush and toothpaste, of course. But be prepared to stay for a few nights, so bring your favorite shampoo and conditioner, body wash, deodorant, a hairbrush, and so on.
If you wear glasses or contacts, remember to pack these as well—along with your case and lens solution.
There’s plenty of things that are nonessential, but good to have. A watch with a second hand allows your partner to time your contractions. Tasty, healthy snacks like granola, dried fruit, and vegetable crisps will give you a break from hospital grub.
Lots of expectant mothers like to keep a record of the birth process. Packing a memory journal and pen gives you the option to write about this exciting time. When your baby has his or her foot stamped for the birth certificate, you can even ask hospital staff to leave an additional stamp in your journal for a special keepsake.
By the time you’re ready to go home, your body will be exhausted and will have undergone lots of changes. Your hospital bag should include everything you need for a comfortable trip home.
Bring a cozy, loose-fitting outfit to wear for the journey. Garments like sundresses, T-shirts, sweatpants, and yoga pants are good options. If you live in a cooler climate, a warm sweater or jacket is important too. Remember to include a package of cotton maternity underwear that you don’t mind disposing of and that can accommodate a maxi pad after birth.
You’ll want to include some maternity bras and nursing pads as well. Remember, your breasts may be swollen and tender, and an underwire bra can be uncomfortable to wear soon after delivery. Nursing pads help absorb some of the leakage from your breasts, so you’ll have fewer wet spots on your clothes!
As an expectant mom, there are many things you’ll want to do to prepare for the big day. Packing thoroughly for the hospital gives you the tools you need to take care of yourself every step of the way. Don’t forget, if mom is comfortable and taken care of, baby will be much happier and healthier as well.
To find out more about what to expect on the big day, take a look at the Pregnancy and Birth section in our course.