Packing for Hospital – Labor and Baby Bag Checklist for Would-be Moms

Most first-time moms need to stay in hospital for at least one night. For some it might be normal to return home the same day with your baby in hand, but you should always be prepared for those cases that might have you staying for longer than planned. The before and after birth hospital bag is the most important thing you’ll be taking when you go into labor. Here’s a checklist of baby bag essentials for dads and moms to take to the hospital.

Packing for Hospital 1
"fruiby's hospital bag" by essie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Packing for Labor

  1. Insurance card, picture ID and any other paperwork you need to carry.
  2. Cellphone and charger.
  3. Diary with important phone numbers as a standby in case your cellphone battery is flat.
  4. Comfortable, loose and lightweight clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty– an old t-shirt or nightgown; a bathrobe; socks and slippers. The hospital will probably give you a gown and socks to wear but many women prefer to use their own. If you’re one of these, remember, childbirth is messy, and you might have to throw away the clothes you wear during labor.
  5. Grips and hair bands to keep your hair out of your face during labor.
  6. Cooling water spray for your face.
  7. Food and drinks so you don’t have to rely on vending machines alone.
  8. Anything that helps you relax and takes your mind off the birthing process – soothing music, books, favorite pictures, etc.
  9. Toiletries in travel-sized bottles – toothbrush, paste, shower gel, moisturizer, lip balm, shampoo, deodorant, etc.
  10. Bath towel – hospital towels are likely to be too thin and small.

Packing for After the Birth

Packing for Hospital 2
"IMG_7310" by Abigail Batchelder is licensed under CC BY 2.0

For mommy

  1. For breastfeeding – cream, nursing bras and a nightgown or t-shirt with front opening.
  2. Breast pads – these prevent leakage and must be used even if you don’t plan to breastfeed.
  3. Maternity pads or sanitary napkins.
  4. Comfortable cotton briefs.
  5. Loose clothing for going home.

For baby

  1. Cotton wool balls for changing nappies. Most hospitals advise against using baby wipes until the baby is at least 2 weeks old.
  2. Tissues to mop up spills and leaks.
  3. Nappies for newborns and nappy cream.
  4. Cardigans or sweaters for the baby even if it’s spring or summer.
  5. Booties and socks.
  6. 3 or 4 sleeping suits in different sizes.
  7. 3 or 4 baby vests.
  8. An outfit that the baby will wear when it’s time to come back home.
  9. Baby hat and blanket for the ride home.

For family members and visitors

  1. Camera with charger, batteries and memory card.
  2. Plenty of change for the vending machines.

It’s best not to put off packing your hospital baby bag until the last minute. Many moms go into early labor, so the last thing you’ll want to do is flounder around for stuff you need to take to hospital. Make sure your ‘before’ and ‘after’ baby bag is packed and ready at least two-four weeks before your due date, though many moms are glad they were prepared a month in advance.

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