As you prepare for your baby’s arrival, one of the first things to do is prepare for labor itself! Packing all the essentials a few weeks ahead of time can make life easier – that way, you’re not scrambling to gather everything you need at the last minute while dealing with the first stages of labor – especially if it happens a bit earlier than expected. After all, babies born anytime after 37 weeks are considered full term.
But what should you even pack? The basic must-haves that are pretty universal among moms are listed here, as well as some nice-to-haves you might want to consider to make your hospital stay more comfortable.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Mom During Labor
There are a few things you’ll want to make sure you have for laboring at the hospital, such as:
- A copy of your birth plan
- Your health insurance details
- Slippers or socks and your own robe or nightgown. Even though gowns are provided by the hospital, you might feel more comfortable in your own. And hospital rooms can be chilly! So you’ll appreciate having what you need to keep your feet warm.
- Hair ties.
- Comfort and relaxation items. Having your own pillow, for example, might make you more comfortable. You might also consider bringing essential oils and a diffuser, music to help you relax.
- A camera or video recorder if you plan to document the birth. Be sure to check with your hospital ahead of time about their rules regarding cameras.
After baby arrives, you’ll probably stay in the hospital for another day or two for monitoring. Here’s what you need for your postpartum care:
- Eyeglasses, hair brush, makeup – whatever you need to help you feel like yourself again after labor!
- Toiletries – be sure to have a toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion (hospital rooms can have pretty dry air!), shampoo, conditioner. Avoid strong fragrances, as they can be a lot for tiny newborns to process.
- A clean outfit or two.
- A postpartum belly wrap to help your abdominal muscles recover more quickly.
- Nursing bras and nursing pads.
- Maxi pads – you’ll bleed for several weeks after giving birth. The hospital will provide some pads, but many women prefer to use their own favorite brand.
- Several pairs of underwear.
- Snacks and drinks. Hospital food is reportedly better than it used to be, but might not be available throughout the night. You’ll probably be starving after labor, so pack your favorites!
- A pen and notepad. You might feel like journaling, plus it can come in handy for jotting down feeding times and other important info.
What to Pack for Baby
Your little one is here! Here’s what they’ll need in their first few days of life.
- A couple onesies or sleepers.
- A going home outfit.
- Diapers. Again, the hospital will provide some newborn diapers, but you might prefer your own, especially if you opt for a certain brand.
- 3 pairs of socks.
- A hat to keep baby’s head warm.
- Newborn mittens. (those little fingernails can be sharp and this will keep them from scratching their face.)
- A car seat for bringing baby home. Look for “car seat clinics” in your local area in the months before your delivery – experts can help you ensure that your car seat is installed properly. If your car seat comes with a stroller, have that packed in the vehicle too – it’ll make exiting the hospital so much easier!
All set? You might want to consider packing a bag for your partner too. Snacks, extra comfortable clothes, toiletries, and a phone charger will all come in handy. If you are using a birthing pool, you might want to pack a swimsuit for them – they may offer physical support by joining you and rubbing your back as you labor.