You’ve finally entered the last trimester of your pregnancy. You have decorated the nursery room in lovely hues of lilac, baby-proofed the house, and even installed that infant seat in the car. But aren’t you forgetting something important? The hospital bag!
Packing a hospital bag before going into labor is essential for a smooth delivery experience. The main question is: when to start packing and what to pack? You really don't want to miss anything but you also don’t want to overdo things.
We’ve rounded up a list of essentials for you, the baby, and for your partner. Read on for when to pack that hospital bag and what to put in it.
When should I pack the hospital bag?
When it comes to choosing when to pack the hospital bag, pregnant mommies have a little flexibility.
If you’re expecting twins or have chances of going into labor early, then it’s recommended to pack the bag at around 35 weeks. If your pregnancy is normal and everything goes smoothly, then it’s recommended to pack between 37 and 38 weeks.
By packing a little bit ahead of time, you’ll have your essentials ready in case you go into labor early and you can always make modifications to the bag. You may want to begin packing at any time but make sure you don’t leave it for later than 38 weeks.
Checklist for mom
The length of your stay at the hospital depends on whether you give birth vaginally or have a C-section in addition whether there are medical complications from the birth. If you have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery, you’ll likely to stay at the hospital for 24 to 48 hours.
If you have an uncomplicated C-section, you'll probably be in the hospital for two to four days. Women with complications may need to stay longer.
Keep your length of stay in mind when packing your hospital bag. Make sure you ask the hospital what things they provide for mothers and take those things off your list. Here’s a list of the mom’s essentials:
- Documents (ID, insurance card, hospital pre-registration, birth plan)
- Comfortable clothes (loose t-shirts, maternity gown, shorts, slippers, nursing bra, socks)
- Personal care (brush, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and body wash, lotion, wipes, lip balm, deodorant)
- Technology (cell phone, charger, extra-long cords, earbuds)
- Going home clothes (or you can just wear the clothes you came in)
- Abdominal binder (it may be used to speed-up the recovery process after abdominal surgery)
- Postpartum briefs (designed to help you quickly regain your pre-baby figure after becoming a new mom)
- Nursing aids (breastfeeding pillow, lanolin, breast pads)
- Very light reading material
Checklist for baby
If you’re worried that packing for your baby will take too much space, don’t fret! The good news is that babies don’t need all that much. Here are the few essentials your baby will need:
- Full-body onesies that fasten up the front
- A coming-home outfit
- Warm blankets for the ride home
- Infant car seat
- Socks, mittens, and hat
- About 20-30 diapers for newborns
- Baby wipes
Checklist for partner
You might have packed everything for yourself and the baby, but don't forget packing for your partner. Since you’ll both be spending a few nights at the hospital, make sure your partner has the following few essentials:
- Cell phone and charger
- Camera or video camera with batteries, charger and an extra memory card
- Toiletries: toothbrush, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, contact lens case and solution
- Comfortable change of clothes
- Entertainment (something to read)
- Pillow (hospitals aren’t known for their comfortable overnight accommodations)
- Change for vending machines