Hospital Bag Must-Haves: Everything for Mom, Dad, and Baby
Written by: Flong Aragones
It’s 2 in the morning and the baby is finally on the way! Hubby quickly grabs your bag, hop in the car and are on your way. As you in a rush to the hospital, the last thing on your mind is the contents of your hospital bag. Though it might sound crazy, packing and preparing your bag at least a month in advance is a great way to make sure you have everything you need for the big day.
But I know that it can be easy to over-pack and end up hauling around a giant bag that you barely touch. Although you don’t want to leave out any essentials there’s also no reason to overdo things. Read on for when to pack that hospital bag and what to put in it.
When to Pack a Hospital Bag
Most of the OB says that it’s all good to prepare and pack your hospital bag when you are around 32-35 weeks or at the mark of your trimester. But if you are in a high-risk pregnancy and might go into labor early, better start your packing earlier. Of course, if you want to get a jumpstart on things, by all means, start earlier—when to pack a hospital bag is actually up to you! But it’s a good idea not to leave it for later than 38 weeks. You want to have that hospital bag ready to go whenever the baby is. You can start preparing your hospital bag by creating a checklist of what you will need for the baby’s arrival!
Your length of stay in the hospital or birthing home is one of the key factors in making your checklist. In a regular scenario, you are to stay at the hospital for 2 to 3 days but only for 24 hours on most of the birthing homes that we have here in the Philippines. A tip for the thrifty: Ask your hospital/birthing home what they provide for mothers, and take those things off your hospital bag checklist and ask what are the things they only allowed to bring and put them on top of your checklist.
- Important papers and documents – These include a Photo ID, Insurance Info, Hospital Forms, and Birth plans if you have one. Personally, I include a mock-up copy of a birth certificate just in case my hubby will be the one to fill up the original one for processing. (Because we all know how hubbies are when it comes to filling up forms and remembering dates, right? And besides, you want to make sure that he spelled out your baby name correctly)
- Clothes to Wear during Delivery, After Giving Birth and Going Home - Comfy pj’s, a cozy robe, and fuzzy slippers are a must. You’re not going to want to wear that stiff hospital gown the whole time, so make sure you have some comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. Plus, a comfy nursing top or nursing sleepwear will make breastfeeding more convenient too. And don’t forget to pack your comfortable going home outfit.
- Heavy-duty maternity pads - It’s normal to bleed a lot after the birth, and maternity pads are softer and more absorbent than standard pads. Initially, you may need to change pads every one to two hours, but within a few days, the flow will start to decrease. Also, pack several pairs of comfortable underwear that are large enough to wear over heavy-duty maternity pads.
- Toiletries - After all that time in labor, you’re going to want to freshen up a bit. Pack some face wipes, a toothbrush, hairbrush, and make up for the after-birth photos. Your future self will thank you. Extra tip: Don’t forget to bring your Lip Balm. Hospital air can be incredibly dry, so having your favorite lip balm will keep your lips feeling good throughout labor and in those precious hours after delivery.
- Nursing Bra - You are going to be nursing right away, so make sure you are prepared with the correct breastfeeding undergarments!
- Nursing Pads - Save yourself from having to do laundry the minute you get home and protect your nursing bra from leaks with the magic of nursing pads.
- Nursing cover - Expecting guests? You may feel more comfortable using a nursing cover in those early marathon breastfeeding sessions.
- Camera, Phone & Chargers - This is an extremely special moment that you are definitely going to want to document. Be sure to have a camera packed in your bag, along with the necessary chargers, batteries, memory cards, etc. Also, make sure you have your phone and charger packed so you can send your family updates as you welcome your baby into the world!
I know you are tempted to pack every baby essentials you bought for your baby and I know it is hard to choose between all those cute little clothes. But just stay with the basic.
- Bodysuits or Tie Sides – pack baby’s clothes that can be fastened up at the front for ease and make sure to pack them in pairs with mittens and booties and baby hats.
- Diapers and wipes - If you have specific diapering in mind, bring a pack of what you intend to use with you to the hospital. This includes newborn cloth and a wet bag if you plan to do cloth from the start.
- Swaddle or receiving blankets - Newborns can get cold easily and they are still adjusting to their new environment, so a good swaddle can be of great help to give them comfort.
- Going home outfit - While it’s not the first thing you’ll use, it may be the most exciting. Have some fun picking out what your baby will wear home. Be sure to consider the weather in your planning. You may want to pack a spare in case one outfit gets dirty.
Don’t forget your partner’s needs too!
- Comfortable clothing - Again, you’ll likely be staying at least one night in the hospital. Your partner should bring some pajamas and other lounge clothing that will be cozy and practical for hanging with a newborn. They should also consider bringing slippers that grip or other comfortable shoes and socks.
- Toiletries - Bring your partner’s essentials like shampoo, deodorant, and toothbrush/toothpaste.
- Phone, charger, and Camera - You may not always be able to find a free moment, but your partner can keep your family and friends updated on your little one’s arrival. And if your phone doesn’t have a great camera on it, have your partner bring one to snap some photos of the big day.
- Snacks - Labor and delivery can be a long process, and you don’t exactly want your partner slipping away to the cafeteria every 5 minutes. Pack some of your partner’s favorite snacks. Meal replacement bars may be helpful. (And pack some extras for yourself while you’re at it.)
- Water bottle - You’ll probably take over the water cup provided to you. So, have your partner bring an extra one to stay hydrated and happy.
Have these items packed in your bag and in the car or by your front door, so whenever baby decides to show up, you’ll be ready!
How about you momma, can you add more to our list above?