As your due date is getting closer day by day, the more excited yet nervous you feel about finally meeting your long-awaited baby. Perhaps during the nine months of waiting for your baby’s arrival, you’ve spent your days and weeks gathering all essentials your baby needs once you bring him home. You’ve decorated the nursery room, baby-proof the entire house, and even studied how to install a baby car seat.
But another essential preparation you mustn’t miss before your baby’s arrival is your hospital bag. The last thing you’d want to happen during your delivery is forgetting to pack some of the essentials or overpacking and end up digging on a giant bag you barely touch. Thus, it’s always best to have your hospital bag in handy weeks before your due date. On average, the best time to start packing your hospital bag is around 34-35 weeks, especially if your obstetricians have advised that your baby may come a little earlier.
Now the question is, where to start? Let this 15-item checklist guide you towards the essential things to pack in your hospital bag for your delivery.
1. Hospital Paperwork
It’s important to bring copies of your medical documents as these will serve as your doctor’s reference for your medical history. Most often, the hospital will need you to present your ID, insurance card, and other medical records, so ensure you have a copy for each of them readily available.
2. Birth Plan
If you had a birth plan discussed with your medical team, make sure you print a few copies of it and distribute them to your labor nurses, post in your chart, and as well as tape a copy in your hospital room. This way, every healthcare provider entering your room can refer to it if any questions arise.
As you are hours or minutes away from giving birth, you’ll need your slippers or flip-flops as you go pacing around the hospital hallways during labor. The last thing you’d want to wear during this painful moment is any closed footwear as your feet are swollen from pregnancy. You may also go for no-skid socks.
4. Lip Balm
Almost every mother is familiar with the fact that hospital airs are incredibly dry. So, to keep your lips moist, hydrated, and avoid them from cracking up during labor and after delivery, don’t forget to pack your own lip balm.
5. Bathrobe and Comfy Clothes
Wearing a soft bathrobe can be your best choice of clothing when pacing around the hospital during your labor. Then, pair it with a pregnancy belly belt to support you while waiting for your labor. You can also use it after your delivery as it’s comfy for your body and easily removable if you’ll be nursing your baby.
Aside from a bathrobe, you can also bring other comfortable clothes which will make you feel free, unrestricted, and just like yourself. You can pack a nursing tank, loose lounge pants, loose nightgowns, etc. Bringing comfortable nursing apparel with you can provide you support and relief, especially on sensitive areas of your body, during and after delivery.
6. Your Own Toiletries
Aside from the big hospital bag you’ll carry, it’s also ideal to pack a small bathroom bag to fill it with your own toiletries. Some of the essentials you mustn’t miss may include:
- Hairbrush and ties
- Travel-sized lotion
- Face wipes
If you’re wondering how much of these things should you bring, you need to understand that it may vary based on your choice of birth method. On average, mothers who deliver vaginally may need to stay in the hospital for one to two days. Meanwhile, for mothers who deliver via c-section, you may be in the hospital for three to five days. So, in packing your toiletries and the rest of your essentials, don’t forget to consider your length of stay.
For moms who need some help with their vision, don’t ever forget to pack your glasses or contact lenses. It can be a struggle to pace around the hallways with blurry vision.
8. Nursing Bras
Don’t forget to take at least two to three nursing bras with you, especially if you’re planning to nurse. Meanwhile, some moms would even prefer to go braless due to frequent nursing. Either way, do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
9. Nursing Pads
It’s normal for your breast to experience leaks, especially after birth. Thus, it may be best to bring nursing pads with you to use while staying at the hospital and also when you’re settled at home.
10. Your Own Comfortable Pillow
Some of you may already know that hospitals don’t always provide comfortable pillows. Their pillows are often small, scratchy, and generic, which means every pillow you see there is the same. If you’re one with specific needs in terms of a pillow, it’s best recommended that you bring your own favorite pillow, preferably two, to keep you comfortable during labor.
You can also use this pillow to support you when breastfeeding your baby. An additional tip, when bringing your pillow, don’t forget to cover it with a patterned or colored pillowcase, so it doesn’t get mixed up with hospital pillows.
11. Earbuds And Your Personalized Playlist
For some, playing music during labor is helpful during these moments. Playing your favorite songs may help you feel relaxed and at ease while enduring the pain. When bringing earbuds, it’s also recommended that you bring Air pods to prevent yourself from dealing with tangled wires. Meanwhile, if listening to music makes you feel more annoyed and unsettled, then you’re always free to opt for silence.
12. Phone Charger
Aside from music, another way to distract yourself during labor is your phone. You can use your phone to contact families or have video calls when your baby arrives, and of course, record tons of videos and pictures. With that said, don’t forget to bring your phone charger with you to ensure your phone can last the day. Moreover, make sure you use a charger with longer cords.
13. Healthy Snacks
Labor can sometimes take too long, so don’t forget to pack some healthy snacks and drinks with you to keep you energized. However, it might be ideal to first speak with your medical team if you’re allowed to drink or eat anything while in labor. Also, you can bring along your favorite snacks with you and consume these after the delivery as your comfort food.
14. Maternity Pads
Some hospitals may provide you some maternity pads. However, it may be preferable to pack your own heavy-duty maternity pads if the ones at the hospitals aren’t enough. It’s expected that you’ll be bleeding a lot after delivery. Heavy-duty maternity pads are softer and can absorb more liquid than the standard ones from the hospital. Plus, you may need to change your pads every two hours.
15. Going-Home Apparel
Finally, after your stay in the hospital, it’s time to pull out your going-home clothes. When packing, you can go for maternity clothes or anything loose and comfortable for you. Most importantly, don’t forget to pack your newborn’s clothes, preferably onesies, a small hat, a blanket, and socks.
There you go! Have these things stuffed in your hospital bag a few weeks before your due date and place them in the car or your front door. That way, when your baby finally arrives, you’ll be ready at any time.