Pregnancy is a joy isn’t it? That sweet baby bump, all the smiles from strangers, not having to wait in any lines, the constant barrage of gifts made for a tiny human, the strange cravings, not being able to enjoy cocktails or sushi for the better part of a year, the swollen feet, the insomnia – okay, so maybe pregnancy can better be described as an odyssey full of twists and turns. Whether your pregnancy has been an enjoyable one or an episode of the Twilight Zone, most women are beyond ready for that baby to be born by the time the nine months rolls around.
Very soon you will be headed off to the hospital for a very dramatic and joyful end of this journey. But what do you need? We’ve got you covered with the Complete Hospital Bag Checklist.
Robe – If you are going the non-epidural route, a robe is indispensable for those long walks around the labor and delivery ward. You don’t want your backside flapping in the wind!
Yoga Pants – Bring either maternity yoga pants or very loose-fitting yoga pants for post-birth.
Nursing Camis – In those earlier hours when baby is learning to latch, easy access is essential.
Loose Sweater – Many hospitals can be cold, and when you are learning to nurse you won’t want your shoulders to be bare.
Slippers – Two words: hospital floors… gross. Keep clean with some slippers of your own.
Comfy socks – Many hospitals provide you with warm socks during labor, but you may want to bring your own.
Your own pillow – Again, the hospital has pillows, but there is something about your own that just makes things a little more comfortable.
A headband – Labor will give you no time or patience for fly-aways.
Glasses/Contacts – Sometimes women prefer to wear contacts during labor as it gives them more freedom, but you also need to give your eyes a break. If you wear both glasses and contacts, be sure to bring both.
Labor Aids – Some hospitals provide yoga balls and other labor aids, but if you have any focal points or other items to assist you in labor, get them in the car and ready to go.
Swaddlers – While the hospital has its own blankets, you’ll want to bring a couple of the swaddlers you’ll be using at home. Utilize the nurses to help you get used to different swaddling methods, so you’re a pro by the time you get home.
Going Home Outfit – Something sweet and simple will do. You may want to bring two sizes as you can’t be sure exactly what size the bundle will be.
Carseat – Many hospitals will not let you leave the hospital without a carseat, so make sure yours is properly installed in your car. If you are unsure that your carseat is installed properly, you can take it to a fire station or highway patrol office for inspection.
Makeup Remover Wipes – These cool wipes can be very refreshing during labor.
Shampoo/Conditioner/Bodywash/Loofah – While some are content to bask in the sweaty glow of their newly introduced son or daughter, others need a refresh. Bring some shower gear just in case.
Sanitary Napkins – The hospital will provide you with sanitary napkins, but many women feel more comfortable bringing their own.
Lip Balm – Sometimes during labor, a woman is not allowed to drink water. Although there is an IV of fluids, your mouth can get very dry. In this case, lip balm is a life-saver.
Lanolin – Some might find nursing to be a painful experience at first. Lanolin helps sooth dryness to the skin and is safe for baby.
Nursing Pillow – Hospitals have plenty of pillows, but some are more effective than others.
Bottle/Formula of your Choice – It may take several days for a mother’s milk to come in. If this is the case, the hospital will want to see your baby get some nutrition before leaving the hospital. If you don’t bring your chosen bottle and formula, you will be subject to whatever the hospital has on hand. Put your mind at ease, that if for some reason your baby needs formula in its first few days, it will be the formula and bottle you choose.
Quarters – While some hospitals have great 24-hour snack bars, others have vending machines. If you are unsure about what your hospital provides, bring along quarters for the person supporting you through labor.
Snacks – There will be times your labor support won’t have a chance to leave your side, but may be starving. Some extra snacks stored away is a good idea.
Phones/Chargers – This goes without saying in this day and age, but bringing phones for hourly updates is a great way to keep your friends and family in the loop. Also have a contact list of everyone you’d like to know you’re in labor. That list should include family, your boss and close friends.
Laptops – For labor that is long and boring, having laptops on hand is useful for streaming movies and other entertainment during the hurry up and wait.
Camera – If you have a DSLR camera, consider bringing it with you to capture the sweet, private moments after birth. Bonus points if your birthing partner is a photographer!
Still having trouble getting your bags packed? We provided this nifty printable checklist below!