Hospital Bag Checklist: What to pack for Mum and Baby
The time has almost come. As you prepare for the new addition to your home, consider packing your bags early before you need to rush in for labour. There are a few simple things to keep in mind as you ready for this big experience. You may have questions about what to pack in hospital bag. You may be wondering what to pack in a baby hospital bag, too, so your new baby is fully ready to come home.
When to Pack a Hospital Bag
It’s never too early to start getting items together for your new arrival. The sooner you do, the more at peace you will be with the process.
A baby hospital bag checklist is also a work in progress. You may need to add to it over time. Write down the items you may wish to bring with you. You may wish to simply jot down items that you know you will need while you are in hospital for a few days for yourself. Write down things you use every day, for example, to care for yourself. Then, start a hospital bag checklist for your baby, too. Below you will find a wide range of tips to help you get started, but it’s a good idea to think about what you think you cannot live without.
Start a hospital bag checklist for mum and baby now, and when you reach 1 to 2 months from the due date, be sure it’s packed and ready to go.
Hospital Bag for Mum: Labour and Delivery
Let’s start with what you, personally, are likely to need during this experience. It is important to remember that you are unlikely to have a lot of free time during your stay. Most women spend time during labour trying to work through contractions and may not have a lot of time to read or do their hair and makeup. You also want this to be a special time between you and your significant other or loved one as you think about and plan for the new arrival.
After the baby arrives, there is still a need to remain in the hospital for a bit of time, sometimes 2 to 5 days, depending on how everything goes. That is time when you’ll likely have your baby to care for and perhaps a visitor or two. Still, there are some things that may help you a bit with the experience. Here are some recommendations.
Hospital paperwork, identification, and other important documents
When it comes to what to put in a hospital bag, start with these items, as they tend to be the most important. Avoid burying them deep into your hospital bag – make sure they are easily accessible – as you will need them as soon as you arrive.
Aside from your identification, you also need to bring with you a birth plan if you have created one. This plan outlines the types of medications or treatments you want or do not want to have. It may also provide some insight into who you wish to be in the room. Write down any hospital notes as well, such as allergies you have (or those of the baby’s father), along with any previous health complications. While your physician should have these on hand, providing them to the nurse when you arrive may be critically important to ease the communication process.
One of the first things to put into a pregnancy hospital bag is this – a bathrobe. It seems simple enough, but you may appreciate it more than you realise in the coming days. It is common for women to need to bring with them a few pieces of clothing, but a robe is simple and easy to use. A robe may fit over the top of the hospital gown. If you are allowed to wear it (many will be up until the time of the actual delivery), you will feel comfortable and at ease – both things you will want during this preparation phase.
Choose a comfortable robe that fits loosely. You may need to have a heart monitor or other items on your body during labour, which means your doctors need to have good access to you.
In some situations, you may be able to wear your own flip flops. This may be something to check with the maternity ward about before arriving. Some hospital systems require patients there – even those who are fit and well and just delivering – to wear hospital-issued socks. If you want to wear your own flip flops, bring them with you. You can always keep them in the bag if you are unable to wear them.
Make sure they have a no-slip bottom. As for one of the things to pack in a hospital bag, a set of flip flops that fit well and are comfortable is worth it. Just be sure they are designed to keep you safe from slipping on the slick floors in many hospital rooms.
Your labour and delivery bag may get a bit bigger with this addition, but for many women, it is a critical investment. Having soft pillows that you are comfortable with and used to using is often a very wise investment. Hospital pillows typically are very thin and soft, and that is not going to help support your head or your back during labour and delivery.
There are many types of pillows to consider, and soft isn’t always the route to take. If you tend to have back pain, bring with you a smaller, denser pillow to position behind your back. Also, be sure you purchase brand new pillows to bring with you. That helps to minimise any germs coming from home into the hospital that could cause a problem for your new arrival.
Snacks and Drinks
This is typically a limitation during labour and delivery. Women typically do not eat while they are preparing for the birth of their child. You may be limited with fluids as well. If you plan to have an epidural, your doctors will be unable to allow you anything but ice chips. If you bring snacks and drinks for your significant other or other people in the room, that may make it a bit uncomfortable for them and you. However, it means they may not have to leave while you are going through labour and delivery. If you are unsure if you can bring snacks or drinks, give the maternity ward a call to find out what is allowable.
Hospital Bag for Mum: After Delivery
Once you finish up your hospital bag delivery list, it is time to think about what you may need after your baby arrives. This is an exciting time, and you’ll want to spend a lot of time with your sweet new addition. However, you may still need to take care of yourself and create the right energy and vibe in the space as you prepare to take your baby home with you. As you consider when to pack hospital bag items for after delivery, remember to add a few things into the bag that can help to pamper you, too. You have worked hard and gone through one of the most intense experiences in your lifetime. Take care of yourself now while you have nurses to help you. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Cosmetics and skincare products
Your simple hospital bag checklist should include cosmetics and skincare products for you. It’s unlikely that you will need (or should) apply products directly to your child. You also shouldn’t apply them to any scars you have from birth. However, you can invest in products to stimulate healing and to give your body back the hydration it needs after this experience.
For example, a good body oil can be fantastic. Use it on your legs, arms, and hands to help to rejuvenate your skin. This can help you to really reduce the stress on your skin from both pregnancy and delivery. Many women quickly learn the benefits of a quality balm as well. Some products are ideal because they are designed to help with sore nipples, lips, and cuticles. Choose products that you already love but be sure to aim for all-natural and organic products whenever possible.
Bring with you all of the items you typically use to wash and cleanse your body. This may be a good time to upgrade to a higher quality shower and bath gel. You may want to consider organic products that are a bit safer to use on your body and skin now. Remember, your body has to do a lot of healing at this point, and you’ll appreciate having a refreshing, high quality product to help you. Don’t forget things like your toothbrush and hairbrush!
Another thing to consider is a candle. It is important to contact the maternity ward to determine if this is allowed. Most often, there will be limitations to bringing candles into this space. However, it may be beneficial to do so if allowed. If so, check out a birthing candle that can bring soothing relaxation into the space. Use a Motherhood Mini Aromatherapy set to give yourself the calmness and sensualness of this special day.
When it comes to clothing, choose items that help you to feel comfortable. You will likely need to be able to move easily and feel at ease. Your body will not be in its normal shape just yet, so larger sizes may be best. Bring 3 changes of loose and comfortable clothes.
It is also recommended that you bring 2 or 3 comfortable and supportive bras. A nursing bra may be critically important if you plan to breastfeed. Your breasts will be much larger and heavier than they were while pregnant. It may take some time to get used to these items.
Hospital Bag for Baby
Your packing list for baby needs to include everything you plan to use with your child. However, don’t go overboard. That’s because most babies will need just one or two outfits and will remain in hospital clothing until they are ready to go home. You also want to keep things simple when it comes to your new child. The hospital will have everything your child needs in those early days just after birth.
What you do need to plan for is what to bring to help you bring your sweet new baby home with you. That ride is a big deal! Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Select a certified car seat that is designed for your very small new baby. Car seats can be tricky and hard to manage especially if you are a first time parent. For that reason, it is a good idea to not only purchase a car seat but also to try using it a few times. That includes learning to place it properly into the vehicle and secure it. It also means learning to remove the cradle portion and putting it back into place. Then, learn more about how to position your child into the seat and fix the straps just right. Do this before arriving at the hospital.
As you create a diaper bag checklist, be sure to include a few blankets for the ride home. You’ll want to keep the baby covered as much as possible with a light blanket. The diaper bag itself may also contain a few nappies, a change of clothing, and ample room. Many babies go home with new items, including samples for formula (if they are not breastfeeding) as well as other items. You want there to be some extra room in there.
Pick out one or two outfits for your baby to bring them home in. You may want to choose a cute little look that you’ve had already selected. Be sure to bring with you all of the extras they may need. That may include things like t-shirts or bodysuits to wear under the outfit. You also need to consider socks if their feet will be exposed. A cap for their head is also an important touch. Again, most hospitals do not allow parents to place babies into numerous types of clothing, so you will not need too much.
What Not to Pack
Avoid bringing with you anything that is too large or too valuable. Remember, you have to carry out all of these items later. Pack items that may be useful to you, but also remember that your focus is likely to be on your child during this time, not on books, laptops, or magazines. Bring your smartphone, but leave all work at home, too. Make your hospital bag list all about your baby and you.
Ready to Pack and Prepare for Baby?
This hospital bag checklist for baby and mum is a starting point. Use it to help you to write down your own list of items for your baby’s arrival. Many mothers find that this process is calming because it allows them to carefully prepare for their new baby and get ready to welcome them into their home. There are no wrong answers. If you forget something, it’s okay. Most hospitals have everything you need ready for your child and to take care of you during these initial days. Don't worry too much about what to put in hospital bag lists.