Once you’re around 32 weeks pregnant, you might find that the questions you’ll get from people switch from, “How are you feeling?” to “Is your hospital bag packed yet?”
It’s a good idea to start thinking about what you’ll bring with you to the hospital. Most experts recommend that you begin packing your hospital bag at 34 weeks. By doing so, you can just grab the bag and head for the hospital once you go into labor.
Here are some things to think about packing, to make your hospital stay a little more pleasant:
For Your Hospital Bag
Hospital pillows are about as flat and uncomfortable as pillows come, so it’s always nice to bring one from home. Plus, your pillow from home will kind of smell like your bed, and that can be comforting. Just make sure to put a pillowcase that’s not solid white, so no one confuses it with a hospital pillow!
Remember flip flops in your hospital bag because you can wear them in the shower. Your feet might also swell, so you’ll be glad to have flip flops to wear!
Pajamas and Robe
It’s nice to have a little piece of home to make you feel more human. You’ll be so much more comfortable in them than in the provided hospital gown!
Bring some old pairs to wear with the huge maxi pads the hospital will provide you after giving birth. Believe us, now isn’t the time to pack new, cute underwear or thongs! Maternity underwear is going to be your best bet to assure a comfy fit.
The hospitals should supply you with maxi pads to deal with post-birth bleeding, but they’re usually thick and kind of like wearing a diaper. It’s nice to have something more comfortable available. With that said, the hospital pads are free, so stock up on the enormous pads if they don’t bother you.
Towels are a great multi-functional tool to pack. If your water breaks, you spare the seats of your car by sitting on a towel on your way to the hospital. Use it over anything gross that you might need to lie on. And of course, you’ll want it for your post-birth shower.
Remember to pack your deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, brush, contact lens solution and case, glasses, chapstick, hair tie, hand sanitizer, and anything else you would take to stay overnight somewhere. Many women also pack makeup essentials, like mascara and concealer.
Once you’re in labor, you might be restricted from eating anything in case you need to have surgery quickly. But if you’re not, it’s nice to have a simple non-perishable snack on hand, so you’re not stuck with the hospital’s apple sauce.
Magazines and books
There’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” involved in labor, especially if you’re being induced. We recommend packing something light to read that doesn’t require too much thinking, like a trashy tabloid magazine. Once it’s time to go home, leave the magazines at the hospital for the nurses and other patients to read.
The Important Stuff
Bring your insurance card, ID, and a few copies of your birth plan. Many women find it helpful to have a general birth plan of what they’d like to do or not do.
Remember to take your cell phone, chargers, and a tablet or laptop if you have one. You can play games, watch movies, and look at the Internet in the earlier stages of labor.
Pack something comfy and clean, like yoga pants, a t-shirt, or a maxi dress.
Big Brother or Sister Gift
If you have children, think about packing a gift that’s from the baby. When they visit, they can open this gift. This is a sweet way to introduce them to the new baby since they might feel displaced over the next few months.
Gift for the Hospital Staff
It’s a nice gesture to give the hospital staff a gift to say “thank you.” Some ideas of gifts that are small enough to fit in your hospital bag include candy, gift cards, or cookies. Or, send your labor partner out to get bagels and coffee, or some healthy snacks like fruit and granola bars.
For the Baby
Diapers and Wipes
Most hospitals will provide with you a few diapers, but it’s a good idea to bring your own. We recommend packing newborn-size diapers and size 1 too. If your baby is nine pounds or more, he or she will probably skip right by the “newborn size” and start wearing size 1’s right away.
It’s smart to pack pacifiers, a sound machine, a soft baby blanket, and a small stuffed animal. Bring a few different kinds of soothers with you to see what works.
Receiving blankets can be used for a ton of things: as a nursing cover, to wrap your baby up, and as a car seat cover to block the sun when you leave.
Going Home Outfit
Many mamas-to-be enjoy shopping for an intricate, adorable outfit for their baby to arrive home wearing. If you’re not sentimental about this, you might just pack a simple onesie or sleeper. Just skip the sleep sack, because you’ll want to make sure the car seat clip can go in between your baby’s legs.
Breastfeeding can be tricky in the beginning, and every little bit helps. Pack a nursing pillow, pads, lanolin cream, nursing tops, and nursing bras. Since most nursing pillows are pretty big, leave it in your car once you arrive at the hospital. You can send someone to get it if you want to use it.
Make sure to get the car seat installed, and get acquainted with how it works. You’re required to have a car seat installed and be familiar with it in order to be discharged from the hospital. Just leave it in the car and get it once you’re packing up to go.
We hope this list gives you an idea of all the things you may or may not have thought of! Let us know in the comments what you packed, or are packing.