Truth be told, there isn’t really a thing you need to bring to the hospital. If you happen to go into labor early or if you accidentally forget your perfectly thought out bag at home, you will be just fine. Every hospital or birth center is fully equipped with the things that matter most when it comes to delivering your baby safely.
However, we are here to armor you up, Mama! So, here are our top 10 hospital bag essentials followed by 10 “extras” that we recommend you pack around 35-36 weeks pregnant.
- Your Birth Plan: what plan!? Do you even have one? Well, you actually don’t need one if you’re open to whatever happens during your birth experience. However, it is super helpful to have a worksheet ready to hand over the moment you arrive at the hospital. A list that lets your medical staff know what you do and don’t want – such as epidurals, pain management, episiotomies, delayed cord clamping, etc. This “plan” can be as simple or as detailed as you want it to be. This is your birth experience, your body, your choice. Check out our worksheet to help you plan out your labor goals.
- ID/Insurance Card/Wallet: You will likely need to identify yourself when you arrive at your birthing facility. If you’re worried about forgetting this, make a copy of the cards and stick it in a secure pocket within your bag. You should also have the pediatrician’s info easily accessible.
- Phone & Charger: so, yes – this probably should be a tech-free time in your life, but let’s be real. You will want to take pictures and call/text family and friends at some point while you’re in the hospital to rave about your beautiful creation. A phone is also important to have in an emergency situation. Pro tip: get yourself an extra long phone charger. The beds can be pretty far from the outlets.
- Comfortable Pants, Shirts & Underwear: looking cute vs. feeling good = no brainer! Bust out your comfiest sweats or PJs to relax in pre and post birth & some good ‘ole t-shirts. The baggier the pants the better because you will be dealing with large mesh panties and pads from your vaginal birth OR an incision from your caesarean birth. Bring comfortable cotton underwear if you aren’t into the idea of hospital mesh panties.
- Nursing/Maternity Bra: if you don’t have one, don’t sweat it! A nursing bra is great for easy-access breastfeeding, but a loose sports bra or simply cami works great too. Again, the key here is comfort. So, if you prefer to wear nothing – great! Bare skin and breasts are best for skin to skin contact anyway.
- Favorite drinks/snacks – the hospital has food and drinks, but it’s likely not going to be the greatest. Keeping yourself hydrated is important after giving birth! You are also at the mercy of the staff when you want something to eat or drink. Having some goodies on hand is nice, including hard candy like jolly ranchers or life savers. Yum!
- Slip-on shoes & Slipper-Socks: Mama, you do not want to be touching hospital floors with your lovely pre-birth-pedicured-feet, do you? 🙂 Also, flip flops for the shower are a must.
- Bathroom Essentials – toothbrush, toothpaste, face-wash/lotion, lip balm, deodorant, hair brush. Think about your routine each evening and ask yourself: what is a must-have? Perhaps it’s not face-wash, but it’s make-up remover wipes. Maybe it’s not face lotion, it’s your rose water spray. Whatever makes you feel good and clean – pack those basics.
- Going Home Outfits – do you have something special you want your little one to wear home? Bring two options and a baby blanket. Remember that you are going home too! If you want to wear something other than hospital attire home, throw in comfortable car-ride clothing for yourself.
- Your Baby-feeding Expert – not all hospitals have lactation consultants available on staff. If they do, it can be hard to get them to come when you need them. If you have a person to call or text while you are starting your baby-feeding journey, you are one step closer to achieving whatever goal you set for you and your baby. Advocate for yourself and your little one by demanding the help that you need from the hospital staff, but also remember that our team here at SimpliFed is a call or text away! We recommend setting up an appointment for the evening you return home or day after to provide that continuity of support.
- Newborn Diapers/Wipes – the hospital will have plenty of these, but if you are particular about the brands you want to use on your baby then bring your own (cloth diapers, water wipes, etc)
- Portable Bluetooth speaker – you may appreciate some light music in the background while you are laboring or recovering.
- Essential Oils or a Diffuser – naturally help destress with one of your favorite scents. A great relaxer is a lavender infused rice eye mask. Keep it dark and relaxing during the first stage of labor. Get in your zen-zone and breathe deep, Mama.
- Hamper Bag: this is really great to have for used clothes while you’re in the hospital. Keep the clean stuff clean and the dirty stuff separate. You can use a pillow case for this, if you want! This makes it super easy for your partner or support people to throw it all into the washing machine when you get home.
- Your Pillow – if you are particular about pillows, bring your own. You will already be pretty uncomfortable in a sterile not-so-cozy environment, so having something familiar to sleep with is a game changer.
- iPad/Book/Headphones/etc – believe it or not, you might have a bit of down time while you are in the hospital. For some women, it’s a whirlwind with no time to spare. For others, waiting for an induction, c-section or dilation with an epidural are some of the reasons you may want to bust out a book or listen to some calming music while you wait.
- Towel – if you plan on showering at the hospital, they will supply a towel for you. However, they are usually tiny and barely cover you up. If you want a normal sized towel, this is an “extra” worth thinking about.
- Cloth Headband – this is a great accessory that gets undervalued. It is helpful during labor to help with sweat and also while you’re washing your face.
- Robe – this all depends on your normal use of a robe. If you are a daily robe wearer, you may appreciate this item. In theory, a matching mama/baby set is super cute for photos, but it’s unlikely you will end up using it if a robe isn’t in your normal repertoire.
- Perinatal Spray or Water Spray bottle – this can be helpful for cleaning and soothing irritated areas after birth.
When it’s all said and done, the best thing you can bring to the hospital is your strength and support-person. Giving birth is an experience you will never forget. The things you brought to the hospital will be a forgotten memory the second you hold your baby for the first time. Congrats on getting this far. You’re doing great!