Most pregnant women put together a bag to bring to the hospital well before they go into labor so that when the time comes, they can just grab and go. However, some lists include so many items that, were you to include them all, you’d need multiple pieces of luggage! Here’s a list of what moms really need to be prepared on the big day.
The grown-up stuff—Remember that the first thing you’ll do when you get to labor and delivery is check-in at the admission desk. In order to be ready, make sure you bring your wallet that has both your identification and your insurance card. Make sure you have all essential phone numbers programmed into your phone or written down.
In case you get bored—You might not think this could possibly happen, but labor doesn’t always go as fast as it does in the movies. Especially if you are getting induced, lots of downtime might leave you wondering how to fill the long hours. Consider bringing a favorite book or magazine, as well as a laptop that can play DVDs or other downloaded movies.
Preserving memories—Don’t be that person whose camera battery dies minutes before you give birth (I’ve seen it happen, and it isn’t pretty). Bring your phone, camera, video camera, and all chargers so you don’t have to experience this scenario. A baby book or a journal can help you capture all the intricate details that you will soon forget — jot them down before you go home and the sleepless nights blur your memory!
Ambiance and information—If you have a birth plan, don’t forget to bring it! This may sound silly, but in the rush to the hospital so many women do exactly that. Bring a few copies too in case they get misplaced. Music can help you stay calm and improve the ambiance, so make a playlist if you want. A nice pregnancy or breastfeeding book can also be helpful when you want to read more, especially after baby has arrived.
Be comfortable—You’ll get all the essentials you need while in the hospital, so if you want to pack as light as possible, skip everything listed next. However, you may want your own robe, slippers, pajamas, and some maternity clothes (since your pre-pregnancy clothes will be too snug right after baby comes). Nursing tops and nursing pillows aren’t essential but may be helpful during those first few days, and a nursing bra can keep you comfortable too (although, don’t buy an expensive one until after your milk comes in and you know exactly what size you need). Chapstick can help combat the dry hospital air, and any personal toiletries that you love will certainly be an upgrade from the standard hospital issue. Some snacks for you and your partner, as well as money (especially change for vending machines) is essential if your hospital doesn’t have a 24-hour cafeteria (and they may taste better than the food!).
Going home—Pack a comfortable outfit to go home in, both for you and for baby. Your baby will need a car seat, and if you are using a base, have this installed well before you go into labor.
- Most hospital bag lists include lots of extra stuff that isn’t really necessary.
- Packing ahead of time will decrease your stress on the big day.
- Your hospital will provide most of what you need, but some special touches from home can help you feel more comfortable.
I’d also add socks, and a hottie to this list, when I was in labor wih my first I would’ve killed for a hater tie because I was a sweaty mess
Don’t forget about packing an outfit or two, toiletries for partner, if necessary, this was a good list
I think there should be a section about prepping for a c-section. Whether it includes what to bring in an article such as this one, or a separate article all together.
Probably the most concise article! Thanks!
Ha, that’s right – no time to waste when pregnant and trying to get organized 🙂
Great article! This definitely gave me a better idea of what to pack in my hospital bag. Thank you! 🙂
This is a great list especially the change for the vending machine. As a second time mom, I have also packed my own swaddle for the hospital photos this time around. I regretted not doing that when I had my son. Also, a nursing pillow is useful if you are going to nurse and a cover for when guests come. For natural birth mamas like myself I reccomend the Bottom Spray by Earth Mama Angel Baby. Lifesaver!
I do worry about nursing covers and brand new moms – my mantra is that if a guest isn’t OK seeing you breastfeed while you are in the hospital (just learning how to, and how to decode your newborn for that matter!) or you aren’t comfortable with having people around while you feed, than those visitors may want to stay at home. it can be so exhausting and unpredictable when feeds happen that worrying about covering up can add even more stress for mom and baby in those first important new days!!
What should you pack if you have a crisis pregnancy and will be delivering away from your hometown?
Hi Serena, not sure what you mean by crisis but if you need to deliver out of town to be at a hospital better suited for high risk needs, I’d say the same things in this list and then consider how long you’ll be in town for after you give birth. For example, if your baby is going to be in the NICU a while and you are going to be staying, you’ll need to think more about postpartum gear (clothes, things for you), though most of what you’ll need will still be supplied by the hospital (pump, diapers, onesies for baby etc). But you may want to bring along some maternity clothes to wear after delivering so you are comfy, and of course any comforts from home that make you feel like you really *are* at home! Hope that helps!
Very helpful thanksssss
I always packed light. I never labor long at the hospital so didn’t want all the extra stuff like music, pillows, etc. I’d rather use the hospital garments than wreck my own. I just pack what was absolutely necessary. The hospital provided everything and sent us home with tons of stuff.
This is great to know for a first time mom. I will be using these tips.
Glad to be of help and good luck!
Slippers, socks, and flip flops were a must for me. I didn’t want to walk on the floor or take a shower without them. The second time I had baby at a birth center and way over packed. I was only there for a few hours after birth. 🙂
My wife packs so much for the hospital! She has to have her own blanket and pillow and nightgown! It’s everything but the kitchen sink!
Haha – hey, whatever makes mom comfy, right? (Although I bet you had a sore back after lugging all that stuff in!)
Great tips! So helpful!
Great list-thanks! Worried I’ll pack too much as usual. Ha.
I keep finding endless lists that makes it overwhelming to know what you will really need. This one is short and easy to follow. Thanks a lot
This checklist is pretty much spot on! Well done.
This is a great list, I’ve been looking for something like this. Thank you.
Really helpful list, we are due with our second and I needed the reminder not to over do it! The only thing I would add is an external charger. I bought a small solar one, my hospital wouldn’t allow to plug anything in from home which included cell phones. I am guessing it’s not that common but something to check into.
This was really helpful, Dr. Jen! I would add a going-home outfit for baby, too.
Yes great point! Though I remember when I put my son in his was when he screamed the most, of course as I was trying to make a hasty exit. Next time I am skipping the photo op and just loading him up and going!
Helpful!! I am getting close to the end and getting ready to prep my bag
thanks for the tips! Only 4 weeks to go…better get packing.
I love this list, super helpful! 🙂
I am getting ready to pack my first hospital bag and am worried about packing too much or too little, so thanks! This is helpful.
Glad this is helping all you mommies-to-be out there! I know I live by lists too….
Definitely informative. I am worried I will over pack or under pack but this certainly helps. Thanks.
First the is very helpful. My question. I have had many losses and this is the first time I have mad it this far in my pregnancy. I’m 33 or 34 weeks and I was wanting is it ok to not have my mother with me but in steed have my mother-in-law in the room with me. My mother is a big smoker and I just don’t want that around me or the baby. What is a nice way to say I don’t wont you in the room with us? or Do the have some thing that they can give to my mother to put over her cloth when she comes and see us?
Hi Lindsey, So sorry for your losses! How sad and stressful. You can choose to have whomever you want (or don’t) with you in the hospital. I think you need to be 100% direct and tell your mother why you are asking her not to be there. She needs to know that her smoking is the cause (and not something else). This may even be the reason she quits – nothing like being told you can’t snuggle your grandbaby to motivate you. And telling her now can give her the time to process it and maybe give quitting a try. I think your concerns are absolutely valid, by the way. If she continues to smoke, she should know to wash her hands and change her clothes before holding the baby to decrease 2nd hand smoke exposure. Good luck!
This is a great guideline on what to pack. I’m at 30 weeks so I have time to get my checklist ready.
I am so glad thereverything are lists like this available for us first time mommies. I had no idea what to pack, I appreciate this!
interesting my great niece in pg and I like to have information to talk with her about
thank you so much for this article it really is a wake up call…need to start packing!!!
Thanks for this list! I’m a big fan of lists but didn’t even think about chargers.
Thanks for writing this informative article. My first time around I was just too nervous and scared, wish I had a guide like this then. Helpful for the 2nd one.
This is so helpful! I will definitely refer to this article when the time comes for my husband and I to have children! 🙂
I still need to pack my pack. We’re at 33 weeks right now so there’s a little bit of time, but not much!
Wish I would’ve read this with my first one!
I’m a first time mom (due in April 2015), so articles like these are super-helpful! Thank you!
Congrats, Ashley! There is nothing like the magic and excitement of the first pregnancy.
I like this list, my only recommendation would be to not over-pack. When we showed up at the hospital we had a large rolling suitcase, two bags, and a backpack. It was cumbersome to have to move all that stuff when we went from L&D to recovery, then when we left the hospital. I would have cut out the “me” stuff, I was wearing a hospital gown and those sexy mesh panties pretty much the whole time.
Thanks for this list! I would definitely recommend packing as much in advance as possible! When my water broke unexpectedly, I didn’t have a thing packed. It took me nearly an hour to pack and get out of the house, and my husband was a nervous wreck by that point!
Awesome got most of the stuff!
I wish I had known about waiting on the nursing bras. I bought a bunch, but my milk never came in.
When my first daughter was born, my husband and I had trouble with the car seat when trying to leave the hospital. The hospital staff could not help us due to liability reasons. After a good 45 minutes I was a crying mess! I would advise expecting mothers to know how to use their car seat before the baby is born. Know how to adjust the straps, fit it properly onto the base, etc.. It will make leaving the hospital much easier. 🙂
I definitely agree! Many places have car seat “clinics” or inspectors who can check your installation ahead of time, so that when the big day arrives you know you are good to go!
It is so nice to know that the hospitals provide just about all of the personal female toiletries so that you don’t have to worry about running out at the hospital. They have an endless supply and I was sure to bring some of it home with me! Whatever was left in my room, I took home! We made sure to have the camera charged and ready but my silly husband forget it in my bag so when it was time to deliver our youngest, via C-section all he had was his phone camera! :/
Melissa, that happens more than you think! Or the other most common scenario – only mom knows how to use the “nice” camera (and is a little busy doing other things than to take that first picture after delivery 😉 – good thing phone cameras are so good nowadays!
Very helpful. Thank you!
You are very welcome!