As your due date nears, you’re probably making a birth plan, practicing breathing techniques, and scouting out quick routes to the hospital.
But what will you need once you get there? Labor can be a long process and for many first-time parents, it can be unclear what the hospital provides, what you need to bring yourself, and what you’ll want that you didn’t even realize you would want.
We checked with new moms, hospital nurses and our own doctors to put together the most comprehensive list possible.
Pack your hospital bag in advance using this ‘Hospital Bag Checklist’ to make sure you have everything you need. Then, when the big moment comes, you’ll be ready to grab and go, go, go!
- Credit card
- Insurance card
- Photo ID
A credit card may be useful for a quick trip to the cafeteria or gift shop, or if there are any lactation supplies available you want to purchase. And it would be useful to have a photo ID and insurance card just in case the hospital doesn’t have you pre-registered.
- Breast pads
- Contacts and eye drops
- Hair clips or bands
- Hair dryer
- Lanolin cream
- Lip moisturizer
- Shower gel
- Thin night time sanitary napkins
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
The hospital isn’t a resort hotel so the toiletries available can be somewhat limited. I recommend that you bring your favorite bath supplies. Depending on your individual style, you may also bring what you need to do your hair and makeup. You’re about to have a baby – treat yourself!
- Breastfeeding nightgown or pajamas
- Breastfeeding or support bra
- Comfortable clothing
- Favorite snacks and drinks
- Maternity underwear
Having a baby is exhausting, so we want you to have what you need in order to be comfortable and get plenty of rest. If you sleep better with your own pillow, by all means bring one.
Slippers or socks are great to have on hand, as we’ll want you up and walking as soon as possible to reduce the risk of developing a blood clot in your legs.
Maternity underwear will still be useful after delivery, as the maternity pads used by the hospital are bulky. You also may consider bringing thin nighttime sanitary napkins to use instead.
Check on your doctor’s philosophy on eating and drinking during labor and the hospital policy on what visitors can take into your room. If it’s okay, bring some of your favorite food and drinks. Snacks will also come in handy if you have other children waiting during labor.
- iPad or tablet
- Phone with playlist
- Portable speakers or cable to connect phone to room speakers
Not too long ago, soon-to-be parents had to bring a camera, camcorder, and phone to capture and share photos and videos of the new baby. Today, your smartphone or tablet can handle all of this and more – just make sure you have a charger and plenty of memory!
- At least two outfits
- Baby book
- Car seat
- Sleep sack
- Socks and mittens
Although you probably won’t need the car seat until the day of discharge, it can be helpful to go ahead and put it in your car just in case you decide to go home early or need a car seat test at the hospital. Remember the blanket isn’t for the baby’s crib or bassinet – it’s to keep the baby warm on the way home.
Pack two baby outfits – one for photos and one to wear home, since the first may get dirty. Many hospitals don’t provide socks and mittens for newborns, so remember to pack those as well, just in case.
If you plan to start a baby book, go ahead and bring it with you. As soon as the baby comes, you won’t want to miss a second.
- Breast pump
- Copy of birth plan
- Cord blood collection kit
- Hands-free bra for pumping
Typically, women don’t need to bring their breast pump to the hospital. However, if you are expecting to use your pump a lot (if you plan to pump exclusively, for example), then it may be useful to have the lactation nurses help get you comfortable using the device.
Other things to consider bringing are a copy of your birth plan or a cord blood collection kit, if you are planning to use either one of them.
I’ve tried to be as complete as possible – but that’s a lot to remember! Make it easy and download a copy of the checklist to guarantee you don’t forget anything that might make your delivery experience even more personal and comfortable.
To save or print from your PC, right-click on the checklist. From mobile, tap the picture to save. For more information about pregnancy, labor, and delivery, sign up to receive Your Pregnancy Matters email alerts when we publish new stories. Have a question or an idea for a story? Email us today! You can also make an appointment to see one of our specialists by calling 214-645-8300.