17 Feb Essentials for Your Maternity Hospital Bag
The post below was written by fellow parenting blogger, Josh Moore, of DiaperDads.org.
In the final weeks of your pregnancy, the excitement builds as you prepare to meet the newest addition to your family. You may be winding down at work and reading parenting books and blogs like Family Time to get ready. It’s also time to pack your hospital bag in case your little one decides to make an early entrance. If you’re wondering how to get started, follow this guide to help you prepare.
What to pack for yourself
Start by checking with your midwife, OB-GYN, or doula to learn about the average length of stay and what will be provided for you at the hospital. How much you pack may depend on the type of facility where you give birth (e.g., a hospital, birth center, etc.), but the essentials will be the same. First on that list is a car seat for your baby. Aim to rent or purchase one a few weeks before your due date and be sure to install it correctly. Some hospitals will not let you take your baby home until you have a car seat.
Next, pack a copy of your birth plan, your toiletries, supportive maternity bras, pajamas, and a few outfits — soft recovery pants and comfy nursing tops for breastfeeding and pumping are ideal. Also, bring cozy socks and slippers to wear around the maternity ward. Although the hospital will likely provide some supplies, it can help to bring recovery items that you’ve chosen yourself, such as maternity pads, seamless recovery underwear, breast pads, and other aftercare aids. Don’t forget to pack your phone, a charger, a water bottle, and healthy snacks, as well.
What to pack for your baby
It can be daunting to try to pack for a tiny human that you haven’t met yet, but it’s less complicated than you might think. To get started, pack 2–3 onesies and sleepsuits, a beanie, a cardigan, and a blanket or swaddle. Merino is a great choice of material because it’s breathable and helps your baby maintain a stable body temperature. Try to stay away from synthetic materials such as polyester because they can cause overheating.
Check with your hospital or provider to see if you will need to bring your own diapers and baby wipes — most already provide them. If you do need to bring diapers, make sure that they’re newborn-sized. If you’ve decided to harvest colostrum (the nutrient-rich precursor to breast milk) during the final few weeks of your pregnancy, don’t forget to pack it in a clearly-marked insulated bag to bring with you.
Additional comfort items
Beyond the essentials, pack a few items that will make you feel relaxed and comfortable, which is key during and after labor. These might include a pillow from home, a snuggly blanket, calming essential oils, a portable speaker, a playlist of relaxing music, and a hot water bottle. Bring what you need in order to create an environment that is conducive to a positive birth experience. If you’re unsure about hospital policy, be sure to ask questions and express your wishes.
As your due date approaches, any steps you take to prepare will help you feel more relaxed and confident. Although it’s best to start with the essentials and avoid overpacking your hospital bag, it’s also important to bring a few items that will promote a calm birth. By having your hospital bag ready several weeks before your due date, you can avoid scrambling on your big day and, instead, focus on the excitement of meeting your baby for the first time.
Still feeling uncertain about your upcoming labor or parenthood at large? Learn from those who have been there. Visit DiaperDads.org.