Having a baby is an exciting and at times overwhelming time. You’ve prepared the nursery, washed the baby clothes, cleaned the house in nooks and crannies you didn’t know existed before you started nesting. And now it’s time to think about your hospital bag checklist for mom and baby.
I’ve come home with five babies, and every time my hospital bag holds less and less items. The truth is, most of the items you’ll have on your checklist will be for mom and not the baby. The baby will need three essentials.
This isn’t actually a hospital bag item, but it’s important to remember to bring it with you.
2. Going home outfit
This is a big one for me. I put a lot of thought into the outfit I bring my babies home in. The reason is that I’m a sentimental mama. I’ve kept every one of my children’s going home outfits. I add them to each of their memory boxes together with a picture of my newborn wearing the outfit.
It’s so surreal to take out the outfit and reminisce about how tiny your child was, even a year down the road. Imagine showing the outfit to your grown children, when they’re about to have their own baby. The newborn going home outfit holds a lot of value and memories for me.
When you pick out the outfit for your baby, make sure it’s comfortable. For the first year to 18 months, I suggest putting a bodysuit on the baby underneath the outfit, It keeps the baby warm, and if there’s a blowout (get ready to have these), it keeps it contained for the most part. It’s also easy to slip the top layer off in case the baby gets too warm. Bring a backup outfit just in case.
Don’t forget socks and a hat. This soft, cotton handmade bonnet is perfect for keeping your precious new baby warm and comfy. It’s super cute for photo shoots, too.
3. Baby blanket
Add a baby blanket to your hospital bag checklist, even if it’s warm out. You might not notice, but the air conditioner in the car on the ride home might be a bit much for your newborn babe. Babies lose body heat a lot quicker than adults do, your little darling is just getting used to regulating his body temperature. Keep him warm.
You might be tempted to pack diapers, wipes, baby bottles, several outfits, and all the other items your baby might need, but every time I packed any of those things, I brought them all home untouched.
US hospitals usually charge a flat room fee and provide all those things and more. You don’t usually have to worry about being charged for every item you use. If you want to be sure, check with your hospital beforehand.
Let’s continue the list with items that are essential for moms.
4. Nursing bra
You will need the support and ease of access.
It’s true that hospitals provide socks as well, but in my experience, they are oversized and uncomfortable. Bring your own comfy socks to keep you warm during labor and after delivery.
6. Comfortable clothes for mama
Pack comfy clothes you can put on after hours of labor and a shower. You may choose to spend your hospital stay in a glorious hospital gown, and that’s totally cool. Just remember to bring a going home outfit.
7. Phone and charger
In the modern days of our time, our phones are practically glued to us. But if labor comes surprisingly fast and you have to rush out of the house, you might forget the nifty little thing that talks to you and takes pictures. You’ll need it to show dear Aunt Lucy what your precious new human looks like.
8. Postpartum belly wrap
Also known as abdominal binders, postpartum belly wraps have been used in different forms for hundreds of years. According to WebMD, if worn for four to six weeks, a belly wrap can help the uterus return to its size quicker. It also helps with back pain, which was a big issue in my experience. I’ve packed and used a belly wrap with every delivery.
9. Self-care essentials
What goes in this bag is going to vary vastly for every mom to be. You may need everything on this list to add to your pouch, or cherry pick a few essentials. Either way, here are some ideas to pack into your toiletry bag.
- Lip gloss
- Hair ties
- Body soap
- Hair conditioner
- Face wash
- Face cream
- Hand cream
That completes the essentials list. But we’re not done yet! Let’s take a look at a few items that you might need that will be nice to have with you as you go through labor and deliver your baby.
10. Robe and slippers
For extra warmth and coziness as you walk the halls of the hospital, you may choose to pack your favorite robe and slippers. Make sure the slippers are backless, so you can easily slip them on and off.
I’ve taken my pillow to the hospital with every delivery. You will most likely need more than one pillow around you, especially if you have a c-section, but having a familiar softness under your head will be comforting as you go through labor and recovery.
If you’re into taking pictures with a “real” camera in addition to your phone, don’t forget to charge it, make space for memory, and have it ready to go.
13. Notebook and pen
Whether you use it to write down your birth story while it’s fresh in your mind or to record your baby’s feeding times and diaper changes, have a pen and a small notebook with you. You can keep it to later add little stories about your growing baby, funny things he said, and did, and add it to your child’s memory box.
14. Receiving blanket
Add one receiving blanket to your hospital bag checklist. Throw it over the car seat handle as you bring your baby home to protect his face from the sun rays or the cool air. We’ve taken one of our babies home in the rain, and the receiving blanket kept him completely dry and away from the raindrops.
15. A burp cloth
We’ve tucked a burp cloth under the baby’s chin on the ride home. It protects the car seat straps and the outfit in case of spit-up.
1. Don’t use perfume, and ask your husband to leave the cologne at home. You don’t want to irritate your new baby’s senses when he’s just getting used to the sights, sounds, and smells of this new world.
2. Pack a few weeks before your due date. Babies come when they wish, and you don’t want to be caught off-guard.
3. For items you can’t pack beforehand, like your phone charger or your pillow, add a note inside your hospital bag reminding you to take those last minute things with you. Use printer-size paper and don’t fold it so it’s hard to miss.
Now you have both the essentials and the convenience items to add to your hospital bag. I hope you have a safe delivery!
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