You have been waiting to meet your baby for 9 months! The time is finally here, and it’s time to pack your hospital bag. So, what are the essentials that will actually be used in the hospital, and what is just clutter? In this guide, we will provide a clear plan to ensure you are fully prepared come your big day!
What to pack in your hospital bag for newborn
To kick things off, let’s discuss what to pack in your hospital bag for your newborn. The truth is, most people pack much more than they need for their baby. For example, many new mothers pack a full wardrobe of clothes for their little one. However, hospitals often require babies to wear hospital-issue onesies for liability reasons. So, what are the items that your newborn baby will actually use? Let’s dive in!
- A going-home outfit for your adorable new baby.
- Baby bottles – If you will not be nursing, then plan to bring a couple of baby bottlesfor feeding your baby.
- Baby blanket to keep your little one warm and cozy since hospitals can get cold.
- A nursing pillow/pad – We highly recommend packing your own Boppy pillow or My Breast Friend. Nursing can be difficult from the hospital bed. These pillows will do wonders to help your baby latch early.
- Newborn beanie – Babies get the vast majority of their warmth from their head. A cozy beanie is critical for your newborn.
- Newborn socks – Like beanies, babies love to have their feet toasty.
- Booties are also a handy addition to ensure their feet are up to temp.
- Mittens – Newborns are often born with sharp fingernails and they can scratch their face easily. Mittens can help prevent this mishap.
- Baby wipes and diapers for going home – Blowouts can happen often, and if your drive is longer than 30 minutes, you may need to change your little one’s diapers even before you make it home!
What to pack in your hospital bag for mom
During your labor and delivery visit, what you pack for yourself is actually more important than what you pack for your newborn. The hospital typically provides most of the items your baby will require. Mama is another story. Unless you want to be stuck in an awkward hospital gown for 3 days, be sure to pack the following items in your hospital bag (just for mama):
- Your Birth Plan and other important documents – The birth plan will help communicate to your doctors, nurses, and other staff how you would like your birth to happen. Be sure to bring this along!
- Comfortable robe, and slippers – The hospital will provide mamas with a hospital gown, but chances are, you’ll be more comfortable in your own robe.
- Scented oil and oil diffuser – A simple oil diffuser can do wonders for creating a calm and welcoming environment in your hospital room.
- Snacks and a water bottle – After labor, you’ll probably be hungry. Your food intake during labor will be very little, so plan to have a healthy snack on hand after labor.
- Phone and charger – This seems obvious, but new mamas can be so focused on the “baby items” that they forget the basics like a phone charger.
- Toiletries – Simple luxuries like having your own shampoo and toothpaste can make your hospital stay feel more like home.
- Comfortable clothes for your drive home – Chances are, you’ll be itching to get into your own clothes after a few days at the hospital. Choose items that are loose-fitting and comfortable.
- Video recorder if not on your phone – Document your special day on video!
- Nursing bras – Nursing bras are a “must have” when it comes time to feed your newborn.
- Your favorite pillow – Yes, the hospital will have pillows. Will they be comfy? Doubtful! Bring your own pillow since you’ll be resting on it for at least 3 days.
What to pack in your hospital bag for dad
All too often dads are the most unprepared when packing their bag for labor. This is especially true of first-time dads who have never been through the labor and delivery experience. Many of the items new dads will need are focused on helping him sleep while in the bustling maternity ward.
- Portable sound machine – Hospitals can be loud. You know what can be even louder? A newborn baby! Pack a portable sound machine for those first few nights. We love the Rohm Travel Sound Machine.
- Multiple changes of clothes – Dad will need multiple changes of clothes. Be sure to have a comfortable sweatshirt.
- Laptop, phone, headphones, and chargers – Planning on getting some work done while mama recovers from labor? Pack a laptop! Hospitals will have free wi-fi as well.
- Reading material – A good book can be a welcome distraction from all traffic coming in and out of the hospital room.
- Bedding and pillow – Hospital rooms rarely offer a bed for new dads to sleep in. More often, dads will be sleeping on a porta-bed. Make the best of it with your own bedding and pillow.
- Eye mask and earplugs for sleeping – Unless you are a deep sleeper, these handy sleep aids will be critical when getting some post-labor shuteye.
- Button down short for skin-to-skin time – One of the great joys of the hospital visit will be time spent holding your newborn baby on your chest skin-to-skin. A button down shirt simplifies the process of getting your baby on and off your chest.
- Snacks and water bottle – Sure, you can call for food service, but plan on this taking at least 30 minutes to arrive. Having healthy snacks handy is helpful.
- Medications, melatonin and other sleep aids – A bottle of Advil or Tylenol is super convenient.
- Massage oil for mama – During labor and after, mama may find a massage to be just the thing to make her comfortable.
- Push present for mama – Why not bring a special gift to thank mama!?
Other items to bring to hospital (not in the diaper bag)
There are a handful of other items you’ll need at the hospital that won’t fit in your diaper bag. Since they won’t fit in your diaper bag, many new mamas forget to plan these hospital essentials. We’ve boiled it down to these 4 must-haves to pack in the car when having a baby:
- Approved and installed car seat for the ride home – You’ll be driving your newborn home for the first time! Be sure to install your car seat ahead of time.
- Stroller for transferring baby to car – Very few parents remember their stroller, but it is convenient when transferring your precious baby to the car.
- Gift basket for the labor and delivery staff – A little gift basket for the staff will not go unnoticed.
- Flowers for mama – Your visitors will probably be bringing gifts for mama. You don’t want to be the only with without a gift for mama!
Best hospital bag for labor
The last decision you’ll need to consider when packing your hospital bag is: What is the best hospital bag for labor? We highly recommend the Sparrow diaper bag for your labor and delivery. Many new parents make the mistake of simply packing a traditional backpack or travel bag. When considering which diaper bag is right for you, be sure to consider these 4 essential features of your diaper bag:
- Can be worn as a backpack, messenger bag or as a tote – You’ll be carrying a load of items from the car. Be sure to buy a diaper bag that can be worn as a backpack to free up your hands to carry your precious newborn!
- Waterproof and wipeable – Spills are a daily occurrence with a baby on board. You simply cannot afford to buy a diaper bag that isn’t easy to keep clean.
- Ample pockets for storing all your baby essentials – As you know, babies require MANY small items. Ample pockets will help you keep those items organized with quick and easy access.
- Neutral and comfortable design for mom and dad – Let’s face it … anything that will help dad want to carry the diaper bag will benefit mama in the end.