There are a couple things you should know about me. First, I LOVE LISTS. I love writing them, I love having them, I love re-writing them and organizing them. I pretty much have a list for everything.
I’m also a total scatterbrain. I cannot keep something in my head for longer than a minute before I forget it. Something I fret about the most is that I might forget something important. I have a list for when we travel with O, I have a list of items we ALWAYS need to buy at the grocery store, for what I’d like to get done around the house, etc. etc.
Needless to say, I have an EXTENSIVE list for what to put in my hospital bag that I accumulated from friends who had just had babies. I made the list before we had O, but because he was early, we were VERY unprepared. Jon had to make a few trips back and forth to the house to get everything we needed.
It’s also worth it to say, if you don’t have to stay at the hospital for a long period of time (if you have midwives and there are no complications, you’re often home in a couple hours) a lot of this list isn’t necessary. HOWEVER, I prefer to have too much stuff than not enough.
When to pack your bags: They say any time after 35 weeks is when you should start packing & install that car seat. We had HALF packed our bag (mostly O’s) but a lot of the stuff below you still need up until you go (unless you have doubles of some stuff). In any case, whenever feels right for you.
Spit Up & Sippy Cups ULTIMATE Hospital Bag Checklist.
- Diapers (helpful to have size NB and size 1 just in case)
- Vaseline or Coconut Oil (you won’t need diaper rash cream at the hospital, Vaseline is really all you need for the first while)
- Wipes (I suggest the sensitive ones, just because you don’t know how sensitive their skin is)
- 2-3 sleepers for baby – babies are messy and spit up and pee everywhere, we were totally unprepared for how many of these we were going to go through. Also consider bringing a couple sizes (nb and 0-3, which are different. Who knew?)
- Soothers (if you want to use…most hospitals will provide for you if you don’t have)
- 2-3 flannel receiving blankets – you will use these to swaddle, to clean up mess, for everything
- Car seat – they won’t let you leave the hospital unless you have one (understandably). Do yourself a favour and install the car seat well in advance of your due date. It’s a colossal pain in the ass.
- Hats, mitts and warm clothing if it is winter
- All important information – Photo ID, Health Card, Insurance Info, Hospital Paperwork, Birth Plan etc.
- Phone and Charger – you’re going to being making calls, sending texts and taking pictures. You do NOT want your phone to die.
- Contact Case, Solution & Glasses (nothing is worse than having to wear your contacts for too long)
- Water/Gatorade – In between pushing, I have never been so thirsty in my life. Like, I wanted to chug a lake.
- Lip Balm – see above
- Hair brush and ties
- Toothbrush and Paste – let me tell you, there is no better feeling than brushing your teeth after being in labour and pushing a baby out. It’s ALMOST better than a shower.
- Deodorant – post-partum sweats are fun
- Crappy Underwear – your underwear WILL get ruined, no matter how thick your pads are. Alternatively, you can pack “Depends” type underwear which you can just throw out.
- Thick Pads and/or “Depends” Underwear
- Nursing Bra and Nipple Pads & Nipple Cream – I had neither and all my clothes were covered in colostrum/breast milk. I was lucky that my milk came in so much, but I was a fucking mess. Like, it was literally everywhere. And my nipples? Let’s not talk about it.
- Slippers/Flip Flops/Thick Socks – if you have to stay in the hospital for awhile, you’re going to want to walk around and you’re NOT going to want to put your feet in closed shoes.
- Comfy Pants – because Jeans = the devil
- Tank Tops – if you’re trying to breastfeed, you want instant access to your boobs.
- Toiletries – toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, contact solution, case, glasses, any meds etc.
- Cellphone & charger – you’re responsible for taking some photos after your little babes arrives & take as many as you can. That day is such a blur, you’ll likely forget those first moments.
- Change of clothes including boxers/underwear, a couple shirts (you will likely be sweating too during the birthing process), comfy pants
- Flip flops/slippers
- Snacks/Water/Gatorade – leave hers alone!
Suggested/Nice to Have Items
- Food/Snacks – when I was in labour, I didn’t feel hungry until I got the epidural. Once those sweet, amazing drugs kicked in, I was ravenous. So bring some granola bars, trail mix that sort of thing. You can munch on that while your sweetie goes and gets you a cheeseburger.
- Nursing Pillow – my midwife said not to bring mine, but I figure, if it’s the one I’ll be using at home, I want to learn how to breastfeed with that pillow. Even if you don’t end up breastfeeding (like me) you can use that pillow for EVERYTHING.
- Pump – you don’t HAVE to bring, but you never know how breastfeeding will go at the beginning and it’s nice to have your own pump. If you don’t have one, you can rent from the hospital.
- Book/Magazine/Tablet – if you’re being induced, there is a good chance you’ll have to hang around the hospital for awhile. Having a distraction is really nice.
- Towel – the one the give you at the hospital is crap. And if you don’t already feel like a giant whale, the tiny, crappy towel they give you won’t help.
- Shampoo/Soap – This will be the greatest shower of your life. So bring the stuff that makes you feel good.
- Pillow & blankets – If you’re at the hospital for awhile they do NOT make it comfortable for the partner to stay (if you’re even allowed). You’ll want your own pillows and blankets so you can get some rest.
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t be. It seems like a lot of stuff, but some of it is extra. I’m sure a lot of parents show up with nothing but a bottle of water and their cellphone. These are just items I had and/or wished that I had while I was in the hospital. And as I said, I’m an over packer and I like to be over prepared vs. under prepared. You do whatever works for you and whatever you’re comfortable with.
Do you have any “must-haves” that I missed? If so, leave your list in the comments and I’ll include in my list.
Good luck Momma!