Chances are, you’ve spent the past several months dreaming of the day you finally get to meet your baby! You’ve stocked up on baby gear, decorated the nursery and maybe even figured out how to correctly install that infant car seat. But don’t forget one of the most important third trimester to-dos: Deciding what to pack in your hospital bag—for baby, you and your partner.
So where to start? You don’t want to leave out any essentials, but there’s also no reason to overdo things
Hospital bag for mom: Labor and delivery
On average, moms who deliver vaginally stay in the hospital for one to two days. If you deliver via c-section, you’d be looking at closer to three or four days. Keep your length of stay in mind as you select what to pack in your hospital bag.
The closer you get to your due date, the more exciting it is to think about finally meeting your baby! And the closer you get to meeting your baby, the more important it is to pack a hospital bag you can bring along to make yourself more comfortable during labor and after your little one arrives.
But it can be easy to over-pack and end up hauling around a giant bag that you barely touch. Therefore, we present to you the absolute “must-have” items!
- Hospital paperwork, ID, and insurance card. Have copies of your medical records handy, so that your healthcare providers can easily review your medical history. Hospitals require your ID, any medical cards, and insurance documents up front, so make sure you have a copy of these readily available.
- Toiletries and personal items: hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, contact lens case and solution (remember, travel-sized products are your friends) Your small bathroom bag should also contain hair ties and face wipes for a quick pick-me-up.
- Nursing Bra. A comfortable nursing bra (no underwires!) is a must for some moms, while other moms prefer to go braless because of frequent nursing. Do whatever makes you comfortable.
- Nursing Pads. Save yourself from having to do laundry the minute you get home and protect your bra from leaks.
- Pads, Underwear and NIPNAP Premium Baby Diapers. The hospital will give you pads and mesh underwear while you recover from giving birth. However, some moms swear by bringing their own protection to be more comfortable. Adult diapers are a popular choice – seriously! – but other moms bring along a well-fitting pair of high-waisted underwear (you probably call them granny panties) and their favorite brand of overnight absorbency pads. Don’t forget to bring along your NIPNAP baby diapers, size 2, perfect for your newborn baby.
- Going Home Outfits. Pack a going home outfit for yourself and for baby. You’ll probably still be most comfortable in your maternity clothes, while your baby will need a onesie, a blanket and any cold weather gear if it’s chilly outside.
- Slippers. Slippers, no-skid socks, or flip flops are a lifesaver for pacing the hospital hallways during labor, and when your feet are so swollen they won’t fit into anything else.
- Glasses. Let’s be real, messing with your contact solution will be one of the last things on your priority list during this whirlwind. Remember to pack your glasses!
- Bathrobe and Comfy Clothes. Next to that post-delivery shower, the thing that will make you feel most like yourself after giving birth are comfy clothes to recover in. Pack loose lounge pants, a nursing tank top, and a cozy zip-up or bathrobe. Packing comfortable maternity and nursing apparel can provide added support and relief in sensitive areas during and after pregnancy.
- Your Own Pillow. Hospitals aren’t known for their comfy pillows. And that’s why many moms recommend bringing your own favorite pillow (or two!) from home to help keep you as comfortable as possible during labor and to support you when you start breastfeeding. Remember to use a colored or patterned pillowcase so they don’t get mixed up with the hospital pillows.
- Nipple Cream. While you and your baby are learning to breastfeed in the hospital, your nipples may get sore. Nipple Cream can help soothe and protect them, and is completely safe for baby.
- Cotton wool. Your newborn's skin will be very delicate, so many experts recommend using cotton wool and water for nappy changes at first. If you do choose to use wipes though, opt for NIPNAP baby wipes that are free from alcohol and fragrance.
- Phone Charger. You’ll want your phone to keep you distracted during labor, to contact friends and loved ones when baby arrives, and of course for tons of pictures! So a charger is absolutely essential. Some moms even recommend bringing a longer charging cord that will reach from the wall to your hospital bed. (Tip: Just remember to take it with you when you leave.)
- Snacks. Having a baby makes you hungry, and we haven’t heard anyone raving about amazing hospital food lately. Do yourself a favor and pack some snacks.We like anything that’s easy to toss in your bag with zero prep-work – like cereal bars, crackers or dried fruit snacks.
- Lip Balm. More moms talk about packing lip balm than nearly any other item! And for good reason – hospital air can be incredibly dry, so having your favorite lip balm will keep your lips feeling good throughout labor and in those precious hours after delivery.
- Car Seat. Don’t forget to make sure your car seat is ready to go and that you and your partner know how to use it before you go to the hospital.