Getting your hospital bag ready before your baby arrives is a big deal. Making sure you have things that will keep you and your baby comfortable can mean a happier stay at the hospital. It’s important to keep in mind that many hospitals provide a lot of what you need.
Most hospitals provide diapers, wipes, hospital gowns, a hat and bodysuit for the baby to wear, formula, bedding and more. It’s a good idea to check with your hospital to be sure about all of this. While the hospital will have most of what you need, consider taking a few items they might not have—or even just items you prefer using. Here are some things you may not have thought of for your hospital bag.
Hats or bows as well as a set of footie pajamas
While the hospital most likely will provide a onesie and a hat for your little one, if you have a preference for what colors, patterns and materials you’d like your baby to wear, bring your own clothing. Hospital clothing works just fine, but they don’t have a big selection and you get what they have to offer without much of a choice. Some families choose to take pictures of their new arrival in the hospital. So, having items for the baby to wear besides the standard hospital clothing might be good.
While you’re at it, consider throwing in some comfortable items for you to wear as well. As you’re recovering, you might want something to wear besides a hospital gown. If you’re going to be in pictures with the baby, you might want a nice nightgown or nursing dress as well. Again, none of this is necessary, but that is what some mamas prefer to do. You don’t want to wish you’d brought different clothing for you and the baby.
Hospitals also provide blankets for babies. However, a baby swaddle blanket is a great thing to throw into your hospital bag. For starters, it will keep your baby warm and help them sleep. This is so important after they have been curled up snug in mama’s tummy. Swaddle blankets can also be used as nursing covers. When you’re in the hospital having a baby, you’ll soon realize how little privacy you have. Having a light breathable blanket that you can throw over yourself when your family visits and the baby needs to eat can be very welcoming considering you’ll have almost no privacy.
You can never have too many burp cloths. While the hospital might provide these, burp cloths fall into the category of sometimes forgotten until you need them. Burp cloths are so much more absorbent than other fabrics. They’re lightweight and they won’t take up much room in your hospital bag. You can use them to clean up the inevitable spit-up baby will have, and the burp cloths can even be used in a pinch to clean up other messes. Once you get home, you can wash and use them again.
Important paperwork and items
While it’s more fun to focus on clothes, swaddles, and other cute things for your baby, there is important paperwork and smaller easy-to-leave-behind items to keep in mind. Don’t forget to have a binder, an accordion file, or even just an envelope with the following items:
- ID card
- Insurance card
- Birth plan
- Important contacts
- Documentation of your medications
- Any other documents your hospital requires (pre-registration can be great too!)
You also might want to firm up plans with people who might be watching your other children, looking after your pets, or even watering your plants. Having plans written out and ready can mean that you can send them via email or text to someone at a moment’s notice if needed.
In addition, don’t forget little things like phone chargers, watch chargers, tablets, cameras, baby keepsakes, etc. If you’re in a hurry to get out the door, you could forget these things easily. So either have a short list of items to grab on the way out the door or buy spares to pack ahead of time.
Breast milk pump
While some hospitals have pumps you can borrow, it can be even better to bring your own breast pump. It’s more sanitary and it’s good to get the hang of using your own pump. While your milk takes time to come in, you’ll still be making colostrum. You can either have your baby breastfeed, or you can pump the colostrum out. It can also be good to use the breast pump to encourage your milk when it’s time to feed the baby. Pumping can help make your milk come in faster, and you can do it at times when you can’t breastfeed your baby.
Older sibling gift
This definitely isn’t necessary. However, when you have a new baby, if they have an older sibling that has been the only child for a while, it can be an emotional time. The older sibling might be excited about a new baby brother or sister, but they also might feel left out or unsure of the future. While gifts aren’t always the way to go, it can be nice to pick out a small toy or remembrance and wrap it up. When the older sibling meets the baby for the first time, having a gift “from the baby” can help the older sibling feel more comfortable.
Some parents even have the older sibling pick out a gift for the new baby before they arrive. You can have them help you wrap it, and they can bring it to the hospital to meet the baby. That way, the older sibling feels like they are a part of the big event of having a new baby.
Items for you
Since you’re going to be doing a lot of work to bring a baby into the world, make sure you bring items to the hospital to keep yourself comfortable. While everyone has personal preferences on what to bring for themselves to the hospital, here are a few things many moms have loved having with them:
- Cooling underwear
- Favorite snacks
- Your own pillow
- Music/a wireless speaker
- Tablet (as mentioned above)
- A robe
- Slippers or comfy shoes (with traction on the bottom)
- Anything that reminds you of home and helps you relax
While it may be tempting to overpack for your hospital stay, it’s important to keep in mind that the hospital will have many of the items you need. Most of the items you bring will be extra to add to your comfort. However, if you want to take something, you should! You’ll want to feel your most comfortable after having a baby. So, don’t feel bashful about taking those things with you!