As you enter your third trimester and your little one’s due date gets closer, all the upcoming change and excitement might feel overwhelming. You might have your baby’s nursery and car seat ready, but are you prepared for your hospital stay?
Pack your hospital bag long before you feel those first contractions for peace of mind. Keep reading to see what else you should add to your hospital bag checklist.
When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag?
While you have an estimated due date, your baby might be extra excited to enter the world and could come a few weeks early. Some experts suggest having your hospital bag ready to go anywhere between 34 and 36 weeks, with 36 weeks being the latest.
You can’t control when your baby arrives, but you can make sure you’re prepped and ready. Don’t procrastinate on this one. It’s one less thing you need to worry about.
While it might be tempting to stow the bag out of the way, you don’t want to forget where you put it or to bring it along in the first place. Keep this bag in an easy-to-access spot, like in your car or by your front door, and make sure your partner or anyone taking you to the hospital knows where to grab it from.
What Should You Put in an Overnight Bag?
The hospital will provide you with the essentials like a hospital gown and mesh underwear, but you will want to bring your own clothes to wear home, along with a few other must-haves.
From personal care items to those can’t live without extras, we’ve got a comprehensive list on everything you might want to bring along.
Clothes and Accessories
Comfy clothes: These are an absolute necessity. Postpartum you will not want to wear anything too restrictive or skintight. Stick to loose, soft fabrics so you can be as comfortable as possible. Make sure to pack lounge clothes and a cardigan to keep you warm and allow for easy movement if you choose to nurse your baby. Pack a going-home outfit for you and your little one.
Nursing bras and nursing pads: If you plan on breastfeeding, these items are a necessity. These will allow for a more comfortable experience for you and your baby as you adjust to your new role. Nipple cream is great for new moms who plan on breastfeeding and can help provide soothing relief from nursing discomfort.
Slippers or flip-flops: Pack shoes that are easy to get on and off. It may be painful for you to bend over, so look for slip-on shoes you can stow in your overnight bag.
Compression socks: These socks are very helpful postpartum. You might notice lots of swelling in your legs and feet, thanks to the extra water your body is holding. Another cause of the swelling may be your growing womb causing restricted blood flow. Wearing compression socks before and after labor can help reduce swelling and promote healthy blood flow.
Clothes for baby: The hospital will provide a tiny shirt, a cap, and a swaddling blanket for your baby. They will also provide diapers and wipes, but you should be prepared with a couple of newborn onesies and a couple in the next size up or the 0-3 month range for when you bring your baby home.
From toiletries to belly bands, there are several personal items you will want to have with you during your hospital stay. Don’t forget to add your own can’t live without items, like your favorite lipstick or anything else you wouldn’t want to be without.
Toiletries: These are the true essentials. Toothpaste, toothbrush, lip balm, lotion, deodorant, a hairbrush, and whatever else you use daily that keeps you comfortable and feeling your best.
Hair ties, clips, or headbands: These are so helpful to keep your hair out of your face during labor and if you choose to nurse your baby.
Glasses or contact lenses: If you wear glasses or contacts regularly, bring an extra set of contacts in case you lose one, as well as a contact case and saline solution.
Extra absorbent maxi pads or disposable underwear: These are another essential. Your hospital will provide maxi pads, but you may want to pack along extras in case you have any stops to make on your way home.
A belly band: As you get later into your pregnancy and begin to labor, you might experience more belly and back pain as your baby gets bigger. A belly band can help shift your center of gravity back to normal and improve your posture while easing belly and back discomfort. Wearing a belly band can assist in distributing your baby’s weight evenly over the belly and lower back, which can help reduce strain on your lower back muscles, belly, ligaments, and joints. After labor, a belly band can help offer great support.
Other Nice-to-Have Items
You’ll be at the hospital for more than labor and delivery. There are other items you might want to bring along to help make your hospital stay a little easier. These aren’t essentials, but you may want to include more than a few things on this list.
Blankets, linens, sheets, and pillows: Sometimes, a hospital room and bed might feel a little lacking. Hospital pillows may not be the most comfortable. If you can’t sleep without your pillow or want a blanket from home, pack it ahead of time. You might not be able to rest your best with a new baby in an unfamiliar place, but you can set yourself up for the best possible scenario.
Extra long phone charger: There’s nothing worse than when a cell phone dies while we’re on it. Whether you are using your phone to keep in contact with your friends and family or snapping endless baby pics, an extra long phone charger is super helpful in case the chargers aren’t set up in an area that’s within easy reach.
Receiving blankets: The hospital will provide blankets. But, if you want to use your own, you’ll want to bring them along. These blankets are helpful for swaddling the baby, keeping clean during feeding, keeping your baby nice and warm not only in the hospital but on the ride home.
Your partner’s essentials: Make sure your partner is also readywith a change of clothes, pillows, snacks, and whatever they need for the hospital stay.
Admin essentials: Be sure to have your insurance card, photo ID, and any other documents necessary. If you have a birth plan, be sure to have it easily accessible. Print it out or keep it on your phone.
Snacks: While there are hospital cafeterias and vending machines, you or your partner may not like the choices. When talking about hospital bag essentials, we can’t forget our favorite snacks. Bring granola bars and whatever else keeps you feeling good. Check if restaurants nearby offer delivery if you want a change of pace. Bring along some extra cash if you want to check out those vending machines.
A Bluetooth speaker: If you have a playlist, book, or podcast you want to listen to during labor, a Bluetooth speaker can be super helpful. It can keep you comfortable, and help can keep you calm as you go through labor.
The Bottom Line
Be sure to check with your doctor, pediatrician, and hospital to see what your hospital or birthing center will provide and also what you will absolutely need to bring. Every hospital is different.
Lucky for you, The Mommy Care Kit has the essential items you need so you can knock out your shopping list in one go. Get your bags packed and ready to go so you can be ready no matter when your baby decides to arrive.
16 Items to Pack in Your Hospital Delivery Bag | Banner Health
Swollen Ankles, Feet, and Fingers in Pregnancy | NHS