The most frustrating issue with reviewing these various hospital bag lists is it seems like they are either a mile long or outlandishly expensive. Everything advises to go ahead and have your hospital bag packed ahead of time, so what do you really need to do and worry about? Though I do have my checklist on what to do before the baby arrives.
In addition to all the other zany things we have to pack a hospital bag during a pandemic, it was also rather hard to keep it all organized. I’m right at 21 weeks so I and my guy have started ordering stuff. I hope to have all orders done for our hospital bag around 28 weeks.
I wanted to get a head start in case there was some weird problem during item delivery so everything would be here by the danger zone. Most on my list is coming from Target or Amazon, everything else has been supplied by family.
WHEN TO PACK A HOSPITAL BAG
The usual advice is to pack your hospital bag about a month or so in advance and usually keep it near your door. If you end up with an emergency situation, it helps to have everything read so you grab your bag and go. The main thing is having the bag ready before labor begins and accounting for any possible premie situations.
The general rule of thumb is no later than 37 weeks. The pack will need to be packed for yourself, your partner, and the baby.
YOUR HOSPITAL BAG ESSENTIALS
- Birth plan
- Medical, photo ID, and insurance information
- Maternity bra/nursing bra, most recommend no underwire in either for comfort
- Maternity clothing for labor, or if allowed, a birthing gown.
- Toiletries and any cosmetics
- Underwear, disposable paper ones preferred
- Maternity pads besides hospital issued ones
- Breast pads
- Comfortable maternity clothing or nightwear for after delivery
- Front-opening tops to make breastfeeding easier
- A robe
- Cell phone chargers
- Bathroom and face wipes
The general advice I’ve heard about this is you want a lot of your clothing stuff to be in the category of disposable if needed to be disposed of. Things tend to get messy depending on how stuff goes, so don’t buy things that are high ticket in case you end up in a situation where you want to toss them.
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR BIRTH PARTNER
- Food, snacks, and drinks as well as the vending machine cash
- Change of clothes
- Book or some kind of entertainment device
- Toiletries, such as deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste
- Change for the hospital car park unless they switched to the credit card payment options
- Camera/ Mobile phone
- Chargers for electronics
- List of any required phone numbers
Important to note that hospitals feed the mom, but dad will have to fend for himself usually. Most of the food and snacks will be to make sure dad is able to stay around and still be able to eat and feel comfortable.
Hospitals still seem to be a bit weird with Covid still being a thing. Some apparently are allowing dads to check out and leave and go get food. Other hospitals might not want dad leaving the hospital once checked in. Also seems locations change up the rules according to their perceived risk so the general consensus is to get your dad packed up with food and cash for drinks just in case.
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR BABY
- A car seat. The hospital won’t allow you to go home from the hospital without a car seat. It should be purchased and installed before time.
- Going-home clothing: Pack a few different outfits so you have size options, like newborn and up to 3 months. You also need to take into consideration the time of year and any cold-weather protection you might need. Pack season-appropriate head covering to protect from cold or sun.
- Pediatrician’s contact information: You might want this for ironing out medical records.
- Bottles: Even if you plan to do breastfeeding the bulk of the time, it helps to have bottles on hand depending on how the situation goes.
- Diapers or wipes: Hospitals usually supply everything you need in this department. You may choose to pack your own anyway.
- Swaddles: You may want your own swaddling options as one of the things I’ve heard in passing is to pack your own swaddles. The general opinion is hospital blankets don’t swaddle very well, so it helps to have your own. Plus, depending on your photo desires you may want all for clothing and swaddle choices to be specific.
Not sure if there is anything left off the list, but this should cover the major topics of concern.