The hospital go-bag is important to have ready as you reach closer to the due date. We had ours ready in the car with the car seat installed. My husband and I are notoriously good at leaving things by the door on our way out so, this was the best option. A big thing was I didn’t know what to pack. Luckily I had a mom-friend who went through it before I did and helped me pack my bag! So here is the ultimate hospital bag list, which I have cut down from massive lists I found online.
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When should you pack a hospital go-bag? I packed my go-bag 1 month before my due date. Some may have it ready much earlier others later but I feel that it is a good time a month before your expected delivery date. It isn’t so early that you might overlook things you’ll need and not too late that you will forget something important.
What to pack for Mom
1. Your birth plan
It is important to have a copy of your birth plan. During labor pains, it’s not ideal to explain what you want to your health care providers. It is nice to have it available so everyone is on the same page.
I didn’t have a birth plan myself, but my delivery was quick and very straight forward. However, other deliveries can be complex and not always be what you expected or wanted. Having your birth plan will help doctors, nurses and midwives know what you want and try their best to honor your wishes.
2. Comfortable clothes
Take an extra pair of comfortable clothes. You never know when you’ll need it. When my daughter was born, I was there for the normal 24 hours so I didn’t need extra clothes. However, my friend was at the hospital for multiple days due to her child having jaundice. I remember her specifically saying that she wished she had a change of comfortable clothes.
3. Going home clothes
You don’t need so many extra clothes, you can double up and have your comfortable clothes to be your going home clothes. Before I was discharged from the hospital, I took a shower and got dressed in my “going home clothes” and went home clean. It was the best feeling.
4. Adult diapers
I would recommend these adult diapers. Many people don’t talk about it but after your baby is born, you will have bleeding for many weeks. This is due to your uterus contracting and expelling layers of tissue that are no longer needed now that your baby is born.
The hospital provides you with mesh underwear and a massive sanitary pads. This works just fine, however, I found it uncomfortable. The pad moved around a lot and it was painful as I was tender down under (oh you know from giving birth). The adult diapers were more comfortable and provided better protection.
You will likely be at the hospital for at least one night. After giving birth, you will be sweaty and uncomfortable and not as clean as you would like. Likely you won’t want to shower right away (some do, but I was too tired and in pain), but at least you can clean your face and brush your teeth.
6. Water bottle
Most hospitals will have drinking water dispensers. Having water at your leisure helps a lot. Make it feel more comfortable and you are going to want water at your beck and call.
7. Nipple cream
If you choose to breastfeed, you’re going to want some nipple cream as you’ll likely be trying to feed your baby from the get-go. The first while is the most painful. Using nipple cream after it starts to crack and bleed doesn’t help as much as protecting it before it gets to that point. This nipple cream is natural and safe. No need to wipe off before feeding baby. Nipple cream is a must on the ultimate hospital bag list.
I started right away and didn’t suffer the crack and bleeding nipples that many other new moms do. It is also important to get a good latch. Check out Kelly Mom for more on breastfeeding.
8. Phone charger
Likely when the labor starts you’re not thinking, I should charge my phone so it’s ready to go when we have to leave for the hospital. If you do think like that, you’re a superstar but I had a planned appointment and I didn’t even do that. You’re going to want a fully charged phone to call family, take photos and capture memories of that amazing day. If you’re looking for a photographer to capture the first moments check out my list of recommended photographers, who do something called Fresh 48!
9. Pillows and towels
I personally didn’t do this but I know a few girlfriends who have. You are in labour, you’re going to be uncomfortable. Bring things with you that will make you as comfortable as possible. I didn’t mind the pillows but I wish I brought my own towel. The hospital towels were rough and too small.
10. Labor Aids
The hospital will provide certain labor aids but if you have something specific planned, you should make sure you pack it. It is always better to have aids and tools to help you through this time that you are comfortable using.
Also even though they clean all the labor aids, maybe you would feel more comfortable with your own instead of a “community” one.
11. Comfortable Slippers
When you’re labouring at the hospital you will want to move around to help the process along. Make sure you take some comfortable slippers. I personally don’t like being barefoot in public places so I brought along my birkenstocks and wore my socks. Easy on and easy off.
12. Lip Balm
Lip balm is a must, through all your breathing your lips will dry and again you want to be as comfortable as possible. Even after the birth, bring and do what you can to make yourself comfortable.
13. Hair tie
If you have long hair, a hair tie or a scrunchie is a must. You’re going to want your hair out of the way. Minimize the potential discomforts and irritations.
The labour is different for different people. You may run hot but there’s a possibility that you may get very cold. Be prepared and bring a pair of socks. My mom would always tell me, warm feet makes all the difference.
15. “Welcome to the World” first photo props
You may want to take the official “first photos” of your newborn baby. If you decide to do a Fresh 48 or photos during the labor process (apparently it is a thing) you will want to bring all your props. This is a common and popular prop.
What to pack for Baby
Likely you will be driving home with your brand new baby and a car seat is a must! Make sure you install the base ahead of time so you want to make your going home journey is as smooth as possible. We got the Uppababy because it was an easy on and off from car to stroller but I would highly recommend Clek! Checkout the Liing car seat. Make sure you have a car seat on your ultimate hospital bag list.
2. Going home clothes
Make sure you have a fresh pair of clothes for your baby to go home in. Likely they will be wrapped in towels or something else that the hospital provides for you but you’re going to want something to take your baby home in.
3. Swaddling blanket
A swaddling blanket is something you want to put on your hospital bag list. After your baby is born and cleaned up you will want to wrap your beautiful newborn in a clean swaddle that you chose just for them.
If it is also your first time becoming a mom, you might want to learn how to properly swaddle your child. This is a personal choice not all parents want to swaddle their child but I recommend it and so does the sleep expert, Cara from Taking Cara Babies.
4. Socks and hat
You will want to bring a pair of socks and a hat for your little one. Hospitals are usually maintained at a set temperature. I always found that it is usually on the cooler end. Your baby cannot yet regulate their body temperature so you will want to help with that by doing skin on skin and with a pair of socks and a hat.
What to pack for Dad
1. Change of clothes
I hope this is pretty straight forward. During our 24 hour stay at the hospital, my husband was busy taking care of our babe and taking care of me as I endured my first 24 hours of recovery.
He didn’t have much time to shower or do much but it helped him feel refreshed with a change of clothes. Also you never know when you will go into labour. Who knows what your husband will be coming from: the office, the gym, it’s hard to know. It would be nice to have a change of comfortable clean clothes.
The labour can take a while, having snacks ready to go will help your husband feel re-energized for the big moment. Snacks are also great to have for after giving birth. Some women become moms at 3 AM. It’s hard to find something to eat at this time. Pack some snacks that will help you feel energized after the long labour process.
3. Pillow and sleeping bag
We didn’t think to bring a pillow or a sleeping bag. Thankfully our hospital had a small couch and provided pillows. Many hospitals might not provide these luxuries. So I would recommend bringing a pillow and a sleeping bag so dad can get the rest he needs every 2 hours between feedings.
Having cash handy during times like this is just helpful. Whether it might be for parking, snacks in the vending machine and other possible cash required scenarios. I would say $20 in small bills is enough.
5. Tablet or some kind of entertainment
Depending on your labour, it could be a time of intense support from your husband or a waiting game. Likely you will not be using it but it’s nice to have in case you need it.
Sometimes during labour you might be in the tub to help with the pain or maybe your plan is to have a tub birth. Your husband is going to want a swimsuit to be therefore you 100%
7. Camera (full battery)
The birth of your child is life-changing. I recommend taking many pictures and as many videos as you can! It doesn’t matter if they are close up or even if they are not staged, beautiful, or perfect. You will want to look back on these photos and remember this moment. I always encourage having professional photos taken because the person taking the photos always miss out on creating the memories. Check out my list of Vancouver photographers that I love working with!
I’ve created for you the Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist. There are also some empty spaces for you to add your own items! Click below and don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for more great tips and posts for you! If you liked this post, save to Pinterest!