For first time expecting mothers, a thousand things are likely crossing your mind in anticipation for that big day. It’s exciting and irresistible to plan ahead. The idea for decorating your baby’s room, the type of toys you want to buy them, even the baby’s education plan! As fun as this can be, make sure that you don’t forget to prepare the essentials once it’s your time to head over to the hospital. Here’s The Labor Hospital Bag Checklist For First Time Parents.
What Do I Bring To The Hospital?
Some hospitals provide some maternity items. However, if you think you’re a little picky or just feel that you’ll be more comfortable with your choice of stuff, make sure that your diaper bag comes complete with everything you’ll need and want. If you’re on the practical or thrifty side, know what items you’ll be receiving from the hospital and just bring everything else that’s not provided.
What follows is a list of what you’ll want to include in your diaper bag so you can have less to worry about once the big day arrives. You can categorize them accordingly based on whether you’ll use them during or after your labor and whether the items are for you, your baby, or even your partner.
1. Relevant documents and papers
Bring your health insurance card, your birth plan, any pre-registration forms you have received from the hospital and a valid form of identification. Keep these important papers well-organized in a large envelope or file folder that will make it easier for your partner to find whatever may be needed. You may also want to include a list of names and contact numbers of people you’d like to be notified after delivery immediately.
2. Comfortable clothing you can wear for labor
It’s recommended that you wear clothing that will make you feel comfortable as you go through labor, will not be an obstacle during the process, and will be easy to wash if it gets dirty or soiled. Since labor can take several hours, don’t feel as if you have to stay in a hospital gown the entire time. As long as you are wearing a loose and comfortable clothes like a sleeveless or short loose-sleeved nightgown, a warm robe, or a sweater, you’ll probably find yourself much more comfortable until it’s time to begin to push.
3. Pair of socks
Some hospitals will provide this for you, but if you’re particular about the kind of socks you like to wear, bring two to three pairs of comfortable, non-skid, and easy to wash socks with you. You’ll be thankful when you take your walks around the hospital corridors.
4. Shawl or Bathrobe
Wrap yourself with an extra layer of clothing to make you feel warm and comfortable as you walk around the hospital, especially after delivery.
5. Several pairs of undies
You may want to bring several pairs of your panties. Don’t fool yourself. Delivering a baby can be very messy, both before and afterward. If you don’t want to wear disposable hospital undies, packing several pairs of your own can be an excellent idea.
6. Bath towel
Some hospitals will provide you with items like bath towels but don’t expect a plush, luxurious experience. Bring your own if you want some extra comfort.
7. Flip flops
Your feet might be too swollen for your shoes after birth, so bring a pair of flip-flops or sandals just in case.
8. Toiletries and personal items
You’ll be staying a few days in the hospital or at least overnight. Make sure you bring toiletries and personal items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a contact lens case and solution if you wear contacts, a hairbrush, lip balm, a headband or hair bands, and heavy duty sanitary pads. Just as you would when traveling, make sure to keep your toiletries in small packs or travel-sized containers.
9. Change and cash
Have at least enough money to spend on vending machine snacks, drinks or any other miscellaneous items you might need to buy during your stay.
10. Pen and paper
Always keep this pair handy. You’ll need your spouse to fill out and sign some forms especially during checking out.
11. Cell phone and charger
Do you ever forget to bring your cell phone with you when you’re in a hurry? You probably won’t when it comes to packing for the hospital, but make sure to take the charger with you. If you plan on bringing other electronic devices, bring their corresponding chargers as well. You may want to bring your video camera and extra memory cards.
12. Extra bags
Bring a couple of extra bags for dirty stuff you need to bring home.
13. Sugar-free candies
Sugar-free candies will keep your mouth from drying out during labor, so it’s good to have them. Sweets with sugar in them are no good, as they will only make you thirsty in the long run.
14. Nursing supplies
If you plan on breastfeeding your newborn, bring a set of nursing supplies such as breast pads, lanolin cream, nursing bras, a pump, cooling gel pads, and a nursing pillow.
15. Change of clothes
Bring several changes of clothes for yourself and your partner or whoever will be staying in with you at the hospital. Make sure you pack comfortable clothes in the right size – your baby bump isn’t going to go away overnight, though it will start to diminish over the next few days and weeks.
16. Your baby’s homecoming outfit
Some families prepare a big homecoming party for the newest member of their family. It’ll be great to see your child in a suitably unique homecoming outfit as well. Even if you’re not planning on any party, dressing up your baby in their homecoming clothes is an exciting idea. It’s recommended to wrap your baby in receiving blankets, a soft cap, mittens, and socks or booties that are appropriate to the weather outside.
17. Approved car seat for the baby
Before you and your child check out for release, make sure that you have already installed a rear-facing car seat for your child. Your hospital will likely not allow you to travel with your baby without an appropriate seat (although hospital in second and third world countries do) or until they have ensured that your chosen infant car seat is installed correctly.
When Is The Best Time To Start Packing?
Around 32 weeks into your pregnancy is the ideal time to start packing your diaper bag with the essentials. Knowing that you’ve got a fully-packed and stocked bag with what you’ll need for your labor and recovery, ready to go right by the front door, can help you sleep a little better at night.
There you go. The list might seem overwhelming, but you have a lot of time to pack. Pack in advance, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.:)
Did I forget to include anything?
Please let me know in the comments section if you have anything else to add. Comments and suggestions are highly welcomed. 🙂