We know you are feeling many things as you await your sweet baby. There are things you can do to feel prepared and quell any feelings of nervousness or anxiety, and packing your hospital go-bag is one of them! It is recommended to pack your go-bag a few weeks prior to your due date. Week 36 or 37 is a safe bet considering some little ones come earlier than expected!
Items like your toothbrush, toothpaste, glasses, cell phone and charger, can wait to be packed until the last minute. Double check your go bag list before heading out to make sure you don't forget these last minute items! Babies often come a few weeks before or after their due date so it’s better to be prepared! No matter where you give birth, whether in a hospital, birthing center, or at home, you’re going to want your necessities packed and ready so you don’t have to go looking for anything.
But what to bring? Hospitals and birthing centers will provide basic amenities, but there are some extra amenities you will want with you for a comfortable birthing experience. Before packing, call the facility you will be at to learn exactly what they provide.
The amenities that are offered may differ a bit from facility to facility. Most hospitals and birthing centers provide hospital gowns, grip socks, cups of ice to chew, water, disposable mesh underwear, pillows, blankets and sanitary pads. Items usually provided for baby are diapers for preemie, newborn and size 1, wipes, swaddle blankets, hospital branded onesies and knit hat, pacifiers and formula.
- ID. Identification, insurance cards and any other documents your doctor has instructed you to bring to admission are important for check-in.
- Birth plan. A birth plan is, of course, an outline of your preferences during labor and delivery. It’s important to have a plan ahead of time so that decisions are less complicated in the heat of the moment. Decisions like whether or not you want to take pain medication, where you want to give birth, which support person you’d like by your side and so on, are all apart of your birth plan. As seasoned mamas everywhere know, sometimes your labor and delivery may not go as intended. That’s okay! It’s normal for things to happen that you cannot foresee. If this is the case, it is important to go with the flow and make the best decisions from the options given to you.
- Postpartum clothing. Loose fitting clothes or a robe are ideal for a comfortable hospital stay and trip home. A nursing bra, slipper socks and slip-on shoes are also great articles of clothing to pack!
- Toiletries. Hairbrush, dry shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, hair ties, face wipes or wash, extra contacts or glasses.
- Hydrate. Although your care facility will have ice to chew and water to drink, bringing a drink of your choice is always very satisfying after all your hard work. Mineral water or a drink with electrolytes can replenish you and really hit the spot!
- Cell phone and charger. Be prepared to share the wonderful news with your friends and family!
- Nipple cream. To soothe and protect your nipples if you plan to breastfeed.
- Comfortable shoes. Think slippers or flip-flops.
- Pillows and bath towels. While standard versions of these will be provided by your care facility, bringing your own from home may make your experience much more comfortable!
- Perineal spray. Traditionally an herbal solution used to alleviate discomfort from pregnancy and childbirth, this is a common option for mamas postpartum.
- Car seat. Your hospital or birth center will not release your baby to leave the hospital with you unless you have a car seat. Installing it long before your due date will save you the time and hassle of figuring it out during the excitement of labor. This also means you will not have to run home and get it after delivery!
- Going home outfit. Although you will be given a standard onesie, you may want to bring a cute outfit to welcome baby home in.
- Pediatricians contact info for the hospital.
- Bottles if you are using.
For Partner or Support Person
- Lots of snacks! Labor may last a very long time. Bringing snacks for you and mom-to-be means you will not have to leave the room to find sustenance, and risk missing any of the action.
- General entertainment. Book, iPad, laptop, headphones or similar items are a good idea to bring. Be sure to keep them close as you don’t want to lose anything during the excitement of the day!