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Packing Your Hospital Bag

As your due date approaches, it's a good idea to get your bags ready if you haven't already (or if they're only partially packed). This is important whether you're preparing for a home birth or a trip to the hospital.

Hospital Logistics

Hospitals offer a tour to familiarize you with the facilities. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn where to check in, and park, and what to expect when the time comes.

When packing, focus on essentials and keep your bags manageable. You'll likely need to move from one room to another (L and D to Postpartum), so consider packing one bag for clothes and another for toiletries and electronics.

Typically, if you deliver vaginally, you will stay in the hospital for one to two days. For those delivering via c-section, the hospital stay is usually longer, ranging from three to four days. Consider this when deciding what to pack in your hospital bag.

Hospital Logistics
Packing Luggage

Packing

Most hospitals have Wi-Fi available throughout. If you want to stay connected, bring your laptop, iPad, or smartphone—although you might prefer to leave this to your partner so you can focus on other things.

If music helps you relax during labor, consider bringing a Bluetooth speaker.

Check with the hospital to ensure they can accommodate any specific preferences you have for labor, such as using a birthing ball or accessing a bathtub.

Hospital Dining Food options vary by hospital, but larger facilities typically offer meal services during daytime hours. Be prepared with lots of snacks in case you find yourself hungry during off-hours. Also, I have yet to find a hospital cafeteria that serves GOOD food!

What to Pack For yourself:

  • Comfortable socks and slippers

  • Toiletries

  • Cell phone charger

  • A robe for walking around during labor

  • Pajamas or nursing tops and bottoms (choose items you don't mind getting dirty)

  • Nursing bras (optional but useful)

  • Loose clothing for your journey home

 

Here's how you can plan your snacks for your hospital bag:

Make sure to pack a variety of snacks to keep you energized and satisfied during your stay. Include items from each of these categories:

  • Salty: Pretzels, Goldfish crackers

  • Sweet: Hard candies, M&M's, gummy candy

  • Protein: Beef jerky, protein bars

  • Healthy/Fresh: Granola bars, dried fruit, carrot sticks

These snacks will not only benefit you during labor but also afterward. Consider checking out nearby restaurants that deliver for your first post-birth meal if you prefer to skip hospital food (check with your hospital or birthing center for guidelines). Don't forget to bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your stay.

Packing

Here's a tailored list of essentials your birth partner or support person should pack:

  • Personal items like clothes, toiletries, and flip flops (for shower comfort)

  • Entertainment devices such as a book, iPad, laptop, or headphones. Download new podcasts or shows for downtime.

  • A lightweight sleeping bag and pillow for added comfort during the stay in the hospital or birth center.

  • Push Present :)

Personal Essentials

Here's what you should prepare for your baby's essentials:

  • A car seat: Essential if you're driving home—you won't be allowed to leave the hospital without one, and it should already be installed.

  • Coming-home outfits: Pack two different outfits in varying sizes to accommodate your baby's unknown size. Include one outfit in newborn size and another in 0-3 months, and remember hats and/or socks if needed for warmth.

  • Contact information for your pediatrician: Have this readily available as doctors and nurses will ask for it multiple times. 
     

Remember not to bring diapers or wipes—the hospital will supply these. Consider bringing an extra bag to collect the freebies you'll receive from the hospital.

Baby's Essentials
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