While you are packing that hospital bag, don’t forget about yourself! What will you need during your stay? What would make the next few days and nights feel more like home? The best place to start is with a hospital bag checklist just for mom.
If you forget something, don’t fret! The hospital will have most of the things you need, but having the luxury of your own products can help make your time there a little more comfortable.
The Complete Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
When it comes to packing your hospital bag, it is important to think about the comforts of home that can easily packed and carried with you through the hospital.
- Do you have a favorite robe or slippers? Bring them.
- Do you prefer a certain toothpaste? Pack it.
- Do you only sleep well on a particular pillow? Have it at the ready.
Here is a complete hospital bag checklist for mom to help get you started:
The first thing you may want to have ready is your birth plan — if you have decided to have one. A birth plan is a document to write down your wishes before, during, and after birth. From a specific song you’d like playing during delivery to requests for delayed cord clamping, and beyond. It’s a simple and stress-free way for your voice to be heard, even if situations arise on your due date that are more emotional.
Try to keep in mind though, going into labor is not scripted and sometimes birth moves quickly. Things may go differently than you imagined, but with your wishes laid out in your birth plan, your medical team can better accommodate your unique wants and needs.
Most people prefer certain brands of toiletries. While the hospital will likely have toothpaste, shampoo, and soap for you, it is probably far from what you usually use.
If you can, buy travel-sized toiletries for your hospital bag so you can simply toss them before you leave and not worry about lugging large tubes of product. If they don’t come in travel sizes, you can always purchase travel-size containers. This will make it easier on you when it’s time to checkout, and gives you one less thing to worry about!
Simply fill them with your go-to products. Here are some toiletries to remember:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Dry shampoo
- Body wash or bar soap
- Face wash
Hair Ties or Headbands
Pack a few extra hair ties and headbands in your hospital bag if you have long hair. Before labor, you may want to tie your hair back to avoid distractions. Trust us, you probably won’t want your hair anywhere near your face one things get started.
Having your hair tied back may also help when nursing, so you can see what you are doing. The last thing you need is your hair falling in your way or tickling your baby while you are both learning.
If you feel your best when you have make-up on, pack it in your hospital bag. You want to feel as comfortable as you can after giving birth. You may have visitors along with the constant in and out of nurses and doctors, and you will likely snap some pictures during your hospital stay.
Hospital ventilation can be extremely drying. Pack a lip balm to keep your lips from getting dry or cracking. It may also help during labor, when you cannot drink excess liquids, to keep your lips moist.
Most hospitals will provide a gown to be worn during your stay — you know, the thin sheet-like kind with the open back. Most women say these gowns are way too big or slightly itchy. All around it just isn’t ideal for this situation.
During labor and recovery, you may find that the less restricting clothes, the better. A hoodie or sweater might not be the best option though, as they can be difficult to take on and off (especially if you’re nursing).
A soft robe is the perfect solution! It can allow you to be covered when you want to be and provide easy access for skin to skin with your baby and breastfeeding.
Whether you’re recovering from a C-section or vaginal delivery, you’ll want to live in good, stretchy clothes for the next few weeks. Pack a few comfortable maternity clothes that you can wear during recovery. These may include loose cotton dresses, nightgowns, loose-fitting cotton pants, and shirts. Stick to clothes that would still fit a six-month pregnant belly.
Going Home Outfit
Some women may choose to pick out a special going-home outfit. You will likely take pictures of the big day, so wearing an outfit you feel your best in may give you more confidence. A going-home outfit does not have to be anything special. Just make sure to pick something comfortable that can fit a slightly larger than normal belly.
Do not expect to be your pre-pregnancy size immediately after birth. Weight gain in pregnancy is normal, and it takes most women months to a year or longer to lose pregnancy weight.
How fast you lose weight can depend on your body type, whether or not you breastfeed, your dietary and exercise habits.
While hospitals are generally cleaned often, you may not want to walk around them in your bare feet. A pair of cute slippers that are easy to slide on your swollen feet can keep you feeling warm and germ-free. Plus, if you plan to do any walking or light exercise to get contractions going, or help speed up recovery, your postpartum feet will thank you for the extra support.
Not a slipper fan? Bring warm socks with grips on the bottom so you avoid any slips. The hospital will have a pair of these socks for you, but similar to the gowns, they can be oversized and itchy.
Whether you have decided to breastfeed or not, a nursing bra can be incredibly comfortable in the first few weeks postpartum. If you are nursing, you’ll probably be wearing a bra 24/7, at least for now, as the new feeling of fullness will likely leave you needing a little extra support.
Nursing bras are also more convenient than your average bra, as they have flaps over the cups that are fastened with a clasp or button. These flaps can be easily pulled down to feed your baby anywhere, anytime.
The hospital will provide you with plenty of ice packs, pads, and mesh underwear — take it all. And while you are probably dreaming of the day you can throw your maternity undies away, don’t get too hasty. Maternity underwear can help make postpartum a little more comfortable as it will not be tight on your belly.
During the first 24 to 36 days of postpartum, you will experience lochia—postpartum vaginal bleeding. Maternity underwear will offer supportive undergarments to hold sanitary pads in place.
Learning to breastfeed as a first-time mom can be a stressful time. Don’t let yourself end up frustrated by flat hospital pillows when you’re just getting into the groove of things. A nursing pillow is specially designed for this and can provide better support than hospital pillows.
When both you and your baby are relaxed, it may be easier for your baby to latch on.
During your stay at the hospital, you will be in a strange bed with different sheets, all while your body is recovering and taking care of a new baby. If you can bring anything with you to make this space a little more like home, it is most likely your pillow.
They are easy to grab on your way out the door, and you would be surprised at how much a simple thing like your own pillow can help you relax.
Okay, a bath towel may be more of a luxury item than an essential, but have you ever seen hospital towels? They are small, scratchy, and smell like sterile cleaner. If you plan to shower at the hospital, which is highly likely, you may want to consider bringing your own towels.
There is a good probability that you will have some downtime while in the hospital. To help pass the time, bring some entertainment. You can bring a pack of cards, music, movies on your tablet, or a book.
You will likely bring your cellphone and perhaps a tablet with you to the hospital. Don’t forget to bring your chargers. You’ll want to take lots of pictures of your new baby and communicate with family and friends. It is essential to make sure those devices are charged.
Don’t forget your portable speaker if you would like to have music going in the delivery room or recovery room. Whether you choose white noise sounds or soothing music, it will sound better on your speaker than on your phone.
The hospital will usually provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but you will also likely find yourself getting hungry for a snack now and then. Pack some of your favorite non-perishable snacks in your hospital bag to keep up your strength and keep you full. These may include bars, nuts, and dried fruit.
When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag?
Now that you have your hospital bag checklist for mom, you may be wondering when you need to have a hospital bag ready to go. It’s usually a good idea to have your hospital bag ready to go in the third trimester, or around 30 to 35 weeks.
Babies come when they are ready, so it’s better to be prepared if they decide to come early than to panic if you are not ready.
Some items you may plan to take can be outside of the hospital bag, just make sure they are easy to grab, like your pillows, certain entertainment devices, and makeup you use daily.
Now that you have the complete hospital bag checklist for mom, it will be easier to keep your needs in mind while packing. The items you take should help make your hospital stay more comfortable. Want a second opinion? Ask any other moms you know what they took to help make things easier during their birth.
Think about what you regularly use at home, from the little things like toothpaste and hair ties, to comfortable clothes and pillows. Having these items with you can help keep you calm and relaxed during the process of labor and birth.
One last tip to help keep you feeling calm and collected during birth — make sure you have the Expectful App on your phone. Listen to soothing soundscapes or fit in one last meditation before you enter motherhood!