Hospital Checklist – What Should I Pack For Labor and the Baby?

  Photo by  Erol Ahmed  on  Unsplash
Photo by Erol Ahmed  on Unsplash

I was so excited about my first baby I packed my bag two months early. While eight weeks was a bit premature preparation for baby and the hospital stay is a good idea. A bag for labor and a bag for the hospital stay is a smart choice as well. Here are suggestions of what to pack for delivery dad!

Packing for Labor

Searching for your insurance card, hospital paperwork, or your birth plan when contractions start is that last thing you want. Make sure these items are packed in the front pocket of the overnight bag. I also packed important documents for applying for the babies birth certificate. Other items you will want on hand include:

  • A camera with charger or batteries – Or your smartphone you will want to take pictures of your baby and post them online for all to see as soon as possible.
  • Favorite toiletries – There is nothing more luxurious than a shower after labor with your shampoo and conditioner. You may want to pack a trial size lotion too for your face and body.
  • Snacks for you and your man – Some hospitals will not allow you to eat during labor so ask first. Trust me you will want to eat if you have a long labor.
  • Cash for vending machines and possibly parking
  • A swimsuit – For a water birth or a shower during labor if you are allowed.
  • Entertainment – I brought parenting magazines and movies. Only light entertainment, chances are you will not be able to pay attention well.
  • Favorite pillows or blankets – Hospital pillows are the worst, you cannot bring your memory foam bed, but you can bring your pillow.
  • Comfy slippers – Hospital floors are cold and slippery.

Packing for After Labor

  • More snacks – Trust me, hospital food leaves much to be desired, and portions are small for new nursing moms.
  • Toiletries – make sure you have enough for the whole stay. I wanted to shower every day because I smelled like breast milk and just felt icky.
  • Nursing bras, nursing pads, nipple cream – If you do not have nursing bras make sure you have a wire-free nursing bra for the hospital. Bring double a number of nursing pads than you think you need. Your milk might not come in for up to three days but once it does…when it rains, it pours.
  • Maternity underwear – You are not going to be fitting in your pre-pregnancy undies for a few more weeks and trust me you want the extra room. Make sure you take undies you do not care about as they will probably be trash when you leave.
  • Your comfy PJ’s – Bring more than one pair, if your breasts leak you will want a dry pair. I suggest you find nightclothes that are easy to nurse in, button up or designed for nursing.
  • Fuzzy socks – Hospitals are cold!
  • The beautiful baby journal you bought – Your new baby will be sleeping a lot for the first few weeks and hospitals are kind of boring, now is the perfect time to fill in birth weight, length, and all the other details while you still have them memorized.
  • Hair ties – Babies are not fond of being smothered in hair.
  • Makeup – I brought makeup because I wanted to feel pretty for guests. I did not pack a full makeup kit just the essentials face cream, mascara, blush, concealer. Pack what you cannot live without.
  • Eye mask and/or earplugs – Sleeping with lights in the hall and a possibly snoring roommate are not conducive to a restful sleep. You will already have your new bundle of joy there to wake you up every two hours, make them count!
  • Nursing pillow – The beds are standard and small a nursing pillow will be your friend.
  • Towel – My towels are some much softer and generously sized.
  • An extra bag – You will be sent home with a bunch of freebies and gifts from visitors a bag will help so much when loading items from your room to the car.
  • A zip up or button up sweater – The temperature is usually cooler in medical facilities, and you may want a sweater, make sure it provides easy access to nursing your baby.
  • Heavy duty pads or underwear – These will be provided, but they are the cheapest ones and bunch in a very uncomfortable manner. If you have a brand, you would prefer to bring them along for your added comfort.

Packing for Baby

  • Clothes – I only packed the nightgowns with an opening at the bottom, much easier when you are so tired and still in pain. Also, babies are fragile and those first few days they seem even more vulnerable, these gowns make diaper changes a breeze. Most newborns still find the shock of cold air shockingly disturbing and will scream when the air touches their bottom. I also packed a going home outfit. Pack different sizes since there is no way to gauge what size your baby will be wearing.
  • Baby mittens – Babies are born with fingernails, and they will scratch themselves and you too!
  • Pacifier – My first two children wanted nothing to do with pacifiers but my third wanted to nurse 24/7, and it was painful! Bring a couple different styles because your little one might be very picky.
  • Don’t forget to install the car seat – We bought one but didn’t test it out first, turned out it was missing a piece and had to go return it for a new one after the baby was born.
  • A blanket – Preferably crocheted with love by Grandma. Hospital blankets are very thin and stiff, newborns love to be swaddled.

What You Will Not Need

  • A breast pump – The hospital will provide one for while you are there. You can bring yours in if you need help to operate the device, a nurse or veteran mom should be willing to help.
  • Diapers – The hospital will supply diapers, which is good because those first few days it seemed like my newbies went through two packs!
  • Valuables – Your mind will be on your baby, do not bring anything so small or valuable it could be stolen or left behind.
  • Talk to the doctor before packing medicine.

For women having a cesarean section, their stay could be as long as four days while vaginal birth only requires a two-day stay under normal circumstances. Make sure to pack accordingly if you will be there for longer. Seriously, do not forget the snacks. A thermos of coffee might be warranted in this situation as well.

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