Ask the Baby Nurse: What are must-haves in bag for hospital?


Q: What are the must-have items to pre-pack in a hospital bag for delivery?

A: When packing for the big day, focus on the essentials.

As you near the end of your third trimester of pregnancy and start thinking about getting a bag together for the hospital, I have two words of advice: pack light! Having worked with thousands of parents-to-be over the past decade one of the constants I see is a tendency to bring everything, just in case. From scrapbooking projects and a stack of five novels to a DVD library and a complete wardrobe of clothes for mom and baby.  You will likely only be at the hospital for two nights (or four if you have a cesarean section) so you really don’t need a lot. Forget projects, work, or forms of entertainment! You won’t have much downtime during labor and birth – maybe a few minutes to flip through a magazine if you’re getting an epidural – and when you do have time postpartum, you should be spending it resting, bonding with your baby or learning about newborn care from your nurses.

When you start packing for your hospital stay, break it down into two parts. You’ll want a small labor and birth bag, and a small postpartum bag. Something as small as a backpack for each should suffice. You can leave the postpartum bag in the car until you’re settled in your room and then your partner can retrieve it. What should you include in these bags? Here’s a list of must-have items:

Labor and birth Bag:

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and any toiletries that will help you feel yourself!)
  • Slippers
  • Camera
  • Relaxing Music (CD or iPod)
  • Lip Balm
  • Nutritious Snacks
  • One book or magazine

Postpartum Bag:

  • Notebook and pen to jot down any questions (and answers) for nurses, pediatricians, lactation consultants
  • Two sets of your maternity-sized comfortable clothes (such as cotton yoga pants, t-shirts)
  • Nursing tank or bra
  • Going home outfit for mom (comfortable maternity clothes)
  • Going home outfit for baby (weather-appropriate)
  • Baby Blanket

When your new little family leaves the hospital you’ll have plenty on your mind to think about without having to make seven trips to the car with suitcases, vases of flowers and balloons. So in addition to packing light yourself, ask that if friends and family want to bring congratulatory gifts and flowers, they should have them sent to your home instead (and better yet, be in the form of home-cooked, freezable meals!)

The Baby Nurse Bible: Secrets Only a Baby Nurse Can Tell You about Having and Caring for Your Baby

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