Every mom-to-be is faced with the daunting task of packing their hospital bag. As a team of moms who have all been there before, we have compiled a list of our must-have items to make packing a breeze.
Your due date is looming, and it's time to start packing your hospital bag. Getting this right will make your stay significantly more comfortable. The key is to tick off the essentials without overpacking. The more you bring the harder it can be to find what you need. All new parents will have slightly different items packed in their hospital bag, but the key items will all be the same. To make this process a little easier for you we have asked our Hotmilk team of mamas for their must-haves hospital bag items.
When to pack your hospital bag
Your hospital bag should be packed around 36 weeks or 37 weeks pregnant, as labor can start early, so it is best to be organised. Instead of looking at packing your bag as overwhelming, make it a fun weekend activity with a partner or friend. There will be some essential items, such as a car seat, but there will also be extras you may want to add for ambience. We have split our list into essentials and nice to-haves to take away any of the guesswork. Happy reading!
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag
First pack everything you need for the hospital.
- Comfortable clothes. Comfy clothing is critical for pregnancy and postpartum. We suggest avoiding anything too restrictive. A good way to decide what to bring is to imagine you have just had a shower after a long day. What items do you reach for? This could be joggers, camisole, postpartum leggings, or a cosy pullover. One thing to consider if you are planning on breastfeeding is making sure your tops are breastfeeding-friendly. We have a range of beautiful, supportive camisoles perfect for the hospital and beyond.
- Multifit wirefree nursing bras. All going well post-birth, your baby will start to cluster feed to help bring your milk in. Once your milk arrives, your breasts will change. A multi-fit nursing bra will stretch and grow with you during this process. We recommend wirefree for your hospital stay and also those initial weeks when the baby is born as you want to be super comfortable and you need a bra that won’t dig in. Wire-free styles are far more able to accommodate you if your breasts do get bigger.
- A robe. A comfortable robe will be your best friend! It is excellent for a vaginal delivery or a C-section. Perfect over PJs or straight after the shower.
- Toiletries. These are essential. You will want your hairbrush, regular and or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, extra hair ties, face wipes and body wash.
- Your birth plan. It is great to have a few copies of your birth plan printed and ready to go. In regards to the birth plan please keep in mind that plans change, so it is best to keep an open mind. Remember all births are beautiful and take an incredible amount of strength!
- Slippers & Crocs/Flip Flops. When it comes to footwear, think comfort and ease on and off.
- An extra-long phone charger. Finding an electrical outlet in a hospital can be difficult. Depending on how your birth goes, it may be painful to twist in bed to check your phone.
- Snacks and drinks. Pack a reusable water bottle. We suggest getting one with a straw as it will make drinking water while in labor easier. Post birth you may want an electrolyte drink, like Gatorade or coconut water. You’ll also want some easy-to-eat snacks, like bars, pretzels, dried fruit, and a few bits of candy to keep your sugar up if you are struggling to eat. We have put together a list of our favorite hospital bag snacks below.
- Pillows and a bath towel. There is something so comforting about a towel and pillow from home. Things like this will make your hospital stay significantly more enjoyable. We also suggest bringing a feeding pillow.
- Nipple cream. If you’re planning to breastfeed, your nipples will appreciate you being so proactive. We also love the Silverette cups. SILVERETTE® are mini nursing cups that are worn over the nipples, helping to prevent, protect and alleviate painful, damaged nipples from breastfeeding. Made of 925 sterling silver, SILVERETTE® nursing cups take advantage of the natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of silver, providing a healing environment for breastfeeding nipples. They are non-toxic, eco-friendly and so easy to use!
- Adult diapers and other postpartum care products. We suggest bringing adult diapers and postpartum pads. The pads can be paired with Hotmilk's Leak Proof underwear for extra protection. Experts suggest wearing a diaper or pad where you can see the postpartum blood.
Hospital Bag Nice-to-haves:
- Tens machine. A TENS machine is a small, battery-operated device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes.You attach the pads directly to your skin. When the machine is switched on, small electrical impulses are delivered to the affected area of your body, which you feel as a tingling sensation. The electrical impulses can reduce the pain signals going to the spinal cord and brain, which may help relieve pain and relax muscles. This can be great during labor.
- A birthing comb is a regular hair comb. Any comb with teeth (not a brush) will work. When you hold a comb, keep the teeth pointing just below where your fingers meet your palm helps provide a distraction during labor, helping take away the pain.
- Swiss ball. During labor, a birthing ball can reduce the pain of your contractions.
- Portable Bluetooth speaker and Spotify playlist. Playing music during labor can be really helpful to some moms. If you make a playlist, add a lot of songs to it—labor can last 24-plus straight hours, and you don’t want to listen to the same 10 songs over and over the entire time. Though you may find you just want silence!
- A diffuser, battery fairy lights, and fake candles can create a nice atmosphere for birth.
- Camera - If you want polaroids or high res photos don't forget to bring a camera.
What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag for Baby
After your hospital bag has everything for you, then move on to the essentials for the baby.
- A car seat. If you’re driving home, this is non-negotiable—they won’t let you take your baby home from the hospital without a car seat and it should be already installed. A lot of retailers will help with the install make sure to ask when you are making your purchase.
- A going-home outfit. Pack a number of outfits in different sizes as you won't know how big or small they are until they arrive. When in doubt go with newborn and 0-3 months. Also don’t forget hats and/or socks. As a rule of thumb a newborn should always wear one more layer than an adult. If the outfits you are packing are new make sure they have been washed with sensitive detergent beforehand.
- Your pediatrician’s contact information. The doctors and nurses will ask you for this information several times, so it’s good to have it handy. Include the email or fax number for the pediatrician’s office so they can easily forward your baby’s medical records.
- Do not bring diapers or wipes! The hospital has all the diapers and wipes you’ll need.
What your support person should bring
A support person is the person you have asked to be there for the birth, this could be a partner, a parent or a friend. Their job as a support person is crucial. They are there to advocate for the mother. The support person is often at the hospital for the entire birth process, as such they will need all of the basics, such as a change of clothes and toiletries. Aside from the basics, also consider a lightweight sleeping bag, plenty of snacks and an ipad or laptop.
Now you are all packed we suggest doing a trial run to the hospital, this will give you a good idea about the travel time and parking. So when the time comes you know exactly where and when to go. This is also a great opportunity for your support person to scope out where the best local coffee is located.
A few snacks we love for the hospital.
- Granola bars
- Protein bars
- Fresh fruit
- Beef jerky
- Nuts or trail mix
- Dried fruit
- Easy to eat candy - m&ms or gummies
- Electrolyte drinks.
We wish you the very best on your journey!