What’s a fun and functional project for the last month of pregnancy? Packing your family’s well-stocked hospital bag. En route to the hospital with contractions already happening isn’t the time to be worrying about what you’ve brought with you. Because babies often come early, having your bag packed at least a month in advance is a good idea. And you can relax more knowing that both your and your family’s needs are covered, whether you’re in the hospital or birthing center.
WHO TO PACK FOR
It’s obvious that you will pack what you need for yourself and for bringing baby home. For each woman that will be different in some ways and universal in others. Check out our post about Mom’s Ready-to-Go Hospital Bag.
If your family is going to the hospital or birthing center, you’ll want to plan ahead for those long labor and delivery hours. When you pack far enough in advance you have time to consider:
- Your partner or labor coach
- Your other children
- Your children’s caretaker
Knowing that your family’s well-stocked hospital bag has what everyone will need frees your mind from unconscious worrying and allows you to simply focus on the big job at hand.
YOUR PARTNER OR LABOR COACH
While this essential person will probably be with you 90% of the time, they will have their own needs. Here are some of the most important ones:
- ID (preferably a photo identification card)
- Insurance card
- Mobile phone
- Camera — including charger, batteries, and memory card
- Money — paper, coins, and credit card
- Laptop with charging cord & earbuds/headphones
- Change of clothes for after the birth
- Change of shoes, if needed for inclement weather or comfort
- Bathing suit (in case you want to go into the bath or shower together)
- Personal items
- toiletries (toothbrush, deodorant, floss, brush/comb)
- Magazines or books
- Water bottle
- Important phone numbers to call after everything’s over and you’re settled in
- Car seats (installed) for new baby + older children
YOUR OTHER CHILDREN
Having familiar toys or foods will help make the waiting time easier and more fun. And it’ll make life easier for their caretaker, too! You can make packing for the ‘special day’ a fun thing you do with your other children, to help them feel involved, important, and cared for. Maybe have a special backpack just for this occasion and stock it with:
- Toys – not the Legos with a million pieces!
- Laptops or games
- charging cords
- earbuds or headphones
- Coloring books and crayons (not markers)
- Water, juice
- Sippy cup
- Protein and carb snacks instead of sugary ones
- Comfy clothing and shoes
- Extra set of clothes
- Diapers, if necessary
- Butt cream, if necessary
- Changing towel or blanket
- Special blanket or stuffed animal to help with napping
- Toothbrush & paste
If you’re bringing children with you of any age, they will need an adult with them. Making sure that important person has what they need to be comfortable and attentive will give your children the best experience in the hospital or birthing center.
- Remind caretaker to have their own photo ID, mobile phone + charger, medications
- Phone number of your partner
- Money for vending machines or parking
- Eating or napping instructions
- Laptop password
- Any special instructions for toys
- Reading material
- Secret ‘Thank-you’ note for them to find
Our fun and functional hospital bag checklist is full of other suggestions.
It helps a lot to know that your family has what they need. That way, you can give your full attention to relaxing, breathing with those baby-bringing contractions, and welcoming baby to your world.
To learn more about hospital preparations, download our free Birth Plan eBook now. After three years of research, collaboration with more than 100 childbirth experts and resource centers from Healthy Child Healthy World to the American Association of Neonatal Nurses, the Best Ever Baby Birth Plan Guide is available for a free download.
This new resource for pregnant families is a compilation of top tips and advice from more than 20 nationally-recognized experts in the field including renowned pediatrician, Dr. Alan Greene and GraceFull Birthing founder, midwife Elizabeth Bachner. These trusted experts offer thoughtful guidance for whatever type of birthing experience parents want, in whichever setting they choose.
Published: January 24, 2017 | By SP Turgon, Certified Labor Doula | Reviewed by: The Best Ever Baby Expert Team | Last reviewed: January, 2017