Even though you have plenty to do in the third trimester, you will want to make time to pack your hospital bag.
And if you are packing your hospital bag, that means you are one step closer to bringing baby home! So exciting! It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of prepping the nursery and getting things ready for your baby, and a list of what to pack in your hospital bag will come in handy! In the weeks before having my baby, I asked moms in my area what I should pack, and the answers varied a bit. I don’t know if I asked moms who were polar opposites or what, but I was left without a good idea of what I needed to bring for my hospital stay!
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WHEN TO PACK YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
A good rule of thumb is to pack your hospital bag when you are around 35 weeks pregnant. You can pack it earlier if you feel the need, or if you are at risk of an early delivery. At the very least it’s recommended that you have it packed by 38 weeks, because you don’t want to be rushing around like a crazy head if you go into labor!
The easiest way to pack your hospital bag is to pack everything that you can go without using those last weeks, and then write everything else down and place it on top of your bag for you to pack right before you leave!
This way you won’t rush out of the house without your toothbrush or phone charger. To make things easier, I separated the list into three parts: the essentials, things to pack before you leave, and things that are good to have but not totally necessary. Dad and baby do not need much in their bags, but we will cover that too.
ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR HOSPITAL BAG
Comfortable clothes: You will want your clothes to be loose and practical. It’s also a good idea to bring shorts and pants because your room may be hot or cold, or you may have a hormonal hot flash or two! I actually loved the hospital gowns and stayed in them my whole visit. I may forgo bringing extra clothes at all with my next baby.
Pajamas-Again, pack for heat or cold!
Comfortable outfit for you to wear home: probably a maternity shirt or big t-shirt and some leggings!
Nursing tanks if you plan to breastfeed
Nursing bra if you plan to breastfeed. If you don’t plan to breastfeed you should pack a few tight sports bras (like a size or two smaller than your usual size.)
Big underwear that you don’t care about: Some women love the big mesh underwear they give you at the hospital (I did) but others don’t. If you aren’t sure, go ahead a pack of few pair of comfy underwear that you don’t mind staining.
Socks: I packed socks but found the hospital ones to work just fine for me. If you choose to pack and wear your own socks, bring ones that you don’t mind throwing away. (You may be surprised how messy things get postpartum, and yes, blood may get on your socks.)
Cheap flip flops: These will come in handy if hospital shower floors gross you out. I did not use the ones I packed, maybe I was just too tired to care, I’m not sure. If you think you will care, go ahead and bring them.
Slippers: I just walked around in the hospital socks but you may want slippers or another kind of slip on shoe to walk around the hospital in!
Your own pillow: Hospital pillows are pretty much the worst pillows ever. I’m not being dramatic, they are pretty bad. I was so glad I brought my own pillow from home!
Hair ties or pony tail holders: To keep your hair out of your way during labor and for overall comfort and convenience.
Boppy pillow: Breastfeeding or not, you are gonna want to bring the boppy pillow with you! I didn’t breastfeed and it still made things so much easier!
Chapstick/Lip Balm: This is something everyone says you must have. My lips didn’t get too dry but I would still recommend packing it.
Snacks: You will probably be starving after you have your baby, so having snacks nearby will be essential!
Bottled water: It will be handy to have a few bottles of water in your room so you don’t have to bother a nurse every time you get thirsty.
Cash/Change for the vending machine: If you would rather not pack your own snacks, make sure you or your partner has cash for the vending machines!
Camera: I don’t have a camera so I just used my phone, but if you have one, by all means, bring it!
THINGS TO PACK BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash: Preferably travel size containers to take up less space.
Hairbrush: Your hair may get wild during delivery, so make sure you remember your hairbrush.
Toothbrush and travel size toothpaste
Glasses or contacts
Phone and charger
Make up: This is completely optional but the makeup really did help me feel a little less like a zombie.
Blow dryer, flat iron, etc.: I packed these things and didn’t use them, but I do feel like I’ll pack them again in case I feel like using them the next time around.
GOOD TO HAVE
Folder: You get a lot of paperwork at the hospital and a folder is a great way to keep it all in one place.
Laptop or tablet: I brought my laptop so my husband and I could watch Netflix while I labored. I ended up not using it so I could try to get some rest, but I will definitely pack it again next time around!
Robe: Mostly for comfort but also a great addition to keep you warm if the room is cold.
Dry Shampoo: It’s possible you may not feel like washing your hair while in the hospital, so a can of dry shampoo may come in handy.
Extra bag: A small bag will be very helpful for all the goodies you are going to swipe from the hospital. Swipe all the goodies you can get your hands on, Mama.
Nursing pads: Just in case your milk comes in before you leave the hospital. The hospital may supply these. My milk came in after we got home, so I’m not really sure.
Nipple shield: This one is up for debate, but a lot of women find them helpful so I thought I would mention it.
Sleepers: The hospital had these funky little belly shirts for the babies when I had my daughter, so I was glad we brought pajamas for her.
Blankets: The hospital provides plenty of blankets for baby but you can bring your own cute blankets if you want.
Going home outfit: Most people want to bring an adorable (but still practical) little outfit for the baby to wear home. You can even keep it as a keepsake after your baby outgrows it.
Car seat: Ideally you would have already installed the car seat while working through your third trimester to do list. But nonetheless, make sure you have that puppy installed and ready to go before you leave the hospital.
The hospital should provide diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and any other goodies you might need, but you may want to call ahead if you are unsure.
Pajamas: If dad plans on staying the night at the hospital, some cozy pajamas will be essential for helping him get comfortable on whatever sleeping arrangement the hospital provides for dads. My husband was lucky enough to get a bed, but some dads do have to tough it out on a pull out chair.
Day clothes: If your husband doesn’t want to stay in his pajamas all day, he should make sure to pack two or three “regular” outfits to wear as well.
Snacks: Some hospitals provide food for Dad, but most don’t, so he should be sure to have some snacks to munch on.
Cash and change for the vending machine
Shampoo, body wash, and shower shoes: We didn’t live too far from the hospital so my husband went home to shower, but your husband will need to pack his toiletries if he plans on showering there.
Try not to stress too much about what to pack in your hospital bag, and try to refrain for overpacking. Just relax and don’t overthink it. You’ve got bigger fish to fry. (Like wrapping your head around becoming a mom.)
What essentials am I missing? What items were must haves for your hospital bag?