Find out what to pack in your hospital bag for delivery and what to leave at home.
When I first prepared a checklist of all that I had to do and needed during my pregnancy, I indeed had a 'hospital bag' on the list. I went through countless hospital bag checklists for delivery to ensure I had included everything I needed. After my first delivery, I realized I had missed out on a few things and could have packed lighter on other items. So, I’ve put together the ultimate hospital bag checklist to follow along with my own recommendations.
When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag
The hospital bag is pretty much the last thing you need to keep ready, but the items that go inside can be purchased earlier. It is recommended to pack your hospital bag by the time you reach 36 weeks of pregnancy, which is 9 months. I had my hospital bag packed and ready to go when I started my 9th month. You may need to keep your hospital bag ready earlier if you are expecting an earlier delivery due to high risk or any other factors. Deciding what to put in your hospital bag can be overwhelming and confusing. You need to have 4 checklists: a checklist for the absolute must-haves, a checklist for mommy, a checklist for baby, and a checklist for your partner.
If you are delivering in the UAE, then there is some documentation you must carry with you to the hospital, which includes:
- Emirates ID (both parents)
- Passport (both parents)
- Insurance card
- Attested marriage certificate
- Birth plan (if you have one)
- Car seat
- Covid-19 essentials: mask, gloves, hand sanitizer
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
On average, if you are delivering vaginally, then you'll be staying in the hospital for 1-2 days. If you are delivering via c-section, then you can expect to stay in the hospital for 3-4 days. So, you need to keep the length of your stay in mind when packing for yourself. You may also want to check with your hospital what they provide and then possibly remove that from your checklist or carry less of those items. I personally preferred using my own products, but this is totally up to you.
- A comfortable t-shirt for labor. Keep in mind that it may get dirty. You can leave this out if you are having a c-section.
- Book, music, gadgets, or anything else to keep you entertained during labor. If you are having a c-section, then it's still a good idea to carry these to keep you entertained before you go into the operation theatre and afterward. After all, you'll be in the hospital for a few extra days.
- Comfortable clothes for after the baby is born. The quantity of clothes depends on how long you’ll be staying in the hospital, but a set for each day is good. Keep an extra set of formal clothes if you are expecting guests to visit you at the hospital.
- Comfortable pajamas that are loose-fitting. With my first baby, I took my pre-pregnancy clothes, and boy was that a shocker. No one tells you that you'll keep on more baby weight than you want to. I was expecting a lot less! You will fit into clothes from your second trimester, but this can vary from one body to another. If you are breastfeeding, then I would suggest front opening shirts to easily breastfeed in.
- 2-3 pairs of socks. Hospitals tend to get cold, so socks will keep you comfortable, and you'll need to walk around. If you are having a c-section, then the hospital may give you special socks to wear to avoid blood clotting.
- Comfortable shoes. I kept a pair of slippers that I could use in the room and in the bathroom.
- Shawl or sweater. Hospitals are always cold, so it's a good idea to keep a shawl or your coziest sweater with you.
- Sanitary pads for heavy flow. The hospital provides these, but I prefer to use my own; just keep in mind that the flow will be heavier than usual.
- 3-4 underwear. The hospital provides disposable underwear, but it's a good idea to carry your own. I used the disposable underwear the first day because if the flow is too heavy you can just throw these out. On the second day, you may want to wear your own underwear to feel fresher.
- 2-3 maternity bras for easy breastfeeding. It is so much easier to breastfeed with the maternity bras that have a clip. If you are not breastfeeding, then you obviously don't need these.
- Breast pads. Once the milk flow comes in you will leak, so it's a good idea to keep breast pads with you to avoid leaks or worse, embarrassing moments.
- Nursing cover. If you will be breastfeeding and are expecting guests then a nursing cover comes in handy, especially if you don’t feel comfortable feeding in front of others.
- Nipple cream. If you plan on breastfeeding, then it's a good idea to pack nipple cream with you.
- Toiletries. Although hospitals provide basic toiletries, you will feel fresher when using your own favorite products. Be sure to include a travel size shampoo, body wash, face wash, cream, lip balm, and toothpaste along with a toothbrush, hairbrush, hair tie, and deodorant.
- Phone with charger. In a tech-driven world, it'll be a catastrophe to forget your charger!
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
Packing your bag will be simple and straight forward because you know what you need, but packing for your baby may get trickier. The good news is that newborn babies don’t need too many things. Remember to wash the baby clothes and newborn baby essentials before packing them.
- 1 welcome outfit. This is the first outfit your newborn baby will wear as soon as he or she is cleaned. Since babies are swaddled, the outfit gets hidden, so I would recommend a matching swaddle and hat set since many of your photos will include the welcome outfit. Check out our Hello World Set that comes with a matching bamboo hat, swaddle blanket, and Hello birth announcement sticker.
- 4-6 bodysuits or sleepsuits. The type of suit depends on the weather, and more so, they will be swaddled, so it's mostly a preference of what you want your baby to wear. Keep both options as it may be hot or cold in the hospital, so this will also determine what the baby is comfortable in. You need to keep 4-6 pieces because newborn babies spit-up a lot, and you may also have diaper explosions, so you will most likely change your baby more than once a day.
- 2-3 hats. You should keep your newborn baby’s head covered all the time, so having 2-3 hats handy would be a good idea.
- 3-4 muslin swaddles. As mentioned before, babies spit-up a lot so you’ll want extra swaddles on hand for this. Check out our range of swaddles.
- 1 blanket. Even though your baby will be swaddled, you will want to keep a blanket incase it gets cold in the hospital or when going home. Having a personalized blanket is a good idea to include in photos. Check out our range of blankets.
- 1 pack of newborn pampers and wipes. Although the hospital does provide this, they use generic brands. I preferred using my own brands that are made of natural materials such as Water Wipes.
- 1 bath towel. You only need this if you prefer to use your own rather than the ones from the hospital. Check out our range of bath towels.
- 1 going home clothes. The going home clothes are just as important as the welcome outfit as your baby will be going home for the first time and meeting your entire family. The outfit will be in all the photos and memories you create on the day.
- Car seat. I've mentioned this in the absolute must-haves, but I wanted to highlight how important it is to install your car set, test it out, and know how to use it before you get to the hospital. With my first baby, my husband unpacked and brought the car seat when it was time to leave the hospital and it took us 30 minutes to figure out how to install it in the car and put the baby in.
Hospital Bag Checklist for Partner
- Set of clothes. Your partner will be staying with you for the duration of your stay at the hospital, so a set of clothes for each day should be packed.
- Toiletries. Since you will be carrying toiletries, just add the items not already included in your list that your partner will need. I'm basing this on the fact that you and your partner can share all the basic items. If not, then pack all your partner's preferred toiletries.
- Snacks. You do not want to be alone when you’re at the hospital. From trying to get up to needing help with the baby to even just getting a few minutes of rest, you’ll want someone around to help you. So, it’s a good idea to pack snacks for your partner, otherwise, expect your partner to be making countless trips and leaving you alone.
So, there you have it, the best hospital bag checklist. While the process may be overwhelming, don’t overthink it. The most important element that determines your checklist is the type of delivery you will be having, and subsequently, the number of days you will be staying at the hospital. With these details, you can fine-tune our checklist to your personal requirements and get your hospital bag ready.
Once you've finalized your hospital bag checklist and have your hospital bag ready, keep it in an easily accessible place in your house, and tell your partner where it's kept. You're all set for the baby's arrival!
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