Deciding what to pack in a hospital bag for a baby when the delivery day comes can be a very anxious experience for many new parents.
First of all, take a deep breath like you learned in Birthing class and RELAX – It’s completely understandable to be a little nervous. 🙂
In fact, it’s completely understandable to be very nervous, especially if you’re expecting your first baby. Having a baby is a life-changing experience that is both amazing and terrifying at the same time.
There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being a parent, and it all starts on day one when it’s time to take your baby home with you for the first time.
So if you feel a lot of pressure to make sure that you pack the right items in your hospital bag you are not alone.
Your baby is going to need a lot of time and energy from you, so you want to be prepared and that starts with having the right things with you in your baby bag when you take your little one home.
Pack Diaper Changing Supplies
The hospital SHOULD provide a few newborn diapers for you, but packing diapers is something you want to get in the habit of doing.
So – if you’re a first-time parent then you have a lot of on the job learning you are going to be doing.
One pointer that you should remember is that your baby is probably going to go through diapers far more frequently than you might think they should.
The first things you should have in your baby bag are:
- plenty of diapers
- baby wipes
- baby powder
- even diaper rash cream
You’re about to become an expert at diaper changing whether you want to or not, so having the right supplies really is a must.
In time packing up the right diaper changing supplies in a diaper bag will become second nature to you, for now though just focus on packing these essential supplies.
Pack A Few Changes Of Clothing (For Yourself & The Baby)
Pack some clean undies and a pair of clothes or two (for yourself) for when it’s time to take baby home.
Anybody who has had the pleasure of having a baby will tell you that babies are messy.
Diapers leak and they also spit up frequently and get it on themselves. So having spare clothes with you in your hospital bag when it’s time to bring your baby home is a must.
As a general rule of thumb whenever you are dealing with your baby over prepare.
If you think that the trip home from the hospital is a short one so you only need one change of clothes, then pack two changes of clothes.
Also bring a change of clothes for your baby as well, as you never know what can happen and hold you up between the hospital and your home.
Pack A Few Baby Blankets
If there is one thing that babies go through even more than clothing it’s baby blankets.
You use a baby blanket to keep your baby warm, but it has many other uses as well.
After a feeding, you need to burp your baby. That means gently holding him or her up to your chest, then patting their back.
Well, unless you enjoy having your baby spit up on your back you are going to put a blanket on your shoulder before you burp him or her.
WhatToExpect.com also gives us the following list:
- Pen and pad, for taking notes
- Your birth plan (several copies, so all staff, on all shifts, can get one)
- A small basket of goodies for the staff to give along with the birth plan
- Your insurance card
- Any other hospital paperwork you’ve filled out
- Your cord blood banking kit, if you’re banking your baby’s cord blood
- Stopwatch to time contractions
- Massage oils or lotions
- Your favorite pillow
- If you have long hair, a clip or scrunchie to keep it out of your face
- Sugarless candies or lollipops to keep your mouth moist
- A tennis ball or plastic rolling pin — both make excellent backrub tools — or an actual massager
- Snacks to eat during labor (your own snacks will be limited and must be approved by your practitioner; your partner should pack sandwiches and nutritious nibbles so he or she doesn’t have to leave your side to find something to eat)
- Diversions for a long labor: music, puzzles, magazines, books, a deck of cards, laptop, handheld electronic games
- Any mementos you’ll want with you, such as family photos
- Your Who to Call list and possibly a prepaid calling card (some hospitals don’t allow smartphones)
- In addition to your smartphone, a camera and/or video camera, if you have one — even if you don’t want to capture your labor and delivery experience, you’ll definitely want to capture your first family portrait
- Toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash
- Hairbrush and comb
- All your essential toiletry items (don’t forget moisturizer)
- Extra-absorbent maxi pads (the hospital will provide some, but you might want to use the brand you’re most comfortable with)
- Snacks for after delivery — don’t count on the hospital or birthing center to provide them in the middle of the night
- Champagne or sparkling cider to celebrate with
- Shower gel, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, makeup and whatever else it takes to make you feel human again after delivery
- A baby care book, like What to Expect the First Year (if you want to lug it and think you’ll have a chance to look at it)
- A baby book for recording everything (ditto)
Clothing For You And Your Baby
- Extra pairs of underwear suitable for wearing with maxi pads (no thongs, in other words) and a nursing bra
- Nightgown or PJs, socks and slippers
- Comfortable outfit to head home in (remember you’ll still look six months pregnant, so plan accordingly)
- Going-home outfit for baby (don’t forget socks or booties and a receiving blanket, plus extra layers if it’s cold). Bring along a few diapers, although the hospital will probably provide them
Don’t Overthink Things
As a new parent, it’s very easy to start obsessing over everything for your newborn. It’s so easy in fact that many parents end up doing exactly that.
So do yourself a favor, take a deep breath and do your best to relax. You don’t need to pack an entire nursery into the bag you bring to pick up your new baby from the hospital.
What you do need to do is to bring plenty of supplies, and a little more of each than you think you will need just in case something unexpected comes up.
Want to learn more? Check out our extensive checklist of Things Needed for a NewBorn Baby.