Your estimated due date is approaching, and you have checked off all the things on your to-do list. You finished the nursery or baby nook in your bedroom, you have completed childbirth education class, and you have even hired a doula for your birth team! Now it’s time to pack your hospital bag.
We get the “what should I pack?” question so often from our clients, and we remind them to keep it simple. After all, you don’t want your partner having to carry multiple large suitcases through the hospital while they are trying to be comforting and attentive to you. Also, there are items you just don’t need, so let’s start with that.
What (not) to pack in your hospital bag
The hospital has a lot of items for you, and there are some items you won’t need as soon as you arrive at labor and birth. For example, unless you are dead set on what diaper brand your baby should initially wear, hospitals have plenty of diapers; you can exclude this from your bag.
Skip the heavy camera equipment
Unless you are a professional photographer and really need a fancy camera, most of our smart phones take really nice photo and video. If documenting this moment is really important to you, consider childbirth photography, and take this task off of your plate.
Another item clients report packing and never reaching for is reading material. Hospital time can be busy with nurses and doctors checking in, and you require the time in-between to rest, feed the baby, and do some skin to skin; reading goes out the window really fast! We recommend leaving this at home and freeing up that space in your bag.
What should you pack?
So what should you bring to the hospital for labor and delivery? Whatever will make you as comfortable as possible! Pack the items to get you through roughly 48 hours. Think: the basics.
Though most hospitals will provide the bare necessities, don’t forget to pack the following must-haves:
- Car seat for your baby: you will need this in order to ride home.
- Phone charger: you will be messaging your support team and everyone in your family updates on labor and birth. After the birth, you will probably share newborn photos, and your phone can only last so long. We recommend purchasing an inexpensive charger you wouldn’t mind forgetting at the hospital; search on Amazon.
- Personal documents and extras such as your identification, health insurance, and some cash (because you never know when you need to hit up a vending machine).
- Comfy clothing that can be worn during labor, a set of pajamas and gown which can be worn after, and comfortable clothing to go home in.
- Breast pads and nursing bras if you plan on breastfeeding. We recommend reusable bamboo pads which are softer and less likely to stick to your nipple.
- Footwear. The hospital will have socks with grips available, but they aren’t the comfiest. Consider packing slippers with non-slip bottoms.
- Toiletries. You are going to want to bring a small bag with all your essentials, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, face wash and creams/oils, hair brush and ties, as well as light makeup if that is your preference.
Pro Tip for your hospital bag:
Your due date is an estimate, and there is no way to determine the exact date; therefore we recommend having your bag packed and by your door by 35 weeks. There are a few additional items we recommend you include to your list and we have compiled it all in one handy sheet for you. Additional items included are for you, your baby, and partner. You can download the entire list here. Happy birthing!
You may be thinking, “Where can I find a doula near me?” We provide Tampa doula support, birth, placenta encapsulation, and postpartum doula care for:
- Tampa, St Petersburg
- Land O’ Lakes
- Plant City
- Downtown Tampa
- … and more!
Virtual services also available, let’s plan for your amazing birth and postpartum journey.