You never know when your baby will decide that he’s had enough inside. That’s why you should always be prepared for giving birth, starting from your 3rd trimester. That goes for all birth methods.
The first step is preparing your hospital bags. You’ll mostly go in a hurry, and hurry means forgetting. So, I wrote these checklists to make your mission easier. Whether you’ll go through labor, water birth, or c-section, you’ll find everything that you may need is in the lists below.
Checklist for Your Hospital Bag
As a mom, you’re the hero of the day. You’ll want to make sure you have everything you may need, which you’ll find listed below.
Insurance Documents and ID
The first thing you’ll need at the hospital is your ID and insurance papers. That way, they can do their job faster and get you to your room. Moreover, it’d be good to have a copy of your medical records in case you need it.
Most hospitals disclose the documents that they’ll need beforehand. So, make sure to check it and prepare everything you may need.
No matter how you’re giving birth, you’ll need comfortable clothes for your stay at the hospital. Whether it’s before or after giving birth, you’ll want to be fully prepared, even if you won’t use all of the clothes
Here’s a list of the items you may need:
- Nursing bra
Your maternity pads are the most important item in your hospital bag. You’ll need a lot of these on your first day after giving birth, and the hospital may not provide enough. Plus, they’re softer and more comfortable to use than regular sanitary pads.
Toiletries & Cosmetics
A woman can’t go on a day without her toiletries and cosmetics, especially on the day she’s giving birth. You don’t want to meet your family after birth without brushing your hair. Here’s an idea of the things you may need:
- Body lotion
- Lip balm
- Comb and hairbrush
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hair ties and clips
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Deodorant and body splash
- Skin moisturizer
Plastic Bag for Laundry
Moms often forget about this bit because most hospitals provide it, but you can never be sure. It’s better to be prepared for everything. Therefore, make sure to carry an empty plastic bag for the clothes you’ll take off.
Hospital pillows aren’t always comfortable enough. Plus, you may need extras if you sleep with more than one pillow. So, if you want to ensure maximum comfort, make sure to pack a couple of your favorite pillows for the night. However, it’ll take a lot of space. So, make sure you’ve got that covered.
Time passes slowly during labor without something to distract you. If you’re spending the night, you’ll need a couple of items to boost your mood. You can carry some magazines, a book, or an adult coloring book.
Alternatively, you can grab your massage oil and have someone give you a lower-back massage. It’ll relieve your stress and alleviate the pain a bit.
Nope, it’s not for the plants. A lot of women get hot during labor. So, it’s always good to have a water spray for cooling down. If you want, you can take a sponge or a towel along with the spray, in case you need someone to apply water compresses amid the birth.
There are some things that seem obvious, but a lot of new mothers forget them when they’re in a hurry to get to a hospital. These things include:
- Eye contacts
- Eye mask
If you’ll be breastfeeding for the first time, you’ll want to be prepared as much as you can. For starters, a breast pump is a must. A lot of people don’t need it in the first two days, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Additionally, you might want to have a nipple cream ready to fight any skin irritations or soreness. Most mothers don’t get breastfeeding right for the first few times, which is completely normal. And that’s when your cream will come in handy.
Check out our full article on breastfeeding essentials for a first time mom here.
Some laborers take a lot of time. You’ll likely need to snack on anything in the middle of it if your doctor allows it. Packing one or two healthy snacks for the day will save you the hassle of sending someone to get them later.
Checklist for the Baby’s Hospital Bag
Babies require attention from the moment you know that you’re pregnant, so it’s only normal that they have their own bag for the big day! Let’s see what the little one will need on the day he decides to get out.
Despite their tiny size, babies require a lot of clothing items, especially if you’re giving birth in winter. Here are the things you’ll need:
- A newborn-sized outfit
- A 1-3 months outfit
- Snowsuit if it’s winter
- Swaddle blanket
If you’re planning on bottle-feeding for the first few times, you’ll want to pack one or two bottles for the hospital. Additionally, you’ll want to buy the formula that you’d like your baby to have.
Even if you plan on bottle-feeding, it is essential to give your newborn breastmilk especially the moment when your baby is delivered. The skin-to-skin contact and colostrum (early stage of breastmilk) is critical for baby’s immune system and bonding with mother.
The Pediatrician’s Info
You’ll get asked about your pediatrician’s info a lot when you’re at the hospital. The doctors will want to redirect the baby’s records instantly. Therefore, it’s always good to be ready with the contact information.
The info should include the doctor’s email address and any other communication method that he’d include in a business card.
Most hospitals offer free diapers when you’re giving birth. They also give you a lot of wipes. However, in case this is not your hospital’s policy, it’s always good to have a backup.
Babies will go through more than 10 diapers a day, so make sure you have enough for a couple of nights.
Your baby will have a lot of refluxes for the first few times of breastfeeding. Muslin cloths will do a great job in mopping up whatever your baby spits.
Checklist for Daddy (partner)
Seeing as your partner will be responsible for the car seat and the baby stroller, let’s leave the word ‘bag’ out of this list. Here’s what your partner needs to bring on the trip to the hospital.
A car seat is essential when going home after giving birth. It’s not safe to drive without it. Plus, the hospital may not discharge you if you don’t have one. So, make sure to pack it and have it ready beforehand.
On top of that, fitting it to your car won’t be easy for the first few times. It’s better if you practice it with your partner a few times before you have to actually do it.
I know it’s obvious, but emergencies drive people to forget important things, including baby strollers. It’s always better to keep it in the back of your car, so you save your partner the trouble of carrying it at the moment.
An Extra Outfit
Your partner will likely find it hard to take a shower amid the event. That’s why taking an extra outfit to change is a wise idea. It’ll also come in handy if he’s spending the night with you
Camera or Recorder
If you’re a documenting enthusiast, you’ll want to get every moment of the special day on camera. Make sure that your partner is carrying one in his bag for precious moments. Furthermore, carry extra batteries, a charger, and a memory if your camera needs one.
What to Pack for Different Birth Methods
While women didn’t have birth options in the past, there are different methods available nowadays. You can have a natural birth, c-section, or the latest birthing method; water birth.
No matter how you’re bringing your baby to the world, you’ll want to be fully prepared. The previous lists include everything you’ll need. Nevertheless, there are a couple of extra things that you’ll want to take care of in the cases of water birth and c-section.
You’ll need a suitable attire for a water birth, which is swimwear in most cases. However, some women prefer to only wear a bra. You can take your midwife or doctor’s advice in this case.
Another thing you may need for a water birth is herbal bath mixtures. They’ll improve the water’s color and aroma to give you maximum comfort.
In the case of C-sections, you may spend up to 5 nights (on the average it’s closer to 3 nights) in the hospital. So, you’ll want to take larger amounts of everything that I mentioned above. On top of that, you’ll need high-waist underwear to prevent any irritation near the incision.
It’s preferred that you grab light, oversized clothes for the trip back home. Also, pack an outfit that doesn’t have any zippers.
Giving birth for the first time may be overwhelming, but it’ll also be a precious memory. You don’t want anything to discourage you from your day. That’s why it’s recommended that you get everything ready earlier than your due date.
That way, you’ll be able to relax and relish at the moment until your little one arrives.