May 30, 2023

What To Pack for Labor and Delivery

You’ve assembled the crib, prepared the changing table and have a mountain of onesies at the ready. Baby time is just weeks away. That means it's time to pack your hospital bag!

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As is so often the case with parenting, it seems everybody has an opinion about the hospital bag, or a story that they think is fascinating about that one thing they forgot. All that information can get to be a bit overwhelming.

But your hospital bag's supposed to help ease your anxiety, not make it worse! That's why we decided to ask somebody who knows a thing or two about having babies — nurse manager Jenna Plas, MSN, RN — what she recommends you pack.

"It's a good idea to pack your bag a month or two before your due date," Plas shares. "That way, you don't have to rush around when it's time to get to the hospital."

When it comes time to pack your hospital bag, Plas advises you to leave room in it for all the things that you’ll be taking home from the hospital.

While not all hospitals provide the same items, it's common to be sent home with things like peri bottles, diapers and wipes, mesh underwear and maternity sanitary pads.

Must haves:

Optional items:

Things you may not need:

Chances are you’re going to have somebody staying with you at the hospital, whether that's a partner, family member, friend or your birthing coach. Here's what they should pack:

No matter how much you prepare for your baby's arrival, you can bet that something isn't going to go exactly according to plan. And that's OK. If you arrive at the hospital and realize you forgot to pack an item in your hospital bag, it's not the end of the world. You might be able to get somebody to run back to the house for you — but if you can't, that's OK, too. "Your healthcare team is going to make sure you and the baby are fine," Plas reassures.

Must haves: Photo identification and insurance card. Your cell phone (and charger). Personal toiletries. Glasses and/or contact lenses, if you wear them. Comfortable clothes to wear home. Flip flops or sandals. Nursing bras or sports bras (two or three). Nipple cream or ointment. Soft toilet paper. Optional items Back massage aids (tennis ball, hand-held massager, etc.). Robe. One or two nightgowns or comfortable clothes for sleeping. Personal entertainment: laptop/tablet, books, magazines, a journal, etc. Things you may not need Jewelry and other valuables. Clothing you like. Underwear and sanitary products. Medications of any kind. Diapers, diaper wipes, bottles, nipples and (if you decide to use them) pacifiers . Candles. Car seat. Sleepers. Receiving blanket(s). ™ Money. Change of clothes. Personal toiletries. Slippers, socks and comfortable clothes for sleeping. A folder or binder for documents. A camera (if you’re old school). Electronics and chargers.