When you approach the 30 week mark, most experts will suggest that you start packing your bag for the hospital. Why so early? Apparently, after 37 weeks, you can give birth at any time. It’s not to say that you will, but safety first! Another good reason for starting early, is that it gives you plenty of time to stock up on supplies and reduces the likelihood that you’ll forget something.
Not sure what to pack? Take a peek at what I’ve put in my hospital bag to get you started:
1. Insurance Information
One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to keep your insurance information handy! Some hospitals will let you pre-register for your delivery, but having your insurance card nearby will help you avoid those huge hospital bills in the weeks after baby’s arrival!
2. A Nightgown, Robe and Socks
I’ve heard horror stories about how favorite nighties have gotten ruined trying to bring Junior into the world. So leave the fancy and/or favorite nightgown and robe at home and bring something cheap that you will feel fine throwing away. I’m packing a nightgown and robe I got on sale at Kohls and found some cheap non-skid socks from Target. You’re giving birth, not modeling for Vogue.
3. Cell Phone, Charger, and Digital Camera
Some hospitals are against letting patients film their births, but they are fine with you taking pictures of the baby after he or she is born. So make sure to bring your cell phone and digital camera to capture those first moments of baby’s life.
4. Personal Items
This includes your favorite shampoo, conditioner, flat iron, blow dryer, comb/brush, toothpaste, toothbrush, lip balm, your maternity pads (if you don’t want to use what the hospital gives you), eye glasses/contacts/solution, and deodorant. A lot of folks will tell you to bring travel sizes, but since my husband and I are sharing, I’m bring the regular size stuff.
5. Pack Goodies for When the Hard Part is Over
I’ve read plenty of books that suggest bringing change for the vending machine in the event you deliver in the wee hours of the morning and nothing is open. In my humble opinion, the hospital kitchen should always be open…but since it’s not, bring your own snacks instead. Have your significant other pack your favorite chips, soda/juice, and candies after you’ve given labor. Save some money, people!
6. 2 Maternity Bras and a Pack of Nipple Pads
Make sure you pack the bras without the underwire!
7. Breast Pump and Bottles (this one is optional)
I plan on breastfeeding, but I hear it’s hard! Some hospitals will feed your baby formula in the event baby doesn’t like the idea of breastfeeding. For me, I still want my kid to drink my milk since it’s better for him and FREE! You may luck out and deliver in a hospital that will happily provide a breast pump and bottles…for a price, of course! So I plan on bringing my pump and Tommee Tippee bottles just in case and saving some moolah in the process. If nothing else, you can learn to use that pesky pump while there’s plenty of nurses around to help out.
8. Going Home Outfit
Pack loose-fitting clothes for the ride home. I’m packing a maxi dress I purchased from the Gap and some shoes I can slide my feet into. I’m also bringing along a sweater to put on in case I get cold.
1. Going Home Outfit
This outfit (regardless of the time of year) should include a hat, a onesie, and socks (if onesie doesn’t have enclosed feet). Pack a pair of mittens if you are delivering in the colder months of the year.
Everyone needs a blanket right?! Make sure to bring a warm blanket for baby’s ride home. If it’s summer, then make sure the blanket is heavy enough to safeguard against any wind, but don’t put a winter blanket on the poor child in August!
3. Car Seat
The hospital will not let you take your own child home without one! Make sure you have it in the car when heading to the hospital. If you forget for some reason, don’t worry…most hospitals have a program where they rent you a carseat until you can buy one or get access to the one you left at home.
I’m sure the hospital will be willing to provide you diapers, but I intend to pack some to make sure that my kid is okay with the ones we have a million boxes of at home. This will also reduce your hospital bill, so it’s a win-win! Some insurances will pay for the diapers you are given while in the hospital and others will only pay for medical services. Just pack some to be on the safe side.
1. 2 Days Worth of Clothes (4 days worth, if you’re having a C-Section)
3. A comfy pillow and blanket (store this in the car)