During the time you are pregnant, you get to plan many things, you pick your baby’s name, the way you want your birth to happen, the color of the nursery, and you even have time to start thinking about the type of education you want for your new baby. But there is also an important thing to do, and that is get everything ready for the day your little one decides to come out and meet you. From the car seat to the diapers and everything in between, you should organize the hospital bag with plenty of anticipation. I have heard all kind of stories from mothers that did not think the time was coming and end up in the hospital room while a relative try to figure out where is the baby blanket and the mums underwear. this is what happened to be. Do not worry; that will not happen to you because I have the complete checklist for you, your baby, and even your birth partner!

The number of clothes you should bring for your baby, diapers, bottles, and other details will depend on a couple of facts. For example, if you have a C-section, you will spend 2-4 days in the hospital on average. For a vaginal birth without complications, you will likely be there for 24-48 hours. You can also check with the hospital if they allow you to bring clothes for the baby or only need the going home outfit. Here you go with all the necessary for your baby bag.

FOR YOUR BABY

First, you need to unpackage that car seat, read the manual, and make sure you understand how it works. You will not leave the hospital unless the baby is safely secured to the car seat. Second, you should wash the baby’s clothes before packing them, you know, babies can be a bit sensitive, so choose a neutral detergent. Make sure you buy and pack formula and sterilized bottles, even if you plan to breastfeed. Here is why we sometimes believe we are in control of everything but let me tell you that nature is nature. In my experience, the first days were not how I planned them to be. I did not react well to the C-section and was not able to feed my baby. But there is nothing to worry about. If the first days are hard, look for help and listen to your body, I was able to breastfeed my baby for more than two years, even after a rough start. And finally, bring two different sizes of clothes for your baby, sometimes they come big, and the newborn size does not fit. Same with diapers.

Checklist

  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Formula
  • Water wipes
  • 2-4 sleepsuits
  • 2-4 onesies
  • 2-4 hats
  • 2-4 socks
  • Muslin squares
  • 2-3 Swaddle blanket
  • Blanket (light or heavy depending on the weather)
  • Barrier cream

FOR YOU (MUM)

You have it all for your baby, but did not think about how cold hospitals are? Or how uncomfortable the pillow would be? Yes, those details will make your days in the hospital more comfortable. My time in the hospital was very decent, I brought clothes for every day, but I did not use them. I was in a hospital gown the entire time. I planned on looking amazing when leaving the room but did not have the energy to put makeup on. That was me, and if it is you, let me tell you there is nothing wrong with looking exhausted. You just had a baby. If there is a moment when you should look like that, this is the one. But I have heard other mothers who had a pleasant experience during their labor and walked home looking radiant, with some makeup on, and just flawless. So only in case, pack a little bit of everything.

Checklist

  • 2-4 Comfortable underwear.  
  • 2-4 Nursing bra.  
  • 2-4 Pajamas or loungewear, whatever you feel comfortable in while pregnant will work for postpartum.
  • 2-4 Socks, I never thought about it, but hospitals tend to be cold, make sure you pack some.  
  • Slippers, you will be asked to walk, no matter if it is a C-section or vaginal birth.  
  • Flip Flops or sandals come in handy when stepping in the shower.  
  • Robe, a light one or cozy and warm depending on the season.  
  • Breast pads.  
  • Disposable underwear, practical and necessary. Do not feel silly. We have all been there.
  • Maternity pads, many hospitals provide them, but I believe it is better if you get to choose your own,
  • Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, hair ties, deodorant, body lotion, skin care products, lip balm, some makeup)
  • Pillow, especially if you have trouble sleeping. But trust me, those first days, you could sleep on a rock.

YOUR BIRTH PARTNER

Oh! Remember that person that will drive you in and out of the hospital, the one that will hold your hand and cry with you when your baby arrives? Yes, he or she will also need to be prepared for the long nights and days at the hospital.

  • Snacks and drinks, or some coins for the vending machine.
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, facewash.  
  • Paracetamol, just in case the sleep deprivation turns into a headache.
  • Contraction timing app, helpful to monitor the frequency, often the mum will be in too much pain to pay attention to these apps.
  • A pillow, enormously important since the mum gets to have a bed, but partners often sleep a little in a chair.
  • Change of clothes. Many times, your partner will be able to go home and take a shower, but if you are only staying a day or do not live close to the hospital, it is better for them to pack an outfit.

And I also have an extra checklist for those general items that often slip our minds. Even if it sounds obvious, check before leaving home.

GENERAL CHECKLIST

  • Hospital notes, baby notes, birth plan, and all those documents necessary to check-in. If you are in doubt, call your hospital weeks before to make sure you are prepared. 
  • Cellphone charger.
  • Camera charger.
  • Change or coins for the parking and vending machines.
  • Earphones in case either of you needs to focus or relax.
  • Petrol in the car. It would be very unfortunate not to have it when you are rushing to the hospital.
  • Wireless headphones. 
  • Hypnosis on your phone in case you are doing hypnobirthing.
  • Download some podcasts or audiobooks to pass the time.

I believe we have covered pretty much every possibility. Remember that the most important part of this journey is to remain calm and healthy, do not stress about forgetting anything on this list or not having the perfect outfit for your newborn, focus on the amazing moment that you are about to experience, and enjoy every second.