I know how exciting mum’s due date can be. But before the big day arrives, we must prepare ahead of time. That way, we’ll stay calm before and after delivery. Creating a hospital bag checklist can help us stick to the essentials and avoid over-packing. Here’s what you need to know and do for this all-important task.
When to Prep Your Hospital Bag
Mums are on their full term from 37 to 40 weeks. But did you know that only 5% of babies come on their due dates? It only means that your baby can arrive any time within this period, usually a couple of weeks before or after they are due.
The time to pack your hospital bag is up to you. But ideally, do it three weeks before your expected date. If your OB advised that you may go into preterm labour, then make sure to pack early.
What to Pack in a Hospital Bag
OK, before you start raiding your closet (and end up bringing stuff you don’t need), arm yourself with a hospital bag checklist first. You’re less likely to forget important things this way. I’ve come up with this packing list as your reference to create your own.
- ID and hospital form. Staff may need these when you check-in. It’s best to bring your birth plan and some cash, too.
- Lip balm and candies. These will help combat the extra-dry hospital air. For hard candies, choose lozenges or sugar-free ones to keep your mouth moist.
- Toiletries. Pack a bath towel. Then prep a small travel kit with your hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant and wipes. Bring hair ties or a headband that wicks away sweat. Also, rather than packing contact lenses, it’s easier to wear a pair of eyeglasses.
- COVID-19 essentials. Fill a small resealable bag with enough masks (preferably medical-grade ones), some disposable gloves and a hand sanitiser.
- Comfortable clothes. Loose-fitting clothes like lightweight dressing gowns and bathrobes are easy to put on while you’re still recovering post-delivery. Pack a few pairs of maternity underwear and a set of going-home clothes, too. Mums for C-section can also pack low-rise postpartum undies.
- Nursing pads and bra. Even if you’re not breastfeeding, maternity bras and breast pads will keep you comfortable. You may also want to pack a tube of lanolin cream to help you with breastfeeding.
- Slippers or socks. These are the best when you need to walk around the hospital corridors as your feet may be too swollen to wear shoes. You can use hospital socks but pack non-skid ones if you prefer.
- Maternity pillow. If you want to bring one, a multipurpose maternity and nursing pillow is ideal. But comfy pillows with a colourful pillowcase will do.
- Non-perishable snacks. Bring enough granola bars, crackers or fibre-rich snacks (for C-section mums) to munch on during your hospital stay.
- Mobile phone and charger. Music, video chats and calls will keep you preoccupied and calm while waiting for your little one to come!
- Swaddle or receiving blankets. The hospital may give you one, but feel free to pack some if you like. You might want to ask the nurses for baby wrapping tips, too, or check out these swaddling techniques.
- Toiletries. Bring some diapers and baby wipes with you, plus a wet bag for dirty laundry. You might want to pack an extra reusable bag for bringing home baby gifts, too!
- Going-home clothes. These are probably the most exciting things in your hospital bag checklist! So, enjoy choosing the perfect baby clothes. You might want to include a pair of mittens for scratch protection. Make sure to consider the weather, too, and pack spare clothes plus booties and hat just in case.
- Car seat. Secure and learn how to use the car seat weeks before you go to the hospital. Also, if your due date falls on the chilly season, pack a blanket to keep your baby warm or add a bunting bag to the car seat.
- Breast pump. This one is optional. However, if you plan to pump exclusively, a lactation nurse or consultant can help you figure it out. You can learn more through our electric breast pump guides, too.
For hospital companion
Your birth partner would probably need a short hospital bag checklist, too. Some of the things they need to bring are comfy clothes good for at least one night, toiletries and medicines they are taking. The hospital couch may not be as comfortable, so packing a small pillow and blanket is a good idea.
They can include snacks, a water bottle and some reading materials on their list as well. They might also need to pack bendy straws and water spray to help you during labour. One thing your birth partner should not forget, though, is their mobile phone or camera. You need all the help in documenting this happy milestone after all that hard work!
Aside from the hospital bag, your baby’s room needs planning and preparation, too. These nursery decorating tips can help you get started.