You’re checking items off your pregnancy to-do list, and it’s time to pack a bag for the most exciting adventure of all: Meeting your baby! Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you simplify the process while ensuring you pack everything you need.
Find out ahead of time what the facility provides.
During your tour of the facility where you plan to give birth, ask what they provide for mothers and babies. It’s common for hospitals to provide lots of items, including diapers, nipple cream, and disposable mesh underwear (not sexy but definitely practical). You might even consider printing this article and checking off the things they provide.
Pack your birth bag at least one month before your due date.
The best-case scenario is for your baby to stay put until at least 37 weeks. But it’s possible that unexpected factors could lead to a pre-term birth. In either case, once your bag is packed you’ll have one less thing to think about as you get closer to meeting your baby.
What to pack for you:
☐ Important documents, including photocopies of your ID, insurance/healthcare card, and Birth Plan.
☐ Comfortable, pajama-like clothes that open in the front for breastfeeding and/or holding your baby skin-to-skin. You may want an extra layer like a robe or sweatshirt in case you feel chilly. Ask your doctor or midwife for an estimated length of stay and pack for that timeframe plus an extra day.
☐ At least two comfortable bras. If you plan to breastfeed, choose nursing ones. If you don’t plan to breastfeed, you’ll still want stretchy bras with no underwire because your breasts will be full and tender.
☐ If the facility provides disposable mesh underwear but you’d rather have your own, bring big, comfortable underwear that you don’t mind throwing away. You’ll need them for comfort and to hold sanitary pads for post-birth bleeding.
☐ Sanitary pads for post-birth bleeding.
☐ Nursing pads. Even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, milk will leak from your breasts.
☐ Slippers or non-skid socks.
☐ Toiletries, including nipple cream if you plan to breastfeed.
☐ Cell phone charger.
☐ Hair ties.
☐ Lip balm.
☐ Favorite snacks that the facility might not provide.
☐ Going home clothes. Stick with maternity size for comfort; you’ll still have a belly.
☐ Note pad and pen. Doctors, midwives, doulas, nurses, lactation consultants and other maternity professionals are a wealth of information and you may want to take notes!
☐ Optional comfort items, like an eye mask for sleeping or your own pillow (in a colored pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed in with the hospital ones).
What to pack for your baby:
☐ Infant carseat. Okay, so this doesn’t actually go in your birth bag, but be sure it’s properly installed in the car.
☐ Soft, comfortable, easy-to-manage clothes – 2 changes for each day. Think onesies or infant shirts with elastic-waist pants, or pajamas. If you plan to give birth at a hospital, they may want to keep your baby in infant shirts and diapers only (to make it easier to monitor her).
☐ A pack of diapers. You may want to bring a mix of newborn size and the next size up (in case your baby is bigger than expected).
☐ Baby wipes (unscented are best for sensitive newborn bums).
☐ Diaper cream.
☐ 2 burp cloths.
☐ 2 baby blankets.
☐ 2 pacifiers, if you plan to use them.
☐ Going-home clothes. There are lots of adorable options out there, but the most important thing is that you dress your baby in soft, comfortable, easy-to-manage clothes. You may want to bring one outfit in newborn size and one in the next size up; you never know how big your baby will be! And don’t forget cozy layers if you live in a cold climate.
Finally, remember to have your BabySparks program installed and ready to go; you can start doing newborn activities right away!