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What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

Here's everything to pack inside your delivery room bag.

Whether you’re Miss Girl Scout or Miss Fly-by-the-Seat-of-Your-Drawstring-Pants, you’ve probably put a little thought into your hospital go-bag—or maybe it’s already in the trunk. It can’t be too hard, right? You know you need a couple changes of clothes, toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo (because you’re determined to look good) and that adorable first onesie Grandma bought. But you might be missing some essentials or even some not-so-essentials that will make your hospital foray a bit more comfy. We asked our experts—local doula and lactation consultant Linda Worzer; Tanya Shelton, former childbirth educator and labor and delivery nurse at the Medical Center of Plano; and Jill Johnson, nurse and childbirth educator at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas—for a list of goods most moms forget. Take notes.

Pro tip: The experts agree that you should pack separate bags for labor and postpartum. “You don’t want to lug everything with you to labor and delivery,” Shelton says.

Labor 

1. Lip balm

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm, $2.69 // Target, multiple locations
Yes to Coconut Naturally Smooth Lip Balm, $2.36 // Walmart, multiple locations

2. Aromatherapy essential oils, which can help relax and heal during and after childbirth, says Johnson.

3. Pillows from home with colored pillowcases, so that they don’t match the hospital linens (be aware they could get stained).

4. Bathrobe and slippers

5. Hair clips or bands

6. iPod (or iPhone) with your favorite tunes, or a few Spotify (or Apple if you are one of those) playlists downloaded to your device in case of spotty Wi-Fi. Johnson recommends bringing a Bluetooth speaker along, too, for music in the labor and postpartum room.

7. Chargers for all your electronics and backup batteries for your camera. Pro tip: Johnson says to bring an extension cord—you never know how far the outlet will be.

8. The List, i.e., all the people you promised you’d text when baby arrives

9. Massage tools for labor. “Most hospitals have limited availability to these items,” Johnson says.

Post Labor 

10. Comfy pajamas.

11. Toiletries (shampoo, skin care items, hairdryer, etc.)—hospitals have limited supplies

12. Nursing gear: nursing pads, nursing pillow, bra or tank top, breast pump

Undercover Mama Nursing Tank, $12.99
Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter 60 ml, $13.99 // Target, multiple locations

13. Socks and footwear

14. Your baby book or scrapbook so the nurses can add your little one’s footprints. Shelton says it’s harder than it looks. “We’re really good at it.”

15. Swaddle blanket and a pint-sized hat. Pro tip: Opt for a muslin blanket. “These are breathable versus thick, heavy blanket where baby can overheat, especially in the car seat,” Johnson says.

16. Mittens and fingernail clippers for baby

17. Discharge outfit with drawstring pants that fit at about 26 weeks (so don’t consign them yet!). Bring an outfit for baby, too. “Avoid white socks, mittens and onesies,” Johnsons says. “White clothing can get mixed up with hospital laundry.”

18. Infant car seat. Make sure it’s installed properly before you leave for the hospital. You can even get your installation checked at seatcheck.org.

And…

19. “Don’t forget Dad!” Worzer “Pack like he’s going on a casual overnight trip. In other words: toiletries, deodorant, comfortable clothes (plus a change of clothes), the most comfortable pair of shoes he owns, extra socks, breath mints and swimsuit—just in case mom gets in the shower or tub and needs assistance.” Shelton adds that he should bring a sweatshirt or jacket because you’ll want the A/C going strong during labor. Johnson agrees, and suggests he pack a snack too. “If labor is long, it is nice for partners to have something available, so they do not need to leave mom for an extended period of time.”

Article was originally published in Dallas-FortWorthBaby in Fall/Winter 2017-2018. Photo courtesy of ©iSTOCK