One of the most beautiful and terrifying parts of pregnancy is that no one can tell you with 100% certainty when that baby is going to make his/her appearance. With my first, my water broke at home (in an Oscar-worthy dramatic performance) and baby was born eight days early. With my second, I had all the physical signs of baby coming early, and he was induced past his due date. There Is just no telling when baby is coming, so I’ve made sure to have my hospital bag packed and ready to go by 37 weeks.
My first two children were born in the US where a number of items are provided by the hospital for mom and baby during her 2-3 average night stay: diapers, wipes, onesies for baby to wear while he’s there, swaddle, feminine care products, (mesh undies FTW!!), bath towel, comfortable pillow, etc. Here in the UK, most of these necessities are not provided so it’s up to the mother to provide her own, however if mom and baby are healthy, the stay in the hospital is on average one night or home the same day after birth.
- 2 swaddles
- 2 or 3 side snap vests (Side snaps are my favourite because they don’t disrupt the baby when nurses are checking vitals, and easy on the cut belly- button)
- Coming home outfit
- Handful of nappies (diapers)
- Baby Wipes
- Car seat!
- Nursing nightgown or nursing tank and shorts
- Light robe
- Pillow/silk pillow case
- Toiletries (soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, lotion, chapstick)
- Dry shampoo and brush, scrunchy
- Bath towel & washcloth (for baby too)
- Nursing pillow
- Personal care products: large maxi pads, disposable mesh undies, tucks pads (with witch hazel), sits bottle
- Phone charger
- Going home outfit: Something comfortable and nursing friendly to leave the hospital in
What about dad?
I have never packed a bag for my husband. He has thrown together a few items as we’re leaving for the hospital, and he really doesn’t require much more than a toothbrush and comfortable sweatshirt. (He’s already got enough to carry with my bag and the carseat.) With our second, he didn’t need to spend the night with me in the hospital since we had our older son at home. (This may have been different had I needed a c-section and required more help with baby during recovery afterwards.) Here in the UK, private post -birth rooms are hard to come by in an NHS hospital (National Health Service), so often times there are 4-8 women in a bay (shared room) and while your partner is welcome to stay the night, the hospital will not offer bedding, blankets or pillows for him. Perhaps that’s their way of discouraging dad from staying the night!
What are some of your hospital bag must haves? Comment below and share your location (US vs. UK)!