Hospital Bag Checklist: What to Pack in Hospital Bag
You’ve probably spent the past several months eagerly awaiting the day you finally get to meet baby—and you’ve spent lots of time planning. You’ve stocked up on all the baby gear you’ll need, decorated the nursery and figured out how to properly install your infant car seat. But don’t forget one of the most important remaining third trimester to-dos: Deciding what to pack in your hospital bag—for baby, you and your partner. Wondering where to start? While you don’t want to leave out any essentials, there’s also no reason to overdo things. This is where The Bump baby hospital bag checklist comes in handy. Read on for when to pack that hospital bag and what to put in it.
While timing is important, you do have some flexibility in deciding when to pack your hospital bag. But, like so many other things, this will vary from person to person based on their individual circumstances. “If a woman has a high risk pregnancy and her OB feels she may go into labor early—for example, an expectant mom of twins—I’d recommend packing at around 35 weeks,” says Nicole Randazzo-Ahern, MD, medical director of the newborn nursery at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. “In other cases, I’d recommend somewhere between 37 and 38 weeks. This way your basics are there should labor begin early and modifications can always be made if needed.”
Of course, if you want to get a jumpstart on things, by all means start earlier—when to pack a hospital bag is up to you! But it’s a good idea not to leave it for later than 38 weeks: You want to have that hospital bag ready to go whenever baby is.
The Bump’s How to Pack Your Hospital Bag Video:
Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom
On average, moms who deliver vaginally stay in the hospital for one to two days, Randazzo-Ahern says. If you deliver via c-section, you’d be looking at closer to three or four days. Keep your length of stay in mind as you select what to pack in your hospital bag. A tip for the thrifty: Ask your hospital what they provide for mothers, and take those things off your hospital bag checklist. Otherwise, find deals and offers on the items you’ll need, and use the following hospital bag checklist for mom.
Optional Hospital Bag Checklist Items for Mom
Hospital Bag Checklist for Baby
You know what you’ll likely need, but figuring out what to pack in a hospital bag for baby can be a little less intuitive. Here’s the good news: When you’re just starting out in life, you don’t need all that much. Here are the essentials you’ll want to add to your baby hospital bag:
Hospital Bag Checklist for Partner
You’ve meticulously gone through the hospital bag checklist for mom and baby—but don’t forget about packing a bag for your partner! Since you’ll both likely be spending a night or two (or more; hello c-section) in the maternity ward, have your partner gather up some overnight essentials—plus a few things to keep them occupied (labor can last for a good long while). Here’s what to put in a partner’s hospital bag:
When you’ve gone through the hospital bag checklist and are satisfied you and your partner have packed what everyone will need, stash your hospital bag in your car or by the front door if you plan on taking a taxi to the hospital—and get ready for baby’s arrival!
About the experts:
Nicole Randazzo-Ahern, MD, is Massachusetts-based pediatrician and the medical director of the newborn nursery at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. She earned her medical degree from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and completed her residency and fellowship at Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.
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