life of
dr. mom

What to Pack in Your Maternity Hospital Bag?

Searching the internet or Pinterest, you will find hundreds of “lists” of things that you should pack in your hospital bag.  These lists vary from including music play lists to beauty products for your hospital stay. This list was compiled with the help of friends and family for our must haves at the hospital!

Items for mom during and after labor and delivery

  • Pillow from home: Put an old dark coloured pillowcase on your pillow. The hospital will give you pillows but they aren’t nearly as comfortable as one from home.
  • Nursing bra: You may not wear a bra for the first day or two after delivery of your baby, but having a nursing bra to go home with is essential.
  • Breast pads: Preferably cotton ones, or disposable ones. 
  • Nipple cream: You will likely start trying to breastfeed within the hour after delivery of your baby and your nipples can get tender and sore quickly. Lanolin is the most popular choice. The hospital may provide you with some samples, too.
  • Robe: I brought a comfortable black moisture wicking robe for something to wear on my top half when family came to meet baby for the first time.
  • Flip-flops: Bring ones that can easily be washed after the hospital.  I wore these for getting to and from the bathroom and having a quick wash in the shower.
  • Underwear: The hospital will provide you with a couple pairs of mesh underwear to go home.  If you don’t want to wear the mesh ones, consider bringing your own maternity underwear.
  • Cell phone charge cords: I brought two 8-foot long cell phone cords and a plug adaptor with two USB ports.  That way both my husband and my cellphones were always within reach and fully charged.
  • Camera: We brought our DSLR to document some of our first moments instead of always using our iPhones.
  • Water bottle
  • Snacks: Sometimes babies arrive in the middle of the night and food is scarce around the hospital.  After delivery it is nice to have some snacks you love.  We brought granola bars, protein drinks, fruit, and nuts.
  • Toiletries & makeup: I didn’t bother bringing any of my best products from home; I felt it was the least of my worries.  A simple bag of face wash, creams, minimal makeup, brush, hair ties, and deodorant worked well for me.  If you wear contacts, make sure you bring your contact lens care.
  • Going home outfit: I packed my most comfortable high-waist maternity leggings with a cropped T-shirt for easy nursing and an over-sized cardigan.  Your feet and ankles will likely be swollen after delivery, so I brought my Birkenstock sandals to wear home.
  • COVID-19 safety items: mask, and hand sanitizer for bedside.

Items for baby

  • Car seat: This is a necessity going home!  You cannot leave the hospital until the nursing staff assess your baby nestled in the car seat to ensure you have buckled her in correctly. Get that base installed around 36 weeks!
  • Diapers
  • Sleepers: I bring 2-3 sleepers to the hospital to wear when we are not having skin-to-skin contact and for when family visits.
  • Swaddle blankets: Bring two of your favourite swaddles for wrapping up that new baby.
  • Hat: The hospital will provide a small knitted cap if you do not have one for your baby.
  • Going home outfit: We packed a two-piece outfit with matching hat for going home. I also brought along some scratch mitts and booties to keep baby warm on the journey home.

Items for dad

  • Water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Change for the vending machine
  • Pillow from home
  • Pajamas
  • Change of clothes
  • COVID-19 safety items: mask, hand sanitizer

This post was co-authored by Erin Manchuk, BScPharm, BCGP and Stephanie Liu, MD, MSc, CCFP, BHSc.

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