As you enter into your third trimester and your due date creeps closer and closer, you’re likely trying to check all of those last items off of your to-do list. You’ve bought all the baby gear, decorated the nursery, and even installed the infant car seat. (Don’t forget to book a third trimester 4D ultrasound, too, to see how your baby has developed! Our “Watch Me Grow” package includes three different ultrasound sessions conducted during each trimester, so that you can truly see how your baby changes from a cute little peanut to a chubby, fully developed bundle of joy.)
And last but definitely not least, you have to pack your hospital bag with everything you and your baby will need at the hospital or birthing centre. Just in case you go into labour before your due date, you should prep your bag a few weeks early, ideally by 36 or 37 weeks. Of course, it’s fine to throw some items in at the last minute — like your toothbrush and hairbrush — but you’ll want to have your bag mostly packed and easily accessible by this point in your pregnancy.
Here are all the must-haves (and some nice-to-haves) that should be on your packing list. But while this list is a great starting point, remember that every hospital and birthing centre does things differently, so it’s a good idea to ask ahead of time or check online to find out what they will supply and what you will need to bring from home.
- Comfy clothes for at the hospital and to wear home: Think loose, baggy, and comfortable. A nursing tank or loose top paired with sweatpants is perfect.
- Cozy non-slip socks and easy-to-slide-on shoes: Slip-on shoes like Crocs or flip-flops are great for walking around the hospital, and easy to go home in if your feet are swollen from any IV fluids.
- Robe or pyjamas that can unbutton for breastfeeding: Whether you have a vaginal delivery or a C-section, a comfortable robe is an extremely useful postpartum clothing item.
- Nursing bra and nipple cream: If you plan on breastfeeding after delivery, be sure to include a well-fitting nursing bra in your bag. If you start off using nipple cream right away, your nipples will appreciate your proactive approach.
- Extra pairs of underwear: Ideally you want to pack your old, comfy pairs that you won’t mind throwing out if need be.
- Toiletries: Make sure to pack whatever basics you need to feel human after delivery, including a hairbrush, regular or dry shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, moisturizer, extra hair ties, etc. If you take any daily medications, don’t forget to pack those as well.
- Your birth plan and any paperwork you’ve been asked to complete by the hospital and/or for insurance.
- Phone charging cord and power bank: If labour ends up taking a long time, you might end up using a lot of your battery life before your baby even makes their appearance!
- Snacks and drinks: Be sure to pack a reusable water bottle, and consider bringing along an electrolyte drink like Gatorade or coconut water, too. Easy-to-eat snacks like granola or protein bars, trail mix, or dried fruit will help keep your energy up.
- Pillows: Hospital pillows aren’t known for being too comfy, so you might want to consider bringing your own favourite from home.
- Adult diapers and/or extra-absorbent maxi pads: Some hospitals will set you up with pads and mesh underwear, but we recommend bringing your own products that you prefer to use. Many moms actually find that adult incontinence diapers are more comfortable and feel more secure.
- Things to help you relax or pass the time, such as books, magazines, music, games, etc.
Your baby doesn’t need too much when they’re brand-new, but be sure to pack a few necessities, including:
- An infant car seat: Technically this isn’t being packed in your bag, but make sure that you have your car seat properly installed in your car when you head to the hospital — they won’t let you head home without it!
- A going-home outfit: Pack two different outfits in different sizes — one in newborn size, and one in 0-3 months — because you don’t know how big or small your baby will be. Don’t forget a hat and socks!
- A few sleepers and onesies for while you’re in the hospital.
- A cozy blanket for in the car seat and several receiving blankets or swaddles.
- A package of newborn diapers and baby wipes.
If your partner or a support person will be attending the birth with you, remind them to pack up some essentials as well, including:
- Comfy clothes
- Book, magazine, iPad, laptop, or other sources of general entertainment if labour is slow-going.