Have you packed for your big day yet?  There are endless lists and articles out there suggesting that you need to take everything, including the kitchen sink, to the hospital when you are having a baby. That is simply not the case and the hospital provides more than you think.

It is advised to go ahead and pack sooner rather than later since you don’t know when baby will make an appearance.  Besides some of the obvious items that you would take on a trip like basic toiletries and your phone charger, this list will help ease your stress on what to pack for mom, partner, and baby when the time comes.

What to Pack for Mom

  • Comfy Clothes. Button up pajamas, sports/nursing bra, yoga pants/t-shirt, flip flops/slippers/socks. You can opt to chill in the hospital gown but it’s helpful to have other options that are just as easily accessible. A couple sets of dark colored button up pajamas with pants or shorts or a button up gown are super convenient for nursing and the necessary pokes and prods from the doctors and nurses. A comfortable bra without underwire will also be helpful for nursing and just general comfort. Flip flops or slippers will make it easy to get around with swollen feet and ankles. As for being discharged from the hospital, lounge clothes are your best bet. Opt for some stretchy pants and a short or long sleeve tee shirt, or even a t-shirt dress, depending on the weather.
  • Disposable Underwear. The hospital provides gigantic maternity pads and mesh underwear but those get complicated. Invest in some absorbent undies like Depends or Always that you can just ditch.
  • Toiletries outside of the basics: Lip Balm/Chap Stick, Lotion/Hand Cream. These essential items appear on other lists and for good reason. Your lips will get chapped from all the heavy breathing and your hands will suffer from all washing and sanitizing you’ll be doing.
  • Your own pillow. Hospital pillows aren’t great and it’s nice to have something from home with more support.
  • Good Snacks. Unless you love hospital food or are on a restricted diet, bring some good stuff. You’ll be glad you did.
  • Phone Charger with a long cord. Bringing your charger is a no-brainer but investing in a longer cord will come in handy. The hospital outlets are in weird places and may not be as accessible as you expect.

What to Pack for Baby

  • Weather appropriate going-home outfit. The hospital provides most baby essentials so you really just need something to take your little bundle of joy home in. Pack a couple different sized onesies and/or footie pajamas since you won’t know how big your new bundle of joy will be. Don’t even bother taking that fancy dress your mother brought you home in. It’s not the 80s and you won’t want to deal with it.

What to Pack for Dad/Partner

  • A couple changes of clothes, basic toiletries, snacks, a pillow and phone should be enough for your partner. They have the freedom to come and go and they don’t have to nurse or get bloodwork done, so they won’t need as much stuff.

What you Don’t Need

  • A copy of your birth plan. Things aren’t likely to go as planned so a general verbal overview of whatever you’ve discussed with your doctor should suffice. Having to worry about an elaborate birth plan document is unnecessary.
  • A spiffy new water bottle. The hospital will give you a cool cup with a straw so you can have ice water. Don’t take an expensive stainless-steel water bottle that you’ll end up forgetting at the hospital anyway.
  • A camera/video camera. Unless you’re a professional photographer, your phone is fine.
  • Books, games, tablets. You may have some down time but probably not as much as you think. Your phone is enough.
  • Medicated wipes, sprays, squirt bottles – the hospital will provide peri care so you don’t need to buy your own.
  • Diapers, wipes and a bunch of other baby stuff – the hospital will have all you need to initially care for the little one. You’ll most likely swaddle baby in the hospital blankets for the most part, so unless you want to put on a baby fashion show, you don’t need a bunch of clothes, hats, socks, etc.
  • Towels and extra blankets – the hospital should have all the towels and blankets you need, just ask.
  • Breastfeeding accessories – the hospital has all this stuff, from pumping supplies to breast pads and nipple cream. Don’t worry about lugging all of that to the hospital yourself.

Other Tips

  • Make sure your car seat and base are installed and be sure to bring your car seat up to the room when you’re being discharged. They may not let you leave without the baby in the actual car seat.
  • The beds and couches for your partner are not comfortable so, depending on how long your hospital stay is, consider sending them home for that last night.
  • Check the baby into the nursery for a couple hours. With the new in-room policies at some hospitals, moms don’t get breaks anymore. Don’t feel bad about sending the baby to the experts for a bath and get some rest.
  • Pre-register at the hospital. This will make the check in process much less stressful. No one wants to fill out a bunch of paper work while having contractions.

Don’t stress over buying and bringing a whole bunch of stuff that the hospital will likely provide anyway. You’ll have enough on your plate with labor and delivery itself. Ease your stress by packing a small, simple bag with just the essentials.