So you are in your third trimester and the baby could come any day now and no one, not even your doctor can accurately predict when the big moment will come. All you know is, you are uncomfortable and becoming a little too well acquainted with the bathroom lately.
The only thing left to do is register with your hospital, (Yes many hospitals offer preregistration so that they have you and your insurance info on file before you arrive, at which point you are in no mood, or better yet, have no time to fish through your wallet to find your provider info and fill out paperwork) and pack your bag.
There are many suggestions out there as to what to put in your bag and even overpriced pre-made bags available with a bunch of things you will most likely never use. Much of what you will need for the baby will be provided by the hospital, except a few things that you will probably have by the time your baby shower is over anyway.
Here is a list of things I actually used and was happy to have in the first hours and few days spent in the hospital.
Driver’s License This was all I needed because I preregistered, but if you haven’t you will also need your insurance card and possibly a copy of your registration just in case they can’t find you in the system.
Mouthwash (You may not feel up to making your way to the sink for the first day or so, but it’s always nice to have a fresh, clean mouth.)
Body wash and a soft bath puff Hospitals typically provide one kind of soap for your hair and body which will leave you feeling dry and believe me, that is the last thing you want.
Travel size shampoo and conditioner
Typical toiletries for Mommy and Daddy
Makeup I almost didn’t bring mine, but I was so glad I did for photos and visitors.
Glasses/Contacts If you have disposables that’s all the better so that you don’t have to fuss over cleaning solutions and cases.
Going home outfits for Mommy and Daddy This is the only outfit I actually wore other than what I went to the hospital in. I packed comfy clothes for the other days and ended up just wearing my hospital gown the whole time. Daddy on the other hand needs one nice outfit for going home and lounge outfits for the other days. Also, I recommend to bring loose-fitting or maternity pants as you will not go back to your pre-pregnancy shape right away.
Dry shampoo This stuff is liquid gold when you are not able to shower yet but want to look presentable for those new family portraits.
Nursing cover If you plan to breastfeed (This is mainly for when family and friends visit as even the most modest mama may be surprised at how little she cares about doctors and nurses seeing her bare breasted after giving birth with a room full of them.)
Nursing pillow The popular brand is Boppy but there are several out there. This was helpful to have to aide in breastfeeding and can also be more comfortable and reassuring for family and guests to have something to rest their arms on while cuddling with the new and fragile bundle of joy. Daddy can also use it as a pillow at night as hospital pillows are sometimes not the most comfortable.
Baby book Often there is a place for their foot print, birth stats and first thoughts from parents and family. You may be surprised how fast you forget some of the small details in all of the commotion.
Chap stick All of that heavy breathing and ice chips are not very friendly to your kisser so this is a must have!
Warm blanket and hat for baby
One or two cute outfits for baby (Including going home outfit) It is becoming more and more common for hospitals to offer hospital photo shoots when baby is one day or less old. There is typically no cost to the parents unless they would like to purchase the photos and of course, who doesn’t want professional pics of their newborn? Yup they’ve got your number! But either way, it doesn’t hurt to have a cute outfit or two to photograph in and to take baby home in of course.
Car seat This may seem obvious, but in a rush, you may not think of it. I know this is technically not included in the hospital bag so think of it as a bonus.
Twin size blow up mattress, blanket and pillow for Daddy Although not a must, most hospitals offer little more than a bench suited for a preteen boy at best for new Dads to sleep on. Those first few days can be pretty demanding on them as well, so a good night sleep is essential. We wished we had thought of this by the end of the third day.
Advil or any other over the counter meds that Daddy may need. They offer plenty of drugs to mommy for pain, but if Daddy has a headache or body aches from the tiny bench/bed he’s pretty much SOL because the hospital cannot offer medication to anyone but their patients.
Phone chargers or extra batteries I ended up finding a set of extra batteries and a wall charger for our phones on Amazon because plugs are not always conveniently located near the hospital bed for easy access when you are answering a multitude of congratulatory text or social media messages. If you are anything like me, you won’t want to walk anymore than you have to at first.
In the interest of helping you pack lighter, here are a few things you most likely will not need because the hospital typically provides them or you just don’t need them:
Warm socks for Mommy to be
Sanitary napkins Believe it or not, you will most likely actually appreciate the huge ones provided for you.
Granny panties The mesh ones the hospital provides are your friend!
Nursing pads So many people suggest to pack these and you won’t need them because your milk will most likely not come in fully until after you leave the hospital.
Diapers, wipes, pacifiers and other necessities for the baby The hospital provides all of these things.
Breast pump Hospital provides these.
If there is anything I have missed, please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.