Packing List

Five weeks left.

In disbelief, I stare at the countdown app on my phone. How, I wonder, have I made it this far? More to the point, how can I have made it so far and still feel so vastly under-prepared for this new baby? During my first pregnancy, we painted the nursery several months in advance, installed the car seat two months early, and took a childbirth class throughout my entire third trimester. This time around, granted, there is less to be done, physically…but the unexpected side effect is that I feel completely mentally unprepared, as well.
Perhaps this is why I’m oddly excited about packing for the hospital. It is a very concrete, very necessary action I can take during a time when I might otherwise just be waiting around for labor to begin. BUT it can also an extremely daunting task, since there are so many details to consider!
Fortunately, I saved my packing list from my first pregnancy, and I’m tweaking it slightly based on what I learned from that first time around. And just in case you happen to also be floundering in the last few weeks of pregnancy, I’m sharing it with you so that you can tweak and use it, as well!
A few disclaimers:
1. Packing a hospital BAG is a misnomer. It’s way more likely that you’ll be packing a couple of different BAGS! The first time, we packed one bag for my husband and one for me. This time, we’re dividing it up differently: one bag for labor/delivery and one for the hospital stay. That way, we can take a smaller bag in initially, and then he can go back out to the car once we’re settled in. Oh and this time, we’re not just pakcing a newborn diaper bag, but also a go-bag for our toddler, who will be staying with my mom while I’m in the hospital.
2. It’s really tempting to say, “I’ll add that to the bag once I’m actually in labor.” However, if you say that too many times, you will end up with a huge to-do list to complete in between contractions. One of the clearest memories from my first labor was watching my husband run around at the very last minute to finish packing before we could head to the hospital. This time, we’ve decided that it’s worth it to buy duplicates of items we would end up using anyway (i.e. new toothbrushes, shampoo…even some new pajamas!) so that we can have as much done beforehand as possible. As an added bonus, getting to open a new package of deodorant the day after you give birth will feel like a huge treat!
If you do need to leave out a few items until the very end (i.e. phone chargers!), make a list of those items so you don’t have to rely on your labor-addled brain to make rational decisions.
So, without further ado, here is our packing list this time around:
1. Install an infant car seat. (And make sure it’s installed properly!)
2. Stash some old towels and/or trash bags in the trunk (You will want to be sitting on these if your water breaks en route!)
3. Consider packing an emergency birth kit (This is likely not necessary, but if you are half as paranoid as I am about the possibility of having your baby in the car, it might be worth it just for your peace of mind. You can google around to make an elaborate kit, but we are just packing the bare minimum: a receiving blanket; medical scissors and shoelaces to cut and tie the cord if necessary; and a gallon-size Ziploc bag, to store the placenta)
* With the exception of the going-home outfit, these are not actually necessities — your hospital will probably provide everything your baby needs. But let’s be honest: this bag is the most fun to pack, and you’re dying to do something with all of those sweet little gowns and tiny diapers you’ve been stocking up on!
1. One pack of newborn diapers
2. One pack of wipes
3. One or two outfits, including a going-home outfit
4. Two receiving blankets
5. Baby book (Be sure to ask for a copy of the baby’s footprints!)
6. No-scratch mittens, hats, socks
7. Baby nail clippers
8. Hand sanitizer (for all those visitors who will want to hold your baby!)
1. Hairbrush and scrunchies/headband
2. Labor outfit (if you have something specific you want to wear)
3. Hard candy and gum
4. Box of Granola bars (if you’ve been cleared to eat during labor, you will want some sustenance that’s not too heavy! Even if not, your partner will still need to keep up his/her strength)
5. Birth plan (if you have one)
6. Change of clothes and shoes for your partner (just in case…ummm…things get a little bit messy)
7. Chapstick
8. Insurance card and ID
9. Thank-you gift for the hospital staff (we hear snacks are always appreciated!)
10. Camera/video camera with chargers
11. Various comfort measures/distractions (choose what you think you might want: for us, a music playlist and speakers are paramount!! You may also want to consider bringing things like an easy-to-read book, massager, a heating pad, a portable fan, exercise ball, a body pillow, etc.)
1. Granny panties and overnight/maxi pads (The hospital will probably provide pads and mesh underwear, but at some point, you may decide you’d rather use your own. It won’t hurt to have them on hand, and you’ll definitely need them when you get home!)
2. Comfortable, stretchy maternity clothes (Fashion is not the point. Remember you’ll still have a belly even after you give birth, so don’t bring your pre-pregnancy jeans…you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment. I’m bringing both a dress — in case I need a c-section and don’t want to have elastic over my incision — and some yoga-pant/tank-top combos).
3. Robe (even if you’re not a “robe person,” you may want to consider this. I lived in mine the entire first week after giving birth)
4. Toiletries for you and your partner
5. Sleeping bag and pillow for your partner, if s/he will be staying at the hospital with you
6. Change of clothes (don’t forget sleepwear, shoes, and socks) for your partner
7. If planning to nurse: soft nursing bra, nursing pads, nursing pillow, nipple cream. If planning to use formula: formula and bottles.
8. If you have an older child: a gift “from the baby” to your older child
*Not necessary if this is your first child, obviously. Adjust as necessary depending on the age of your kid.
1. Copy of vaccination records (Your hospital will probably require this before letting them meet their new sibling!)
2. Diapers and wipes
3. Pajamas
4. A few changes of clothes
5. Toiletries: shampoo, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, sunscreen
Callie Dean
About me

Guest Blogger Callie is wife to Jordan, mom to Luke and a yet-to-be-born-or-named baby boy. She lives in Shreveport, where she fills her days with music, teaching, writing, toddler-wrangling, catching up on laundry, and trying to find time for a nap.

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