You’ve got everything ready at home for your new arrival, and you’ve packed your own hospital bag for the big day. But now the question remains… what to pack in baby’s hospital bag??
You may have heard that the hospital or birthing center often provides a lot of the basics (like a hat and diapers) during your stay. While this is most often the case, keep in mind that what’s given to you will vary depending on where you deliver. So you may still want to bring along some of these items, just in case. At the bare minimum, you’ll probably want to bring a cute “going home” outfit for baby, and remember to install the car seat ahead of time (or else you won’t even be allowed to leave with your precious new cargo!). But there are definitely a few other things you’ll want to pack.
Ultimately, certain personal preferences will come into play when you’re packing for your newborn. You may or may not need some things depending on whether or not you are planning to breastfeed vs. bottle feed, if you’ll be using a pacifier, using cloth diapers vs. disposables, if you’re a minimalist packer or like to have 13 different outfit choices on hand… you get the idea.
So think of the following list as a basic guide to “just the essentials” that MOST parents will need for a typical two-day stay at the hospital or birthing center with baby. From there, you can simply tweak or add to the list based on your personal plans!
Sometimes the hospital will provide baby with a plain white onesie, but it’s always nice to have a “cuter” option for when visitors come by! It will also be helpful to have on hand as another outfit choice, should any diaper or spit-up accidents happen.
To keep your little one warm during any time you don’t want him/her to be swaddled. Also serves as another outfit choice, especially if you will be at the hospital for longer than two days (e.g. if you’ve had a c-section).
Socks & no-scratch mittens
For keeping their little feet warm, and for making sure they don’t scratch their own face by accident whenever they’re not swaddled.
A “Going Home” outfit
Something comfy but adorable as he/she poses for the 1,000 photos you’re going to take on his/her first adventure out into the big, wide world!
Baby is going to need to eat, and along with eating comes burping! Spit up is bound to happen. You might be able to get away with using the blankets that the hospital provides for this task, but you may also want to bring along one or two of your own to have on hand. I personally prefer these flannel burp cloths, as they are both soft and super absorbent.
The hospital usually provides at least one or two receiving blankets, but if you have a really cute one that goes with your nursery theme that you’re just dying to use, or if you have one that’s been custom-designed or monogrammed especially for your little one, then you may want to bring those with you. Some moms swear by these silky soft receiving blankets, so I plan to bring one of those along, too.
Diapers & wipes
Hospitals typically provide these basic essentials, and if you’re okay with using whatever they give you, then you can probably safely skip packing these. However, if you have a particular brand preference (organic, all-natural, bamboo fibers, whatever), then definitely pack some of your own from home. And of course, if you’re cloth diapering, then you’ll need to bring your own along!
The following items are definitely OPTIONAL, but might be nice to have on hand…
White noise machine
Newborns are accustomed to the constant loud noise that’s been playing on repeat inside your womb for the last 9 months, so sleeping in the relative quiet of the outside world is a shocking adjustment! This item will likely be most useful on the car ride home to help calm baby if he/she starts to gets fussy. You can use a cell phone app for this purpose, or use a cute plush, travel sound soother like this sleep sheep that can be attached to the car seat handle.
Soft, warm blanket
Depending on the climate where you live, this may not be necessary. But if you think there’s a chance baby could be cold on the car ride home, then you can bring along a plush, soft blankie as extra “insurance”.
Nursing cover (if planning to breastfeed)
Obviously the presence of lactation consultants and other hospital personnel are not much of a concern when you’re breastfeeding, as they’ve already seen you in all your naked glory for many, long hours before baby ever arrived. But if your newborn needs to be fed while family and friends happen to be in your room, then a nursing cover might be a nice item to have at the ready. I’ll be bringing this soft, stretchy one that I received at my baby shower, which also conveniently doubles as a car seat cover!
Are there any other items you wish you had packed for your baby’s first days in the hospital, but did not think of beforehand? Share your experience in the comments below!
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