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What Should You Take to the Hospital? An Essential Guide for Parents-to-Be

The moment is almost here: You’re nearly ready to welcome your new family member into the world. You’ve made your list, you’ve checked it once, twice, maybe three times — but are you (and your hospital bag) ready for the big day? To make sure you’ve got all your bases covered, Family Connections invites you to check out this list of items you need (and some you want!) in that ready-to-go kit.

1. For mom: Activities and diversions

In planning for a long labor, it’s a good idea to pack several activities to take your mind off the pain. Books, puzzles, and two-person games (like ones that only require a deck of cards) are all effective options, not to mention audio media like podcasts or music as well. Intentionally pack things that you know will soothe you. Hopefully, these things will help you stay balanced and relaxed, even in the event that your labor lasts a while.

2. For mom: Comfortable clothing

One item of clothing you include on your list is a labor and delivery gown. This essential piece of clothing should be comfortable and practical (some even come with halter ties to make skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding easier after your delivery), and there are several retailers that sell these kinds of garments. Plus, you can get a cute pattern and still feel as stylish — and cozy — as possible.

Other clothing you may want to include would be a warm robe or sweater, sweatpants or leggings, and thick, non-skid socks. No matter the time of year, hospitals keep the atmosphere on the chilly side, because bacteria thrive in warm environments. So bring outfits (and blankets!) that will keep you warm. And, of course, don’t forget your mask!

3. For parents: Toiletries and snacks

You will also need items like nipple cream, moisturizer and other self-grooming items like dry shampoo and toothbrushing implements. In addition to being cold, hospitals try to maintain a less humid environment to limit the spread of infection, so lip balm should also be a go-to item. You may even want to pack earplugs for your overnight stay in the hospital, because it’s more important than ever to get a good night’s rest, and if the sounds of a busy hallway keep you awake, that’s not a good scenario for you or baby.

No matter how long labor lasts, there will no doubt be some rumblings in your stomach. Laboring moms will have limited options for snacks, but your doctor should approve a few things beforehand. Your partner should also bring some things — like sandwiches or crackers — to nosh on so they don’t have to go anywhere during labor.

4. For parents: Miscellaneous essentials

Don’t forget your important documents! Photo identification, insurance cards, and hospital forms are all things you and your partner will be asked to produce at some point during your stay. It’s also integral to bring a list of the medications you’re currently taking and their dosages.

5. For baby: Welcome to the world!

Keep the star of the show in mind as you pack your bag, as well. You’ll want to keep several things on hand for welcoming your child to your family, including a newborn car seat, several outfits for both sleeping and daily wear, and hats to protect their little heads from the cold hospital.

One last thing: Congratulations!

Now that you have everything in your bag and ready to go, the last thing you need to do is … wait. Whether you’re being induced or waiting for a baby to come on their own schedule, having a C-section or foregoing pain medication all together, giving birth is a beautiful thing. Congratulations on your new family member!

When the time comes for you to return to work, you’ll want to make sure your baby is in the best car possible. To ensure you find the right childcare provider, turn to Family Connections.

Written by Josh Moore

Photo by Pexels