Excited and expectant parents have a lot to prepare before the birth of their child: from stocking up on baby gear, decorating the nursery, to baby-proofing the house. But for first-time moms, don’t forget to do one of the most important things during your trimester: packing your hospital bag. They say timing is everything—but it’s better to be prepared eight months before your due date since you could go into labor at any time. You have to pack smart and make sure you have every essential in the bag. But how do you start?
We’ve compiled an easy checklist that experienced moms recommend packing, so you can have a worry-free birth experience:
1. All the necessary IDs and documents.
Keep all your important IDs and documents (driver’s license, passport, or any identification card, hospital paperwork, and birth plan) in one place just in case the hospital asks for any of these.
2. Underwear and absorbent pads.
Bring loose and comfortable underwear, maternity bras, and absorbent pads.
3. Items to keep you warm
The hospital provides a nightgown, socks, bath towel, and blanket, but it’s better to bring extra ones that you own because you don’t know how cold the temperature will be once you stay in the hospital room.
4. Things that will remind you of home.
These might help you relax and feel more comfortable: your own pillow, blanket, slippers, family photos, a good book, and maybe some fresh flowers to brighten up the room.
5. Toiletries and skincare essentials.
It’s better to pack your own toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, shampoo, and skin care essentials. It can be very dry in hospitals and it might take a toll on your skin. So make sure to keep moisturized! Don’t forget to pack your hubby’s essentials, too!
6. Going-home clothes.
You’ll probably still look three or five months pregnant even if you’ve already given birth, so ditch the skinny jeans and other tight clothing. Bring comfortable clothes and flats for you to wear when you get discharged from the hospital. Flip-flops are a good choice if your feet are swollen.
If music helps you relax, bring your device for playing music, cell phone, and charger.
8. Nursing and clothing essentials for your baby.
The hospital will provide blankets for swaddling your baby, but you may want to bring your own to tuck around your baby in the car seat for the ride home. Include a newborn-size kimono-style shirt, pants, or onesie you can choose from plus soft booties to keep your baby warm.
9. Healthy snacks
Remember to keep your valuables in a safe place during your stay in the hospital.