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Hospital bag checklist for delivery

Do you know when the baby is arriving? But not sure what to pack for the labor? Don't worry. I got you covered with a checklist on what to carry to hospital for you, your newborn and your partner (or support person).                                                    

Below list will be very exhaustive. In a country like US, most of the items listed here will be provided by hospitals, based on your insurance coverage. At Canada, where healthcare is publicly funded, you might have to carry most of them. In India, some corporate hospitals provide basic essentials, however one has to plan and carry the rest. On the whole, I would suggest talk to your doctor or hospital help desk in advance to know what you might have to bring. That would be the starting point. Also have separate bags for you, baby and support person, to avoid any mix up.

Let us go over the checklist now.

Mom's bag:

Hospital paper work and IDs: Have your health card, insurance details, IDs and all the documents/ forms that you might have to submit while getting admitted at the hospital. If you could get those documents in advance and fill them, a lot of wait time can be saved during the admission process. Hospitals generally have all your records in their database, but be sure to carry any other physical medical records with you, in case the doctors attending you might want to refer to them. 

Toiletries: Pack travel-size toiletries which includes tooth paste, bath soap/ wash, shampoo, moisturizer, deodorant, oil and lip balm, along with tissues (wet and dry), tooth brush, comb, hair ties, hand towels and bath towels. You may want to carry a pillow in case you don't find the ones provided at the hospital comfortable.

Post-delivery essentials: Usually all the hospitals will provide you labor gowns. You would need to buy comfortable dresses, maternity bras, panties, dress for going home, nursing gowns/ tops, maternity pads, nipple cream and breast pump. 

Foot wear: Keep comfortable foot wear, socks (based on the climate) and bathroom slippers in your bag.

Other personal essentials: Do not forget to include your favorites to keep you entertained during your stay at hospital - books, songs, movies downloaded on your mobile/ tablet/ iPad and head phones. Of course, phone and its charger forms part of personal essentials list. My take would be to download some books, music and movies in your mobile, so that it reduces the number of items to carry. Also keep glasses or contact lens if you use them.

Medicines: Take any medication like vitamins, natural supplements, prescribed medicines that you are currently using. 

Drinks and snacks: We generally overlook these items. But you need to stay hydrated and energized during the labor. Pack some energy bars, nuts, fruits that are easy to snack on and a bottle of water. It is good to bring reusable water bottle and drinking cup.

Baby's Bag:

Dress: Buy comfortable clothes for baby depending on the weather. You would need 3-4 baby dresses (onesies/ bodysuits will be a good choice), going home dress, going home blanket, nappies, mittens, socks, caps, blankets and swaddle clothes.

Baby essentials: Pack diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, diaper changing mat, disposable diaper bags, burp clothes, bath towels, body wash, body lotion, shampoo, feeding bottle (in case you plan to bottle-feed). If you prefer to bottle feed, pack formula as well. 

Child car seat: Child car seat has been mandated by law in many countries for safety reasons. So install baby seat in the car that you take the new born home. 

Support person's bag:

Clothes: Bring 2 or 3 pair of dresses and inner garments, as you might not know how long you have to stay at the hospital. Carry hand towels, bath towels and socks as well.

Toiletries: Take travel-size tooth paste, body wash/ soap, shampoo, moisturizer, deodorant, oil, lip balm, tooth brush, comb, hand towels and bath towels, plastic bag to keep soiled clothes for all. Hospitals generally doesn't provide pillow and blanket for the support person, so you better carry them.

Other personal essentials: All those mentioned for mom in this article will be applicable for support person too. So carry your phone with charger, head phones, books, iPad/ tablet, glasses or contact lens, as applicable. If you regularly use any medicines, bring them too.

Food/ Snacks: Hospitals usually don't provide food for the support person. So pack some food/ snacks and water for you, as you might not know how long the labor might last. Bring your own reusable drinking cup as well.

Now that you have the checklist, do not delay. Start putting together the hospital bags the moment you enter third trimester. You may think it is too early, but trust me, time flies away at the blink of the eye and you might end up missing a thing or two in haste. Moreover you never know, if the baby has plans to arrive early. So if you keep the bags ready, you can stay calm while you head to the hospital. 

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