Preparing for a new baby is an exciting time for all expectant first-time mamas. As part of the nesting stage of pregnancy, you’ll want to start putting together the essentials needed for your hospital bag.
Not sure what to pack? Don’t worry. We’d like to share some tips that we picked up when packing our baby hospital bag and the must-have items that are essential for mama and baby.
When Should New Mamas Start Thinking About Their Hospital Bag?
The big question: When should you start getting your and your baby’s hospital bag packed? Some new mamas like to start thinking about this early on in pregnancy. While for others, they find themselves ticking this off their list in the final two weeks leading up to birth. Every mama is different!
Yet, you don’t want to leave it too late either (in case you go into labour early). The sweet spot for getting your hospital bag essentials packed is by the 35-week mark. This should make you feel more prepared and secure for anything that will come your way in the days leading up to your due date.
While some of these essentials can be packed months in advance (e.g. baby blankets), others will be more last-minute such as phone chargers and toothbrushes. Once you’re packed, have your baby hospital bag near the door or in the car so that you’re not scrambling to find it when you feel those first few contractions.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Packing a Baby Hospital Bag
Do prepare in advance. Creating a draft baby hospital bag checklist can be a great way to keep on top of things when buying the essentials that you need. Make sure that you also include any paperwork that you’ll need for the hospital, especially if it is insurance-related.
Don’t spend too much time second-guessing what you packed. It can be easy in the weeks leading up to giving birth to panic about the little things. Try not to do this. As long as you have all the necessary essentials for yourself and your baby, trying to decide whether you need more books or a portable speaker is the last thing to worry about.
Do ask the hospital what you should and shouldn’t bring with you. For example, some hospitals might prefer it if you don’t wear your own labour or delivery gown. Additionally, if you plan to bring your laptop with you for entertainment, check with the hospital first whether you can access a reliable wifi connection. You may even find that you don’t need to bring diapers and wipes with you.
Don’t assume that you will need lots of devices to keep you entertained during labour. While having an e-book reader or a magazine is certainly recommended, between talking to healthcare professionals and speaking with loved ones you’ll be kept busy.
Do remember the ‘clear liquid rule’. Labour can take a long time and you’ll likely want to bring some food and beverages to keep your energy up. Remember that once labour starts you will only be allowed to drink clear liquids. Make sure to pack plenty of water, clear soups, carbonated drinks and hard candies.
Don’t pack too many clothes for your baby. It may be tempting to bring a whole mini wardrobe for your newborn baby but in reality, you don’t need to bring everything. Make sure that you pack outfits that are cozy and soft for your newborn’s skin. Additionally, packing clothes in both newborn size and 0-3 months is a good tip especially because you don’t know how big your baby will be.
Hospital Bag Must Haves for Baby and Mama: Checklist
Not sure what should be on your baby hospital bag checklist? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Newborn Hats & Headwraps
When your baby is born, they transition from an environment that has been toasty and warm for nine months to a world that can be chilly (especially in Canada). That’s why many nurses will cover a baby’s head once they are born.
To keep your baby warm in the hours and days after they are born, you should pack some newborn hats and headwraps in your hospital bag. Not only are these baby essentials stylish but they will keep your baby warm as they acclimatize to their new environment.
Next on your list is newborn baby sleepwear. In the first days after birth, your baby will be getting as much sleep as they can (except when they are feeding). This usually happens in 4-hour blocks and your baby will sleep a total of 16 hours a day. During this time, they will need to be kept clean, dry, and cozy.
Make sure that you are packing plenty of newborn pyjamas in your baby’s hospital bags. Aim for pyjamas that are either one-pieces like these organic cotton footed zipper pjs. Additionally, a sleep sack such as this Gunamuna Swaddle Sleep Bag Premium Duvet Sack is ideal for those quick diaper changes when the baby is sleeping.
Going Home Outfit
All mamas want to pick a cute going-home outfit for their newborn. We don’t blame you! This is a moment that you will remember forever - so why not pick a special outfit for the occasion. The great news is that there are so many comfortable yet modern and stylish baby clothes on the market.
From baby dresses and rompers to adorable separate pieces, there are many options that you can choose from. Our personal favourite going-home outfit option is a comfy two-piece set such as this Mebie Baby Cream Knit Layette Set (coming soon to Luca Elle Boutique).
A lightweight baby changing pad is another great essential that mamas will be thankful that they packed in their hospital bag. Understandably, you will be changing your newborn’s diaper A LOT in the first few days.
A changing pad should be soft to the touch and comfortable on your baby’s skin. Atelier An Nur’s Mini Mat is the ideal size for packing, water-repellant, and 100% organic.
Baby swaddles are a must-have for newborn babies. These items help your baby to feel safe and secure as they embrace a new world outside the womb. There are many ways to use swaddles but typically they are used to wrap your babe in while they sleep. In some cases, a midwife or nurse will teach you how to use them.
Lastly, if you have chosen that you would like to bottle-feed your baby, make sure to pack at least two or three baby bottles for the hospital. While some hospitals may have bottles that they can provide you, most parents prefer to use their own from the very beginning.
While birth plans don’t always go the way that we expect them to, that doesn’t mean it isn’t helpful to have a few printed copies of yours with you. This way you can give one to your labour nurse and have one included in your chart with key points highlighted. Bringing a birth plan with you in your hospital bag can make you feel more at ease.
The labour and delivery ward is no place for jeans or your best dress. Comfortable clothes will be key - especially if you are due to have a C-section. Make sure that you pack tank tops if you are planning to breastfeed and loose pants such as postpartum leggings. Lightweight pajamas with elasticated waistbands are also ideal.
Make sure to pack several nursing bras and nipple cream if you plan to breastfeed from the beginning. Other nursing supplies such as a breast pump may come in handy if you are going to bottle feed your baby.
Mom Bags & Bag Organizers
Now that you are a mama, you’ll need to get yourself a stylish mom bag that can fit all of your and baby’s needs. Undoubtedly, this bag will become your go-to item when you are out and about with your newborn. Whether thrown over your shoulder or attached to the stroller, a mom bag such as the Studio Noos Black Bouclé Mom Bag will be a lifesaver!
One item that we were happy we packed in our baby hospital bag was a bag organizer. By slipping it into your mom bag, you can easily reach items without having to empty your bag on the floor each time. From laptop compartments to important documents and even diapers, everything you need will be neatly kept in one place.
Another checklist item not to forget is your toiletry bag. While it will have the essentials such as your toothbrush and makeup, moisturizer is key. As a new parent, you may find that your skin feels particularly dry after giving birth. This is normal.
Make sure to combat any dryness you have, whether it is on your hands or your stomach by using a hydrating salve. So Luxury’s All Purpose-Salve is great for replenishing and healing your skin after birth.
Body Butter & Cream
Finally, no baby hospital bag is complete without something luxurious for mom to enjoy. While this time will be spent focusing on building a bond with your newborn, make sure that you take a few moments each day to treat yourself.
Body butter and creams are a great way to do this. You can use it straight after having your first shower after birth as some well-deserved treat. Or, your partner can give you a nice foot massage during labour.
Here at Luca Elle Boutique, So Luxury’s Island Coconut Butter is a favourite of ours. This body butter is soothing, hydrating and smells divine. They also have an unscented version available.
Welcome Your Little One Home in Comfort
One of the best parts about having your baby is knowing that from the first moment they take a breath, they’ll be a part of your heart forever. We know that some mamas may be nervous about giving birth. By planning, you can feel more prepared and at ease during the labour experience.
Here at Luca Elle Boutique, we have many hospital bag essentials for you and your baby. Shop our collection of baby clothes and accessories brands today!