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A Maternity Nurse’s Guide to Simplifying Your Hospital Bag

Travel light to your delivery. 

It’s one of the most important trips of your life, but you can still travel light to your delivery.

Over the years I’ve seen moms and dads-to-be pack lots of unnecessary items. Take a load off by packing only the essentials covered here.

Safety first.

Perhaps the most important item to bring with you to the hospital is a properly installed car seat. You won’t be able to bring your baby home without one. Take the time to read up on proper installation, use of the straps and gain some general knowledge of the seat itself.

Don’t fuss over infant fashion.

The hospital will provide your new baby with onesies and/or swaddling blankets. They won’t need much in the way of cute outfits. We do recommend that you bring baby socks, mittens as well as a special outfit for photos and departure.

Arrive with documents in hand.

Mom and dad will both need up to date identification and insurance cards to check-in and register the baby's birth with the birth registrar.

Make a plan for breastfeeding.

If you desire to breastfeed, bring items to make the process more comfortable. We recommend that you bring a feeding pillow, like My Breast Friend or a Boppy, as well as the breast pump you plan to use.

Get comfortable.

Bring a pillow or blanket from home, only if these items will help the hospital to feel more cozy. However, we recommend you skip white linens and anything valuable.

Pack a bag, not a wardrobe.

Bring an outfit, or two, and sleeping or lounging clothes for both yourself and your partner, as well as slippers, shower shoes and important toiletries. If you need more, your partner can always run home.

Get charged up.

Be sure to bring a phone charger with an extra long cord so you can document all of the memories throughout your time in the hospital.

Plan for a refuel.

It’s a smart idea to pack a few snacks based on your dietary preferences. During and after labor, hunger can strike at all hours and snacks are not always readily available.

If you’re more than 32 weeks pregnant, it’s time to begin preparing for your hospital stay. If you’re still trying to minimize what you bring, read our list of what not to pack in your bags here.

Featured Image
parents packing a maternity care bag

Carri Folwaczny, MSN, RN, CPAN, is the Nurse Manager of the Mother Baby Unit, Lactation Services and Perinatal Education at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. She received her Master of Science in Nursing degree, with a focus in Nurse Administration, from Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Va. and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Carri also holds a certification in Perianesthesia nursing from the American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing. She has cared for patients on the Mother Baby Unit at CRH for more than 10 years. 

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