I share my pregnancy hospital bag essentials to give birth as I count down the final days and moments before baby arrives!
AH! The countdown is on before baby makes its appearance and I guess you could say I’m officially nesting. The car seat has been installed, the nursery is set up, and yes- my hospital bag essentials are in my bag ready for the birth!
As I prepare for baby, I’m excited to announce that I’ve partnered with Pampers since they’re the first choice of nurses and parents in Canada. Pampers offers a complete range of diapers, wipes and training pants for every stage of baby’s development, so I’m thrilled to watch my little one grow and move through their product line. While all moms try to do their research while stocking their pregnancy hospital bag and nursery, I definitely have a tendency to go over the top. So after finding out that Pampers is the #1 choice of Canadian moms (including all of my friends and my own mom) and the #1 choice of Canadian nurses, it became very clear that it was the right choice for my babe.
If you’re a mom-to-be planning for your D-Day (aka Delivery Day), learn from my research on Hospital Bag Essentials.
Pregnancy Hospital Bag Essentials 101
It’s easy to go overboard when it comes to what you pack for you, baby, and your birthing partner- I saw one girl in my Pregnancy Facebook group post a photo with 4 massive bags! Um, nope. I’ve asked ALL of my friends about their experience, and they’ve all told me to PURGE and keep it simple. Chances are SLIM that you’re going to feel like reading your 300-page book on sleep training while in labour, or that you really need your entire makeup bag with 4 different shades of beige eye shadow. Here are my hospital bag essentials that I don’t think I will be able to live without – and to make sure we have everything baby needs for their first few days in the world.
Pampers Swaddlers Diapers and Wipes
The Swaddlers are perfect for your baby between month 0-3, and offer dryness protection up to 12 hours! They are super soft like a blanket, and pull wetness and mess away from baby’s skin to help keep babe comfy and dry. They even have an umbilical cord notch to protect baby’s delicate belly!
And don’t forget those wipes! Pampers Sensitive Wipes are dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic, so they’re perfect for baby’s bottom, hands and face!
Pillow with Brightly Coloured Pillow Case
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely CANNOT sleep on any random pillow. I may feel differently after a 24 + hour labour, but still, I don’t want to risk it so I’ll be bringing my own. I also think it’s a good idea to bring your own pillow case in a bright colour so that the nursing staff don’t accidently take your white one thinking it’s theirs.
Heating and Cooling Pads
I’m hoping to exhaust all of my natural pain-management options before requesting the epidural, so my doula recommended bringing a plug-in heat pad and disposable cooling pads. I have no idea which (if any) will feel good, but I figure it’s worth a shot!
So the research on whether or not you can eat during labour is definitely contested (I have a blog post coming out about that soon!), but regardless, a lot of hospitals don’t like you to eat while you’re in the thick of it. For that reason, I’m loading up on hard candies for some quick bursts of energy, and also making sure I have lots of snacks for my hubby and doula. I also am taking a tip from my bestie who delivered at 2 AM when the cafeteria and restaurants close by were all closed! I picked up some of those cups of soup that you just have to add hot water to, so if I am in a pinch I at least have something to tide us over.
Honestly, everyone in my pregnancy groups are so obsessed with what baby’s going home outfit is going to be. Meanwhile, all my mom friends who have been through it are like, yah, who cares. Bring something small if you want, but baby’s going to be on your boob or wrapped in a blanket the whole time you’re there. I’m planning to bring a short-sleeve onesie, a long sleeve zipper sleeper, a hat, pair of socks and mitts, and I’ll figure out what works best.
Blanket and Swaddle
Again, no need to bring your entire nursery. I’m bringing my favourite swaddle and a blanket in case it’s cold leaving the hospital and baby and I need some extra layers in the car.
Okay so this is actually pretty key – I’ve heard the hospital won’t even let you leave without having your car seat properly installed. It’s not a bad idea to get yours installed in your car a little bit before the big day so you don’t have to stress when you’re actually in labour. If you’re unsure, local fire stations and paramedics usually offer car seat workshops, so parents know exactly how to install the seat to keep baby safe.
Okay, so this may seem like a vanity pick, but my mom friends say this is one of the few essentials you actually need. I don’t know if it’s just dry in there, or you get thirsty between sweaty contractions, but everyone and their mother has urged me to bring lip balm. I’m bringing two sticks just in case I misplace one in the shuffle.
Again, I’m not trying to win any beauty pageants here, but there’s nothing comfortable about having hair in your face while you’re trying to push a human out of your lady bits. If you wouldn’t run on the treadmill without your hair back, you probably shouldn’t give birth that way either.
Phones and Chargers
For photos, calls to family, and well, Instagram.
Slippers and Warm Socks
I’m hoping to move and dance around as much as I can, so I’ll need some comfy footwear to sport out on the labour and delivery floor.
I’m hoping this whole breastfeeding thing will be easier than birth, but I want to try to make me and babe as comfortable as humanly possible. So I’m bringing one of my breastfeeding pillows with me to the hospital just to give us that extra support.
Have you heard of diastastis recti? It’s the separation of the abdominal muscles in pregnancy and does not look very comfortable. I’m trying my best to avoid the ripped abs by going easy on any core-heavy work, but sometimes you just can’t help it. To fix the issue as best as I can, I bought a belly band that will help gently pull my abs back together once baby’s safely out.
Granny Panties and Maxi Pads
I’ve been told you get given some amazing mesh panties in the hospital, but to bring some massive comfortable pairs as back up. Also, things get messy and sore after birth, so I’m planning to bring some mommy pads, as well.
No need to look fancy in the hospital, but I may want to walk around during labour and breastfeed comfortably once baby arrives. I’m actually bringing two robes – one that I don’t mind getting messy (because again, birth is not clean), and one that I wouldn’t mind greeting visitors in.
A Feeding Cover
I got some cute ones and while I don’t know for sure if I’m going to be entertaining visitors, it’s good to know if anyone stops by, I’ll be able to maintain a little modesty (especially after the world has seen it ALL).
So I’m planning to hopefully get in the shower during labour, but I’m kind of grossed out at the idea of standing in what was someone else’s birth space. I’m definitely going to bring some cheapo dollar-store flip flops to keep my feet off the floor.
All the usual suspects, of course, paired down. I’ll need my contacts, solution, glasses (KEY in case of a C-Section), toothbrush and paste, face wipes, deodorant and maybe some mascara. I don’t need a full face of makeup on, but I wouldn’t mind not looking tired for that first family photo of three.
Cord Banking Kit
We’ve opted to bank our cord blood and tissue as well as my placental tissue based on some really exciting emerging research. I can do without the flip flops, but my hubby will be really upset if we forget this!
This is mainly for the hubs, but I’ll be packing some magazines and a charged iPad to ensure my man stays in good spirits.
Change of Clothes
As much as my husband wouldn’t like to believe it, I know that women don’t just shrink back to their pre-baby body right after expelling a child, so I’ll probably be bringing some comfortable sweats and a maternity-friendly top for going home.
Gifts for the Nursing Staff
Man, nurses are the BEST. Without them, not much would get done in hospitals, so I definitely will be preparing some little treats and giveaways for the amazing nursing staff. Okay, so the doctors can totally get in on the goodies, too.
Okay, so it’s not a small list of Pregnancy Hospital Bag Essentials but split between three people and coming from a notorious over-packer, I don’t think it’s too extreme! I hope you found this Pregnancy Hospital Bag Essentials list helpful when packing for the arrival of your little bundle of joy!
Now, I want to know from the moms out there- what did you pack as hospital bag essentials hat you could NOT have lived without?
What did you find you didn’t really use?
Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!
Disclaimer: this blog post was created in paid partnership with Pampers, however, all opinions are genuine.
Updated on January 29th, 2020
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.