Items for Mom and Her Partner:
- 2 comfortable and loose-fitting nightgowns - You will lose a good amount of weight after birthing, but in order to be comfortable, clothes should still fit loosely. This is especially true if you’ll be breastfeeding. Also, your own gown may be more comfortable than the hospital gowns. Your partner may also want to bring pajamas and a couple changes of clothes if they’re going to stay with you.
- 3 pairs of socks - The socks they supply are okay, but some people feel more comfy in their own and comfort is important during labor and aftercare.
- Slippers - The socks they supply won’t be comfy for walking Baby around.
- Book for you and Baby - If your labor is long, you may get bored, but not want to watch TV. Also, after birth, you and/or your partner may want to read to Baby.
- Magazine & Puzzle books - These are for the same reason as the books.
- Nursing pads - These are necessary to prevent leakage from staining the clothing. They come in cloth or disposables.
- Nursing bra - This is necessary even if you are not planning on breastfeeding. There will still be leakage for a certain period of time, especially the second or third day after baby is born when the milk is starting to come in.
Note: You will likely not have to pack items such as movies, radios, and toiletries. Most hospitals will provide these items. Besides, you really will be too busy caring for the baby, taking postnatal hospital classes, and sleeping to enjoy the radio or an entire movie. Your baby will probably enjoy your singing more than a baby sounds cd as well.
Whichever toiletries are not provided by asking the nurse can likely be found in the hospital gift shop. If not, you can ask someone to bring them later if necessary. This way you don't have to bring in such a cumbersome bag while you're in labor. Besides, by the time you leave, you will need the extra space in your bag. The hospital will give you tons of freebies for yourself and the baby.
Items For Baby:
- 3 one-piece bodysuits/onesies - Pack one in preemie size and one in newborn size. You never know which size of onesies will be appropriate until the baby is born. Many newborns are too small for the newborn size.
- 4 diapers (2 newborn size and 2 preemie size) - You are only bringing these in case the hospital does not give you diapers, but in most cases, you will receive at least one free pack of diapers. If that doesn't happen, you can have someone bring you a pack, but it's highly unlikely to not receive diapers at the hospital. If you will be using cloth diapers, you may want to use disposables in the hospital. Otherwise, plan to purchase a fair amount of cloth diapers, for you won't have access to a washing machine and will need to keep a wetbag for the soiled ones.
- 3 pacifiers (1 rounded, 1 orthopedic, 1 bottle nipple style) - You are bringing three different types because all babies prefer a different type. Sometimes the ones supplied in the hospital are not preferred by the baby.
- Formula and baby bottles - The hospital will provide these in a disposable format, but if you prefer a different brand of formula or bottles than your hospital provides, you’ll be out of luck if you don’t bring them. Bring these even if you don't intend to formula feed. Sometimes for unexpected health reasons, a mother may not be able to breastfeed.
- 1 going home outfit - Get this in both preemie size and newborn size. If the baby does not fit the preemie size, return it. If the baby does fit the preemie size, you can either keep the newborn size for when baby grows or just return it.
- 1 Car seat with head cushion insert - I recommend the Graco SnugRide. It is safety certified and fits the smallest of babies, including preemies. It has ranked number one in safety for many years.
- 4 receiving blankets & 1 infant swaddling wrap (wrap is optional, but helpful) - You will need to wrap baby in one or two swaddling blankets or just one wrap. If baby is small, you may need to roll up one or two of the blankets to properly position the baby in the car seat for the ride home.
Items Baby Can Do Without Until After You’re Home:
- Baby nail clippers - Don’t use these on a newborn baby; cover hands with mittens at first.
- Baby toys - Newborns cannot play yet.
- Baby shoes - Newborns don’t like these and don’t yet need them.
- Diapering powders & ointments - Baby will likely not need ointment yet and powder isn’t recommended.
- Suction bulb/nasal aspirator - The hospital will provide this.
- Q-tips - These are not recommended for infants. If the outside of the ear canal needs cleaning, use a wet cloth, which will be provided at the hospital.