Whether you’re a first-time mom or are a seasoned pro with several deliveries under your belt, packing for the hospital ahead of time is a must for any soon-to-be parent. While you’ll need to bring items for your own comfort, you’ll also have to pack the basic necessities for your newborn baby.
Check With Your Hospital
Many hospitals provide essential hygiene and care supplies that your baby will need in the first few days. Contact your hospital ahead of time to ask what exactly the provide. You can also take a tour of the hospital's labor and delivery suites to see what they have on-hand for yourself. Knowing what the hospital will provide can help prevent you from over-packing. Your hospital is likely to provide you with enough diapers for your stay as well as baby blankets and T-shirts. If you plan on formula feeding, bottles and formula will be provided.
State infant and child car seat laws require parents to use these essential safety devices from the start. For example, the University of Rochester Medical Center notes that under New York state law all parents leaving in an auto must have a car seat installed prior to leaving the hospital. Place your car seat in your car and secure it prior to your baby's birth. You will need to install the car seat properly before you leave the hospital. Know how to install the car seat and buckle in your baby. Before leaving the hospital, a staff member is likely to accompany you to your car to ensure you are using your baby's car seat properly.
Your baby will need clothes to wear to go home. Pack an outfit that includes socks or booties as well as a soft hat for your baby's head. Air conditioning or cold air -- especially if your baby is born in the winter months -- can irritate a baby. Pack according to the climate that you live in. To make buckling your baby into his car seat for the first time easier, pack an outfit with separate legs so that the car seat buckles can be strapped between his legs.
Many hospitals will provide you with a receiving blanket. However, new moms often prefer to swaddle a newborn baby in a receiving blanket they have picked out on their own. A receiving blanket can help keep your baby warm while in the hospital. Receiving blankets also are beneficial for the ride home. Tucking a receiving blanket in your baby's car seat can help to keep your baby warm and comfortable -- especially during colder weather.
Your hospital likely will do a good job at accommodating the needs of your newborn. A majority of the items you will need to pack when going to the hospital will be for yourself. Make sure to have your insurance information and identification. Bring along some cash for family members to snack or eat while you are in the hospital. Bring a video camera, camera, eyeglasses, a contact lens case, lip calm, toiletries, extra pillows, a list of emergency contacts, hair bands, comfortable lounge wear, clothes to wear home, bras, underwear, snacks for your labor partner and a baby memory book for signatures and prints of your baby's feet.