What must be in your hospital bag for the newborns?

One of the first questions new parents are typically asked is “What should be in my hospital bag for the newborns?” 

As you go into labor, one of your biggest concerns will be whether you will have everything needed to care for your baby. Below is a list of some important items that you should bring with you to the hospital.

Baby's clothes in multiple sizes

You don't need to pack a lifetime supply of baby clothes for your hospital stay, but you should definitely have enough on hand to cover accidents. 

Your newborn will grow quickly so make sure you also pack some bigger sizes. If your baby is born after their due date they will most likely be wearing the clothes you packed at home anyway as they are likely to be too large.

Pack small, medium, and large sizes. You'll need at least 3-4 outfits per day that you're in the hospital, babies tend to fill up those diapers fast. 

Bring plenty of extra clothes for unexpected emergencies and always bring an extra pair or two of socks for both Mom and baby.

Newborn diapers and wipes.

Bring newborn-size diapers and wipes. These are small enough to fit your new little bundle without being too big or bulky. You should pack enough diapers for two days: you’ll be surprised at how fast a newborn can go through them. 

If you have one, bring a changing pad as well, they’re helpful on the go. Bring a small bag to dispose of dirty diapers; it will help keep things clean and sanitary.

Formula and bottles if you are not breastfeeding.

If you're not breastfeeding, formula and bottles are a must. Your baby will drink about 2 ounces of liquid per pound of body weight each day. You will want to visit your local baby supply store to find the right formula for your little one. 

You may need 1-2 canisters of formula to start with, but it is important to note that buying in bulk isn't always best because some formulas lose their nutritional value over time. A good rule of thumb is to buy only enough formula for a few weeks at a time.

Bottles and nipples come in many different styles and sizes, so try out a few before making your decision on which ones work best for you and your newborn.

1-2 burp cloths/clothes.

You’ll need 2 burp cloths for the hospital. It’s always a good idea to have a backup in case one gets soiled. You never know when you might need it. Burp cloths are great for catching spit-up and drool from your little bundle of joy. They also make excellent lap protectors during nursing sessions. 

The standard size is 17 inches x 13 inches, but some moms prefer larger ones or pre-folds that are about 12 inches x 8 inches (the latter two sizes will require folding). When it comes to material, have your pick between 100% cotton flannel, muslin, absorbent terrycloth, etc., whatever suits your fancy.

Your bathrobe and slippers.

You will be glad to have a warm, soft bathrobe and slippers. It is easy to get cold in the hospital. You will often be able to put on your bathrobe while feeding your baby if you don't cover yourself with a blanket.

It is also much more comfortable and nicer looking to wear your own bathrobe than it is to wear the hospital gowns they provide. In fact, you may not even want to try on the hospital gowns at all. Slippers are especially warmer than flip-flops and therefore more comfortable for walking around in.

Birth plan for the labor nurse.

Birth plans are a great idea, especially if you're having a baby. Not only do they let your doctor and nurses know that you've thought through the birthing process and involve them in the discussions of what will work best for you, but they also give an overview of what to expect. 

That way, if things don't go according to plan, your doctor can better predict how an emergency situation will play out.

This is particularly important when dealing with the labor process because you can foresee complications that could arise from a medical emergency or something unexpected like a breech delivery or postpartum hemorrhage. Birth plans allow for more informed conversations about these situations so that both the mother and child have time to prepare ahead of time and have each other's backs.

So, why write up a birth plan? Here are some reasons why it's worthwhile:

  • It gives you an opportunity to think about what your choices might be during labor, and to discuss them with your partner.
  • If you're going to be working with a midwife or other health care provider who isn't familiar with your last birth plan, it gives her the chance to learn about your priorities.
  • If something unexpected happens during labor, having an actual piece of paper to refer to can make it easier for your birth team to follow your wishes.
  • If you have a very complicated labor and delivery situation, it may make sense for more than one clinician to be involved at different times,  for example, if you start laboring at home with a midwife but then transfer to the hospital and work with a different midwife or obstetrician in the delivery room. Having a written birth plan can help everyone stay on track with what they want.
  • A written plan communicates your desires clearly. If you don't want interventions, make that clear in writing so that others can support you during labor.

Some of your own clothes, including a going-home outfit for yourself and your baby.

You will not be wearing your maternity clothes, which are usually quite large and too baggy to be comfortable.

Ideally, you will not have to get dressed until the day you leave the hospital. If that is the case, make sure you pack clothes that are comfy and loose-fitting. A pair of yoga pants or leggings with a T-shirt is an ideal choice.

If there is one outfit you want to pack for yourself it should be something special for going home in. Make sure you pick something that makes you feel good about yourself.

Pro tip: get a diaper bag or backpack with plenty of pockets to keep things organized.

The best way to keep things organized is to get a diaper bag or backpack with plenty of pockets, so you can easily find what you are looking for. Our recommendation is the Smiling Gaia Diaper Bag Backpack.

This product includes a changing pad that can be used independently of the baby carrying case, making it easier to use the diaper bag on its own and use the changing pad as a tray in public bathrooms.

The diaper bag comes with two mesh pockets to hold everything you need, including cream and diapers so that you don't have to reach around while changing your baby. The bag also has special zippered pockets for wet wipes, so you can carry them in one easy pocket without having to dig through bags.

This baby changing pad diaper bag is sleek and streamlined with an adjustable wrist strap that attaches easily to strollers.