For Mom

  • Picture ID

  • Health card

  • List of allergies and medications

  • Eye glasses (if you wear them)

  • Clothes to go home in, loose fitting

  • Tooth brush and tooth paste

  • Hair brush and elastics

  • Nipple shield

  • Lanolin nipple cream

  • Bath robe and/or night gown

  • Bathing suit (for labor)

  • Comfortable nursing bra

  • Pads (the hospital provided ones are generic)

For Baby

  • A couple clean and soft receiving blankets

  • Going home outfit (newborn size and 3 month size)

  • Blanket to place over them in the car seat

  • Baby nail file, often them come out with claws!

  • Formula, bottles are provided

  • Installed car seat, Canada regulation approved


For Dad

  • Snacks, lots of snacks...

  • A list of phone numbers to let people know the has baby arrived
  • Phone or camera
  • Bags for soiled baby clothes


Preparing for the Hospital for a New Baby

Under "normal" circumstances, you will be in the hospital for 1-2 nights.  One night for vaginal birth, 2 nights for a c-section.  Honestly there isn't much needed for this short visit, if you forget something the hospital will have it!  What you bring is more so based on personal preference.. Try and pack light!  There's a lot going on so the less you have to manage the better, plus hospital rooms are relatively small.

When to Pack Your Hospital Bag?
Do a Labor Test Run!

When the baby decides to come it could be a very fast or slow process.  Even if the event is planned, there's always a chance the baby could come early! So plan ahead, pack your bag at 34 weeks just to be safe.  If the baby comes early you are going to want to head straight to the hospital, there's no need for the added stress of putting together your things...

Some Suggestions for when to go to the Hospital Early

Easy your mind by doing a dry run before the big day.  Scope out where to park, which floor to go to, where to check in, and meet some of the staff.  It's more helpful then you think!

As I entered into my third trimester I started to become anxious about the whole labor process.  I started cramping pretty bad around 34 weeks and the doctor told me to go into the hospital just to be safe.  After 20 weeks you are instructed to go directly to the Labor and Delivery unit at the hospital for any issues; think you might be going into labor or health concerns for your baby.  Turned out it my situation was my body's way of telling me to slow down, but it was a great dry run of where to park, which floor to go to, and where to check in.  It even gave me piece of mind to see the rooms beforehand and meet a couple doctors! 

Managing Hospital Visitors

The clear indicators to head to the hospital early include:

  1. ANY leaking fluid, quantity doesn't matter!

  2. Decreased movements from the baby, a minimum of 10 movements every 2 hours

  3. Cramping

Leaking fluid is a big indicator baby might be soon, or something might be wrong.  I was scheduled for a c-section and four days before I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I had peed!  It was less than a tbps of fluid so I just brushed it off.  Three days later when I went for my last check up my doctor told me I had to go in to the hospital right away to get checked for amniotic fluid.  In a mild panic I went in to get checke, and everything came back fine.  They told me to go home and come back for my scheduled appointment the next day.  That morning the baby was moving less than usual, but I wasn't concerned since I was delivering that day any ways.  Well as soon as they made the incision, I heard the doctors conversing to each other that there was no fluid  surrounding the baby.  Turns out my water did start to leak four days ago and had completely drained out!  And my poor baby was in distress with low blood sugar.  Luckily everything turned out okay for us, but it just goes to show with even the smallest gush of fluid your uterus can very quickly empty, so get checked!

Movements are another great indicator, the kick count is great.  Essentially start counting movements and continue counting until you reach 10.  If you don't reach 10 within 2 hours that's an indicator the baby might be in distress and to head straight to the hospital!  Don't panic, just get checked to be sure.

The Hospital Bag Checklist

Everyone is excited to come see the brand new baby!  But the time at the hospital is very limited and VERY BUSY!  There's so many nurse and doctor visits, plus you're trying to bond with your baby.  You don't know when your baby will need to feed or when both of you might be napping.  So don't commit to visitors at all, tell them you will contact them when you're ready.

Is your family pushy?  Well most hospitals have visitor restrictions, so you can also use that as an excuse to make them wait until you're settled at home.

A duffle bag
Hospital entrance sign