Often I get asked questions about what the hospital supplies, what patients need to bring, and if they can bring this or that to the hospital with them. Some people come to have a baby and look like they are moving in, while others don’t even have a duffel bag with them.
The main things to consider are your personal hygiene items, something to wear home from the hospital, something for the baby to wear home from the hospital, a toothbrush, and a car seat for the baby. In this day and age, most people have cell phones, so a charger would be a good thing to have handy. If you are going to bottle feed and you want to use your own bottles — bring them. That special pillow you can’t sleep without is fine to bring too.
Some things to consider are: what does the hospital provide for the mother and the baby? Several hospitals are making a push against pacifiers and do not provide them. You may bring your own and use it, but if you want it and you don’t have it, the hospital will not provide that either. Does the hospital provide toiletries such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, or toothpaste? If the answer is no, it will need to be packed.
Anything you may want to use to get through labor needs to be brought with you to the hospital. Some hospitals don’t provide fans. Some do. Some women like a massager while in labor and others prefer a tennis ball. Outside of basic laboring tools, the hospital will likely not provide those things. Are snacks and drinks available at all hours? Is it provided? Are there vending machines on the unit? You may want to bring your favorite drink from home and some snacks if not.
Please realize that a basic bag includes personal hygiene items, clothing for mom and baby, phone chargers, and baby items. The things provided or available will differ from each hospital. Establish that before you go in. Take a tour, ask about what is provided. Get to know the unit, the staff, and the hospital. Always ask questions.
At the end of the day, you can bring whatever you want. Most common things forgotten are hairbrushes and toothbrushes. I see that more than anything. Most hospitals do supply those things, but not all. Don’t forget to pack your birth plan, any important phone numbers, and a list of your current medications. Everything else is up to you. Most hospitals do require a car seat at discharge though.