Tara’s blue suitcase is packed and ready for mom, dad and baby. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

My husband and I are having our first baby, and as I write this, I could begin labor anytime between the next two weeks and before the end of this sentence. So I figured I’d better start packing for the hospital.

I set my book, a new robe and slippers on the bed next to my blue, weathered suitcase and then sat there, staring at these items, contemplating what to pack next.

Drawing a blank, I decided to search the hundreds, if not thousands, of blog posts online on this topic. Then I perused Pinterest, which provided ample suggestions, including “the ultimate hospital bag check list”, “top 10 must-haves at the hospital” or “survival kit for the hospital.”

Thoroughly confused, and suffering from information overload, I decided to take a step back. Since I work at Spectrum Health and will be delivering our baby there, I thought, why not ask them?

“If a mother shows up with nothing, everything will still be just fine,” Judy DeVries, RN at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital, told me, with a soft smile on her face that made me feel instantly better. “Everything a mother takes with her can be seen as an added comfort during her stay.”


Hospital Packing List

For Mom
Slippers and flip flops
Three comfortable outfits – yoga pants, nursing-friendly shirts, zip up sweatshirt; one outfit specifically for going home
Nursing bra
Nursing-friendly pajamas
Personal toiletries, including hair dryer and straightener
Hard candy

For Dad
Comfortable change of clothes

For Baby
Boppy pillow
Going home outfit and hat
Onesie without snaps on the bottom
Backup outfit, in case the other gets dirty
Receiving blanket.
Fleece blanket for over the car seat

Camera and charger
Baby book
Car seat
Cell phone and chargers
List of people to call
Phone docking station for music
Cord blood donation box
Extra bag to take items home from hospital (ie: gifts, diapers, etc.)

Good to know. But Judy also had some suggestions about what to include on my packing list.

First, a car seat, because the baby should not leave the hospital without it. And even better yet, have the car seat inspected for proper installation. Important point! Then, a blanket to go over the car seat if it’s cold. Next, a nursing bra is helpful to remove an added barrier to breastfeeding. And last, going home outfits for both baby and me. Judy suggests to wear something comfortable when I’m ready to go home and make sure the baby is dressed for the weather.

So far so good. My blue suitcase can handle all of those items. What else?

Judy wasn’t done. Bring some hard candy to suck on during labor, she suggested. How about some music to help create a calming environment for mom and baby? Don’t forget your robe, so you can walk around comfortably while wearing a hospital gown, and slippers or grip socks.

At least those last two items were already in my blue suitcase.

Judy also shared what not to bring to the hospital. Leave valuables at home, she said, and all medications, including prenatal vitamins.

After talking with her, I felt so much more comfortable about my preparations. My husband and I are as ready as we’ll ever be to meet our first child.