When it comes to what to pack for hospital or birth center where you deliver your baby, it’s easy to get carried away, filling your bag with the adorable baby clothes that you received at your shower and from your new baby registry.
What most new moms forget is that a newborn baby really needs very little for those first few days. To help you pack lighter, we’ve outlined what your baby will really wear from birth through that first car ride home. This is what I packed for my hospital bag.
You don’t need baby clothes during your hospital stay. After your baby is born, the nurse or midwife will dress the baby in a little onesie – or if you live in a warmer climate, just a diaper – and will most likely keep him swaddled in a thin “receiving blanket.” They’ll also put a little hat on your baby’s head to keep it warm, as babies lose a lot of heat through their heads as newborns – they’re not yet able to regulate their own body temperature.
Some hospitals offer little hats knit by local volunteers, while others offer simple stretch fabric caps. If you’re really feeling fashion-forward, feel free to bring your own, but it’s unlikely that your little one will wear anything else until you get home.
Bring layers for the trip home, just in case. As a general rule, infants need to wear one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear, unless it’s very hot outside. Consider the season it will be when you deliver your baby and plan the type of outfit accordingly. If you’ll be outside in the cold, bring a comfortable sweater or a fleece coat for your baby. If the weather is warm, but not scorching, bring a long-sleeved onesie, a sweater or a light coat to protect your baby from the elements. If it is exceptionally hot, you’ll be fine with a single layer of clothing and a receiving blanket, but you may still want to buy a sun hat or a light shade blanket to protect from UV rays.
Keep it simple. We all want to find the perfect outfit for bringing home baby, but remember that for the majority of the time, your baby will be wrapped in blankets and his clothing probably won’t be visible. If you have to put your baby into a car seat, that means a buckle between the legs and over the shoulders. A simple layette set is practical — and let’s be honest here, your baby will look adorable no matter what he wears.
Bring a backup outfit. If you’ve been stocking up on newborn clothing, you might want to think twice. Some babies are born too big for newborn sizes and immediately require size 0-3 months. Since there’s no way to predict exactly how big or small your baby will be, bring two or three clothing changes just in case your little peanut isn’t so little.
Bring extra blankets. The hospital will usually provide a thin cotton receiving blanket, but if you’re planning to swaddle your baby, most first-time parents prefer something a little more user-friendly. Look for muslin, cotton or soft bamboo swaddling blankets to keep your baby wrapped up tight, especially if he likes to wriggle around during those first few days.