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What to Pack in the Hospital Bag

Nurses holding twin babies

This is a very exciting time – your journey is coming to an end and you’re prepping for the arrival of your baby(ies). You are filled with excitement (and maybe a little anxiety!); there’s so much to remember to do and pack.

Packing your hospital bag and preparing to travel with a newborn baby can be stressful. The key is to plan ahead, and arrange and pack as much in advance as possible. Because you never know when baby is going to decide to make his her arrival, having bags packed ahead of time and ready to go can help eliminate last-minute stress!

Since every surrogacy birth is different – different parts of the country, different times of year, different durations – these are just suggestions. Remember, what you need to pack will be dependent on the weather at the delivery location and how long you plan to be at the hospital and surrounding areas. Also, many Intended Parents find it helpful to ask their surrogates what she would recommend for the type of clothing needed for the season.

Close-up on packed hospital bag

Here are some suggestions to help you get started on your list of what to bring.

What intended parents should pack for delivery and travel:

  • Your birth plan (bring 2 copies), prepared with your surrogate and her OBGYN

  • Your court order (bring 2-3 copies), if applicable

  • Your ID (driver’s license for domestic parents, passport for international parents)

  • Insurance information (if the baby will be placed immediately on your insurance after birth)

  • Pediatrician’s contact information

  • Any hospital or legal paperwork you have been instructed to bring

  • Cash for parking and change for vending machines

  • Working credit or debit card (for parking and meals)

  • Outfits for your baby(ies) including a going home outfit

  • Baby blanket

  • If you will be doing skin-to-skin contact right after the baby is born, you may want to pack a shirt that’s easy to open, like a button down shirt.

  • Chargers (phone, ebook)

  • Camera (if you’d like one in addition to your phone)

  • Change of clothing for the plane ride home (in case of spit up, etc)

  • Weather-appropriate clothing

  • Plastic bags (for dirty diapers!)

  • List of names to contact after birth (don’t forget Circle!)

  • Local counsel contact information

  • Thank you gift for your surrogate (not required)

  • Small gifts, such as a box of chocolates, for the nursing staff (not required)

Tips and advice from other parents:

“Bring multiple copies of your pre-birth order. We had many people ask us for a copy, and rather than having the paperwork disappear to be copied, we were able to give them copies we had brought.”

“When booking your hotel or place you’ll be staying in for the delivery, try to find accommodations that are close to a Target, Walmart or grocery store/pharmacy so it’s easy to grab any items you may need.”

“If you don’t have an Amazon account, set one up! We used Amazon to have baby bottles and other necessities sent to us in 2 days where we were staying.”

“If you will be staying in the birth city for a bit after birth, you may want to see if your surrogate’s family has any items that can help; our surrogate’s mum gave us a pack ’n play to use, which was invaluable.”

What to pack for the baby for delivery and travel:

Many items can be purchased locally where your baby is being delivered. You do not have to drive or fly with all of these items.

close-up on luggage

  • Wipes and diaper rash cream (The hospital will have diapers available. It’s best to hold off on purchasing these until you know the size of your baby.)

  • Hand sanitizer

  • Formula, bottles and bottle cleaning brush (many parents wait and see what formula the hospital is using and if agrees with their baby before purchasing)

  • Multiple outfits for baby. It’s a good idea to have handy items that layer well so that you can adjust baby’s comfort based on the temperature

  • Baby-safe laundry detergent (must be very gentle) if you will be doing laundry during your stay

  • Travel-friendly changing pad for use in public washrooms

  • Front carrier, baby wrap or sling

  • Diaper bag with water-proof lining and shoulder strap

  • Carrier/car seat (car seat must be installed before leaving the hospital)

  • Stroller (if you have an extended stay after birth)

Tips and advice from other parents:

“If you are formula feeding you can find small ready-made formula bottles in stores that make traveling so much easier (no bottles to clean!). They cost a little more but are SO worth it!”

Family with surrogate in hospital

“Our surrogate was very open to us leaving a bag with her during the 20-week ultrasound. We had peace of mind knowing we already had items there and waiting.”

“We ordered and shipped our car seat to our surrogate’s house. On delivery day, her husband brought it to the hospital and we installed it in our rental car.”

“We bought and ordered a bassinet and had it sent to our hotel.”

Hopefully this list of what to pack for the hospital for your baby’s birth is helpful and alleviates some anxiety and stress, so you can focus on what’s most important: meeting and holding your baby for the first time.


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