You’ve made it all the way to the end of the pregnancy! Well, almost. You still have to go through the actual birth. Whether you are choosing to go to the hospital or not, it’s a good idea to have a bag ready, just in case. But what the heck do you need? Let’s break it down and unpack, what you need to pack.
Birth is messy. While Princess Kate always comes out after birth in designer, dry-clean-only duds, I wouldn’t recommend it for the rest of us. Instead, pack labor clothes that are soft, comfortable and easy to clean. Since your lower half will be the main focus, pick something that covers your body with easy access to your vagina such as a long t-shirt or short nightgown. Throw in slip on slippers or non-skid socks to keep your toes toasty while you bring new life into the world. Most hospitals only keep a new Mom for a day or two after birth, so pack a change of clothing for at least two days. Don’t forget underwear, socks and a nursing bra, especially if you intend to start nursing right away. And throw in a bathrobe, just in case you want to leave your room without getting fully dressed.
But birth was not built on clothes alone. There are a few other things you will need to make it through labor and delivery. One of the most important things you will need to pack are chargers for your phone and other digital items. The last thing you want to have happen is to run out of power just when the baby arrives. It’s important enough to just purchase a couple extra charging cords and keep them packed. You will always find a place to use them later.
If you have been practicing with a birthing ball, or peanut ball, you may want to bring yours from home. It’s just more comfortable and familiar. In the same way, you might want to bring a couple extra pillows from home, since hospitals are not known for their large and squishy pillows. Make sure to bring your pillows in colored pillowcases so that they won’t be confused for hospital pillows. Labor takes a long time, you might also want to bring things to do, watch or listen to while you’re in labor. This is the time you’re in charge, so if it’s a Neil Diamond concert or a Princess Bride Marathon, that’s fine. But if you want to bring a book or two, puzzles or even a deck of cards, go right ahead.
Finally, don’t forget to pack your favorite snacks or drinks to keep you fortified during your hard work. Labor Needs
You are going into the hospital as one person, but you are coming out as two. So, pack accordingly. First of all, make sure that you have the right baby clothes for your climate and season. Make sure that their cute enough for all those “I’m going home!” pictures. If you need a snowsuit or a car seat cover, it’s worth packing that in the bag. Even in the summer, air conditioning can make that newborn temperature control system cold, so pack a blanket or two and a hat to keep that little noggin toasty.
If you have a particular type of bottle you have chosen, bring several clean baby bottles with you, so that the newborn, and you, can get used to the feel right off the bat. Also include the type of pacifier you like. Pack four of five burp clothes, you will go through them quickly. Don’t forget to pack the baby’s book. You may want to get those first little footprints from the source. It’s also nice to ask the labor and delivery staff to add their names to the book, so that your baby knows who worked so hard to bring him, or her into the world.
In the midst of labor, there are things that you just can’t forget, so we listed them here for you. Some are things that are just nice to have on hand, while others are necessities that are vital to have with you. Two of the most important are your insurance documents and a written copy of your birth plan. Your birth plan should make your wishes clear if there is an emergency and you cannot speak for yourself. While you should have discussed your plan with your birth team, it is important that you all have something to refer to if the need arises.
After that, don’t neglect your own needs. Bring any medications that you take in their prescription bottles. Most hospitals will give you your own medication under that condition, which can save you a significant amount of money. Also pack your soap, moisturizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. Your hospital can provide you with all of these things, but it’s nice to have your familiar scents and sensations. If you have long hair, be sure to bring hair bands to keep it out of the way during labor. Even short hair can get in the way, so consider a bandana or headband to hold it out of your face. Don’t forget a hairbrush.
Childbirth can flood new parents with emotions. Give yourself a way to express them with a brand-new journal and pen. You might also want to bring birth announcements to give you something to do after the main event.
It’s a good idea to have your hospital bag packed early. Many women start their bag in the beginning of the third trimester and have it ready to go by the 35th week of pregnancy. You can always change things and swap out things closer to your due date. But if you go into labor early, you want to make sure that you have everything you need.