Hospital Bags, what should I pack?
Your baby is almost here and if you are not having a home birth, it’s time to start packing bags, here is a list that might help you decided what to bring with your to your birth center or hospital birth.
Note: Most hospital stays are up to 2-3 days after delivery, while if you deliver at a Birth Center you can be home with your little one within 24 hours. keep this in mind while you back your bags, and check with your care provider about how long your stay will be at your facility.
Delivery bags For labor.
• A picture ID (driver’s license or other ID), your insurance card, and any hospital paperwork you need
• Your birth plan, if you have one
• Eyeglasses, if you wear them. Even if you usually wear contact lenses, you may not want to deal with them while you’re in the hospital.
• A bathrobe, a nightgown or two, slippers, and socks. (Hospitals provide gowns and socks for you to use during labor and afterward, but some women prefer to wear their own.) Choose a loose, comfortable gown that you don’t mind getting dirty. It should be either sleeveless or have short, loose sleeves so your blood pressure can be checked easily. Slippers and a robe may come in handy if you want to walk the halls during labor.
• Bathing Suit or something to where in shower or bath if you prefer, one that’s loose and comfortable.
• Whatever will help you relax. Here are some possibilities: your own pillow (use a patterned or colorful pillowcase so it doesn’t get mixed up with the hospital pillows), music and something to play it on, a picture of someone or something you love, anything else you find reassuring. (If you’re going to be induced, think about bringing something to read or watch because it may be a while before labor is underway.)
• Your Doula- Doulas are labor assistants that will help you and your partner during labor. If you have one remember to call her when you contractions start.
For your partner/labor coach
• A camera or video camera with batteries, charger, and memory card. Someone has to document the big event! Some hospitals don’t allow videotaping of the birth itself, but there’s usually no rule against filming during labor or after the birth. If you plan on using your phone to take photos or video, make sure it’s fully charged and pack your charger.
• Comfortable shoes (and flip flops for shower)
• Snacks and something to read or watch, (If delivering at a birth center, most let you eat as well during labor, so make sure you pack extra for you as well as your partner.)
• Money (or a credit card) and change for vending machines
• A bathing suit. If you want to take a bath or shower during labor, you may want your partner to get in with you to support you or rub your back.
• Change of clothes, especially if you deliver at a hospital and your partner stays with you the whole time.
After you deliver
• A fresh nightgown, if you prefer to wear your own and a change of clothes ( for day 2 at hospital) if you prefer to not be in a nightgown.
• Your cell phone and charger. After your baby’s born, you or your partner may want to call family and friends to let them know the good news. Make a list of everyone you’ll want to contact so you don’t forget someone important when you’re exhausted after delivery.
• Did we mention Snacks! After many hours of labor, you’re likely to be pretty hungry, and you may not want to rely solely on hospital food. So bring your own – crackers, fresh or dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, or whatever you think you’ll enjoy. A bottle of nonalcoholic champagne might be fun for celebrating, too.
• Toiletries: Pack a few personal items, such as a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup, and a hair band or barrettes. Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but you might prefer your own.
• Comfortable nursing bras, or loose fitting sports bras
• Several pairs of maternity underpants. Some women love the mesh underwear usually provided by the hospital, but others don’t. You can’t go wrong with your own roomy cotton underpants. The hospital will provide sanitary pads because you’ll bleed after delivery. Make sure you have a supply of heavy-duty pads waiting at home!
• A notepad or journal and pen or pencil. Track your baby’s feeding sessions, write down questions you have for the nurse, note what the pediatrician tells you, jot down memories of your baby’s first day, and so on. Some people bring a baby book so they can record the birth details right away.
• A going-home outfit. Bring something roomy and easy to get into (believe it or not, you’ll probably still look 5 or 6 months pregnant) so a easy comfortable maternity dress will be perfect, and a pair of flat, comfortable shoes.
For your baby
• An installed car seat. You can’t drive your baby home without one! Have a rear-facing car seat properly installed ahead of time and know how to buckle your baby in correctly.
• A going-home outfit. Your baby will need an outfit to go home in, including socks or booties if the clothing doesn’t have feet, and a soft cap if the air is likely to be cool. Make sure your baby’s outfit has legs (is not a baby “gown,” for example) so the car seat strap can fit between them. You can bring more Outfits for in the hospital and pictures as well.
• A receiving blanket. The hospital will provide blankets for swaddling your baby while you’re there, but you may want to bring your own to tuck around your baby in the car seat for the ride home. Make it a heavy one if the weather’s cold.
What not to bring
• Lots of cash or other valuables
• Medications, if in a hospital you’ll be there for at least 2 days, so if there is something you take regularly bring a small pill container, and/or talk to doctor ahead of time so the hospital can provide it.
• Diapers if you deliver at a hospital, The hospital will provide diapers for your baby while you’re there. Leave your supply at home.
• A breast pump. If you end up needing a to express milk for any reason, if you are at a hospital, the hospital can provide one. (you may also want to try Hand Expression if a need arises. It is a great way to express milk when a electric pump is not around. Look for our follow up post on how to properly hand express breastmilk.
What was a great help for you to have at your birth? or is there anything on the list that surprised you? Leave us a comment and let us know.